Tag Archives: deep condition

Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!
 MegaSilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment

Ingredients

Water (Aqua, Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Stearalkonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium PCA, Isopropyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-12, Disodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Sodium Benzoate, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Hydrolyzed Silk, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate

Directions

Apply thoroughly to clean, damp hair, making sure ends are treated. Leave on 3-5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Can be used twice a week to help maintain hair health.

 

The Silk Elements’ Megasilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment is a sulfate-free formula that claims to moisturize, strengthen, and nourish strands while leaving hair soft and full of shine. Although the instructions state that this only needs to be left on for 3-5 minutes, because I have multi-textured hair, I always deep condition my hair for at least 20 minutes. If I have time, I’ll leave it on for 30 minutes.

I love that this contains avocado oil, olive oil, and hydrolyzed silk. Because of the hydrolyzed silk, this treatment could also double as a light protein treatment. Yet, it is still safe for weekly or bi-weekly use. As a result, this makes it perfect for both relaxed and natural hair.

The treatment has the scent of a low- to mid-range perfume. I’m not a huge fan of heavily scented products, especially products that smell like it should be spritzed on my neck or wrists! Thankfully, this has a slight perfume scent that is light and fleeting. NOT my favorite product smell, but thankfully it does not linger and is not obnoxiously strong.

Every time I used this Moisturizing Treatment, my hair was left soft and hydrated. Although it is not watery or liquidity, the product isn’t as thick as other hair masques or hair cholesterols I’ve used previously. In addition, this product did not make it easier or worse for me to detangle my hair. Overall, I think this is a decent deep conditioner for the product size and price (when on sale). While this treatment is not my all-time favorite deep conditoner, it gets the job done.

PROS

    • Sulfate-free (Behentrimonium Methosulfate IS NOT a sulfate; it is a compound naturally derived from rapeseed oil used to thicken, condition and detangle hair)
    • Paraben-free
    • Contains avocado oil, olive oil, and hydrolyzed silk
    • Great for dry hair
    • Perfect for both relaxed and natural hair
    • Gentle enough to use 2x a week!
    • Decent results for the quantity and price

CONS

    • Contains a silicone called amodimethicone (fifth ingredient)
    • Contains isopropyl alcohol (thirteenth ingredient)
    • Not a huge fan of the scent (but it is not overly obnoxious)
    • Not as thick and creamy as some other hair masques or hair cholesterols I’ve used
    • Provided average results
    • Expensive (when not on sale)
    • Open jar

As a side note, I have read that several people (of hair types varying from wavy to kinky) have used this as a leave-in with stellar results. Others have used it as a pre-poo or co-wash. I have yet to try this Moisturizing Treatment in any of these ways. However, I think it is moisturizing enough to work as a pre-poo or co-wash, so I think I might experiment with alternative usage methods.

UPDATE

I finally decided to try Silk Elements’ Megasilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment as a leave-in, and my hair loved it! Who knew? The Moisturizing Treatment left my hair silky, soft, and well hydrated ALL day. It provided me with a super moisturized top bun, and it also gave me one of the best wash ‘n gos I have ever had. My curls were elongated and extremely defined. Thanks for the suggestion ladies!

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The MAX Hydration Method … Modified! (A DETAILED OVERVIEW)

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!
After my successful experiment with a baking soda scalp treatment back in August, I finally decided to take the plunge and try the Max Hydration Method (MHM). This strategic hair moisturization method was created by (no longer active) YouTuber Pinke Cube. The MHM was originally designed for type 4c low porosity hair, but it has been used by those with type 3 and even type 2 hair hair. The theory is that once maximum hydration is obtained, your dry, frizzy, and undefined curls and coils will be fully hydrated, well-defined, free of tangles and single strand knots, less prone to breakage, and therefore more easily able to retain length.
Dry, tangled hair has plagued me since the beginning of my second year as a natural. Needless to say I was intrigued! I did extensive research and quickly realized there was more involved than I had thought. The MHM involves an intense 4-step process over the course of 7 days. See the traditional MHM below.

