Hair: travel style, observations, and conditioner concoction

Returning to Normalcy (Yawn) and Travel Observations

In September, I was away for nearly three (3) weeks, and honestly, it was a downer to return. I never used to feel that way. I used to be so happy to be back in America it wasn’t funny. This was the first time I realized I could have stayed away indefinitely.

I could leave tomorrow, and not look back.

These feelings are not helped by how spoiled I was by my German friend. Talk about a man looking after you! I was truly taken care of. He’s so wonderful, my sweetheart is. And look-out! German men got some incredible legs on them!

What a delight that trip was; I’m truly sorry it had to end!

Listen up! It is not like the grass was greener in the places I went. I simply liked the way people around me behaved. Black women who travel overseas might know what I mean. I would never assume everywhere would be as satisfying as where I went.

The thought that occurred to me on my travels was: why didn’t I come here sooner?

Travel Hair Style

My bed time hair style. I often switch-up.
Ponytails give me a headache.
Looks like yarn, but it’s all mine.

I had blow dried my hair, my Mom parted it for me, before I put it into two-strand twists. I wore this style for three weeks without washing my hair. Eww, I know. I couldn’t risk a head cold, not on an airplane ride back! I’ve had that experience before, and never wanted to repeat it. I thought it was going to be difficult to deal with, but I’d simply wet ‘n wipe, and re-twist my hair after saturating it with my conditioner concoction (see below).

My Mom continues to ask me how people reacted to my hair. (Picture me with my eyebrows raised.) She knows how I am. If I loved Afros on me, and I don’t because of hair knotting, I would have rocked that style daily. My reaction is usually: I could give a rat’s behind what anyone thought. I don’t care what anyone thinks in America; I certainly did not in Europe. I could not care less, and apparently no one else did either.

She thought it looked good. I guess she wondered if anyone was going to compliment me. I was thankful that they liked to mind their own business. I could eat in any restaurant, and not get the stink-eye. The staff was almost always courteous, polite, and nice. I know I do get that here in the USA. Yet, if folks there are watching you eat, they certainly aren’t as obvious as the morons here.

My Mom once said, “Why are they in my mouth watching me take every bite?” Sigh. We’re not even talking high-end: this is in places like Chili’s.

My Hair Concoctions

I love mixing stuff together now. I still can’t wear straight conditioner in my hair, and why would I want to? But the options I gain from mixing is nice. I feel I get an extra ump out of doing this.

I mix Africa’s Best Herbal Oil (with lots of good stuff) with White Rain Conditioner (Coconut). It not only smells good, but leaves my hair feeling really nice. I also used my pure / raw Shea Butter + Aloe Vera + Vitamin E + Castor Oil + Lavender + Ylang Ylang mixture. Both concoctions put moisture into my hair and doesn’t shrink it significantly.

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Rapunzalima, Rapunzalima Let Down Your Weave

Went out to a mall a few miles away with my Mother. It’s always a challenge when I go out to eat. At this particular chain (TGI Fridays), they provide no information on their website as to how many calories their food has. It was the only eatery I could find on my GPS, otherwise I would have gone somewhere else.

However, their Vanilla Bean Cheesecake is deadly. It has to be about 600-870 plus calories. It tasted sooooooo damn good. I wont be eating something like that again until next year. It’s that dangerous.

After roaming the parking lot for an inordinate amount of time, we finally find a decent spot. We head inside the “restaurant”. I’m very fussy about where I sit. The seater / host / whatever they’re called asks if we want to sit in a booth next to this couple.

Welcome to the Jungle

I just don’t like sitting close to anyone. I mean, half the restaurant was empty, why sit up under anybody?

So, I said, “No, I like being near the window.” For me, that was that.

We walk past the couple. I hear someone snort? laugh? grunt? in disdain. Okay.

After we’re seated, I glance briefly at the source of the snuffling and huffling out of curiosity.

It’s a Shaniqua* with her “man” (I suppose) L’Trellmont.* She’s totally on the hostility tip. Glaring and staring.

Alrighty, then! Last time I can recall such animosity was over a decade ago. I decide not to look at her again: no point in feeding the animal.

I head off to the ladies room to wash my hands. Can I say, I hate dirty, stinking restrooms? Wow. That place was nasty. Never again!

