Tag Archives: length check

Trudging Along … An Annual Length Update

My biggest hurdle in the last year has been keeping my hair hydrated. (The struggle is real!) The year-round humidity I have to constantly battle has been brutal. Even in the height of winter, where I live, humidity can be in the mid 90s! Although I edged past shoulder length a while ago, the discovery that I live in a hard (to very hard) water area, has been enlightening, to say the least. For instance, it has at least armed me with the necessary information to understand why I experienced so many single strand knots (SSKs), dry ends (regardless of daily moisturizing), and hair breakage (despite a commitment to only using direct heat on my hair twice or thrice a year, max).

The moral of this story? If you are experiencing stunted hair growth, investigate, investigate, investigate! It could be that you need to change your products or alter your hair care routine. Or, it might be due to something completely out of your control, like hard water. But, even if you do have to dance around your local tap water, there are still viable options available to you. I’ve purchased a new shampoo and conditioner combo (review coming soon)! I have also recently started re-utilizing the GHE method. In the meantime, after multiple trims in the last year due to severe tangles, here’s where I currently stand …

 

FRONT

15″ (shortest strand) – 15.5″ (longest strand)

SIDES

13″

CROWN 

15″ (shortest strand) – 16″ (longest strand)

BACK 

11.0″ (shortest strand) – 12″ (longest strand)

I experienced quite a bit of breakage due to the hard water in my area. As a result, I also had to trim my hair excessively (more than normal) to prevent additional damage. So, I was basically only able to maintain my length from last year, which means, essentially, I broke even … no loss … no gain … I just maintained my length all over.

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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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Length Check – 12 Months of Growth

Here is a video update I did of my current length …

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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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Cayenne Pepper Oil Treatment: FAIL!

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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 reading dozens of posts over the last several months about oil infused with cayenne pepper being used to grow hair. Of course, I was immediately intrigued. LOL! I did some research and there seemed to be mixed reviews. Proponents of the oil exclaimed that it helped to propel their hair growth and, in some cases, even grew hair where it once was bald.  Others claimed that it made their scalps burn, their hair shed excessively, and caused extensive breakage.

There also seems to be some confusion over the proper application. There are two opposing viewpoints: (1) apply the cayenne-infused oil to the scalp, massage the scalp for 1-2 minutes, leave the oil in for 2-3 hours, and co-wash it out, or (2) apply the oil to the scalp, massage the scalp for 1-2 minutes, and leave the oil in, without rinsing out until your normal wash day.

The negative testimonials really scared me. However, I couldn’t find many who had used the cayenne-infused oil  that had posted before and after pics. So, naturally, I was still curious! Well, curious AND cautious. In fact, it took me a month to garner the courage necessary to even take the oil out of the shoe box in my closet … and probably another 2 weeks to decide to use it!

I know what you’re thinking … that I’m a glutton for punishment. But, hey! Someone’s gotta test out these crazy hair growth methods! And, I just had to know if it would work for me. Here’s how I made my cayenne-infused oil …

Recipe Card - CAYENNE PEPPER OIL

  1. Add 4 tsp of cayenne pepper to any container with a lid. 
    • You can use a funnel to avoid wasting any cayenne or making a mess.
  2. Add 4 oz. (½ cup) of any oil(s) of your choice.
  3. Add ½ tsp. vitamin e oil (to prevent rancidity).
  4. Seal container and keep in a cool, dark area that won’t be exposed to light.
    • I kept my oil container in a shoebox in my closet.
  5. TIPS:
    • Shake the mix each day. (I shook mine 25 times over the course of 30 days.)
    • Let mixture cure for 2-4 weeks. (I let my mix cure for 30 days.)
    • When ready to use, strain the mixture into an applicator bottle.
    • Shake the applicator bottle prior to each use.
    • Apply sparingly but directly to the scalp every night and massage for 1-2 minutes.
    • Avoid contact with your eyes (unless you enjoy pain)!
    • Do a “patch test” prior to use to make sure that you ARE NOT allergic and can handle the potency level. For some, cayenne pepper can cause skin irritation. So, if you have sensitive skin, DO NOT use any oil infused with cayenne pepper.

THE PROCESS

To my surprise, the cayenne pepper oil DID NOT burn or irritate my scalp AT ALL. The first few days, I felt a very slight tingle that was barely noticeable. After that, I pretty much felt absolutely nothing.

I used the cayenne pepper oil for two weeks straight while using the GHE five nights a week. I left the oil in my hair each night until my weekly wash. My scalp and hair never felt oily. If anything, it felt like the cayenne pepper oil dried out my hair a bit. Week three, I didn’t use the oil or the GHE at all because I had family coming into town for a week, and I was worried that applying cayenne pepper oil every day and using the GHE would ruin my hairstyle (i.e., prevent it from lasting 7 days). Week 4, I used the cayenne pepper oil while doing the inversion method.

DAY 1 of CAYENNE PEPPER OIL

DAY 21 (WEEK #3): DAY 1 of INVERSION with CAYENNE PEPPER OIL

DAY 28 (WEEK #4): MORNING AFTER DAY 7 of INVERSION with CAYENNE PEPPER OIL

THE SKINNY

As you can see, I only received about a 1/2″ of total growth over the course of a month, and that’s with me doing the inversion method. I gained pretty spotty growth from the inversion method while using the cayenne pepper oil (my worst to date while using this method)! While I am grateful the cayenne-infused oil didn’t burn or irritate my scalp, or cause extensive breakage, it didn’t exactly encourage any hair growth either. In fact, I think it stunted (or at least stalled) my hair growth during the month. My hair in the front is about 1/4″ shorter than last month (from 9.25″ to barely 9.0″). So, I had some minor breakage there. However, I maintained my length on the side of my hair that I gained in the first three weeks of the month (at 9.25″). And, I gained a 1/2″ in the back of my hair from last month (from 8.5″ to 9.0″). 

