Monday, June 27, 2016

How-To || Twice Re-Twisted Twist Out Method for Longer, Fuller Hair

Do you want a longer, fuller twist out without using heat?  Do you want to avoid African threading, rollers, or banding? Check out Tabitha's description of this "twice re-twisted" method.


To give an idea of her shrinkage (after a braid out on washed hair):

https://www.instagram.com/cravingyellow/

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Inspiring Photos of Natural Hair Growth!

Do you need some inspiration for your natural hair growth journey?  Here you go!

Source: Pinterest
Ebony/@ebonybomani
Jess of Mahoganycurls 
Montana of Sparkwisdom
Tammy/@mz_tammy
Pashtash

How I Maintain My Natural Hair on a Lazy Regimen

Short washing and detangling regimen (1.5 hours max)
I skip my usual pre-poo step and go straight into washing with a cleansing conditioner, such as As I Am Cleansing Pudding, or a gentle shampoo, such as Dessert Essence Coconut Shampoo.

My hair is already in jumbo twists from the previous week, so there is no need to section it off for washing. After washing, I slap on some conditioner and let it set under a plastic grocery bag, which is my go-to shower cap, for about 15 minutes. Then I lightly finger detangle each twist, re-twist, and rinse off the conditioner. Afterwards, my hair is plopped, sealed with my homemade shea butter mixture, and then air-dried overnight. I do this once a week, and it does not take much effort or time at all; I’d estimate that I spend about 1-1.5 hours on my hair on wash days.

Pinned up twists during the week
Styling my hair is a quick process – about 20 minutes – the morning after my wash day. I just re-twist my hair into 10-12 fresh jumbo twists, and that’s it! (Once in a blue moon, I will stretch my hair with heat after wash day so that I have more sleek jumbo twists.) The twists are then bunned and/or pinned, like in the following photos, for my “everyday” look. Maintenance of my hair over the course of the week is very minimal; I don’t do anything other than protect my strands with a satin bonnet or scarf while I sleep and re-bun or re-pin in the mornings.
The process literally takes seconds.

Lazy days: jumbo twists in bun or pinned. (The ones with me in the purple are done on straightened hair.)
Fancy styling when the mood strikes
When I am “feeling a bit fancy”, I will remove my twists for a chunky afro to wear for a couple of days or do a fresh twist out if I want big, curly hair. If I’m feeling extra fancy, the moment may call for a braidout on straightened, freshly washed hair.  The “extra fancy” process is much longer and intensive, hence why it is a rare style for me.

(LEFT) Shrunken chunky afro. (RIGHT) Feeling EXTRA fancy: braid out on straightened hair.
Longer hair requires a simpler regimen
This “lazy” regimen is something I started last year after annoyance with my long twist takedown process and detangling sessions. (Granted, it was only several hours once a month but it was still too long for my liking.) I also desired the freedom of being able to wash my hair more frequently given my new routine of exercising three times a week; the thought of going two or more weeks between washes just didn’t sit well with me anymore. Since my hair is long enough to put into 10 twists, I figured why not do that weekly! I was initially nervous about the styling, but it has actually worked out really well.

Friday, May 20, 2016

8 Coconut Oil Conditioner and Moisturizer Recipes!

Using coconut oil as an ingredient in your homemade deep conditioner or moisturizer can do wonders for strengthening your tresses and minimizing breakage.  Not convinced?  Well, coconut oil has been shown to penetrate the hair and reduce keratin loss (abstract #1).  Additionally, it has demonstrated an ability to minimize damage by hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair strand due to water uptake and eventual evaporation).  (Check out abstract #2.)

Below are some recipes for conditioners and moisturizers involving coconut oil.  Give them a try and see what works for you!

MY WHIPPED MANGO SHEA HAIR CREME

Ingredients:
1/4 cup shea butter
1/4 cup melted mango butter
1 tbsp coconut oil (penetrates and protects the strands against combing/styling breakage)
2 tbsp olive oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
3 tbsp avocado oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (to protect against moisture loss; sealing oil)
few drops of lemon essential oil (optional, for added fragrance)

Instructions:
Break the shea butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the shea butter until fluffy and the chunks are gone.  (If your shea butter is too hard, melt it only slightly to soften it a bit.)  Add in melted mango butter and whip.  Finally, add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with the hand mixer.  Finito!

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MY CHEAP STRENGTHENING CONDITIONER

Ingredients:
2 parts inexpensive conditioner (e.g., Suave, V05, etc.)
1 part coconut oil

Directions:
Mix ingredients in bowl. After shampooing, massage all conditioner into hair and leave on for 30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing.

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CHICORO'S PROTEIN PRE-TREATMENT

Recipe source: Chicoro's YouTube Channel

Ingredients:
1/3 teaspoon each (cysteine, cystine, methionine)
300 grams or 1 block of soft tofu
1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (water based/moisture)
1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of oil (for lubrication)
melted coconut oil

Directions:
Dissolve amino acids in water and mix with the tofu. Add aloe vera and oil and blend. Apply to dry hair that is to be washed. Cover hair. Leave on for 30 mintues. Add coconut oil. Leave on for 10 minutes. Wash andd condition and detangle and style as usual.

