Thursday, March 20, 2014

Natural hair journey - One month post Big Chop


After 5 years on my hair journey, I felt it was time to switch gears and try the natural route.  It was a sudden decision, but one month later, no regrets. Quite the opposite...

I learned everything I needed to learn about relaxed hair and see that it is a suitable hair style for many people but not every one.

I will not relax my daughters' hair. If they decide to do it, they will be much older and decide for themselves. I won't impose my choice of natural hair on them either when they are old enough to go do their hair themselves, I won't stop it. They will have to be old enough to work in order to go get their hair done. Of course, I will be available to help them care for their hair the same way I will if they remain natural. 

In the meantime, I have time to indoctrinate natural hair in their minds. Although, I have to say, my eldest already wants straight hair. She's 8. 

I don't have preconceived notions about relaxed hair or pejorative opinions like you can't go out in the rain, you can't work out, you have to waste time at a salon for touch-ups, touch-ups are expensive because you have to go every month. I have heard all the statements since I started my journey and they are all soooooooo false. In my opinion, the upkeep is the same as if you are natural, if you take care of it. 

I just think that most salons in my area have no idea what they are doing and that in the end, we are at the mercy of amateurs. So for fine haired women, watch out!

Natural hair is not for everyone (people hate when I say that)... But It's not...  Just like relaxed hair isn't or a twa isn't (learnt that one recently). What suits someone come from their taste, their abilities, their personal choice.  Everyone cannot like being natural, it's a given. 

Of course, natural doesn't make anyone ugly (some people may think that but it's not true). When I say it's not for everyone, I mean it's just not easy for everyone to maintain. You can be natural but your methods are detrimental to your hair's health the same way being relaxed and not taking care of it would. 

I was happy with my relaxed hair journey except for one area.  My hair would just not become thicker. This happened for many reasons, the main one will probably affect my natural hair journey as well but I am willing to take that chance anyway; hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS... It can cause many things for the women who suffer from it: infertility, miscarriage, acne, hirutism, weight gain and the list goes on. It can also cause hair loss (not breakage but massive amounts of hair falling from the root).  My hair could never become thicker because I would lose a lot from my hormones being out of whack. So even when I was gaining length, and I did do that, my hair had to be cut and evened out more often than I wanted because of my crown becoming too sparse. 

That said, and in spite of that, I was able to grow my hair to APL and for me this is a victory.  I didn't claim it because my hair was really uneven... My very first goal, however, when I started my journey was mid-back length. I admit that I failed to reach that length. And therefore must advise that everyone cannot grow their hair to that length. But if your hair grows to APL no effort, you should be able to reach MBL on your hair journey. 

For fragile, fine haired girls who suffer from extreme shedding caused by a medical condition, APL is reachable and a thick SL is almost guaranteed.  

If you see that your hair has been in the same condition or getting shorter and shorter over time, you need to go on a hair journey.  Like any kind of journey, you won't reach your goals without a plan. You need a regimen to better your hair's condition. You need to stick to that regimen at least 80% of the time. One bad day here and there won't hurt you, just like anything. But not following your plan will invalidate your journey. 


My new journey's goals are about the same as my old one. 

*length (to me length goes with health, the measure of my success will be how long I am able to grow it in 3 years)
*thickness (my hair should be much thicker unprocessed so I will not use any chemicals on my hair at all, no texture softener, no dyes, nada)
*personal growth (I want to learn from this journey just as much as I did on my previous one)

My plan

I have not determined my plan yet but it will involve the following actions for sure:

-moisturising
-deep conditioning
-no heat for now (very little heat once my hair grows out)
-low manipulation

For some people, the hardest thing is changing their habits to adapt to a modified version of their prefered hairstyle like the straight style for example. Knowing that heat is damaging to your hair, you must switch things up and try to use heat only once or twice a year. That will force you to find other styles or other ways to get your straight style like a silky wrap. 

Stay tuned for my natural hair posts!

