Category Archives: Caring For My Texture

Sealing With Serum vs. Oil on my Hair

 


I never understood why people with kinkier curls than mine were able to take down a pineapple, shake and go, when mine just stiffly adopted the shape of the pineapple.

I use organic gels that do not make my hair stiff, so what was causing the greasy stiffness?

Culprit: Oil! 

When I first went natural I didn’t dare let oil touch my hair unless I was doing a hot oil treatment/ deep conditioning; I guess I still had the “straight hair syndrome” of not wanting to weigh my hair down. Instead, I sealed my natural hair with serum, which has a lighter feel.

As the years went by and I did my second chop, I began developing classic natural hair practices like sealing with oils. I even went on a rant about the difference between sealing oils (castor, jojoba, shea) vs moisturizing oils (olive oil, avocado oil, etc.)

My transition to sealing with oils instead of serum lead to frustration because my hair just doesn’t seem to like being coated in oil. I can tell this from the way my wash n go dries in comparison to sealing with a serum. It looks nice and shiny on camera, but greasy in person.

Through trial and error, I came up with a conclusion: my hair doesn’t hate oils in general, it just doesn’t like being sealed with oil. I can do hot oil treatments, massage my scalp with them, etc., but sealing, I need to give it up.

Jojoba oil is one of the best sealants for those of you whose hair like being sealed with oil, since it mimics our natural sebum. However, I’ve noticed that when sealing MY HAIR with oil, even though my hair retains moisture, I do not have much movement when it dries. It feels a bit stiff and oily, even when using minimal.

Yesterday I used my Garnier Fuctis serum that I’ve used for years, and now only use for flat ironing to seal my wash n go and observed a few things:

1) more movement from my hair

2) less weighed down, fluffier curls

3) still shiny, but not oily

4) softer hair even on second day

Conclusion:

My hair loves the consistency of serums or any serum-like product over oil. I’ve tried products that claim to be serums, but have an oil consistency, and my hair, although it liked the product, produced the same results as when I use an oil to seal. I’ve noticed all-natural serums all have the consistency of an oil, which breaks my heart.

Concerns:
All/ most serums that have a glycerin consistency are packed with at least one or more silicons. Maybe it’s the silicons that give it its consistency. This concerns me because I am not a fan of silicons; well silicons in moisturizers. 

Silicons are sealants; stronger sealants than oil. If you have silicons in your conditioners and moisturizers, you are NOT moisturizing/conditioning your hair. It is just sitting on top of your strands creating a barrier. This is why silicons are excellent sealants.

They even use silicons to seal cracks in pipes, doors, windows, flooring,  so it should absolutely not be used in conditioning products.

With that being said, I use hair serums for my sealing step of my wash n go’s. Therefore, I am making sure to condition and moisturize (leave in, creams, etc) with all organic products, so they penetrate my strands, then lock in that moisture with my serum containing silicone.

As much as this transition is going to pain me, because I’m so against silicons, you must understand it depends on the way you use it.

My biggest concern is getting the silicone out of my hair in preparation for the next wash, since I do not like using sulphates either.

Sulphates strip the hair, but is one of the few things that can wash away silicons. But guess what?

Baking soda, a natural ingredient can also remove silicons from hair.

I already cleanse my low porosity hair with a baking soda rinse every week/ every other week to avoid extra build up. Therefore I need not worry. The baking soda will cleanse away the silicone containing sealant.

Meanwhile, I know if I switch back to sealing with serum, my hair would be softer, have more movement (maybe I can pineapple again), and my moisture would be locked in securely until wash day. Maybe that will help limit my hair washing to once a week and give my hair a break from washing and going every 2-3 days. Doubt it (lol).

I haven’t re-adopted the pattern yet. Will keep you all updated.

 

 

 

 

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1) Low Maintenance: I braid my hair up every night anyway. I don’t like pineapples/ sleeping with loose hair. In the morning all I have to do is un-braid my hair

2) Cost efficient: I use less product than with wash n go’s

3) Health maintenance: able to maintain the health better in a stretched style. I get to monitor things like split ends easier

4) Combats shrinkage: Self explanatory. I am not one of those naturals that’s going to lie and say I love/embrace shrinkage. I don’t :/

5) Self security: All of my life I’ve been told I have “good hair”. I know that is an ignorant phrase to describe hair, but I kind of embraced and flourished off the compliment. That is until one day I felt offended by a former manager. (I told this story in my “Natural Story” post under the “Journals” section of this blog).

While I was transitioning, all I did was braid-outs. One day at work a customer described me to my manager as the “girl with the curly hair”. My manager then came to me and said she had no clue who the customer was describing because my hair wasn’t curly; it was a braidout.

I told her yes it is a braidout, but I do naturally have curly hair. I explained that I didn’t have my first perm until 13. She looked at me as though she didn’t believe my hair could be a looser texture.It was apparent she had never been exposed to people from different ethnic backgrounds.