TRADITIONAL Max Hydration METHOD

    1. CHERRY LOLA TREATMENT: If this is your first time attempting the MHM, you are supposed to start with a Cherry Lola Treatment (CLT). This protein treatment was created by UK natural hair blogger Cherry Lola in 2009 to help strengthen hair follicles and prevent damage. Because I saw recipe after recipe with ingredients like bananas, molasses, and the like, I knew immediately that I would skip this step. However, after a super deep research dive, I found out that the original CLT only has 3 ingredients (see the original recipe below). The other ingredients likely are an amalgamation of the CLT and a DIY Carmel Treatment. The original Carmel Deep Reconstructing Treatment is by E’TAE. To apply the CLT, mix together all of the ingredients and apply it to your entire head of hair. Leave on for 20-30 minutes, and then rinse out completely. This protein treatment should be done bi-weekly (every two weeks), monthly, or how frequently your hair requires (i.e., once a quarter).Several people who use the CLT, especially those with high porosity hair, reduce the baking soda and liquid amino acids to 2 TBSP each.
      NOTE #1: (OPTIONAL) OVERNIGHT DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENT—Some MHM users do an optional overnight deep conditioning session (after the CLT) to further encourage increased hydration.
      NOTE #2: The NEXT STEPS are intended to be done EVERY DAY for 7 consecutive days!
    2. CLARIFY: After an initial CLT, you must then clarify your hair. This is usually done the next day (after the CLT). You can either do an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse (with a 50:50 ratio of ACV to distilled water) or a baking soda treatment (with 2 TBSP of baking soda, 2 oz. of conditioner, and 4 oz. of distilled water). Allow the ACV rinse OR baking soda treatment to sit on your hair for 20-30 minutes. Recommended conditioners include: [i.] Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner/Detangler, [ii.]  Kinky Curly Tiny Twirls Detangling Conditioner, [iii.] Curls Curl Ecstasy Hair Tea Deep Conditioner, [iv.] Curl Junkie Beauti-Curls Leave-in Hair Conditioner, [v.] Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment, [vi.] Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner, [vii.] Jessicurl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner, [viii.] Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment in Citrus Lavender, Island Fantasy, or Unscented, [ix.] Botanical Skin Works Leave-in Conditioner, [x.] Giovanni Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor, [xi.] Giovanni Direct Leave-in Weightless Moisture Conditioner, and [xii.] Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner with Peppermint and Eucalyptus.
      NOTE: If you have high porosity hair, opt for the ACV rinse. If you have low porosity hair, do the baking soda treatment instead, using one of the recommended conditioners!
    3. CO-WASH & DETANGLE: Use one of the “approved” conditioners (above) to co-wash your hair. Also, gently detangle your hair during this step.
      NOTE: 
      (OPTIONAL) OVERNIGHT DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENT—
      Some MHM users do an overnight deep conditioning session (in lieu of co-washing) to further encourage increased hydration. However, under the original MHM regimen, this is an optional step. 
    4. CLAY RINSE: After co-washing (or deep conditioning) and detangling, apply a clay mix thoroughly to your hair and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Recommended clays include: [i.] Bentonite clay, [ii.]  Rhassoul (aka Ghassoul) clay [iii.] European clay, and [iv.] French green clay. However, if you don’t want to create your own clay rinse, you can buy a pre-made clay hair wash by Terressentials. To make the clay rinse, combine 1 cup of clay with 1½ cups of ACV (or warm distilled water), 1 TBSP of honey, and 1 TBSP of olive oil.
      NOTE: The clay rinse recipe (above) provides rough measurements as the exact amount will depend upon the length and density of your hair.
    5. MOISTURIZE & STYLE: Apply your leave-ins to soaking wet hair in sections from root to tip. Mist your hair with water if it starts to dry out. Recommended gels/stylers include: [i.] Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel, [ii.] Herbal Choice Mari Hair Styling GEL for Him & Her,  [iii.] Beautiful Curls Curl Defining Gel, [iv.] Epiphany Naturals Curly Creme with Argan Oil, [v.] Kinky curly Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel, [vi.] .Koils by Nature Herbal Curl Defining Gel, and [vii.] Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter. Style your hair according to personal tastes (i.e., in a wash ‘n go, twist-out, or stretched style).
      NOTE #1: With the MHM, products must be layered onto the hair via the Liquid Cream Oil (LCO) or Liquid Cream Oil Cream (LCOC) methods. A botanical gel or curl definer can then be applied on top as the final layer. Because oils are occlusive, it is believed that the LOC method should NEVER be used as it could prevent water-based moisturizing products from penetrating and hydrating your strands. 
      NOTE #2: 
      Repeat steps #2-#5 DAILY for 7 consecutive days (or at least every 2-3 days), depending upon your hair’s needs. Once your hair reaches “max hydration,” you can scale back on how frequently you utilize the MHM. For more detailed information about the traditional MHM, read this post from the creator Pinke Cube, herself, in the Black Hair Medium forum.