Let's see if this new journey will bring me more knowledge. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Transitioning to natural - Ending a chapter and beginning anew


I have decided to end my relaxed hair journey and move on to the next step. I am starting my natural hair journey. I did not want to transition. I big chopped just like that one day.
Here are the most important things I have learned from my relaxed hair journey:

    · Moisturizing regularly – I used to moisturize daily in the beginning and it was needed because I had to learn the tricks and things my hair likes to stay moisturized longer. In the end, I could moisturize as needed and my hair still felt soft and good all the time.
    · Sealing the moisture – I moisturize and sealed daily at first but I realized with experience that the most important moment to seal in your moisture is on wash day.  If you do that properly, your hair will stay soft for days.
    · Deep conditioning – This is something someone on a hair journey should be doing weekly, twice weekly in the winter because of how much the season dries out the hair and scalp. I would recommend a heavier conditioner in the winter than in the summer and adding thicker oils in the winter too. Look at how your body reacts to the season to adjust your regiment. The winter is very hard on my lips and my skin in general. Therefore I know I have to step it up in the winter for my hair as well.
    · Stretching your relaxer - For the ladies who still believe you have to get a relaxer every 5 weeks, this is wrong.  Even for coarse, dry, unmanageable hair, a relaxer can easily be stretched to 12 weeks. Of course, you have to work your way to that.  Don’t go from 5 to 12 weeks directly. The hair journey is about learning about your hair and also self-discovery. For every relaxer day, add a week until you reach the most unmanageable length of new growth for you. Give it time… It can take you two years to get to 12 or 14 weeks. Some people regularly stretch 20 weeks.  Imagine getting a relaxer only twice a year!  It is possible. The only way to get there is to keep your hair (mainly the new growth) soft by moisturizing, sealing and deep conditioning.
    · Learning when to trim – Indeed, trimming is very important, but not as important as your hairdresser will have you believe. I say trim every 4 to 6 months or every other relaxer if you stretch 12 weeks. Trimming too often cuts the growth which translates in little to no progress even with all the efforts put in. Introduce the term “dusting” to your hairdresser. Dusting is cutting very little hair, less than 1 inch from the length. Sometimes that’s all you need. Most people on a hair journey should not emphasize on having a super straight hemline. I say get a nice trim (regular hairdresser style trim) at the beginning of your hair journey and light trims or dusts throughout (once or twice a year). The only reason to trim more than this is if you see a lot of breakage and shedding. Your hair will be then thin at the ends. But mainly that means revising your regimen.  You have to find out the reason of the hair loss be it breakage or shedding.
    · Practicing patience – A very important thing to learn on a hair journey is the practice of patience. The reason to start a hair journey is to improve the overall state of your hair. Maybe you want it longer, maybe thicker; maybe you want to stop breakage or shedding. Whatever the reason is to start, the change will not happen overnight. If you had to cut your hair to ear length when you started your journey. It will not be down your back in six months. However, it will certainly be longer.  Appreciate the journey, it will teach you many things about yourself and your body.

My hair journey was full of ups and downs. It did not go the way I anticipated. Nevertheless, I did my 5 years and followed through even after considering giving up many times. It was well worth the effort.

As much as I am happy to start my natural hair journey, I must say that natural hair is not the only way to go! You can have healthy hair if relaxed. It’s like saying if you are natural, you cannot color your hair. Not true. Your hair can be chemically processed and if you take care of it properly still be healthy. Deciding to relax or color your hair doesn’t take anything thing away from your personal integrity.
Chemical processes are hard on the hair and scalp, but if you chose to do it and do it safely, it is just as valid as anything you do to your body. Like haircuts, shaving, waxing, laser, braces, plastic surgery, and more.  I would even add wearing weaves to that list because of the stress put on the scalp and the potential traction alopecia. No one is completly natural... Natural or relaxed, the most important thing to focus on is health.
I don’t know what the next step will bring.  I know I’ve said many times that I’m too lazy to be natural. I do feel it’s more work than relaxed or texlaxed hair.  And I cannot style hair (braids or twists).  This explains why I did not transition. I needed to start at the TWA stage. Not only was I looking forward to changing my look after all these years of not doing anything major to it, but I will be able to learn how to take care of my hair as it grows.
I am not sure how long I’ll be natural. Maybe forever, maybe for two years, maybe five.  Most of my friends have fallen in love with their natural hair. This did not happen to me last time I tried it. But, this time is different. There is so much support out there.
It’s a natural hair journey so I plan on growing it out as long as it will grow and document the journey to self-discovery.
As always, I will share my ups and down on this journey as well.

