Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A few new sample products and another mad-dash-to-work style

In my never-ending quest for the perfect product, I again stopped by a place near my job called Pure Beauty. They sell sample sizes of expensive products so that you can try them, and then hopefully fall in love and come back. Yesterday, I combed the web and found myself interested in Johnathan|product and Joico K-PAK Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor. I found both! The Johnathan products were actually being phased out so what was left was 75% off! I scored the Green Routine Silkening Cream for $6 and the Joico samples for $4.

I was still rocking a 3 day old twist out last night, so when I got home I simply applied some of the reconstructor to my dry ends, tied it up and went to bed. This morning, I washed my hair with a Neem shampoo ball I have (I'll have to look up that vendor-from Eastern Market) . I separated into 4 sections and used the rest of the bottle of reconstructor. As I used my fingers to work through each section and detagle, I IMMEDIATELY noticed a change in the way my hair felt. It was more substantial, coated almost, like fibers. It was dope. Not easy to detangle, but pretty resilient feeling. I applied some of the hydrator over the reconstructor and managed to get through all my hair and then let it set in the 4 braids while I showered.

When I rinsed my hair it was feeling totally divine! Alas I was out of time. I rinsed and re-braided each section and had no time to style my hair. I undid each braid after a towel blotting, ran the marvelous smelling Johnathan Silkening cream through (a creamy, rich, almost oily, minty balm), rebraided a bit more neatly and then ecostylered (verb- meaning to smooth frizzyness with ecostyler gel) the edges and slapped two bands on the front of my wet hair for this style below. But I can't wait to get home and play with my hair. Not sure what I will do with it yet. Maybe a roller set. I'll have verdicts on the products and their full price worthiness with my full results.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Twist out updo- Picts!

So here was the twist out! It was a bit tight and a bit fuzzy because it was twisted while wet/damp and not much gel was used. I still got a defined hold though (thanks J!).

I decided to stretch it a bit. Here you see how I do it. I grab clumps by the ends, pull it taught, then blast the root and middle with my little hand held dryer (pictured). It's about 10 sec of heat, going in an up-down motion, per section (I counted).

So here it is a bit looser.

I at first tried an asymmetrical up-do to go with my shirt.

But I decided on a full updo instead. I was headed to a friend's big 30 and engagement bash. Ta da!

Twists Updo. a bit late.

I know I am late! I didn't take the twists out until Saturday night instead of Friday morning. I wore this updo instead. And I will post the pictures of the twist out, and subsequent updo, next. I enjoyed these twists a lot!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sneak Preview, New Twist Set

My friend did my hair last night in a twists set with rodded ends. She had her hair in this style last week and it looked fly. I'll be taking them out for the twist-out tomorrow. Picts soon to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slicked back ponytail- When time = 0

This is me yesterday. I had no time to get my 3 day old wash and go in shape to wear out, so I pulled it back. Yesterday I had it rolled into 2 big flat twists in front so it was already straightened there. I let it get damp/wet in the shower, made a part in the shower, and later used a boar bristle brush to smooth back the first 4 inches in the front. The back is in a loose ponytail. The Ecostyler reconstituted in the shower and I didn't have to add more. I just added a little safflower/e/tea tree all over and ran out the door.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PINK Ecostyler is my new BFF. Shrinkage is my old one.

I have been using the pink Eco styler for a few weeks. So far, I like it a lot for a firmer hold. I had the clear one a while back and it was like liquid plastic, but the pink has better ingredients and doesn't dry so stiff. I think I am also a bit biased because I got HUGE tub of it and haven been applying it quite liberally, mixed with oil and/or leave in. As usual, if I use gel with a shingling or finger combing technique, I get crazy shrinkage. My shrinkage was so pronounced the other day it was as if I was rocking a new style entirely. Check the picts.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pressing damage- A reminder from a dark day in 2006