 

MY MODIFIED Max Hydration METHOD

  1. CHERRY LOLA TREATMENT: Now that I know the CLT only contains plain yogurt, baking soda, and liquid amino acids, I may try my hand at the treatment sometime in the near future. However, for the month that I chose to do a modified version of the MHM, I elected to skip this step entirely. I did this to save time and because I had already successfully given myself several intense baking soda scalp treatments.
    NOTE: To save time, I performed all of the next steps TWICE a week instead of for 7 consecutive days!
  2. CLARIFY: Because I have have low porosity hair, I did the baking soda treatment (instead of an ACV rinse) by combining 2 TBSP of baking soda in a large spray bottle with 2 oz. of conditioner and 4 oz. of distilled water. Because I didn’t have any of the “approved” conditioners on hand in my stash, and I already had more product than I care to admit in my beauty cabinet, I didn’t want to purchase any new product. As a result, I just used what I hand on hand: VO5’s Tea Therapy Blackberry Sage Tea Revitalizing Conditioner. The combination of the Blackberry Sage Tea Revitalizing Conditioner with the baking soda was life-altering! LIFE-ALTERING, I SAY!!! All I did was divide my hair into quadrants and apply the concoction to each section (from root to tip). I smoothed it all over my strands, secured each quadrant into a large Bantu knot (to keep it from tangling and to help me work in manageable sections), and left the mix in my hair for 30 minutes. After half an hour, I hopped in the shower, and rinsed the mixture from each quadrant. My hair was instantaneously tangle-free, smooth, and more defined. I finger detangled my hair while in the shower, but there was truly no need. My fingers literally glided through my hair from root to ends! I was super excited because this was only the FIRST step! Honestly, even though this was only the beginning, I was already sold!
    NOTE: If you have high porosity hair, an ACV rinse is recommended. If you have low porosity hair, do the baking soda treatment instead (like I did), using one of the recommended conditioners (listed above under step #2 for the traditional max hydration method).
  3. CO-WASH: Because my hair felt so silky, I opted to skip this step every time I used the MHM. I went straight to the deep conditioning step (after clarifying my hair with the baking soda treatment).
  4. OVERNIGHT DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENT: Although an optional overnight deep conditioning session is recommended to expedite the hydration process, unless I am utilizing the Baggy Method or the GHE to correct a specific hair issue, I don’t believe in overnight hair treatments (i.e., where product is left in your hair for hours on end). Also, scientifically speaking, after a maximum of 30 minutes, your hair has adsorbed all that it can, so there is no need to deep condition past the 30-minute marker. I rotated a moisturizing deep conditioner with a hair mask that contained light protein to maintain the integrity of my hair. So, on MY FIRST HAIR WASH of each week, I would use my ion Summer Deep Conditioning Treatment, and on MY SECOND HAIR WASH of each week, I would use my ion Keratin Smoothing Masque. I felt that this balanced my hair appropriately. Each time, I applied the deep conditioner to my hair in quadrants and secured each quadrant into a large Bantu knot. Then, I donned a processing cap and sat under my stand bonnet dryer for 30 minutes before rinsing each section. At this point, my hair felt twice as hydrated as it did in the clarifying step, and I can hardly believe it.
    NOTE #1: Both my ion Summer Deep Conditioning Treatment and my ion Keratin Smoothing Masque contain “dimethicone.” Under the MHM, silicones generally are not permitted due to the tendency to have to use harsh cleansers to remove them fully from one’s hair. However, because I have fine hair, I’ve experienced no difficulty with removing any buildup from my hair. By step #5, I’m pretty confident my hair is completely free of all product and residue.
    NOTE #2: Here is the full list of “banned” ingredients: (i.) hydrolyzed wheat protein/peptides—considered “bad for low porosity hair and most kinkier Type 4 hair,”(ii.) panthenol/pro-Vitamin B5—because it “acts like protein” and can cause build-up, (iii.) triethanolamine (TEA) and other ethanolamines such as MEA, DEA, etc.—because these are drying alcohols derived from ethanol, which can cause long-term damage to the integrity of one’s hair with prolonged use, (iv.) mineral oil and petroleum jelly—because the residue they tend to create is difficult to remove without the use of harsh shampoos, (v.) silicones/polyquaternium—often require sulfate shampoos to remove product buildup and residue, (vi.) salts and sulfates—leave hair parched and dehydrated, and (vii.) lye, i.e., sodium (NaOH) or potassium (KOH) hydroxide—permanently damages hair after prolonged use.
  5. CLAY RINSE: I like to use bentonite clay because it is inexpensive and easily accessible. The original rough measurements for the clay rinse call for 1 cup of clay with 1½ cups of ACV (or warm distilled water), 1 TBSP of honey, and 1 TBSP of olive oil. Because I have fine hair, I used ½ cup of bentonite clay with 1 cup of very warm distilled water), 1 TBSP of honey, and 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil. This makes enough for two generous applications (for me). However, if you have very thick (or long) hair, I would suggest starting out with the larger measurements from the original clay rinse recipe. I apply the clay to my hair in quadrants and once again secure each quadrant into a Bantu knot when I am done. I leave the clay in my hair for 30 minutes and thoroughly rinse each quadrant, making sure not to miss my front hairline and the nape of my neck. By this time (after just ONE application), my curls are popping! Even the stubborn 4B coils above my ears and near my temples! My hair felt soft, looked SUPER defined, was COMPLETELY tangle-free, and even slightly elongated.
    NOTE: NEVER use metal bowls or spoons when using clay as it absorbs the metal and makes the mix less effective.
  6. MOISTURIZE & STYLE: After rinsing the clay thoroughly, while my hair is still wet, I applied my leave-ins of choice via the LCO method. I use the following: (i.) a mist of additional water, if necessary, or a DIY leave-in like my multi-use beauty spritz or super moisturizing lavender spritz. Then, I add (ii.) a creamy product like Care Free Curl Activator or Naturally Silk Elements Whipped Curl Cream. Last, I use (iii.) a natural oil like extra virgin olive oil or castor oil, or a serum like Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6: I utilized the MHM twice a week (about every 3 days) due to my busy schedule, lifestyle, and complete lack of patience in utilizing this effective but time-consuming method every day. Despite not using it every day, I used it twice a week for an entire month, and I received amazing results. if you have extremely low porosity hair like mine or hair that seriously struggles to remain hydrated or retain length in spite of your most Herculean hair care efforts, I would definitely recommend giving this hair regimen a try.