***Due to excessive shedding from hormonal fluctuations (PCOS) my hair went from this to that in less then 6 months. I've experienced that quite a few times on my journey but in spite of that it grew. Be encouraged! ❤️









Saturday, March 8, 2014

My mommy favorites - Pocket Malden Filofax in grey

I purchased this Filofax a few months ago. I've been lusting over a Malden since I started my obsession with Filofax. But being on a tight budget, I couldn't justify the expense. It's always: house, kids, bills first (as it should be). So I waited. I knew a great sale would come along at the right time and it did.

I buy my filofaxes on the usa website (filofaxusa.com). The service is great, shipping is fast to Canada, just great all around except for the inventory. They have less and less choices every time I go on there.

Anyways, that day, I was just browsing. I saw that there were a few organiser on sale. I clicked on the link and went to see if any of them would interest me. I saw the Malden and my heart started beating a little faster.  I decided on the Pocket size because I already own an A5 Chameleon and a Personal Aston. Also, the color I wanted was not on sale.  I wanted the Ochre. I bought the Grey. 

I like it!  And the smell...  I've had for a few months now and use it every day as my wallet. My Personal size Aston is my big wallet where I keep all my cards and everything I need for a special purchase. My every day wallet has every day thing like driver's licence, debit card, one credit card and two of my most used rewards cards. 

I used to carry every thing all the time but now I see that if you are organised you don't have to do that.  I also have a separate coin purse for my twonies, loonies and other coins. I've always done that. 

I don't really use the diary. It may have happened once to jot down something but otherwise never. I also keep receipts and stamps in this wallet. I just love it!!!

Here are some pics taken with my iPad...






Relaxed Hair journey post - 1st domenican blowout since beginning of HHJ (September 5, 2009)

I pre-pooed at home. She didn't mind at all. I was happy about that. I know I can always do that. She shampooed with a Nioxin shampoo (I forget which one - I'll look it up). Then she put a reconstructor and let it sit in my hair no plastic cap, no heat. Rinse that out put Salerme leave-in (I use that one myself). Then she put the rollers on with a fine tooth comb and put me under the dryer for 30 min (no hair net). After that she straightened my roots with the flat iron (I'm six weeks post) and tried not to flatten my volume which seemed to be hard for her. What I loved the most is that I was in and out in 2 hours, no wait. Also, she had a maximum of three clients with her.

In my area, there are not a lot of good hair care specialist. I am working on bettering the health of my hair myself, but I know for certain things, I HAVE to see a stylist. So she passed my test. I'll go see her for my next relaxer, after that if she also passes, she's a keeper.

I don't have to get a blowout every time, although the fine tooth comb did break my heart. She told me what she was using on my hair. Still, her hair is not top shape. She's EL with green clip-ons. Her hair looked dry. I'm still trying her out. The proximity to my home, the price and the overall impression was good. I think I can work with her.

My hair is swinging, blowing in the wind and beautiful. Today is also the last time I use heat until next month for my birthday. No heat is really good for me. I almost prefer my hair air-dried now.

Here are the pics..