Ever since her ignorant assumption I’ve felt the need to prove a point.

I made a conscious decision to big chop that summer and rock my natural curls. I vowed to stay away from braid outs/twistouts or anything that altered my natural curl pattern, so that my hair would no longer be questionable.

When I big chopped, I felt as though I had returned to what I was praised for as a child. Honestly, I prospered over the fact that my curl pattern stood out. I liked the compliments I got when I did wash and go’s.

Now that I’ve been natural for some years and have big chopped more than once, I’ve become less self conscious, more free and confident. I do what benefits my well-being.

I still prefer my natural curl pattern above all, and I still believe in co-washing more than once a week, but when it comes to the above reasons listed, braid outs and twistouts are definitely helpful.

I apologize for knocking anyone who constantly does them by saying they’re trying to imitate a looser curl pattern. That was a lash out from me being tired of my  curl pattern being rudely questioned.  I see now how much stretched hair styles help with manageability

 

Natural Un-manipulated texture:

ncp1 ncp2

 

 

Blow Out and Trim 💇

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I decided to blow my hair out and trim my ends. After watching Taren Guy’s hairstylist explain how trimming less than an inch of your hair every 3mths helps not only speed up growth, but also maintain the health and style of your hair, I’ve decided to adopt this routine.

I did good on my first attempt. The next time I trim, I will record the process. Trimming on blown out hair is sooo much easier than trying to trim curly hair.

I do not like the search and destroy method of trimming. As Taren’s hairstylist said, it messes with the shape of your hair style. This is very true. Whenever I trim that way, it feels like I’m trimming forever, I end up trimming more than expected, and my hair becomes uneven.

Tools needed:

-Blow dryer (make sure to blow-dry hair that is clean. Also deep condition for health maintenance)
-Comb or brush
-Some sort of heat protectant. (Because I don’t like silicons, jojoba oil works fine)
-sharp scissors (not used for cutting anything else, but hair)

My next trim is scheduled for Oct. 30th

Torn: Battle of the Shea Moisture Leave-Ins

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In a perfect world, shea Moisture would make a product the same size and fragrance as its cur enhancing smoothie, with the consistency of their style milk for girls like me…but that would be selfish.

I knew this was going to happen. I love both!

Shea Moisture Smoothie: thicker consistency, conditions my hair better, can be used in the Winter too, contains 12 oz for $9.99 vs Shea Moisture Milk’s 8 oz for the same price, smells like pina colada.

Shea Moisture Milk: more water based, thinner consistency, defines my hair better, conditions, can probably only be used by itself in the summer, but too thin for the winter, smells like coconut and hibiscus (I love coconut), same price as smoothie, tones my frizz down a lot!

The Shea Moisture Milk defines my hair better and gives it that “pillow soft” feel I love. When I apply it to my hair as a leave in after washing with nothing else, it feels amazing! I don’t even need gel, because it combats frizz. I love it for carefree days, and I absolutely love the fact that it’s lightweight and I don’t have to layer it.

My decision: I am definitely still rooting for my staple (Shea Moisture Smoothie), but may have to only use it in the winter/ when my hair is super dry, or to do styles like braid outs, etc. with it. I will be using the milk for other times of the year.

I knew my hair was going to prefer the consistency of the milk over the smoothie, because of the video below. My hair texture has always preferred more water based products as opposed to heavier butters.

Below is a video I found on YouTube that perfectly describes why my hair type prefers water-based products.

 

 

Five Tips to Encourage Natural Clumping (Any hair texture)

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What is clumping?

Clumping occurs when your hair strands bind together. The thicker the clumping, the bigger your curl; Therefore a person with say type 3A hair will have more clumping than a person with 3C hair type, etc.

Clumped strands are genetic, although your hair practices can enhance or decrease the amount of clumping you get.

What are the benefits of clumping?

-stronger strands

-little to no single strand knots ( didn’t even know what a single strand knot was until I researched it).

-ability to wear hair in loose, unprotected styles more because  strands are binded together, therefore less vulnerable to damage.

-less frizz

-less shedding

-a bit more “hangtime”

Manual clumping:

Braid outs, twist-outs, coil outs, roller sets, straw-sets, etc. Basically any manual styling that mimics a clumped curl.

Natural Clumping: 

As stated above natural clumping is genetic but we all get it regardless of texture. However, obviously the bigger your curls/ coils, the more clumping you’ll have

Below are a few tips on how to enhance natural clumping for all hair textures.

Tip 1: Finger Detangling

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Quick story: When I first went natural, for a year I was terrified to use tools on my hair such as combs/brushes, because I thought it was going to comb out my curls forever.

I now use a wide tooth comb or denman brush sometimes, but for the most part, finger detangling will give you the most clumping. II finger detangle 75% of the time, and going to start doing it more often.

