Coarse Hair, Long Hair is now...

Coarse Hair, Long Hair is now...
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My Growth and Setbacks 2003-2010


Fade to Black

I'm so excited that autumn is officially here.  This heat has been unbearable lately and I'm looking forward to wearing scarves and boots this season. 

One question I get asked often is whether I dye my hair and what brands I would recommend.  I have dyed my hair once in the past using a Wella demi-permanent color. But ended up having a mild allergic reaction, which my Allergist said was caused by the dye.  I've also used Jazzing rinses occasionally, but I end up missing my natural color and can't wait for it to wash out.  Then there was the horrible setback I experienced when I tried to color my hair black with henna and indigo. 

I liked the Jazzing because it was easy to use and it didn't dry out my hair.  My mom uses the Wella demi-permanent and she loves how long it lasts and gives her full coverage (although she doesn't use the black color).  Fortunately for her, she didn't have a reaction to the color like I did.  Before you use ANY color, it is imperative that you do a test spot first.  Just because a product works for others doesn't mean it will work for you. 

My natural hair color is a dark brown with a slightly lighter color around my temples.  Here is a picture of my hair when I used the Jazzing black rinse.    

Photo taken June 28, 2009

Get the look:  I used a 1" curling iron on blow dried and flat ironed hair.  I love wearing this style in the fall, so I'll be doing a tutorial on how I did it soon.  

The Missing Link...

After my mishap with the Mane n' Tail Detangler, I reevaluated what I did with my hair during the week.  Then I realized that an integral part of my regimen was missing.  You may already know that I usually apply extra virgin organic coconut oil to my scalp a couple times a week.  Well the past few weeks, I unintentionally stopped applying the coconut oil to my scalp. 

How did that happen?  It's another case of having my products stored in several places around the house.  I have a 54oz tub of coconut oil that I keep in the upstairs bathroom.  I don't use the coconut oil straight out of the tub, rather I pour it into an applicator bottle and keep it in the master bathroom.  When I used up all of the oil in the applicator bottle, I completely forgot to refill it.  I didn't realize because I've been using my jojoba oil to seal after I moisturize.

So last week I applied the coconut oil to my scalp and when I washed this weekend, I noticed a huge improvement in my hair.  My hair detangled much easier than it has been in the past few weeks.  The only reason I got the Mane n' Tail Detangler was to help me detangle my dry hair before I washed.  Well as it turns out, I was having difficulty detangling because I stopped applying the coconut oil to my scalp.  The coconut oil soften my newgrowth and makes detangling much easier. 

This is a great example of how being consistent with your regimen is key to retaining length and avoiding setbacks.     

My Hair Today

After I washed my hair, I used the diffuser to help air-dry faster.  Then I did a two-strand bantu knot set.  This was at midnight, and I was too tired to take pictures or record video.  But I will do both in the future.  Here is how my hair looks after I took down the bantu knots. 

This Weekend's Wash Day Routine

Here is what I did today:
  1. Detangled,
  2. Clarified with diluted Elucence Clarifying shampoo (first time in a few weeks),
  3. Shampooed with Elucence Shampoo,
  4. Applied reconstructor, let it sit for 5 minutes, and rinsed,
  5. Applied Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner and sat under hair steamer for 25 minutes.
I usually apply my reconstructor with my deep conditioner and sit under the hair steamer with both products in my hair.  However, the Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor directs that it should be used for up to 5 minutes.  On the other hand, the Elucence reconstructor directs to leave it in for 15 minutes.  So, I rinsed out the Aphogee before I deep conditioned. 

There are times when it is okay to improvise with products, and then there are times when you should follow the directions.  With protein products it is a good idea to follow the directions.     

After I rinse out the conditioner (yes, its still in my hair as I type lol), I'm going to air dry and either do a braid out or do bantu knots.  I will post pictures tomorrow.  

Major Blog Overhaul

I'm working on making some major changes to the blog to make it more streamlined, user friendly, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  So I'd love to hear your thoughts!  What do you like and dislike about the blog now? Any suggestions?

Having the Hair Blues

I'm a little bummed about the potential setback caused by the Mane n' Tail Detangler.  I won't know for sure if it caused a setback until I do my relaxer next month and get my hair blow dried and flat ironed.  But I can already feel enough of a difference in my hair to know that something is not right. 

It's very disheartening to experience a setback, especially when I used a seemingly harmless product that others have raved about.  This isn't like the time I used henna and indigo to color my hair black (LOL).  Now, that I knew was a risky change in my regimen.

This will certainly affect any future products I try.  As if I wasn't paranoid enough about trying new products (LOL).  On the positive note, my short term goal of reaching waist length by December 2011 is still feasibly.  Even if I cut another 3" (rough estimate) in October when I relax my hair, I still have enough time to regain that length.  This is why its called my "hair journey."  I go through different phases and have ups and downs.  You might go through the same thing, so take heart, you are not alone.

It's just hair, yet it's not just hair.  It's about setting goals and working towards them.  So like any goal in life that you fall short of, hair goals also have an emotional effect on you.

Are you experiencing a hair setback?  

