Tag Archives: hair

Swanson Bamboo Extract: 2-month Update

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I first started using bamboo extract two months ago. I had mixed one-month results. I bought two bottles. Each bottle contains 60 vegetarian capsules and will last 2 months since you only need to take one pill a day. Given that I purchased both bottles for less than $20, this supplement provides pretty good bang for your buck.

After taking this supplement for 8 weeks, my nail health has made a complete 180 turnaround. My weak, brittle nails normally break daily. This bamboo extract seemed to strengthen and lengthen them from the inside out. After only 2 weeks, my nail growth expedited exponentially. In a month’s time, the extract had lengthened my nails to the point of becoming an annoyance (needing to be cut much more frequently than before). After 2 months, I’ve noticed that the condition of my nails have improved drastically. My nails have not just become LONGER but have now become STRONGER as well.

While my hair’s thickness and volume have increased, I have had zero to staggering results. This is likely due to the fact that I have 3 different textures on my head! Watch the following video for a quick summary of my experience after taking bamboo extract for two months.

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Swanson Bamboo Extract for Hair, Skin, and Nail Health

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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!

Bamboo extract contains 10x the amount of silica as horsetail grass. This is good news for those of us who are (ahem) no longer twenty-somethings as silica levels naturally decline as we age. As a result, supplementing with quality, natural silica like that found in bamboo extract can help to support and improve one’s hair, skin, and nail health.

I’ve heard so much about bamboo extract in the last couple of years, that I finally decided to take the plunge. I was so excited that I purchased two bottles in the hopes that in a month or two, I’d have long, luxurious hair. Hey, it could happen! Don’t crush this naturalista’s “long hair don’t care” dream! Well, since nothing beats a failure but a try, I decided to give bamboo extract a go.

Although the bamboo extract pill is on the larger side, because it comes in the form of a gel cap, it’s very easy to swallow. After taking this supplement for a month (29 days), I didn’t experience any skin improvements. However, I eat clean, drink plenty of water, exercise six (sometimes seven) days a week, and already have pretty decent skin. I did see a marked improvement in the condition of my weak, brittle nails, though.

My nails are so fragile that they tend to break just by looking at them! But, after only a week or two, my nails started to grow scarily fast. So much so that I trimmed them twice in one week! Even when I accidentally caught my left thumb nail in the zipper of a beloved jacket, resulting in being forced to cut the nail down to the nub, 50% of the nail grew back to it’s original length in only 4 days. It would have normally taken almost two weeks for that to happen with my super thin nails! After a month of taking bamboo extract, my nails are stronger, longer, and much more resilient.

I also noticed that the bamboo extract increased my hair’s thickness and volume. And, while this supplement is no magic bullet, it did help (some of) my hair to grow at a faster rate. However, due to all the different textures on my head, that didn’t seem to happen for all of my strands. (Sigh)

Watch the following video to view a video summary of my results after taking bamboo extract for a month. It also reveals my final length check …

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Super-moisturizing Lavender Hair Spritz

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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.

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Recipe Card - SUPER-MOISTURIZING SPRITZ

 

  1. Add ½ cup of aloe vera juice.
    • Aloe vera juice relieves itchy, dry scalps and acts as a conditioning agent that reduces frizz.
    • I buy the Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Juice. It comes in a large 1 gallon jug and has a shelf life of 1 ½ – 2 years (when stored properly in the fridge).
  2. Add ½ cup of rose water.
    • Rosewater helps to balance the pH of skin.
    • It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce and prevent irritated skin and clogged pores.
    • It’s antioxidant properties strengthens and regenerates skin cells.
    • Rose water also hydrates and refreshes hair, and helps with the retention of moisture.
    • I love the rose water by Heritage Store.
  3. Add ½ cup of distilled (not tap) water.
    • If you live in a hard water area like I do, this is a CRUCIAL step.
    • It is imperative that you use distilled (or filtered) water. Don’t use tap water, especially if you are unsure of the water content (or if you have never tested your water)!
  4. Add ⅓ cup of vegetable glycerin.
    • Glycerin is a natural humectant. It helps to attract and retain moisture to your hair’s follicles.
    • I adore the 100% pure version from NOW Solutions. It never fails to soften and moisturize my parched tresses!
  5. Add ½ teaspoon of vitamin e oil.
    • Vitamin e oil has anti-aging properties that prevent damaging effects from the environment (e.g., free radicals).
    • This nutrient-rich oil heals and repairs skin and hair.
    • It also acts as a natural preservative to keep the spritz fresh by extending the shelf life.
    • After trying several brands, I’ve locked onto Sundown Naturals vitamin e oil.
  6. Add 2030 drops of lavender essential oil.
  7. Shake vigorously to incorporate all ingredients, and enjoy!