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES & TIPS

  • If you choose to try the TRADITIONAL MHM, I recommend doing this on the weekend (or your day off) so that you can get a true sense of how long it takes you (from start to finish) to do all of the steps. It takes me 3-3½ hours to do the MODIFIED version of the MHM. So, try not to start it unless you have the time to dedicate to the requisites of the regime.
  • The CLT IS NOT done every time you do the regimen. However, it can be done at any point, after starting the regimen (i.e., monthly or quarterly), depending on your hair’s needs.
  • If you have high porosity hair, consider reducing the amount of some of the ingredients or diminishing the timing of each step (i.e., instead of 30 minutes, try 15).

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Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

 

Fresh Coconuts (Set of 3)

Ok, scientifically coconut oil IS NOT a protein but, in a sense, I feel like it behaves like one because it contains lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that binds easily to protein in hair). Because of this, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft (due to its low molecular weight), reducing protein loss and strengthening the hair’s structure. It also creates a “hardening effect” due to its ability to change viscosity so quickly (i.e., from a liquid to a solid state) at low temperatures. As a result, harsh winter winds, for example, can create stiff hair very quickly. In addition, repeated use of coconut oil can cause protein build-up, drastically reducing hair’s elasticity and causing follicles to become dull, dry, brittle, easily tangled, and more prone to breakage.

Have you been overusing coconut oil? If so, consider utilizing a deep conditioner or moisturizing hair mask to restore the protein:moisture balance of your hair. Need a complete restart? Try a reconstructor instead.

