9 times out of 10 when you first went natural you had a plan. You knew why you went natural and how you wanted your hair to look. You read the popular natural hair blog posts, watched YouTube videos and hung on to their every word. Then you went and purchased every product @Ihavethebiggestandbestnaturalhairever said to buy and commented "yassss and #hairgoals" on every single picture. Oh...that was just me lol?
Personally, somewhere between the big chop and trying to get my hair to look like every hair crush imaginable, I have purchased countless products and tried countless techniques. Sometimes these techniques worked terribly and other times they worked great. Some blogger's "holy grail" leave-ins worked amazing for me and others not so much. My point is, when you start to try so many different products, techniques and regimens you are bound to start to forget what is actually working for you and what isn't. This lead me to start keeping a hair journal. In my hair journal, I keep track of everything related to MY HAIR. I list the products, techniques and styling methods I used. I even keep track of when I moisturized my hair. This my way of taking charge of my hair goals. Here are 5 reasons you should keep one too.
1. To Be Able to Know Which Product Did What
Have you ever had a wash day that went perfectly? Your hair detangled with ease and it was super soft. Styling was a breeze and the next day you felt very Tracy Ellis Ross-ish lol. Your twist out was super defined and you mixed about 3 different products. Fast forward to next week's wash day and you look a hot mess. What changed? Which product actually gave the definition? Was the combination necessary? Being a product junkie sometimes leaves me unable to figure out exactly which product caused a change in my hair. Your hair journal will lend you a clue.
2. To Pinpoint When Your Hair Made Positive/Negative Changes
The 2nd reason goes hand in hand with the first one. Sometimes I get so caught up in the routine of doing my natural hair and what has worked for me in the past, that I am unable to recognize when a certain method or technique has simply stopped working for me. Other times, I look back at my good hair days and I have no idea what I was using at the time to make my hair look so great. Keeping a hair journal will allow you to see exactly when you made a change.
3. To Discontinue the Use of Unnecessary Products and Techniques
Jane Doe swears by using product X for her twists out, three strand twist outs, and double braid-flat-twist-curl-and-go (I made that one up lol). You have tried product X on 3 different occasions and your hair resembles a bird nest. Document this in your journal and stop using it!
Maybe you're like me and you swore by the LOC method but now you've noticed your hair isn't as well moisturized as it used to be. You know how they say don't force love, relationships or ponytails? Yea...that applies to natural hair products too lol. Your hair journal will force you to stop forcing it and explore other options.
4. Set Real #hairgoals and Stick to Them
Keeping a hair journal will help you figure out what works for you instead of what works out for your favorite hair crush. Think of it as a personalized hair blog that has been customized just for you! There's absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing ideas and product suggestions from other naturals but at the end of the day what works for your hair crush, may not necessarily work for you. Once you have set your hair goal, your hair journal will help you stay consistent until you achieve your goal.
5. To Stop Being a Product Junkie
Ok...maybe keeping a hair journal won't stop you from being a product junkie, but at least you will be a productive product junkie. Once you have been keeping your hair journal for a while, I am willing to bet that you will begin to see commonalities in the products that work for your hair and the ones that don't. Once you know what ingredients the products that don't work for you have in common, you can eliminate these when you go on product purchasing binges. If coconut oil doesn't work for you (God forbid!), it shouldn't matter how many people recommend a particular product to you. If it contains coconut oil, don't buy it.
Do you keep a hair journal? What are some other things you would add to your hair journal? Sound off in the comments section.
It is no secret that my favorite natural hair style to date is the twist out because of its versatility and longevity. I am always trying to find new ways to style a twist out, whether its fresh or a few days old. My favorite characteristic of a twist out is its ability to elongate my hair. The twist out that I am about to share with you gave me the most stretching I have experienced to date!! My hair looked closer to its true length and it was super defined. Before doing this twist out, I used the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) Method to ensure that my hair retained the oils and moisture that I put in it. Check out the video below to see how I achieved this look.
Le Sigh. The last time we talked about this dry hair problem I thought we had settled it ***inserts angry face**. I started here with determining the porosity of my hair (low), then I went on to determine that the LOC method was the best moisturizing technique for my type of hair. Case closed right? Wrong. A lot has changed about my hair since then. I got my hair colored in April of 2013 and I must admit I began my moisturizing and conditioning attempts zealously, but I am a little ashamed to admit that I became lazy. I had box braids installed in June 2013 for 2.5 months and became comfortable with not doing much to my hair. It literally just dawned on me (right before creating this post lol) that I have not been considering the fact that my hair is colored and that it needs more attention. I have been floating around haphazardly moisturizing only on co-wash day and expecting some type of moisture miracle. Crazy right?