Upon returning to my seat, I start playing with my shoulder-length twists. I’m shaking, and flipping, my hair off of my face. I’m twirling them. Oh, yeah. Just having fun. Can’t keep my hands out of my hair.

A little while later, I overhear the Shaniqua bark, “Bitch.” Oh wow, it’s that serious is it?

Rapunzalima, Rapunzalima Let Down Your Weave

Finally, they are leaving. Oh wait, she’s leaving.

I finally get a good look at the back of her. She’s not very tall (no offense to the vertically challenged among us). She’s got a very, very long weave styled to look like it belongs on the Disney character Princess Jasmine. Even the blouse looked similar.


Yet, L’Tremont is still at the table long after she’s walked – pardon – sashayed out the door. Did the child even know he wasn’t watching her? He’s staring at me. I raise my eyebrows. He continues to stare. It’s that kind of look.

Folks are so weird these days. Seriously? She thinks I would want him? Did he think I’m interested?

What in the world?

I turn back to my Mom, and tell her about the little non-interaction with these people. She’s surprised.

I shrug, and laugh. Maybe if little girl wasn’t huffing and puffing so much her guy wouldn’t have noticed me. She should have realized – if you want to keep his eyes on you, and the waist length weave, do not bring his attention to another woman with natural hair that you perceive as long.

All that drama. And for what?

I really was complimented by the silly. I didn’t realize I was worthy of so much attention. I’m almost old enough to be the little girl’s Momma, but that never stops the stupidity, does it?

* I don’t know these people’s names. I just made them up. But there is something shared, in looks and behavior, by the people who’ve shown me hostility in the past. So, don’t be offended if this is your actual name(s).

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Hair A Few More: Leave-In Conditioners


Hair Length Goal

I did not have a particular hair length goal before. I simply wanted to know how to treat my hair well, and to be satisfied with the results. I’ve worn my hair natural (without relaxers, perms, or any other kind of toxic chemicals) most of my life. My styling and treatment of it was hit and mostly miss. Now-a-days, I plait my hair (10 braids), and keep it in a bun. I can no longer two-strand twist, that makes it knotty. I will wash it while it is in braids, including the use of shampoo about once a month.

Currently, my hair reaches bra-strap and I have a medium length torso. I am aiming for mid-back or waist-length by February 2010. I wont stress myself to reach that goal. If I make it fine, if not, no big deal. My hair grows fastest and strongest, when I get into an exercise routine and wash weekly. I noticed that my vitamin and breakfast drink mixes made a big difference. I can only drink my concoction in the summer, because I can’t take cold food or drink unless it is boiling hot outside.

I really like this period of time we are in. The best hair products are available for curly, textured, kinky, nappy hair. It’s no longer about using grease as the solution to every hair problem. My hair issues used to be dryness, a lack of moisture, and fighting with the comb – yanking out fistfuls of it – after washing it.

Holy Grail of Moisture

I’m not on any search for a Holy Grail of great products. However, it’s great not to be dependent on any one company or product. I’ve found three new moisturizing staples to go along with my favorite Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioner. One is Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner and their other product is Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion.

My hair drinks these two products. They feel a bit sticky on the hands, especially the Shea Butter. I am already in love with the Organics Olive Oil Leave-In Conditioner. It is light, doesn’t go on heavy or greasy, and best of it all, it does make the hair easier to comb. Not that I am into combing my hair anymore, but it’s handy to have.

I use the BioInfusion Leave-In Conditioner right after I wash my hair. It is definitely not sticky. It’s suitable. I’m not sure how great it is. My hair drinks this product also. It doesn’t leave my hair dry, so right now, I consider myself satisfied with my entire collection of Leave-In Conditioners.

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Turn I Loose: Afro, Locs, and other Styles

Note: This is just my opinion, people are free to wear their hair as they please, of course. All personal choices are valid.

I rarely wear my hair loose. Is that a sign of shame? I was wondering if I hide my hair based on subconscious dislike of it. I wore it straight (flat ironed) for Christmas. I felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable with all that hair. It’s unmanageable to me. I love shrinkage. It is a gift: I can get a reduction in volume, length, and change in texture without a haircut.

Kinky, coily, nappy, cottony, textured, natural 4a-4z hair is soooo awesome!