Relaxed Hair journey post - This is my official one year progress pic from Aug08 to Aug09 (August 30, 2009)






Relaxed Hair journey post - Product haul featuring CHI (August 26, 2009)

I finally found the CHI at an acceptable price to me. It was the travel pack for 21,99$. The little bottles are 2oz. I got the Infra shampoo, the treatment, the silk infusion and the iron guard. I bought them yesterday and used them today on my wash day. My first impression... I loved them!!!!!!!! All the ladies who love Chi, they are not lying, all of them... This is the best smelling shampoo, conditioner, leave-in and the best feel I've had since doing my hair myself. Of course, I had to flat iron to celebrate the use of these products. It feels like I just had a dominican blow out. I did a fast flat iron for length check purposes also. Check out my profile for the latest pic. Keep in mind that I did it myself and I haven't mastered my stylist skills :-)))))))

My husband say NL still, I say grazing SL. What do ya'll say??? Next relaxer, I'll be SL for sure (I have to be, I'm dying to change my profile info so it sas current legth SL). I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. My sides are catching ip and my crown is growing out with very little breakage (that's my weakest spot). My hair will look even better when I get a little trim. That is scheduled for October (my next relaxer). I'm trimming every 6 months for now and dusting in between when needed.

Loving today's results... HHG!!!!!!

Relaxed Hair journey post - To texlax or not to texlax... (August 26, 2009)

I decided to give up on texlaxing. I’m sorry guys… I really thought it would be something good for my hair, but after a few months, I am noting more bad (breakage at the hairline, permanent frizz at the roots, tangles starting at 3-4 weeks post) than good (thicker hair, stronger hair, loose curls at the roots). I’m supposed to go see a stylist for a corrective relaxer in October if I can hold on and God willing.

The thing is, I am unsure of what to do. I hopped on the texlaxing bandwagon because I was soooooo sure it was going to work for me. Now I’m wondering if I should give it more time to get the hang of it. Meanwhile, my hair will me all different textures if I keep going and that may cause unnecessary breakage. *sigh*

When I first started my journey, my goal was to grow my relaxed hair longer and thicker. As my hair is growing, I am realizing that it is not dramatically thin (fine) when all of it is growing and I don’t have breakage at the demarcation line at the crown (my weakest area) or bald spots.

And so, I decided to concentrate on stretching 10-12 weeks instead of stretching AND texlaxing. Doing both does not seem to work for me. I will still take the steps to relax properly but I will not rinse before the relaxer straightens my hair.

My steps:
I will do a protein treatment on the wash day right before I relax. I will apply castor oil on my scalp during the week before I relax. I will base my scalp the day before and right before I relax. I will protect my ends with oil, conditioner or neutralizing shampoo before relaxing my roots. Last but not least, I will rinse and neutralize properly.

Relaxed Hair journey post - My hair is healthier, but not fully healthy (August 15, 2009)

I am seeing my hair grow, but very slowly. This week I notice breakage when my hair is wet. This happens when I am applying products to my hair like today, I did a honey prepoo and I lost strands. After that, I shampoo and did a light protein and again breakage while applying my treatment. Same thing while applying my leave-ins. Although it's not a huge amount of hair, I know it is not shed hair but really breakage. It's frustrating... I need a hard protein that is not Aphogee 2 step...

Relaxed Hair journey post - Product likes and dislikes so far (August 9, 2009)

I'm still a newbie, but I started running out of the products I bought when I first started last April. So I bought new ones and I have to admit that I am somewhat of a product junkie.

When I started my journey I bought Herbal Essence Hello Hydration for my cowashes, prepoos and regular conditionning, I also got Queen Helen's Cholesterol to deep condition. Because I'm a junkie, when both these products were finished, I decided to try others. I bought three different cheapie conditionner before repurchasing HEHH (a staple for me). What a waste... The one I am most dispappointed is Tresseme Moisture Rich. I was so sure it was a good buy, I got the 1L bottle. I hate it. :-(

When my Queen Helen's Cholesterol ran out, I bought HB Carrot Cholesterol. Now, I don't hate that one, but it doesn't give me any slip when I rinse it out. So detangling is hard for me. The pro for this one is that when my hair dries, it so soft, unbelievable. I texlax now so I have curly roots on purpose. For soft roots, I definitely need to keep that one. I just need to add something to it to give me slip.