After tinkering with the proportions for two months, this has become my go-to daily hair moisturizer. I use it on my twist-outs, wash ‘n gos, protective styles, everything! When nothing else will moisturize my hair, this will. Trust!

Follow-up with your fave oil. I normally gravitate to whipped shea butter but, this summer, I’ve been reaching for extra virgin olive oil more frequently. Just use what your hair loves.

 

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Quick Tip #2: Repurpose Your Unused Hair Products

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Quick Tip

We all have products that are just lying around, collecting dust. When I was relaxed, I did a lot of roller sets. And, I used KeraCare Setting Lotion to do it. After moving from Seattle to Alabama, I quickly discovered that this lightweight setting lotion (while perfectly suited for the mild climate of the Northwest) just couldn’t cut it for the intense humidity of the South. But my 32 oz. salon-sized bottle wasn’t exactly inexpensive. So, I went on several hair boards to try to get suggestions for what to do with my still half-filled container of leftover setting lotion. A wise woman suggested that I use it for twists, braids, or twist- or braid-outs. Great idea, but it just wasn’t enough to hold up to the humidity. My relaxed, transitioning strands started out nicely coiffed but fell flat in less than an hour.

Now that I am natural, I found my setting lotion eyeing me from the back of my beauty cabinet. Once again, I tried to get suggestions for what to do with it. This time, a hair board member told me to just throw it away. (How rude!) While some forgotten items are more expensive than others, I have never been one to be wasteful. I would rather give something away to someone who could use it than just pour my hard-earned cash down the sink. So, I tried to give the setting lotion to my mother, other family members, and friends, but no one wanted it. Do none of my relaxed ladies use roller sets anymore? Come on, ladies! Then, I realized I was overthinking the problem all together. So, I have come up with a simple solution … A solution so simple you might even laugh. But, just because it’s simple doesn’t make it any less brilliant!

You’re going to need two things:

(1) a forgotten liquid hair product (a liquid setting lotion in my case)

and

(2) a foam pump container.

Empty 8 oz Natural Bottles with Green Foaming Pump, Set of 4

That’s right. Pour the setting lotion (or other liquid hair product) into a container with a foam top. Secure the lid. Pump and enjoy!

My relaxed sistas, you’ve just turned a regular setting lotion into a foam wrap lotion. Want to rock your natural hair? Just use a dollop of foam before braiding or twisting a section of hair for a light hold and seal in with a heavy butter or oil.

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but … Toot! Toot! 

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Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme

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Thank you for your support!

There is so much hype about Miss Jessie’s hair products that I finally caved in and decided to see what all the fuss was about. While I greatly admire Miko and Titi Branch, the stalwart and savvy sister duo who co-founded Miss Jessie’s, their Curly Buttercreme left me feeling like a bandwagon fool!

Instructions: Apply a nickel-sized dollop to instantly soften dry, crunchy curls. Excellent for taming hairline edges, moisturizing pony puffs, two strand twists, coils, braids, cornrows, naturals. Great for: 2 Strand Twists, Pony Puffs, Braids, Hairline Grooming Creme, Short Naturals and Fades, Growing Out Natural Hair.

First, if you are sensitive to strong scents, beware! This Buttercreme is spiked with the essence of peppermint and is strong enough to double as smelling salts! Although the consistency of the product is creamy and plenty thick, you will definitely need more than a nickel-sized dollop, even for short hair. Second, you should not put too much stock in most of the claims. The product failed to define my curls and also failed to tame my edges.

The first time I used the Buttercreme, I followed the instructions as directed. Although my natural hair felt soft, it didn’t feel any more soft than usual. Neither did I feel like it hydrated my curls and coils. In fact, only an hour or two later, my hair frizzed up like I was a Berenstain Bear!