Product Review: Mane n' Tail Detangler


Product claims and suggested usage:
  • The solution for hard-to-comb hair
  • Provides a rich, luxurious shine
  • Hair becomes easily manageable
  • Restores lost moisture
  • Prevents breakage
  • Reduces split ends
After showering, while hair is still damp, spray Mane 'n Tail Detangler liberally on hair. Work formula through, making sure it covers and reaches all of the hair. DO NOT RINSE OUT. Comb out hair with a large tooth comb or brush. Results are a super slip that allows hair to respond to styling effortlessly. Style as usual. If pump becomes clogged, run under warm water.  

How I used the product
I bought this detangler to use on my dry hair to help me detangle before I washed.   I also use it lightly after I washed my hair. 

My Experience
I experienced no real improvement in being able to detangle my hair.  To the contrary, I experienced excess shedding after the second time I used it.  My hair started clumping together while I washed and was coming out in knots.  I literally had to cut the shedding hair that was hanging down below the ends of my hair in order to limit breakage. 

Since it was the only new product I used, I attribute the shedding to the detangler, but I also recognize that the seasonal change may have been a factor.  Granted, I didn't follow the directions exactly but I did also use it on my wet hair after I washed and didn't find that it helped detangle my hair very much.  I've also noticed a loss in the bulk of my hair and my hair feels straighter when wet than normal.

I suspect that I may have had a bad reaction to something in the detangler.  It didn't occur to me at the time because I went 2 weeks without combing or washing, so I thought the shedding was the accumulation of 2 weeks worth of normal shedding.  However, if it were normal shedding, then my hair would not feel less bulky or straighter when wet, which is now does. 

This is an example of how what works for one person, may not work for another.  I read great reviews on this product melting away tangles and leaving new growth soft and manageable.  Unfortunately for me, that was not my experience.    
Test period - Four uses over the course of 3 weeks.

Like/Dislike? - Dislike.

Recent Excess Shedding: Seasonal Change or Minor Setback?

Last week I shared a mini update on my hair about how I experienced excess shedding. At the time I wasn't too concerned about it, but after I deep conditioned again this weekend, my hair felt very different. I washed and deep conditioned with my staple products, according to my normal routine. However, this time my wet hair looked and felt much straighter almost as if I lost the bulk (for lack of a better word) in my hair.

For the past few weeks, I've been using the Mane 'n Tail Detangler to help me detangle my dry hair before I washed. This is the first time I've used this product, but read great reviews on it and I planned to write my own review. The first time I used it, I lightly sprayed my dry hair but didn't notice any improvement with detangling. So the second time I used it, I sprayed much more than before, and experienced the excess shedding. This was also the same time that I went 2 weeks without combing or washing, so I initially figured the shedding was the result of 2 weeks worth of normal shedding.  I'll post a detailed review shortly.

Below is a picture I took of the hair lost after I detangled my dry hair and before I washed.  After I washed, I lost an equal amount of hair, but I was running late for an appointment, so I didn't take another picture. 

 Half the hair lost (sorry for the poor quality, I took it quickly with my cell phone)

Then earlier this week, my friend emailed to ask me about my thoughts on shedding due to seasonal change. I never really paid much attention to how my hair responded to seasonal changes.  So I honestly can't say whether the shedding was product induced or the result of the upcoming change in seasons from summer to fall.  In any event, I will stop using the Mane n' Tail and I plan to return it to Sally's Beauty Supply.

Do you experience increased shedding due to seasonal change?

First Product Haul!!!

Regimen Update: Co-washing

As you may already know, I take horseback riding lessons once a week.  I love taking lessons but I realized last week that the helmet, low ponytail, and humidity are taking a toll on my hair.  Specifically, the humidity causes my hair to revert back being to curly, and the low ponytail rubbing on my shirt lead to knots on the ends of my hair.  To mitigate any future damage, I started wearing a low bun secured with my claw clips and I've decided to try co-washing after my riding lesson. 

Co-washing or conditioner only washing is a great option if you exercise often or prefer to limit your use of shampoo.  Today was my first day co-washing and so far so good.  It took me only 1 hour to detangle, braid, co-wash, shower, apply leave-in and re-braid.  I used Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner for my co-wash.  My regular conditioner, Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner, is a deep conditioner so co-washing would not be the best way to use it.  I will try other conditioners for my co-wash and write reviews on them also.

Braids secured with perm robs and end paper

Usually when I do a braidout, I wait for my hair to be about 90% dry and then do cornrows.   To save time and minimize manipulation, I rebraided my hair in the sections I use to wash and added perm rods to the ends.  I will show you the results tomorrow. 

Do you co-wash? If yes, what conditioner would you recommend?  


I've been busy...

Hi friend!

Sorry for the pause between posts.  The past few weeks have been busy: hubby's birthday (30 is the new 20), hubby passed the bar exam (woohoo!), and this weekend is our first wedding anniversary (aww) lol. We're going to the mountains this weekend for our anniversary.  We got married in the mountains and both love it up there. 

Quick update on my hair - I washed today for the first time in 2 weeks and had excessive shedding.  I suspect that its partly because I haven't detangled in 2 weeks...that's bad, I know.  I lightly blow dried and lightly flat ironed after my wash and it doesn't seem that I've lost thickness.  But the only way to tell is when I do a regular blowdry and flat iron.   

I got a little carried away with the Sally's 25% off online coupon and have lots of goodies to show you.  I'll do a haul video when I return. 

Some upcoming product reviews on Mizani moisturizer, Mane 'n Tail Detangler, and stay tuned.

Have a safe holiday!