Natural

I don’t get caught up worrying about what natural or natural hair is supposed to mean. There are people who are anti-heat, anti-straightening, Afro-puffs-only, anti-styling(?), and completely absorbed into natural products (no silicones, parabens, mineral oil, petroleum, etc).

That’s great – for them. Hair rules can be so dogmatic they hurt the people it is supposed to help. Not everyone’s head of hair will respond alike to the same treatment.

Outside of not using a relaxer, lye or no-lye, curly perm, or anything toxic like that, I’m wholeheartedly for the use of anything that temporarily changes my hair. If there was a product that altered my hair texture, straightened it, or loosened the kinky coil for a couple of days, weeks, or months, and I could wash it out – I’d use it. As long as it is not permanent.

Afro

As for hairstyles, I do not like the Afro. It was cool to wear as a nearly bald-headed kid, but even if I could sport a big-ass-Afro (BAA), I would not. It’s too much work. I remember all those years of picking (which was cutting) my hair out, then patting it into shape. I was always worried about it being lopsided, dirty, dusty and dry. Way too much effort.

A tiny Afro is fine. A medium sized one is reasonable, anything longer than a pinky or index finger is a problem. My hair couldn’t stand up anyway – it’s not dense enough. It would require a ton of hair spray – that’s not happening.

I know there are people who love the shrunken Afro, which is different from very short hair picked out. As someone with some of the softest, fragile, thin, and zig-zagged shaped strands around, I could never wear my hair in one. It would get so knotty, I would have to spend hours de-tangling. I don’t see how that helps the hair.

I’ve seen the rough treatment people put their hair through when they pick out their Afro. Picking is cutting, regardless of whether it is damp, wet, or dry. Loose hair is lost hair. I wonder why people believe it helps their hair grow.

Locs

Years ago, I wanted to try locs, but then I realized I dislike them. I’ve rarely seen a head of hair that looks good with locs, regardless of whatever fancy styling, coloring, or name, like Sistalocks, they are given.

There are people who believe this hairstyle helps their hair grow. The truth is, I think locs provide people with an excuse not to touch their hair. That’s not all bad, especially if it’s religiously inspired.

However, broken off locs, thick locs hanging by a few strands, large and growing parts, prove that this style doesn’t work for everyone. I see very few heads of hair that don’t have these balding spots between parts, which is due to traction alopecia. Every extreme twist – in order to look “neat” – pulls out the hair, and those few strands are left holding up a heavier loc of growing and shed hair.

Turn I Loose: Stress Testing

I do want to wear my hair loose: come this Spring, I will see what I can do. I will use bantu knots and two-strand twists to prep my hair. I do not lack for decent leave-in conditioners, so I think I should be able to manage without fear of “The Knots.” Maybe I will be able to wear it out for a week and see what happens.

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Hair Again – Vanity Check – hair washing routine

Oh, joy. Washing hair is a drag in the winter. I prefer to wash in warm weather, it is easier to do, because I don’t worry about a completely dry scalp. Unlike other mortal beings, I can’t walk about with a damp scalp. It must be nearly bone dry.

Last I’ve checked my hair length may have been February 2008. I figure I’d take a look and review my hair washing routine.

The Lazy Method

I apply a moisturizing shampoo directly to the scalp. I don’t shampoo often, but the stink smell of sweat was getting to me.

I also added a bit of pre-shampoo oil to the major part at the top of my head. That area gets dry and brittle so I wanted to protect the hair in that area.

At the same time, I slather the ends of my twists with heavy creamy conditioner, before I open my hair. That way I never have a knot that my hair doesn’t slip out of.

I don’t use a comb.

I open all the twists, the hair is basically in two parts. I make two big twists and wait a bit for the conditioner to sink in. It’s winter, and I’m not hanging around long to catch a cold.

I wash my hair – scalp first with a moderately vigorous scrub. I spend the rest just rinsing, until the hair doesn’t feel that slippery. I make about 3-4 parts on the two sides, and carefully wash into between the parts. I’ve been shocked in the past how much product stays in my hair if I don’t let the water get into every section.

Wrap with a towel. Hair is left damp.

I rub in Garnier Fructis Moisture Works Fortifying Cream Conditioner, it makes parting the hair easier.

I also put in some heat protector.