So far, my staples are :

*CON shampoo green bottle (until it runs out; they don't sell them anymore here in Montreal, only the new bottles)
- - I really want to try KeraCare; I have to find where they sell it here
*HE HH (love the smell, the slip it gives me, the manageability of my hair)
*Wave Nouveau Moisturizing Finishing Lotion (this one I repurchased no hesitation)
*Castor Oil (haven't gotten THE JBCO, soon maybe)
*Hot Six Oil (it's light, smells good, just love to seal with it)
*Honey (always in my prepoos now)
*EVOO
*EVCO

Relaxed Hair journey post - 1st roller set on my own (August 7, 2009)

I finally tried rollersetting last night after my cowash/protein treatment. It is an art to be mastered. I believe that I can achieve great skills after a few practice runs. I didn't get all the rollers tight enough and that is a key principle of this method. At least, the rollers stayed on my head. I didn't have enough magnetic rollers so I had to complete the set with those rollers with teeth. Magnetic rollers are harder to put in but they give you a nice smooth finish, no bumps. I saw the difference with last night's experience and I will definitely go and buy more magnetic rollers (today!!!). You need between 40 and 50 rollers of different sizes for the whole head (the sizes depend on your length). You also need from 80 to 100 clips to secure the rollers. Last night I needed 2 per roller, but as I get more experienced, I'm sure I'll use just one clip on most rollers and two clips on my anchors, we'll see.

I loved the result. My hair is so thin that I prefer it with body. I don't really like wrapping my hair for this reason. Rollersetting is great for body, volume, smoothness and curls of course. I didn't get the rollers tight enough to get smooth roots though. And, I was to tired to blow out my roots.

It took about 50 minutes to dry with a crappy tabletop hardhat dryer (I want a hair dryer on wheels). After it dried, I loosened the curls with my fingers, tied my hair in a loose ponytail and put a roller on the ends, put my scarf on and off to bed. Next morning, I still have body, waves, but I don't have the roller set look (which is too retro for me).

I also dusted my ends a little. That is another art to master. Handling scissors in front of the mirror is hard for me. Anyways, I did it. I still have to go back on You Tube and watch other tuts on the subject...

Here my latest... HHJ!!!!!

Relaxed Hair journey post - What a wonderful journey! (August 4th, 2009)

It has indeed been a wonderful journey. I have been looking back at everything, my regimen, my growth/progress, my products, my hairstyles... everything. So far, I am happy, things are going good. My hair isn't growing super fast, but it's growing. My biggest breakthrough was learning to minimize breakage. I am not losing as much hair as I used to at the length that I am at right now (NL - almost SL).

Here is MY one year progress. Only the last 4 months represent a real hair care regimen.

I did a BC last August 2008 after major post-partum shedding - I had bald spots!!! (1st pic). I started my hair journey April 2009 (pic top right). Last pic is my hair July 19, 2009.

I'll keep going until I reach my ultimate goal... MBL. I will hoenstly be happy between APL and MBL, nut I ned a goal to keep me going.

Relaxed Hair journey post - I texlaxed for real on July 23rd '09 (July 28, 2009)

I relaxed, or should I say, I texlaxed. It was late when I finished so I did just a little blog about it. Here are my impressions of my third relaxer since the start of my journey.

At the beginning of my journey, I had decided to texlaxe instead of relaxing bone straight because I thought my hair would benefit greatly from this technique. I must say that it is working nicely. My hair is not as fine and thin even the first day. Usually, people complain that the hair has no body or volume when it was just relaxed and stays like that until one or two washed. Not so for me, this time. After I deep conditioned, applied leave-ins and air dried, I went to bed with the scarf method while my hair was still a little damp. Next morning, before work I moisturized and sealed and went to work with my hair down just to see and feel how it was. I should have bunned, my ends were dry at the end of the day.

I think texlaxing is for me. I don’t know how I will handle the two (or three) textures when my hair is longer but for now, I like it.

My hair didn’t reach shoulder length (close but no cigar – stupid layers). I was hoping, but I realize my hair grows really slowly. But at least it grows… and I’m still growing out some damage so it’s not 100% healthy and retaining length easily. Also, because I insist on self-texlaxing (and doing everything else myself), and my technique isn’t on point, I may battle damage here and there. But, since my hair is short, I am willing to risk it because I need to learn this and be able to do everything for my hair myself.

