Monday, September 28, 2009

Trim and Protective Styling for the Colder Months

So after a summer of wash and goes my ends were raggedy. Knotted, split and dry. I trimmed a little 1/4 inch off, but upon further inspection I had quite a bit more damage than that. In my quest to grow my hair longer I had a week of hesitation and denial, imagining I could just ride it out. But my wise man reassured me I had to loose it to grow it, which I knew in the back of my mind already. Sooooo... I cut about 1-2" off my entire head. I knew I made the right decision upon washing the freshly cut hair. It was so much easier to detangle and it felt very light and smooth while it was wet. I cut a bit extra from the front to recreate my "bangs" which still stretch to my neck.

The learning lesson here = don't ever wait that long (It had been almost 6 months) and even the wash and go needs tons of TLC for the ends.

So I want to regain that length and put myself back on track to see how much longer I can grow it out. I will be wearing protective styles this fall and winter to protect my fresh ends and minimize traction and damage.

I wore a Princess braid last week and weekend. This week I twisted my wet hair into large double strand ropes (which shrank to death). It's nice getting up and going in the morning but I get very restless by day 3. This will be a challenge!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another sample. Mixed Chicks, again...

I got a sample of mixed chicks over 6 months ago from a little boutique near my house that sells all sorts of cool stuff. Unfortunately, I only got one little bubble each of the shampoo, conditioner and leave in. With such a small quantity I was unimpressed with what it did for my hair. It smelled great but did not give me notable results.

This past weekend however, I was at an outdoor festival and saw a woman with tight curls "similar" to mine, that seemed VERY defined and shiny. So I complimented her and asked what products she used. Mixed chicks (!) with IC gel layered over it. I thought to myself, "ahhh of course. Gel on top of it. Perhaps therein lies the magic". I found a salon near my job that carries Mixed Chicks (I won't mention their name because they do not do "my type of hair" even thought they sell Mixed Chicks products) and held the small $20 bottle of conditioner in my shaking hand. The sympathetic natural haired black woman behind the counter asked if I had tried their product before.

I told her my saga and she said "well- you could buy that $20 bottle, OR you could try another sample."

"You have samples?!" I almost squealed.

She turned to the low shelves behind her and murmured "Yeah, girl your hair is just going to drink this stuff up- let me see how much I can give you."

I ended up leaving with a small bag containing 4 bubbles each of the shampoo, conditioner and leave in.

So I gave it another shot. I actually shampooed, which I seldom do, just so as not to have any other variables to consider if my results were bad.

I then used two bubbles of conditioner, which did not seem like quite enough to give me good detangling slip factor.

Then I used a bubble of leave-in all over, and distributed another bubble section by section just before applying the IC gel in the same manner.

Results: My hair is NOT like that girl's hair- lol. After worrying about the possibility that the white coating would not dry clear, it did, and it did define my curls. It was almost as if I had shingled my hair. It lasted 3 days and felt moisturised and only moderately crunchy. My curls don't form ringlets. They are more free form, kinky and prone to frizz. My hair is also very thick and fine, so I still had a full head of tight slightly fuzzy curls.

I must admit though. I really did like the leave in conditioner and am contemplating splurging on the big $50 bottle for the winter. A nice, creamy, heavy leave-in conditioner is hard to come by. I have tried using several different regular conditioners as leave-ins, including Yes to Carrots, and it's not quite the same after a day or two of re-application. I really like Paul Mitchel's Leave in called "The Conditioner" though.

I used that and some of a HUGE 32 oz. tub of Pink Eco styler gel I scored for under $4 and created an impressive streached fro this weekend.

My "bang" is back. More on the trim later!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Just MY Hair

The learning lessons NEVER end. Yes my hair is curly. But it has a particular type of curl, clumping pattern and shape- independent of coil size and product. My hair is not particularly coily. Its clumps form some other shape- which I have always known and admired. But what I am beginning to realize is that because it does not clump into coils until the very ends, it also does not appreciate any technique aimed at reducing frizz or volume in the the interior. It also does not apperciate any meager attempts at influencing it's hanging direction. The density of it, and its desire to hang forward and not to the sides or back, guarantee a series of events. Rebel, rebel, and frizz! (or shrink lol).

If you can't tell, I am frustrated. Not because of what it is doing, but because of what I can't do, which is grow the front long. I had tried and let it get pretty long this time, stretched forward to the middle of my neck below my chin. However, because it was never facing the direction it wanted to face- if left loose it would rebel at the root and swell- then redirect. They call it a "cowlick" in some circles and mine is at the crown of my head :-/. Marvelous for wearing fauxhawks and bangs, but never so good for wraps in the relaxer days nor downward or backward facing curly hair in front. When I had a relaxer, my hair in front always had more split ends and was more fine in this area of my hair, most likely from the constant manipulation into doing something besides what it wanted to do. Wrapping it clockwise and counter clockwise and into slicked-back ponytails was probably very stressful for that area. So now I have a different problem. It grows just fine now that I don't torture it so much, but it ends up in my face. Perpetually and relentlessly in my face by mid-day. At this length it has been requiring the use of headbands and other accessories to release my field of vision from its grasp. Thus I have begun to notice the split ends and breakage again, and I can't continue to let it grow unchecked. The back of my hair, and even my temples have grown very long now, so the graduated layer cut will not work as well. This leaves me to worry about loosing over-all-length again and pondering my true growth potential, keeping aesthetics in mind. My area of expertise is over at this point and I may need to go see a stylist for a flattering cut. See the picts below to get an idea of the shape my hair grows into when left alone. Lovely at shorter lengths, but not anymore.

lol- don't mind my expression here- it does not reflect my issue with the shape of my hair, but rather the product that was in it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Curls Gel-les'c Sample Review. I'm jelous of the other reviews.

I am only posting the image here because I feel I need to have an image with a post. But alas- my hair did not look as if I put anything in it at all by the time it dried. It was shiny and soft, but had little hold or curl definition. I suspect that I needed to use much much more than was provided in the sample for the length and density of my hair. I did ration out what I had and apply it section by section to wet hair. I am not sure the expense justifies a second attempt, though I can imagine using it for fluffy puffs and loosely defined afroness.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Got Curls Gel-les'c Sample Today

I got my Curls Gel-les'c sample delivered to my office today. It's tiny! so I am not sure how much of a test application I can do. I have actually been going without gel for the past few weeks, doing the fuzzy puffy thing with a bit of stretch (see below). But I did co-wash yesterday so my hair is pretty nekked. I'll post again with my opinion.

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