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THE BRAUN SUGAR'S COCONUT BANANA DEEP CONDITIONER

Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 bananas
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Combine all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
Blend until extra smooth.  Make sure that there are no banana lumps.  (They are hard to remove later.)

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MY AVOCADO DETANGLING CONDITIONER

Ingredients & Materials: 
blender,
overripe avocado,
extra virgin olive oil,
extra virgin coconut oil,
unrefined shea butter,
apple cider vinegar (optional),
bowl,
mixing spoon

Instructions:
Cut up one avocado, mash with a mixing spoon, and put in blender. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of unrefined shea butter to blender. (No need to melt the shea butter ahead of time.) Finally add approximately 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to blender and 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil. If you wish, add 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to blender. (The ACV will aid in the blending process and adjusting pH.) Blend all the ingredients thoroughly and continue to add EVOO until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. When done, pour mixture into a bowl and apply to hair as a detangling deep conditioner. NOTE: It is important to blend the ingredients well to eliminate avocado bits that stick to the hair. If necessary, sieve the mixture before applying.

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MY SIMPLE DETANGLER RECIPE

Ingredients:
4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted shea butter (optional, but makes the process much easier)

Directions:
All you need for this detangler are coconut oil, olive oil, and melted shea butter. Apply this mixture to dry or damp hair, allow it to set, and then proceed to finger detangle. (Leaving coconut oil on dry hair overnight has been demonstrated to reduce combing damage.)

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MY MULTI-OIL WHIPPED SHEA BUTTER (WINTER EDITION)

Ingredients:
½ cup shea butter
2 tbsp coconut oil (penetrates and protects the strands against combing/styling breakage)
2 tbsp olive oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
2 tbsp avocado oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (to protect against moisture loss; sealing oil)
1 tbsp castor oil (primarily for sheen and sealing)
few drops of jasmine essential oil (optional, for fragrance)

Instructions:
Break the shea butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the shea butter until fluffy and the chunks are gone.  (If your shea butter is too hard, melt it only slightly to soften it a bit.)  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with the hand mixer.  Finito!

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MY CASTOR AND COCONUT MOISTURIZING MIST

Ingredients:
2 oz distilled water
2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp castor oil
a few drops of essential oil (e.g., lavender, jasmine, orange)

Directions:
Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle, and shake vigorously to blend.  Store in a refrigerator until ready for use.  Shake before each use.  SHELF LIFE: ~2 weeks.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Natural Styles Ranked from Easiest to Hardest to Moisturize — For My Hair

When it comes to keeping my hair moisturized, certain styles work really for me and others not so much.  Let me start off by giving my hair stats:  type 4c (or tight kinks and massive shrinkage), medium (mostly) texture, normal to low porosity, and medium density.  Now that the stats are out of the way, these hairstyle choices can hopefully make a bit more sense.

Easiest: Regular-sized twists

Regular-sized twists are my number one go-to style for maintaining moisturized hair.  Given a good deep conditioning session beforehand and the humidity (or lack thereof) outside, I can go up to 1-2 weeks before moisturizing again. When my hair does ultimately get dry, I usually replenish the moisture with a water-based spritz followed by my homemade shea butter mixture. Small to mini twists also work really well, but the takedown can be tedious, so I generally stick with my regular-sized or slightly bigger twists.

Easy: Twist out

If I want to wear my hair loose for longer, twist outs are generally better at retaining moisture than my wash n’ gos.  I can wear one for 4-6 days before dryness sets in.  However, I do not re-moisturize my twist out because it is typically after having had my hair in twists for a few weeks.  (In other words, there is a bunch of shed hair just ready to tangle up upon touching water.)  Instead, I just slap on some oil, detangle, wash, and go into my next style.

Okay: Wash n’ gos

My wash n’ gos require moisture every other day, if not daily, and via co-washing.  Sure, it takes a long time for my hair to airdry, but once dry, my hair feels parched fairly sooner than in my twists.

Hard: Flat ironed into updo

If (and only if) I have sufficiently conditioned and moisturized before flat ironing, my hair will not get dry until about 1-2 weeks.  At the one week mark, I will sometimes apply a light oil (e.g., avocado, grapeseed), and that will be all that is needed to hold me until the following week.  Otherwise, I will apply a light moisturizer (like Oyin Handmade Hair Dew) followed by a light oil.  Then I will put in big braids or twists temporarily to help my hair further soak up the moisture.  (NOTE: I flat iron just a few times in the year.)

Hardest: Stretched updos

I actually rarely wear stretched updos because they are more high maintenance (for my hair) than simple twists or flat ironed tresses.  However, when I do, they are probably the hardest to moisturize.  This is because my hair will shrink up massively at the first touch of water in this state, which can lead to tangle city and headache.  Stretched updos do not seem to retain enough moisture for me to choose them over twisted updos.  That being said, I will usually wear a stretched style for just a few days before moving on to some other look.

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