The second time I used the Curly Buttercreme, I was more heavy handed. Mistake! Don’t over-saturate your hair! My hair felt greasy and downright gross. The product seemed to just sit on my hair instead of actually moisturize it.

The ingredients also left much to be desired: acetylated lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum, to name a few. On top of all this, the curly buttercreme costs $9.00 for a meager 2 oz. container, a whopping $32.00 for a mere 8 oz. jar, and a staggering $58.00 for only 16 oz. of product!

Have you picked yourself up off the floor, yet? Don’t worry, I’ll wait … Honestly, I do not understand why this product is so expensive, especially for less than mediocre results.

My advice? Don’t fall for the hype. Or, if you feel you absolutely must try this buttercreme, order a free sample BEFORE you decide to invest in one of the larger sizes! Otherwise, your pocketbook will be (justifiably) upset with you, and your hair will cry, “Foul!”

Me? I’m moving on. I suggest you do the same. Seriously. If I see any of you in Target putting this in your hand basket, I’m going to tackle you and pin you to the ground until you shout, “Uncle!” 

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The Baggy Method vs. The Greenhouse Effect

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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.
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The Baggy Method
The Baggy Method is a hair care method that offers a creative solution for dry hair by seeking to promote hair growth by trapping in much-needed moisture. It allows you to prevent damage to your delicate tresses, especially your ends. If you suffer from dry hair or split ends, simply apply a moisturizer (or your favorite leave-in) to the ends of your hair. Or, if necessary, (or depending on your preference) to your whole head. Then, add your favorite oil or butter to seal in the moisture.

Place a plastic processing cap over your whole head. If only baggying your ends, you can use saran wrap or a ziplock sandwich bag and then secure it with a ribbon tie or an ouchless hair elastic. Just make sure the tie or elastic is on the wrap or bag and NOT your hair! For additional nighttime protection, add your usual satin scarf or silk wrap. Keep covered for 3-4 hours, or overnight, if you wish. Then, remove the wrap/bag and style your hair accordingly.

The Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse Effect (GHE), unlike the Baggy Method, DOES NOT use moisturizers or leave-ins. It encourages the use of shampoos and conditioners that are 100% natural. And, instead of using commercial, chemical-based products, the GHE relies on body heat to stimulate the sebum production of your own scalp.

To use this technique, simply apply an all natural oil and/or butter to dry hair. To jump start the process (or if you do not produce enough body heat on your own), you can also lightly mist your hair with water prior to adding an all natural oil or butter. Make sure your hair is damp, not wetPlace a plastic processing cap over your whole head. Secure the cap with a satin scarf or silk wrap. Add another satin or silk wrap, or a knit cap or beanie to produce even more body heat. The steamy, tropical environment will encourage your hair to stay moist and retain length. You should see water droplets on the processing cap when you remove it in the morning.

The next day, after you remove the cap and scarf/wrap, you can style your hair any way you choose. Just let it air dry. Or, you can prep your hair the night before (i.e., with braids/twists) prior to using the GHE for a braid- or twist-out the following morning. The choice is yours. The key is frequency. The more you do it, the better your chances for optimum moisture and growth.

Some Helpful Tips
Tip #1: Either method is suitable for both natural and relaxed beauties alike. So, take your pick! These techniques will help naturalistas retain more moisture while making the new growth of relaxed divas more manageable. Options, anyone?
Tip #2: Use a processing cap instead of a grocery bag. Grocery bags have chemicals and toxins in them that are not worth the risk. Besides, you can get a bag of 15 processing caps from Wal-mart for only one buck! Parlez-vous good deal?
Tip #3: Don’t overdo it! Start with 2-3 days a week to see how your hair responds, then build up to 4-5 days a week (if necessary). Remember, you cannot baggy your hair 24/7.Your hair needs to breathe. Otherwise, your strands will weaken, become overly elastic, and break. Who wants that?

P.S. I started a growth challenge on the first of June, using a combination of these methods. I will post my progress after three months (in September). Stay tuned!

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Finger Coils (Single Strand Twists) on Short Natural 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!