I was once a victim of extreme pressing damage. I never shared these awful images because I was embarrassed and angry, but now it's time. I have friends and associates who, due to the changing season, are considering pressing as a new look and/or a nice length check. I did this as well about 2 years ago, and escaped with my hair unscathed. But in early 2006 that was not the case. After one press, after about 2 years of not pressing, the MAJORITY of my hair did not revert back. I must note, that I had my hair pressed in the distant past at a salon in Boston, and I had stopped going because a few sections suffered similar damage. I cut them out, and it was not a huge loss- but I took note. So this time I decided to do it myself. I used a maxiglide, following the directions, but used too much heat for my hair. I think the steam and heat combination made it particularly bad because I would not have predicted such extensive damage from the "medium" heat alone. It was a Christmas gift and I rushed home to try it out. I was actually amazed by the results. It made my hair silky straight in just one or two passes, without blow drying first. I wore it straight for about a week before I washed my hair (picture above left). And then- the horror. I conditioned it for days on end, with the most rich and expensive conditioners I could find. I tried styles to combat the multiple textures. I eventually started cutting. and cutting... and cutting. I obsessed for about 3 months before cutting my hair all off. One day I decided I had enough new growth to just start all over. It was a sad day.

SO the moral is- be very, very careful when pressing. The damage is not worth it. The hair doesn't have to even smell burned or look dry to be damaged irrevocably. Check out the images and don't say I didn't warn you!

In the final days before the cut. I'd already cut about half my length off in sporadic patterns and attempts to look normal.

The evening of the cut, back at home. I was happy again. But had short hair... again.

And this was my lioness mane before I killed it. Can you even believe I did this to myself? It's not worth it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Twist out and reflections on "Good Hair"

I went apple picking this weekend, which was great, but I didn't maintain my hair, so this is what was left of my 2 day old twistout. I'll have to remember to do better with the pictures next time. :-/

It was actually a pretty lofty twistout since I had blown it out first, but it didn't have much hold because I didn't use gel anywhere but the very ends.

This all was phase 2 of my weekend. Phase 1 started out with me and a group of my girls going to see "Good Hair." As I assumed, I was not enlightened. As I did not expect, I wasn't very entertained either. I'm admittedly tough on comedy - the obvious doesn't do much for me. Nor does gag humor or people falling. So the scene everyone loved- when he was trying to market "black hair"- did not go over too well with me. I was also saddened by the fact that natural women were not represented as decision makers nor was any other alternative discussed. The history of the industry and the evolution of African American style and culture was also ignored pre-1980. This mostly bothered me because it thus didn't do much to educate black women about another way of styling and being beautiful, and it did not educate other cultures about WHY we would to this to ourselves, despite the health risks and costs.

I'm glad the topic has been bridged for so many circles of conversation. I just wish something was coming out of all this chatter to give me a reference point from which to answer questions from potential transitioners and folks curious about what it is growing out of my own head. I would love to answer, "It's Good Hair" with no further explantion needed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good hair and my girls

Me and the girls are on our way to go see "Good Hair" tonight. I don't have many expectations in terms of enlightenment or even information. I was once on a vigilant quest for good hair as well, and have learned a lot in the years since. I can honestly say I have not worn much weave, however, aside from the synthetic hair in my braids at times, or the lonely Phony tail I wore for a wedding I was in. I DO expect that we'll laugh and crack jokes at other women's expense, unfortunately, for weeks to come (that already began last week :-/= I am mildly ashamed) . Most of us are chemical free or wearing our hair curly/kinky and not too tough into weave, and find ourselves competing for attention in this chocolate city. We all knew each other before we were chem free and have been there, and even put in the occational hair augmentation, for each other so we'll have tons of commentary I'm sure. It will be fun and we'll continue to build a platform of support for our unique journy as a group of girlfriends.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The streets of DC and a local CVS

I went out for lunch today and it was a bit nice, so I decided to walk a DC block or two downtown. I had gotten about a half block down when a middle aged man in suit, who was sitting on a bench talking to another man, stopped his conversation to tell me he liked my hair. He said it was very nice. That made me happy, after being asked to straighten it yesterday :-( Annnnd it's in day 5 old twists.