 

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My First Henna Treatment!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.),  which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

After much research and struggling to maintain a healthy head of hair for the last year, I finally took the plunge to do my first henna treatment. I had researched the benefits of henna over five years ago, but, to be perfectly honest, I was too chicken to ever try it. Truth be told, after losing an entire year’s worth of hair growth (6+ inches) in the last 12 months to hard water, I was pushed to the brink of desperation! So, I decided, “What have I got to lose?”

Here are some pictures of my natural hair (before the henna treatment). You can really see the damage to my hair in the second picture caused by hard water. (Note: I used high flash for the first and third shots to better highlight my hair color and texture pre-henna. It’s still a little hard to see unless I’m in direct sunlight, but the ends of my hair still have some remnants of permanent color from when I dyed and highlighted my hair two years ago.)

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I settled on Zenia’s Henna Powder because it is body art quality (BAQ) henna. This brand of henna is 100% natural, cruelty-free, and vegan. It is important when choosing henna to make sure that it contains no pesticides, metallic salts, or chemicals (i.e., ammonia and peroxide). Make sure that the henna you buy is BAQ henna. This will ensure an easier application (because it will have a finer sift) and will also create an environment for the best results possible (due to the lack of additives and chemicals). After all, the last thing you probably want is to end up with green or damaged hair!

After looking at dozens of recipes for henna hair packs and treatments, I ended up creating my own. Mainly because I have very fine hair, and most recipes I found called for a boatload of henna that I just knew would be way too much for me to use in 1, 2, or even 3 applications. I found this general guideline online, which proved helpful as a starting point but, keep in mind, that hair thickness and density are vital considerations. Those are two factors that most of the resources I found ignored. For example, if you have fine hair, you will likely require less henna. The reverse is true if you have thick hair (i.e., you will likely need more henna than the average person with the same length of hair as you). I have a high-density head of hair (lots of strands), but each of my individual strands are super fine (very small in diameter), so this is the recipe that I came up with for MY hair:

I used a kitchen scale to make life easier and for more precise measuring. I ended up using about 60% of the mixture. (I froze the rest.) Because I wanted to create a henna hair treatment for its conditioning effects (as opposed to a natural hair dye), I placed the henna mixture in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, four hours prior to use, I let the mixture sit out at room temperature before applying it to my hair instead of the usual 8-12 hours recommended. Here’s the process I followed:

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair. Here’s what my my hair looked like after being freshly washed …
    IMG_9438_photocat
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  2. Place a thin layer of Vaseline on your ears and around the perimeter of your head. This will protect it from potential henna staining.
  3. Shingle the henna mixture through each section. I used my hands and, yes, my hands turned orange! Don’t be like me. Buy gloves! FYI, if you happen to forget to buy gloves, like I did, don’t fret! Create a quick mixture of salt and olive oil and rub the affected areas like a maniac as gently as you can. It took 4 applications over 48 hours, but 75% of the staining disappeared. The remainder vanished after another day or two. Whew! My nails? That’s a different story! Sigh.

    IMG_9478

    IMG_9479IMG_9480

  4. Use butterfly clips to section your hair into quadrants if it won’t stay put. Although I had some butterfly clips , I just created a loose bantu knot to hold each section in place to avoid too much bulk. But, if your hair is super thick or long, you may need to clip it into place.
  5. Use a processing cap to prevent drips and keep the henna from drying out. I left the henna in my hair for 30 minutes while sitting under a hooded dryer. The dryer expedited the conditioning process.
  6. Rinse the henna out. I used my Waterpik handheld shower attachment to rinse my hair out without too much fuss. I used two applications of my cheapie VO5 clarifying conditioner to rinse out all the henna. This is what my hair looked like after I rinsed out all the henna … IMG_9486You can see how the henna created a dip-dyed effect at the ends of my hair where the remnants of my permanent hair dye was. Next time, I think I’ll add some amla powder to create a richer, deeper brown. Or, I may just apply the henna directly after mixing it up to avoid the dye release. Although my hair seemed slightly dry, it felt 100% stronger and more conditioned! Seriously, I could hardly stop touching my hair after washing the henna out, and I’m not much of a hair toucher!
  7. Deep condition. I deep conditioned my hair with my fave Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol for 20 minutes under my hooded dryer to restore moisture back into my strands. Here’s what my hair looked like with the deep conditioner in it …
    IMG_9504
  8. Air dry and style. I misted my hair with my lavender spritz and followed up with some olive oil. Then, I just coiled the back of my hair into one low french twist and pinned it in place with some Magic-Grip hair pins.
    IMG_9521