My stretch wasn’t as damaging as I feared. My next stretch is set for 10 weeks (next relaxer : 09oct09). Even though I didn’t reach 9 weeks this time (I had 1 week to go), I feel that my hair was so under-processed last time that it gave me tools to handle stretching and I am not afraid to skip directly to 10 weeks.

I love this journey...

Relaxed Hair journey post - I relaxed today at 8 weeks post (July 23, 2009)

Yes, I did it... I was supposed to wait 9 weeks, but I cracked because I have a wedding on Saturday and I didn't like my hair all week last week, so I said what the hay! I did it. I tried to correct my last relaxer so this one was hard. I prepared my hair for the relaxer. I clarified and did a protein treatment on Saturday and I didn't wash/co-wash my hair at all this week. That was hard. I applied castor oil on my scalp during the week and tried not to put too much product/oil otherwise on my hair. Only a light moisturizer and seal every night. I'm happy, my hair feels good. I'm deep conditioning right now. I hope to have some pics by Saturday. As for growth, I'll wait until Saturday to evaluate. I'm probably going to bed with a damp bun tonight (I am not blow-drying for sure) so...

Relaxed Hair journey post - Practicing patience... so hard (July 15, 2009)

What a journey!!! Waiting for length can be really hard some days but hair grows really slowly and don’t we all know it. Day by day, I try not to focus on length. I try to focus on care. I take care of my hair every day (moisturizing, sealing, washing, conditioning, treating, etc). I only check for length when I straighten my hair (blow dry+flat iron) which is less and less these days. I used to do it every week-end for church on Sunday morning, but I haven’t done it since I noticed breakage at my front edges and nape area (a month ago maybe). I think I’ll start straightening my hair only on relaxer day and on special occasions (very very special – wedding, birthday, Christmas and/or New Year). I guess that means no length check pictures regularly (how boring). I'll try to take pictures of cute styles I pull off, I guess. *sigh* HHG, anyway!

Relaxed Hair journey post - 5 years wasted... (July 15, 2009)

Why couldn’t I have found Hairlista (Hairlicious) and the other forums when I was natural??? I would not have relaxed my texturized hair… I now have almost 100% straight but thin hair and now realizing that my hair should be texlaxed (75%) not relaxed. I have to “start over” again… I will not do the BC again though. I did a BC in 2004 thinking my hair will benefit from a break from the relaxers. This only made me realize that I had no clue how to take care of my 4a/4b hair. I re-relaxed in 2006 (my hair was texturized back then) and I only found the hair care forums in 2009. What a waste… Now I am starting to know how to take care of my hair and only wish I didn’t waste so much time. If I had started on my journey in 2004, after my BC (boy short); where would I be today, 5 years later? Oh well… That’s life…

Relaxed Hair journey post - I almost relaxed today... whew! (July 6, 2009)

I am 6 weeks post and trying to stretch 9 weeks this time. My big problem is that my last relaxer did not take and now the NG (new growth) is unbelievable. I was going to cave in. I prepared my stuff; combs, clips, relaxer kit, oils, shampoos, conditioner, etc. I was getting ready to put my favorite texlax YouTube video from Alraines and she had a new video on stretching your relaxer. I started watching the new video and changed my mind. Whew!!! I co-washed instead and did a light protein treatment and now I'm air drying. We'll see how long I can hold on.

This is my second time stretching on purpose. I want to be able to stretch 12-14 weeks at least. I think I can do it. This stretch has taught me a lot about my hair and my ability to stretch has improved 100%.

I am still debating if I am going to do cornrows. I had decided against it because it's not really my style. I like to change and switch it up and I don't like to wear wigs or weaves to work (too many questions).

Another reason I am sooooooo eager to relax is that I want to see my results. I have been itching to see if I made it to SL. I really hope I have.

That's it for now...