I was near a CVS and decided to go take a stroll down the cosmetics aisle. Nothing astonishing. I wandered into the hair stuff aisle and I can not find the Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner anywhere! I have heard it's awesome as a leave in and want to try it. I also noted they had the large tub of ecostyler for $5, which is about $1.50 overpriced compared the the store by my house. Anyway. My sole purchase was a bottle of vitamin e oil to mix into a hair spray concoction I plan to make.

I go to check out and the very freindly, older white man behind the counter tells me he likes my hair. Then he asked how long it took. I said two hrs to keep it simple. He jokes "well what do you do for those two hours? can't be just that". I said "watch a movie" and we laughed. It was a pleasent exchange. I walked out still feeling great. I feel different that most folks still, and as usual, but I feel accepted today. And now for the twist out tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Curious Case for Long, Straight Hair

The reaction to my longer, less textured twists has been very interesting. My hair is kinda long, and hangs in this style. It's in the realm of familiarity to the main culture engine. I had a comment about how it's so much longer than it seems. I had comments saying its silky and pretty, and I even had a comment today about how much it is growing, followed by a demand to straighten it. I think that what's happening is a type of curiosity about the type of hair I have, and how it would look if I were to just conform. There is an external desire to see it in the context of the mainstream. It's as if I can't be judged as a 30 year old woman, in terms of good hair, skin and style, unless I have on the uniform of well-known culture. They want to know if it can be straight and look nice and to know how long it really is as "regular" straight hair.

I already know that if I were to press it I would get endless compliments from my regular peer group and that underlying much of the ado would be pressure to continue making it "normal" for them. However, that straightened style is now so very abnormal for me and my hair that I would be uncomfortable and burdened by it. The work, time, damage and preservation of the style would take over my life for a week or more. But that means nothing, and may not even make sense as a defense to the curious case for straightening it.

When I do press it, which I probably will again some day, it will be to satiate my own curiosity and need for change. I might want to feel and smell and touch the harbinger of nostalgia myself. The smooth wrapped hair, smelling of salon and grease. The feel of "groomed" hair on my back and the accepting gaze of strangers. But I'd snap out of it in a few days. I love my hair texture as it is. It amuses me, flatters me, and comforts me. So for now I made this picture :-) How long IS it straight? hmmm. bewilderment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My new favorite non-hair thing- CG

I love, love, love Covergirl Outlast Lipstain. It is my new favorite thing. I randomly got one from CVS because it was on sale and I like long wear lipstick when I can stand it. I picked up flirty Nude and have since picked up Cinnamon and Everbloom. I love all the shades and have worn them every day, all day, for like 5 days now. It's like coloring in your lips with a sweet tasting, slightly forgiving sharpie. It plays well with all of my glosses so far, which are just Maybelline or various inexpensive glosses. It doesn't crack or pill up, it doesn't gravitate towards creases, and it is sheer enough to be flattering no mater how many swipes I've gone over my mouth with. Where has this been?

I just hope we don't find out a few months from now that some deal with the devil was made and my lips will turn green. For now I'm hooked!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Silky Twists

This week I wanted longer twists, so I lightly blow dried my hair out before twisting. Every time I blow my hair out I am surprised by how much volume I have now. Last time was in mid July.

I have discovered how to do it quickly. I braid into sections, and let them dry about half way, then starting from the ends of the braids I blow dry it out on med heat while slowly unraveling each braid. It stays de-tangled and manageable as I finish each section this way. I finished my whole head in about 20 minutes. I braided it into large braids with a head band for a day out on the town with my girls, then the next day I twisted it in about 2 hours. My boyfriend loves these, and even twisted 3 of them for me. He calls them ropes, lol. I slathered shea butter/mango butter and Infusium 23 moisturizing formula in my hair before blowing out and twisting. I used a bit of Eco styler gel mixed with shea butter to set the ends. I also used a bit of black seed oil mixed with tea tree on my scalp and then generally on my hair when finished for shine.

You can also see my highlights in the sun pretty well. I still really like them alot. I hope to use the line of demarcation, where the color ends, to measure how much my hair has grown vrs how much length I have retained. Check out the last picture of my silky twists from a year ago in October.

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