Overall, I really liked how the henna treatment instantly strengthened my fine, fragile hair. Next time, I will definitely leave it in for a longer period of time. I plan to incorporate henna into my hair regimen at least twice a month. Still confused about how to henna your own hair? This article provides a great read and covers virtually any scenario that might come up while hennaing your hair!

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18 Months Natural: How to Flat Iron Medium-length Hair

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

So, I have officially been natural for a year-and-a-half! To celebrate, I decided to straighten my hair for the occasion. Here’s what I did:

  1. SHAMPOO & CONDITION. Because I have experienced several seborrheic dermatitis flare ups in the last month or two, I used my favorite product line from Aveeno: Nourish+Dandruff Control shampoo and conditioner. It’s great for sensitive scalps, as well as people with scalp conditions, like myself. I love this shampoo and conditioner because it soothes my scalp, prevents inflammation, and is still gentle on my color-treated hair! A win-win-win!  🙂 Click here for a more detailed product review.
  2. DEEP CONDITION. My absolute favorite deep conditioner is Lustrasilk’s Aloe Vera Cholesterol. It makes detangling sessions a breeze! I usually saturate my hair with the product to make sure all of my strands are coated. I gently finger detangle as I rake the product through my hair. Afterward, I cover my hair with a processing cap and sit under my hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes. Then, I rinse my hair and prep it for the next step.
  3. BLOW DRY. I spray my hair with Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner. I gently comb the product through my hair and blow dry my hair with my Chi Rocket pro hair dryer on medium heat. I finish by turning on my “cool shot” button to smooth the cuticle of my hair.
  4. PRESS ‘n IRON. To further protect my hair from heat, I spray my hair with TRESemmé‎’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray. I press my roots and then I flat iron my hair. I try to limit myself to two passes with my Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium flat iron, but if necessary I do a maximum of three passes. However, if a third pass is necessary, I mist my hair first with ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer.
  5. NIGHTTIME ROUTINE: I brush my hair to one side and wrap it around my head. I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair. Then, I add a mesh wrap to keep my hair from unraveling . I secure it with a satin scarf, and top it with a satin bonnet for good measure!
  6. THE NEXT DAY: I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair to prevent frizz. Then, I slowly unwrap my hair and style it.
Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

My hair remained pretty straight for two days and mostly straight for seven days. Given that the temperatures have been in the upper 90s (and beyond) with a heat index over 100, I think I received pretty good results. I “touched up my hair” once because I had an event to go to and the humidity started to swell the cuticle of my hair but, after that, I let my hair do what it wanted to do and just added some heatless curls to stretch my hairstyling capabilities.

Want more details? Watch my video here to see me prep my hair in action: 

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Flat-ironing My Medium-length Hair: 12 Months of Natural Hair Growth

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I have been natural for 12 months now. Woot! Woot! In honor of my one-year naturalversary (February 6), I decided to flat iron my hair. The last time I straightened my hair was September 2013 (five months ago). I had been natural for seven months and was curious what my natural hair would look like straightened. This time, I did a few things differently. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. I sectioned my hair into quadrants, lightly misted my hair with water, and detangled.
  2. I applied a 50:50 ratio of coconut oil and castor oil to each section and then two-strand twisted each quadrant into one chunky twist (for a total of 4 twists).
  3. I shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo (Pravana Hydrating Shampoo). I used very warm water and then rinsed all of my hair with cold water.
  4. I used a light protein treatment (Aphogee 2-Minute Protein Treatment). I added a processing cap, left it in for 5 minutes, and rinsed it out with cool water.
  5. I wrapped my hair in a microfiber turban and let it air dry for 30 minutes.
  6. I untwisted each section and applied Softsheen Carson’s Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner to each quadrant. After that I sprayed Julep’s Top Coat for hair (a heat protectant and shine spray) to each section.
  7. I blow-dried each quadrant with my Chi Rocket hair dryer.
  8. I applied TRESemme’s Heat Tamer Spray (a heat protectant) and another dose of Julep’s Top Coat to each section.
  9. I clipped three of the quadrants out of the way, parted each quadrant into smaller sections for the sake of manageability, and then flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1¼” flat iron. I set my flat iron to 410 degrees.
  10. It took me about 2 1/2 hours (from start to finish).