After giving myself a firm slap on the hand for neglecting my tresses, I began to research again about moisturizing techniques for natural hair. I stumbled upon a video from Naptural85 about hot oil treatments and decided to give it a try. I deviated slightly from Naptural85's recipe.
Hot Oil Treatment:
Sweet Almond Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Honestly, I just freestyled the amounts of oils based on my hair type. I made the majority of my hot oil treatment with the lighter oils because I have low porosity hair (2 ounces jojoba oil, 2 ounces olive oil). I used about 0.5 ounces of the vitamin E oil and 1 ounce each of the remaining oils. I mixed it all in a bowl with my fingers. I started with dry hair. Then I massaged the oil from root to tip through my hair, section by section. After I had oiled each section, I smoothed the oil throughout all the sections collectively. I also massaged my scalp with the oil. This stimulates the scalp and feels great ; ). I then put a plastic processing cap on my head. If you have big hair like mine, you can either use two caps or twist your hair in large sections to make it fit under the cap. I then sat under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes. The oil that I had left, I put in a spray bottle and filled it with water. This will be my daily moisture mist.
After the dryer, wash and condition your hair as normal. I used Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner. Curlfriends...let me tell you. My hair was so soft and virtually detangled before I ever put a comb to it or did the LOC method. I am VERY PLEASED with this treatment. I followed this with the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method using Giovanni Direct Leave-in/Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in mixed, the hot oil treatment moisture mist, and Camille Rose Curlade Moisture Butter. I am going to be sure to do this once a month, along with deep conditioning once every week to week and a half. I am anxious to see if this improves the dryness of my hair.
If you decide to try this treatment, please let me know. Either email me the pics at Brandy@bmycurlfriend.com or tag them on instagram or twitter with #bmycurlfriend. Good luck!!
I am one of those naturalistas who just loves washing her hair. Yea, I know about the great benefits of co-washing. (Co-washing is "washing" your hair with a conditioner instead of a shampoo, see my youtube channel for a demo). I have also read that it is good to co-wash as often as every two days. Co-washing helps prevent natural hair from becoming too dry from frequent washing with shampoo. Knowing all of this, I always choose to wash my hair anyway. I just like starting my styling days off with fresh, clean, non-weighed down hair. My experiences with co-washing my hair have ranged from ok to just plain horrible. The "plain horrible" experience left my hair feeling like it had a residue on it. This made it difficult to style.
Now that I have colored my hair, it's more important than ever that I properly condition my hair so that it will not be damaged. With that being said, coloring my hair has made me revisit the idea of co-washing my hair more often. I don't want my hair to break or my color to fade too fast. I set out to co-wash my hair yesterday and I was having a hard time choosing a conditioner. I absolutely love the As I Am Coconut Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner but I also love the Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner. I could not decide which one to use, so I decided to use both of them. My results were amazing! My hair is really soft and shiny. It was also easier to detangle. The moral of the story is that if you have two conditioners that both offer benefits that you desire, don't be afraid to try them both. You may be surprised at the results. I will say that a good rule of thumb for selecting your co-wash conditioners is to be sure that they don't contain any sulfates or parabens. Also, stay away from silicones. These ingredients can make your hair heavy and also leave a residue. Nobody likes weighed down curls. I followed my cowash with a brief deep conditioning using Eden BodyWorks All Natural Deep Conditioner. When I got ready to style my hair there was no residue. See my next tutorial to see the results of my first flat twist out!
Let's face it, washing natural hair requires a bit of time and patience. I usually wash (or co-wash) and style my hair once a week, but every now and then I reach that 1 week mark and I just don't have time to wash my hair. My work schedule is strenuous and sometimes I am just dog tired.
Hair that has been styled for a few days to a week often provides a great foundation for other hairstyles. When I'm too tired to wash my hair, I always ask myself, how can I make my hair look decent without washing and starting from scratch? I have really thick hair and the longer I go without washing it, the more tangled and matted it can become. When my hair reaches this point, I always immediately wash and condition.
