Hair Year Round Up

Saturday, December 31, 2011

WOW, so another year has already gone by. It's been an eventful year to say the least, not much in the way of hair though. I'll explain.

To be honest, I've found it worked out better if I just left my hair alone this year. For the most part, I had twists, yarn twists (y'all know how those turned out ... itching n' itching some more. I'm still mad at that, but that's another thread altogether) or bunned. I can safely say that I've made it past BSL despite having cut off quite a bit around this time last year.

Despite regular haircare routines having been helpful in the past, I just don't see an absolute need for them anymore. My hair thrives without them. I'm not saying that it would not probably have thrived even more, it totally could've. But it's thrived never-the-less and I'm satisfied with that. Perhaps now that things have settled down, I may pick up a routine again. However, at the moment:

I hardly DC, maybe once every 3-4 months.
I now wash once every 2 weeks - 1 month.
Moisturizing maybe 1-2 times a month.

I pretty much just do whatever whenever. It's been largely due to the crazy number of work hours I've been doing. When I do have time off, hair is the last thing on my mind.

I'm still determined to grow longer and will continue to protective style. Since the yarn braids or yarn twists didn't work out for me,I think I may try the marley braids two strand twists. Here's to no itching in 2012!

Happy New Year everybody!!

The Yarn Braids and Itching Saga Continues

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I HAD to take them out. My scalp was itching like there was no tomorrow. It was getting a bit ridiculous and I was also getting white bits in there ... most likely dandruff.

Since taking down the yarn braids, I've been bunning. I must say though, that the itching has reduced dramatically. Still itching, but not nearly as bad. Ok, so what gives? *puts problem solving had on*

What I've tried so far:

Changing shampoos - I've tried Cream of Nature, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Natural Look Clarifying Shampoo and Lacura Nourishing Shampoo (SLS free). Lacura has been the best so far, it really has helped and my scalp is not itching 2 mins after jumping out of the shower. While Lacura helped, the itching continued.

Oiling my scalp - I thought maybe my scalp was dry. Dry scalp can be itchy and dandruffy. That didn't work either.

Changing yarn brands - Nada.

Removed yarn twists - The itching seems to have subsided somewhat after taking out the twists ... So I'm assuming that since I tried the first 3 things before taking the braids out this time round, and they didn't work, it may be something to do with yarn, period. Let me know if my logic is flawed.

So now the question remains. What is it about the yarn that would make my scalp itch? I have often asked myself whether the dyes/chemicals used on the wool may cause problems. I know on the Crown and Glory website Robin suggests soaking hair extensions before use in a vinegar/ water mixture, to remove an alkaline base that coats the extension. To be honest, I don't know whether there is an alkaline base that coats extensions, but I know for a fact that most do have some sort of film that can be removed by that method. There are some who claim that removing this film makes a difference to scalp irritation.

While I don't know the mechanism behind it, I just wonder whether a similar principle could apply to yarn. I use acrylic yarn, which I know is most commonly dyed with basic (alkaline dyes). I have mentioned before that I would try soaking the yarn first before braiding, but I just never followed through. Hmmpf.

Although I've had a bit of a rough time with yarn twists recently, I really don't want to give up on them. They are so gentle on my hair and have made retaining length a breeze. They are excellent for my edges too.

So one more try, with this soaking method ... that will be the deciding factor as to whether I continue to use yarn or not. I'll make sure to take pics or make a video about the process.

Any suggests would be helpful ladies. Don't be shy to pitch in!

Freshening up Yarn Twists - The Undoing and Redoing Part 1

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's that time again. My yarn twists are starting to look a tad worse for wear, so I've decided to freshen them up. A few posts ago I let you in on how I redo yarn braids. I'm using the same method for my yarn twists.

So I've redone half my head and will do the other half next weekend. So far this is what I've learnt.

  • Undoing yarn twists is a breeze!! So perfect for those bereft of time to spend on hair, or the lazy : ). When doing yarn twists, I braid at the root then start twisting. So when I'm undoing them, the yarn pretty much unravels until the small braided section. It takes about 15 seconds to undo that section, and I'm done! In terms of time consumption, yarn twists are winning.
  • Seeing as the hair and yarn are twisted, this could potentially turn into knots and breakage central. Especially if you're natural. When you get to the roots, just be cautious and focus more on working the hair out of the yarn, rather than whipping the yarn out. Untwisting each strand of yarn or each piece of hair individually may work when you see a tangle forming.
I hope those two points help someone. I'd really love to get more suggestions if anyone has some, I'm still learning : )

Yarn Braids or Yarn Twists and Itching

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I really don't know what it is. But lately, when I have yarn anything in my hair, I get this insatiable itching. It's really getting on my nerves now.

Yes people, I do wash my hair. Even though, my scalp will begin to itch a few hours after the wash. I use shampoo and I've changed shampoos. I've tried apple cider vinegar rinses. Nothing doing.

The only thing that's worked so far is using a clarifying shampoo. The itching is quelled for approximately a week. I really don't want to wash my hair with clarifying shampoo weekly. No way, Jose.

What gives UHCers?? Anyone experiencing the same thing with yarn? Any suggestions?

Yarn Twists - Styling and Accessorizing Yarn Twists

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In my last post I bemoaned my yarn twists "just not looking great." Well, a reader - KayTee- stopped by and encouraged me to try styling and accessorizing the yarn twists. Brilliant idea! Thanks KayTee!

Welp, here's what happened:

I bunned, I'm not ready to wear these babies down yet. I know what you're thinking. "Errmm, you were bunning in the last yarn twists post, Urban." But look guys, I put in a cute flower!! *proud face*

But wait, there's more!! I had a side-swoop, bang-type thing going on at the front:

I know it doesn't seem like much, but I'm a really 'low maintainance' type of girl. I don't wear makeup and usually just wear hairstyles that are convenient. I'm usually one to just tie back yarn braids. So I'm really stoked to be trying out different styles.