 

From the beginning of my natural hair journey, when I Big Chopped, I’ve loved the look of single strand twists. It has become my go-to style. This is probably because it is a style anyone can rock with a mere two-inches of hair and beyond. I also love that it is something that I can do ONCE that will last for an entire week. So, it is a low-manipulation style with great staying power. Here’s how I do it …

Technique

If you want perfect coils and don’t mind spending extra time parting and dividing your hair, creating twists with a comb or the end of a rattail comb may be the best option for you. However, because I have multiple textures of hair on my head,  I like my hair to have a more natural, organic feel. I also don’t want to spend four hours twisting my hair, so I prefer to create single strand twists with the built-in hair tool God gave me … my fingers! Depending on how quickly I work, I can usually do this in 45-60 minutes.

  1. Start with freshly washed or co-washed hair.
    • Lightly blot hair dry so that it is not sopping wet.
  2. Divide out a section of your hair with a comb and use hair clips to hold the rest of your hair out of the way.
    • Or, you can do it freehand like I do: I finger part and only use my hands.
    • You can start from anywhere you would like on your head, although starting from front to back or vice versa will make it easier to ensure you don’t miss any sections of hair.
  3. Divide the section of hair that’s out into even smaller sections.
    • You can make as many smaller sections as you want, depending on the size that you want the twists to be.
    • I usually just finger part the bottom third of my hair and pin the top two-thirds out of the way. Then, I split the parted ⅓ section in half to make it easier to manage and clip the other half of the hair in the section up.
  4. Lightly mist each section of hair. You can use water or a water-based leave-in conditioner of choice. Then, seal with a light oil, and apply gel for hold.
    • Do this for each section of hair.
    • I use water and some of my homemade Eco Styler custard.
    • You will likely need to remoisten your hair with water or a water-based leave-in throughout the process to prevent your hair from drying out.
  5. With my left hand, I hold the loose section of hair. Then, with my right hand, I use my thumb and index finger to grab a smaller section of hair.
    • Grab as large or small a section of hair as you want.
    • The amount you grab will determine the size of your single strand twists.
  6. Position your index finger in the middle of the small section of hair and twirl the strands of hair around your finger, moving your finger up and down in a tight circular motion to get the hair to wrap around your finger.
    • The small section of hair will now be in a tightly formed coil.
  7. Repeat twisting the hair, working section by section until you have created single strand twists all over your head.
    • Have frizzy roots? Twist each small section of hair with the index finger of your right hand while holding the same strands of hair at the root with your left hand and gentle twirl the roots (as if creating a Senegalese twist).
    • Do both actions simultaneously, and you will have perfectly coiled (and non-frizzy) single strand twists.

* NOTE: For a more detailed example of how to do single strand twists, check out MsRosieVelt’s YouTube video: 

Products Used

  • I generally use water (or a water-based leave-in) and my homemade Eco Styler custard.
  • Recently, though, I wanted to see how well my finger coils would turn out with a non-gel-based product. So, I tried to do finger coils using water and Luster’s S-Curl No Drip Activator Moisturizer. It turned out just as good! So, this is a great alternative for those of you who don’t like to use gel (or hate the hard-crunch hold that gel creates).

Maintenance

  • I wrap my hair at night with a satin scarf (or use a satin bonnet).
  • The following morning, I lightly mist my hair with my DIY glycerin hair moisturizer and gingerly fluff my finger coils to refresh my style.
  • If needed, I remist my hair at night right before I go to bed and rewrap my hair in a satin scarf.
  • You may need to recoil any stray or stubborn areas. I usually have to recoil 5-7 pieces each morning. However, it literally takes me only a minute or two to do so.
  • My finger coils always last 6-7 days when I follow this method.
  • NOTE: I also got my finger coils to last 5 days using the no-gel method (water + Luster’s S-Curl). I can often stretch the style to 7 days, but it starts to look a little worn after five days, so I sometimes randomly recoil about a third of my hair on day five if I need the style to last for two more days.

Finger Coils on 2.5-inch Hair

Finger Coils on 4-inch Hair

Finger Coils on 4.75-inch Hair

Finger Coils on 5.5-inch Hair with Eco Styler Custard

Finger Coils on 5.5-inch Hair with Luster’s S-Curl

 

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