This particular day, I felt daring or maybe just lazy lol. Natural hair brainstorming almost always leads to an awesome style! Here are the steps I took to turn an old tangled twist out into beautifully defined and moisturized chunky twists.
1. Section hair and divide it using clips.
2. Smooth a moisturizer ( I used Camille Rose Naturals, Curlade Moisture Butter) into each section and finger detangle each section.
3. Starting from the back of your head, 2 strand twist large sections of your hair ( of course, being careful not to borrow from other sections of hair) When you get to the front of your head, part your hair the way you would like the twists to fall.
4. I slept about 5-6 hours with a silk bonnet and then undid my twists.
5. Separate the twists at least 2x for fullness.
After you're done, your hair will be detangled and more manageable. It will also look great!! This only took about 20 minutes and I was able to last a few more days without washing my hair.
Forever on a quest for the perfect moisturizing regimen for my low porosity hair, I decided to try the LOC method. LOC is an acronym for liquid, oil and cream. You start your hair off with water or a liquid based leave-in conditioner, followed by an oil and finally a cream. The concept is that the oil will seal in the water (or water based leave-in conditioner) and the cream will seal in the oil into your strands. After repeated usage of this method, you should be left with well moisturized strands. Many naturalistas swear by this method and depending on your hair type you may experience the same success. Below is a list of what products I used for the LOC method.
L-Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner
O- Desert Essence Jojoba oil
C-Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi Hair Milk
I started by treating my hair that had been rinsed with warm water with a baking soda/water mix to open my cuticles. I dried my hair using the plopping method. I followed this with deep conditioning with Shea Butter Intense Moisture Masque. I wrapped a towel around my hair and allowed this to sit on my hair for 30 minutes. After rinsing my hair with cool water to seal my cuticles, I sprayed it with an aloe vera juice/water mix to balance my hair's pH from the alkaline baking soda mixture. After detangling, I was ready to begin the LOC method.
I sectioned my hair into 4 and worked a quarter sized amount of Giovanni Direct Leave-In into one section from root to tip. I rubbed a few drops of jojoba oil into my palm and rubbed it together. I also applied it to the section from root to tip. Finally, I rubbed a quarter size amount of the Eden Bodyworks hair milk into my hand and worked it through the section from root to tip. Repeat this until you have moisturized all sections.
Verdict so far: My hair was noticeably shinier and softer. I will most definitely be trying this method again to see what the long term results are. I will keep you posted!
One of my worst experiences with being natural has been adding moisturizers and oils to my hair, only for it to look dry by the end of the day. Nobody likes a dry fro, twist out, wash and go, etc. I wondered why my hair did not seem to be retaining moisture no matter how much I added to it. After some research, I stumbled upon the term porosity.
Porosity is your hair's ability to absorb and hold on to moisture. Your hair can be high, low or normal porosity. How do you figure out your hair's porosity? It's simple:
1. Grab a glass and fill it with room temperature water
2. Find some of your shed hairs on a comb or brush, not a broken one (a shed hair will have a white bulb on the end)
3. Clean the hairs with a little shampoo
4. Drop the hairs into the water
Low Porosity-hairs will stay and float on the top
High Porosity-hairs will sink to the bottom
Normal Porosity-hairs will slowly and gradually sink to the bottom.
Washing and detangling natural hair can be a headache!!! If you suffer from shrinkage like me, your curls probably clump together when they get wet. Combing through your hair without proper sectioning is just not an option anymore. Shrinkage and curl clumping make it really hard to properly detangle your hair. Well, I recently viewed a post by MeechyMonroe (twitter, ig, fb, YouTube) where she washed and detangled her hair with ease. My washing and detangling method is inspired by that but I did not braid the detangled sections, I twisted them. Much easier! This method takes a little time, but I assure you, your hair will be well conditioned, softer, more manageable and ready for whatever styles you have in mind for the week. I hope this video makes your next wash day less of a headache! How do you wash and detangle your natural hair?
A major concern for naturalistas is moisture retention. We have to make sure those locks are moisturized. Although, most naturals are sure to use sulfate free shampoos, frequent shampooing can be drying to the hair. Thus washing hair with conditioner or co-washing is the cleansing method of choice for many naturalistas. Personally, I probably co-wash twice a month. The other 2 weeks of the month I wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. The video belows show my cowashing method.
**These initial videos are sometimes not as audible as I would like. These are my first attempts at video editing, they will get better I promise! lol**