It will feel as though you’re not getting out every single knot, which is totally fine. You don’t have to. Your hair is not straight. You do not need to detangle it in it’s curly/coily state to the point where you can run a fine tooth comb through it; once your hair dries, you won’t be able to tell anyway.

I watched a YouTube video of a lady detangling her natural type 4 hair with a narrow toothed comb, then complained about her lack of curl pattern, after she had basically combed out any chance of a curl/coil.

Remember the more packed together your strands, the more clumping you’ll get. If you use combs and brushes to comb through your curls constantly,  you’re ripping them apart from each other.

Fingers (well manicured/short nails) are safe because they don’t have sharp edges, they won’t tear your bonded strands apart, and they give you the ability to carefully feel and identify tangles.

Tip 2: Smoothing/wringing:

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Smoothing and wringing hair encourages clumping because you are manually binding the strands together. When applying product to hair, smooth  and rub it down the shaft using your hands.

Wring as much water out off your hair, before drying. Wringing will not only bind the strands together more, but also help prevent frizzing caused by friction from towels, and even tshirts.

Tip 3: When doing your final rinse, use really cold water

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Cold water closes the hair’s cuticles. It is similar to closing the pores on skin. When the hair’s cuticles are sealed, it binds the strands together.

Tip 4: Air Drying

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Air drying takes forever. I know. It can also make you sick in the winter, but it is the safest way to dry your hair. Air drying dries the hair exactly as is, unless you constantly touch it. I definitely have “hand in my hair syndrome”, but even then I am still able to get better curls when I air dry than when I diffuse (post about how much I hate diffusing coming soon). The hooded dryer gives me nice , clumped curls, but I do wash and go’s often, and sitting under the hooded dryer each time can be damaging to hair.

The reason air drying and hooded dryers enhance natural clumps, is because the air is blowing down your hair shaft, causing the hair to dry almost exactly as is, with minimal frizz/ manipulation.Using a diffuser can affect clumping because the air is blowing on your strands in different directions. I ALWAYS get a ton of frizz with a diffuser, even when I “diffuse downward”. Frizz disrupts clumping.

 

Tip 5: Gel/Gelos/hair puddings

20140524-093028-34228151.jpgGels/gelos/puddings help keep strands binded together and prevent frizz, but I use them minimally, and more-so on special occasions. I like my hair fluffly on an everyday basis, as i’ve stated a million times, and these products tend to create a bit of a hold, preventing that fluffiness. Fluffiness is not frizz by the way. When I say fluffy, I mean pillow soft. I use leave in conditioner only most day, but for days I want the extra definition and clumping, I use a hair gelo. Gelos have a soft- medium hold, while puddings have a soft hold, and gels have the strongest hold. Always look for alcohol free. Organic is also always better.

So there you have it; five tips to encourage natural clumping:

1)finger detangling

2)smoothing/wringing

3) cold water rinses

4)airdrying

5) stylers like gels, gelos and puddings

 

 

 

Why I Prefer Gelos Over Gels

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III Sisters of Nature Gelo (8oz) – $9.99
Eco Styler Argon Oil Gel- $1.29

Yes, hair gelos, custards and jellies are about three times more expensive than regular gel, but these are a few reasons why I prefer them:

1) Protein free: Almost every single gel contains protein. I actually went to the beauty supply store looking for a protein-free gel with NO luck. I have low porosity hair, so too much protein makes my hair hard. Most gelos, jellies and custards are protein free.

2) Light weight consistency: gels are too sticky and thick for my liking, whereas gelos, jellies and custards are more runny and glides on my hair better.

3) More moisturizing: they usually contain better ingredients than gel, so they provide some moisture. Even alcohol free gel will dry your hair out if you don’t use some type of moisturizer below or oil.

4) Less crunch/stiffness- gelos, jellies and custards are lightweight as stated, so they create less stiffness than gels. Although in my opinion that doesn’t hold true for brands such as Beautiful Textures Custard and Kinky Curly Custard. I like III Sister’s of Nature Gelo because it defines exactly like every gel/ gelo I’ve tried without the heaviness or stiffness.. and I’ve tried lots.

5) Better second day hair (see reason #4)

6) Better ingredients This particular Gelo is all organic. I will list the ingredients below.

7) A little goes a long way as the consistency is so much thinner and can be distributed easier to hair. I rarely section my hair when applying gelos.

8) They allow for better movement of hair. I like fluffier hair as opposed to ramen noodle stiff curls, so if you’re the same way, you’ll prefer gelos over gels. Although this particular Gelo super defines my wet hair, but unlike gel causes curls to dry lightweight. You don’t have to do a lot of manual fluffing, if any at all.

9) Provides great slip.