MAINTENANCE

  1. I originally planned to wrap my hair before bed. But, less than 24 hours later, I already started to miss my coils. LOL! So, I decided to pin curl my hair instead with Dove’s Leave-in Smoothing Cream and a little bit of my Roots of Nature Butter Whip Coil Cream (for a light hold). 
  2. I added my satin bonnet and slept on a satin pillowcase for extra insurance.
  3. In the morning, I lightly coated my hair with coconut oil, and unpinned and separated my pin curls. I misted my hair with my DIY multi-use spritz and then layered on some Julep Top Coat for extra shine.
  4. I coated any stray, frizzy pieces with a dab of coconut oil, twirled the wayward strand around my index finger, and then gently released it.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair measures about 9.50″ long.

Flat-ironed natural hair at 12 months

Flat-ironed Natural Hair at 12 Months

Pin Curls

Pin Curls

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My 2014 New Year’s HAIR Resolutions + Encouragement

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So, it’s a new year, and it’s time to put pen to paper concerning our New Year’s resolutions. No, I’m not talking about exercising more or paying down my student loans. (Gasp!) That’s on a different list. LOL! I’m talking about my New Year’s HAIR resolutions. One of the things I’ve learned now that I’ve been natural for 11 months (Man, does time fly!) is that healthy hair doesn’t happen accidentally. If you want stronger hair, it requires a lot of dedication and commitment, utilization of proper hair techniques, and a healthy dose of patience. So, here’s my plan for better hair in 2014 …

  1. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!

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    • It’s easy to get bogged down by life and neglect the basics your hair needs. I found out the hard way that when I don’t set aside time to take care of my hair, it usually results in dry, dehydrated tresses that break or have minimal growth. I’ve learned that my hair needs to be moisturized daily, even if it’s just misted with water. And, as always, I’ll seal that moisture in with one of my fave oils.
    • I’m still toying with (and trying to perfect) different moisturization techniques (i.e., the LOC method) but, right now, moisturizing and sealing is the minimum I can do to maintain healthy hair.
  2. Deep condition at least once a week! 
  • I noticed a drastic difference in the health of my hair last year when I failed to deep condition it for 4 weeks straight.
  • My natural hair loves moisturizing deep conditioners the way my relaxed hair loved protein treatments.
  • Deep conditioning is a must for me!
  • Use more low-manipulation/protective hairstyles.

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    • Last year, because of the length of my hair, I couldn’t really take advantage of the numerous protective hairstyles I came across online and fell madly in love with.
    • Now that I have more length to play with, I plan to experiment with some of those styles I’ve been coveting.    🙂
  • Air dry as much as possible.

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    • Last year, I air dried my hair 99% of the time. I only blow dried my hair once! I think that really helped with the overall health of my hair.
    • This year, I plan to continue this good habit I formed and air dry as much as possible.
  • Limit the use of flat irons.

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    • Flat irons can create beautiful, sleek looks. But, don’t over do it.
    • I made the decision early on in my healthy hair journey to limit my use of flat irons to only 2-3 times per year MAX. I’ve been natural for 11 months now, and I’ve only flat ironed my hair ONCE. I don’t plan to flat iron my hair again for another month (on my 1-year naturalversary)!
    • When I was relaxed, one of the reasons I struggled to obtain healthy hair is because of my constant battle with split ends. Limiting the frequency I straighten my natural hair has completely eliminated that problem. My ends are split-free and healthy!
  • Curb my product junkyism. Product Junky
    • When I was relaxed, I was a serious product junky. Whenever a new product launched, I had to try it. No matter what! When I became natural, a lot of the products I had in my arsenal no longer worked on my newly natural hair. So, in some sense, you almost have to be a product junky your first year of being natural by default … Because trying new products and lots of products is really the only way you will know what will work for your hair.
    • I also noticed that my hair goes through stages … A couple of the products I tried when I transitioned and then BCed (and loved), I ended up hating as my hair grew out and got longer. So, there will always be a careful balance between discovering something new and useful and collecting products like trophies!
    • Of course, companies that discontinue your fave products creates a whole new dilemma … But, sometimes a discontinuation can be a blessing in disguise. Early into my natural hair journey when my favorite Lustrasilk deep conditioner was taken off the shelf, it forced me to research products and read labels like crazy. I ended up finding two deep conditioners that I absolutely adore. If I can’t find one, I buy the other and vice versa. I’ve been using one of the two for the last 9 months! The same goes for my co-wash conditioner. I’ve been using the same one since I made the decision to transition.
    • I still like to try new products, but when I find something that works, I plan to stick with it.
  • Throw out my brush and comb!