This style looked nice. It's simple, but still manages to add a little spice to my, generally smart but simplistic, everyday coporate look.

I've also just discovered an entire draw of styling bits and bobs, from years ago, that I had forgotten about. Let the yarn twist styling games begin!

Yarn Twists - I did Yarn twists and I don't think

Friday, September 9, 2011

I don't think ... I like them!!

So I folded and took out my yarn braids. My scalp hadn't been free of braids for 4 months and just really needed to breathe.

Now, I know ... and have posted about the arduous task that is removing yarn braids. But it took about 10 hours people!!! Ridiculous! I think it was partly because I'm so gentle and really take my time. So needless to say, by the time I was done ... that last thing I wanted to do was put in braids again. No ma'am. But I had to. I didn't want my hair out. It had to go back into a longterm protective style ASAP.

That is when I though of putting in twists instead. They don't take as long to put in and would be easy as pie to take out. I took it a step further and decided to do fat twists that would ... well, take even less time to put in and be even easier than pie to take out! How clever am I???? *hi^5*

NOT. They just don't look great : ( But not to worry, they look fine bunned. So that's how I'll wear them. It works out I suppose. I work in an environment where my hair needs to be out of the way anyway.

What is the problem? Well, I think

1) They're too thick and
2) I had never, ever done twists in my life and thought myself a pro after watching a few YouTube tutorials. I think I may not have twisted tight enough or I don't have that rolling-of-the-threads-as-you-twist thing down pat yet.

Either way, they took me about 7 hours to put in. Best believe, I'm keeping them in.

What do you think?

Freshening up Yarn Braids

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I've had yarn braids in since March. I left them in as long as I could because I was so overwhelmed at the prospect of having to take out an entire head of them AND redoing them. Life has been getting in the way, so I just haven't felt like I had that amount to time on my hands.

But not to worry, I came up with a solution. You want in? Ok, I'll tell you. The secret is to redo the braids bit by bit! While watching a movie, YT vids, reading your favourite blogs ; ).

I've found I start redoing maybe after 1.5 months. Every few days, I take out a handful (on weekends I can usually do a lot more) and redo those. At the 3 month mark or there abouts, I undid the top half or so (during a weekend) and redid all that. In the next 1 or 2 weeks I'll do the back half.

The front half undone.

It's not as overwhelming for me because I only spent a few hours on the process and still had a lot of my weekend to do other stuff.

Some people may be reading this and thinking, "I couldn't be bothered, Urban, I'd rather do it all in one go and get it over and done with it." More power to you. But for some reason, I don't have it in me to sit for so many hours doing my hair at the moment.

My edges on the other hand, are still redone every 3 weeks or so, by the way.

The Past Year .... Work/ Coporate Wardrobe and Natural Hair

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's been a HUGE learning curve for me. I wasn't too impressed with my hair's progress. I suppose that's why we call this a "hair journey." You live and learn. I didn't have any set backs as such, but I didn't see as much progress as I had expected.

What do I think was the problem? Well, I was wearing a lot of plats and twists (without extensions), which I was redoing every 2 weeks or so. I gather that was too much manipulation for me. While I think they were better for my hair than having it out all the time, I think I would have seen more progress had I chosen a longer-term style.

I see other ladies being able to keep in their twists or plats for longer, but I couldn't do it. It would get too untidy to be presentable for work, so I redid mine often.

I also started working in June in the industry I studied for. I wanted to make a good impression and dressed really well (semi-coporate), even though no-one else did. It was an entry level position while I was on the homestretch to finishing my degree. You know, the whole dress-for your-next-position-type-thing. Before, I make my point, it may be good to add that there are not many black people where I live. So, I didn't want to wear extensions because I felt that if I took them out, I'd have to be answering too many questions that I didn't want to. It would cause people to focus on my hair rather than my work. So I wore my hair in a bun for the first 2 months or so .... which I redid everyday. Yes : (. As a natural 4b this is something I learnt I shouldn't do for 2 months straight. For a few weeks, it's absolutely fine, but by 2 months, it will have taken its toll.

After those two months I'd settled into the job well. So I started up again with the twists and plats which I tied back in a bun. Much better than the lose hair bunnning! But I redid them every 2 weeks or so ... which for me, is too much manipulation. This carried on into my next "real" job after graduating about 5 months later. Stictly coporate, so I went back to bunning for the first couple of months .... then into the bunned twists and plats ... until I unleashed the yarn braids on them!! LOL. This was after the 3 month probationary period was over.

You probably know how that went. How did you do it? How long did it take? Oh, is it painful? WHAT?? You do them yourself? How do you do the back?! People touching the braids with their dirty hands. One of my Eastern European coworkers who likes to think she knows everything 'black' said in an ebonics-type accent, "girl, you should get a weave!" While rolling her neck and bobbing her head from side to side. I just smiled and continued working. AND THEN, she came back to tell me my hair was "unbeweavable." LOL.

So yes, it did cause a bit of a shift of focus to my hair for a couple of weeks. But I suppose I felt that I had established myself in the new job for it not to matter too much. I didn't want my hair to define or influence too much while I was still starting. I wanted people to just focus on me being a good worker in those first 3 critical months while I started my career.

It's funny. Part of this work thing is really a game. You have to learn to play smart. Especially if you're Black and Natural.

So, I'm opening up the floor. I know natural hair in the workplace has been discussed on a lot of blogs. BUT I truly and genuinely want to know, if you're natural, how have YOU handled your hair in the workplace? Have you felt limited in your styling choices? Have you used the gradual, unleasing technique (LOL) like I did?

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