Not sure if the cayenne pepper oil caused the stunted growth and minor breakage, or if the inversion method simply exacerbated the problem, or if it’s all of the above, but I’m convinced that the GHE saved my hair from breaking off excessively and becoming damaged. So, no more cayenne pepper oil for me!  Truth be told, I’m feeling a little silly for tripling the recipe and making 12 ounces of oil.  Sigh … But, I’m not one to be wasteful. So, I plan to add a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper oil to my weekly cholesterol treatment when I deep condition my hair to help me use up my remaining oil. Waste not, want not!

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HAIR SETBACK ALERT: What Do You Do When Things Don’t Go as Planned?

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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!

 

HAIR SETBACK ALERT

                    Source: stock.xchng

 

 

Well, things have been going swimmingly since I went natural. I have been natural for eight months now and, so far, my hair has been growing slightly faster than average. And, I have also been maintaining my length successfully each month. I have had no major hair setbacks … until now … Sigh.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of hair fall: excessive shedding, single strand knots, more hair in my sink, etc. I didn’t pay too much attention to it until after 4-5 weeks, and I realized that my hair was a tangled mess and was still shedding excessively. It also didn’t appear to be growing. Even though I wear my hair in its curly/coily state 95% of the time, I usually can tell each month whether my hair has grown at least a half-inch before I pull out my measuring tape. Well, this month, for the first time, I couldn’t! I started to worry, but I told myself it was my overactive Alice-in-Wonderland-sized imagination. But, when I measured my hair in various places all over my head, the immutable truth stared back at me in the mirror … I had lost a 1/2″ of growth. My hair went from 6.5″-7.0″ to 6.0″-6.5″!

I felt angry and confused. I wracked my brain to try to figure out the cause but, like most things, this didn’t happen overnight. I analyzed and reanalyzed my routine, and I realized that for the last month, I hadn’t been following my routine. Heck, I hadn’t been following ANY routine!

I recently found out that my mom has stage one kidney disease. That, on top of some other ailments, had left her completely demobilized. So, my sister and I have been sharing the responsibility of taking care of her around-the-clock while my dad is at work. I hadn’t realized, until now, that I had only deep conditioned my hair ONCE in the last month. I normally deep condition my hair ONCE A WEEK! I hadn’t been moisturizing and sealing my hair properly. I hadn’t been doing much of anything (in regards to my hair). And, to make matters worse, I haven’t been getting proper sleep.  Honestly, given all the stress I’ve been under, it’s a wonder I still have hair on my head!

I’ve been neglecting my hair, to say the least, which left my tresses parched, lackluster, and broken. My first order of business (after a five-minute pout session)? You guessed it! I ran to my beauty cabinet to grab my deep conditioner. I added some grapeseed oil and rosemary essential oil, and liberally slathered it on every strand.  Then, I sat under my hooded dryer with a conditioning cap for 30 minutes. I usually only sit under the dryer for 20 minutes, but I figured my hair could use a little extra love. Thankfully, after rinsing out the conditioner, my hair was 100% revived. It instantly felt tangle-free and strong. I think my coils drank every drop of that deep conditioner. LOL! After that, I moisturized and sealed my hair.

The lesson? Even when unexpected things in life happen, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Obviously, the health of my mother is more important to me than the health of my hair, but it is too easy to forget yourself in the equation of life. So, remember to treat your hair kindly ladies. Things may not always go as planned (as far as hair goals are concerned), but when in doubt, go back to the basicsMOISTURE! MOISTURE! MOISTURE!

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Flat-ironed Natural Hair – 7 Months of Growth

FTC Disclaimer
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 seven months. I wanted to see what the length of my hair really looked like, so I decided to flat iron my hair. I initially wanted to straighten my hair for my six-month naturalversary, but time crept up so quickly, I completely forgot. I didn’t remember until it was almost a full month after my mid-year mark. Oops! Crazy how fast time goes by … Anyway, it’s been so long since I’ve seen my hair straight, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But, I am pleased with the results. Even my family members were astonished. Mostly because I think they remember how short my hair was when I Big Chopped. LOL. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. Shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.
  2. Conditioned my hair.
  3. Deep conditioned my hair.
  4. Rollerset my hair with water (no product) to help my hair have plenty of body.
  5. Let my hair air dry for two hours and then sat under a dryer for 20-30 minutes to finish drying.
  6. Spritzed each roller section with a heat protectant and flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1.25″ flat iron. I didn’t want my hair “bone straight,” so I set my flat iron to 375 degrees.
  7. It took me about a leisurely hour to straighten all of my hair.

MAINTENANCE

  1. Because I live in a very humid climate, the next day (before wearing my hair out), I layered on some of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, about a half of a teaspoon of castor oil, and then sealed it all in with raw, unrefined shea butter. This helped to prevent the humidity from reverting my flat-ironed hair without overly weighing it down.
  2. Prior to going to bed, I wrapped my hair. Because my hair is still too short to wrap around my whole head, I had to secure my wrapped hair as I went along, pinning it in place to prevent it from loosening as I slept.
  3. I added my satin bonnet and called it a night.
  4. Throughout the week, after I unwrapped my hair each morning, I added more of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, castor oil, and raw, unrefined shea butter as needed.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair is 6.50″ – 7.00″ long.

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