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    • Ok, not really! But, it is important to avoid manipulating your hair needlessly.
    • In 2013, I realized that I brushed and combed my hair … A LOT!!! Around month six or seven of being natural, I started to finger detangle my hair. I started slowly … from whenever I could remember to about 75% of the time. I’ve noticed less hair fall in the shower and on the floor!
    • Now, I use my comb predominately for creating clean parts (when styling my hair) and my Denman brush for shingling product into my hair/my boar bristle brush for gently smoothing my edges. I use a comb/brush maybe once a week. Sometimes once every two to three weeks!
    • I used to think that people who finger detangled exclusively were insane, now I can’t imagine my hair regimen without it. Who knew?
  • Stop jumping on bandwagons!
    • Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up with the latest fads. I’ve always been the first among my family and friends to test new products, especially those related to hair care. There’s nothing necessarily wrong about wanting to try the latest and greatest in beauty and hair care. Just be realistic! And, do your research.
    • Before you drop $200 bucks on the newest innovation in heat styling, read reviews online, ask questions in hair forums, and talk to people who have tried the product first hand to see if the item can actually fulfill a need, or if you are about to become the next victim of a three a.m. infomercial.
  • KISS (Keep It Simple Sista).

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    • Don’t use a million products if two will do.
    • Don’t manipulate your hair every day if you can get away with only manipulating your tresses two to three times a week.
    • Don’t install an elaborate hair do if you don’t have the time to maintain it.
    • More isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just … well … more!
  • Be consistent.Consistency Is Key
    • Healthy hair takes a lot of work. You can’t take good care of your hair for a couple of weeks and expect to undo a lifetime of damage or poor hair care practices.
    • Create a hair regimen and follow it for at least a month or two. Then, judge whether your regimen needs to be tweaked to better suit your lifestyle or hair needs.
  • Practice patience.

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    • Healthy hair takes time to cultivate.
    • Period!
  • Ignore the noise. 

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    • You can’t please everyone all of the time. There will ALWAYS be naysayers. Sometimes a co-worker, close friend, or even a family member will “mean well” but wrinkle their nose when you Big Chop or say, “I liked your hair better when it was longer!” (a.k.a. relaxed)
    • Regardless of whether you are relaxed, transitioning, or natural, do what works for you and your hair! I had to learn this one in the beginning stages of my Big Chop when my confidence plummeted when certain people I cared about made less-than-encouraging comments about my über short hair. I felt embarrassed. I thought that maybe I had made a mistake. However, one morning I woke up and realized that I was tired of trying to conform to others’ expectations of me. So, I made the decision to be confident about my hair, regardless of the length. And, guess what? Confidence begets confidence!
  • Embrace my hair’s limits.

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    • Not all hair types can easily shift from hair trend to hair trend, change from a plethora of styles from week to week, or use a million different styling techniques on a whim like a contortionist in Cirque du Soleil. It doesn’t mean it’s good or bad. It just … IS!
    • There are certain immutable facts about certain hair types and rules (as well as exceptions to the rules) within each “type” and for each person. Just because your 4c BFF can get away with only washing her coils once a month and protective styling for 12 weeks at a time,  doesn’t mean you can, too!
    • All hair is created equally BUT differently. Accept the limits of your hair, and move on to what DOES work for you.
  • Love my hair unconditionally.

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    • I am still a work in progress, and every blue moon I sometimes look in the mirror and question myself. But, then I remember how damaged and unhealthy my relaxed hair was and how strong and healthy my natural hair is. Suddenly, the only opinion that matters is MY own. 

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