III Sister’s of Nature Ingredients:

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My Hair’s Soulmate is too Expensive

 

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When I applied Miss Jessie’s “Pillow Soft Curls” it was like love at first application.There was no need for any other product.

I have no clue what magical combination they use in this product to get it to tame my hair in one go, but when I applied it to my hair the gates of heaven swung open.

Now I’m not a Miss Jessie’s, Carol’s Daughter, or any of the high-end natural hair line coping, kind of girl. I’ve tried Miss Jessie’s when I first went natural, and didn’t care for her butter-creme or curly pudding, nor their ridiculous prices.

My hair is not the pickiest. It has a less is more attitude. My product junkie ways comes from me looking for that one product to adhere to all of my needs. I hate dabbing on more than 2 or 3 layers unto my hair.

Natural hair is supposed to be low maintenance and free, and when packed with product it takes that away.

Anyway, back to Miss Jessie’s “Pillow Soft Curls”.

Last summer I was making pretty decent money from my internship (my first corporate full time job), so I decided to splurge and give Pillow Soft Curls a try. Everything advertised on the label appealed to me :

“The name says it all.  Pillow Soft Curls™ is a quick drying styling lotion that is perfect for achieving big, soft, curly hair that we all dream about.  Pillow Soft Curls™  is the first “fabric softener” type styling lotion for your hair leaving your curls clothesline fresh and fluffy soft.  It spreads so smoothly and feels as light as a feather on your curls.”

Big, soft, FEATHERY; Girl what!?! They had me right there. I LIVE for feathery curls. I do not like my curls super defined. I like fluffy bouncy, lightweight hair.

On payday I couldn’t stop looking at reviews online. I could hear the product calling my name. I couldn’t wait to get off work!

I went to Target asap and purchased an 8oz tube for $22 plus tax. I prayed it would deliver or I was going to return it without hesitation.

Surprisingly it did deliver, and beyond expectation.

The price kills me though. It only contains 8oz of product. I wash and go 3 times a week in the Winter, and damn near everyday in the summer.

With careful use, it’s still probably going to only last me 2 weeks. That’s $44 a month plus tax for 1 product, when all of my other products combined for the month don’t even cost that.

I don’t know. I’ve been dying to get my hands on another tube.

I’m currently a jobless, recent grad (4 mths post graduation). Maybe when I cop another well paying job, I’ll make pillow soft curls a staple in my hair routine.

I still think she should lower her prices by a few dollars though, sheesh. I mean..I don’t even think her products are all organic so..

Braid Out Fail…Again. Pros and Cons of Type 3 Hair

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I am writing this post in frustration.

I took my precious time last night and did a braid-out using leave in conditioner and wrapping foam to hold the style. I knew my hair does not really care for braid-outs, twistouts, bantu knots, any manipulated style really, but I figured maybe I am just not doing them right.

As I’ve stated, I took my time. I can braid well, so I know that’s not the issue. I also made sure to do my braids tighter, so they wouldn’t be loose. I tied a scarf ( I hate scarfs) on my hair, then put my satin cap over the scarf to make sure it did not slip off my head.

I woke up this morning with my scarf still securely on my head and my braids neat. I was excited to take the braids down at that point.

After taking down the first braid, that excitement quickly faded. The hair at the back of my head took the shape of the braid out a little better than the front where my texture is looser. After taking down all four braids, my hair looked like overstretched waves. I wanted to cry. I just put it in a bun, and ran online to do research on how the majority of type 3’s felt about manipulated styles such as braidouts.

The first post I came across was by a female with type 4 hair, explaining very well 3 differences between type 3 and 4 hair. Her post was extremely helpful and made me realize that my hair texture in general has a harder time holding styles, and that’s just one of the cons of having type 3 hair that I had to accept.

Direct link to post-> http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/how-to-determine-hair-type-on-natural-hair/

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My comment on her post

I also came across this discussion board, where people that claim to have type 3 hair experienced similar issues as me.

Discussion board link-> http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/3/152374-do-you-have-success-w-twistouts-braidouts.html

 

Pros of Type 3 hair:

-detangles/styles faster and easier

-easier to moisturize

-less shrinkage

-little to no single strand knot problems <-( I still don’t know what that is) because our hair strands naturally clump

 

Cons of Type 3 hair:

-doesn’t hold styles well (braid outs ,twist outs, dreads, bantu knots)

-have less style variety to choose from (buns, wash and go or slick back styles are our few options). Greater variety is important because constantly pulling hair up or back can cause tension on our edges.

-hair frizzes easily

-Needs to be wet often. Going past 3 days without wetting my hair would start to cause lots of shedding.

– sealing our hair can be disastrous or beneficial. We have to mist on a light oil very carefully so it won’t weigh our hair down, or substitute with a serum (which is usually packed with silicons and ingredients you can’t pronounce) in order to prevent mega frizz, and if we don’t seal, the moisture we put in our hair escapes fast.