I blow dry my hair with my favorite! The Conair Hot Air Styler has a built in comb. Be careful, it will take out a lot a hair if one is not gentle! Some days I yank out a lot. I shed hair like a cat.

I flat-ironed the ends a little. My hair type is very shrinky-dink, so no matter what I do, right after a blow-out or flat iron, it is going to shrink. I literally ran to take these pictures before I lost a couple of inches.

I finished “styling” with a heavy application of castor oil. Total time was a little over 2 hours.

Last note: It may sound lame, but I’ll say it again: my hair has never EVAH! been this long before. I think keeping stress low, drinking water, keeping the hair moist (not brittle dry), and using conditioner are very important.

Before

After

After
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Garnier Fructis

Dry Hair

Everyone has different hair requirements. I am a 4a-z with hair that is fine, medium density, kinky, coily, textured, cottony, or nappy. It is rarely hard and never coarse.

Did I mention how fragile and delicate my hair is?

I envy people who can comb, flat iron, and blow dry nearly every day. It’s hard keeping my hands out of my hair. At a minimum, I let three days pass before I comb it again.

What I want from a hair product is that it leaves my hair feeling soft, moisturized, and easy to comb. It’s amazing how many products do the first two and not the last one!

Research

Periodically, I must switch products.

I read hair boards, searching for conditioners and gels with the best reviews. I evaluate based on hair type. I don’t ignore other hair types. I note those with similar problems: dry hair, often brittle, which leads to breakage.

Garnier Fructis Moisture Works Fortifying Cream Conditioner

For now, this product works. I love the smell, and I can comb my hair after I’ve washed with it.

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream

The first time I used this product it left my hair a sticky, clumpy mess with a lot of white residue. I don’t know if I finally figured out how to use it or what, but I love this stuff now.

It is excellent for helping me unravel my twists or plaits. The drier my hair is the tighter it gets. This product makes my hair slide apart wonderfully and easily. There’s no snapping plaits apart with this.

Overall, I’m satisfied with Garnier Fructis for now.

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Hair Matters: Don’t Do it Again

Trying Something New

I went against my own credo to leave my hair alone and stop experimenting. Out of curiosity – because I’m always curious – I decided to try something new: leave conditioner in my hair.

Now, I’m asking myself: Why did I do that?

I did it, because I wanted to see if I could emulate a loose curl, kinda wavy look for my hair that I get when I put in conditioner. I may still seek out a product that does it, but I don’t want a sopping wet, heavy mess that feels like a jherri curl.

What I Learned

I’ve been seeing breakage on the ends I haven’t seen in years. It’s not as bad as used to be in the past, but any little amount is alarming to me.

So, I will note to myself: never leave conditioner in the hair again. Sometimes one can overdo it and I have to keep it simple. My hair doesn’t want more of anything, it requires less.

Wet Two-Stand Twists

Recently, I’ve discovered that I can’t twist my hair while it’s damp anymore. That used to be the fastest way for me to take care of my hair. I’m not big on detangling, or combing hair. I don’t see the point. I don’t trim my hair either, unless there’s a knot I can’t undo.

My hair knots up in twists so bad, I can’t open the twists without cutting the ends or snapping the hair apart. It’s horrible. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter what I put in my hair. I just know I can’t twist or braid it while damp. I have to wait for it to dry.

That sucks.

At a current length of being an inch or so from bra-strap, or between shoulder blades, my styling options are being challenged. I have to stick with big plaits, but not too big. At the moment, eight plaits work.

The oil of choice, right now, is castor oil. But since I can’t wet my hair at the moment unless I’m going to wash it, this is the product that softens my hair.

Maybe it’s the weather and come the Spring / Summer the dryness and tightness will go away.

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Hair Day


And the purpose of these photos are?


It was a bright, lovely day, I was shopping (one of my pastimes), and I decided to take some shots of my hair.

My Mom said my hair looked “shiny”. I certainly had enough olive oil in it to cook a meal…

Due to the sunlight and the camera, I look lighter than I actually am. I’m a shade or two darker than this. Boy, is it hard not to frown in the sunlight.

And the hair style? Two strand twists. Frankly, I comb my hair as little as possible. I sleep in a style for a few weeks (!). I wash it weekly and maybe refresh a twist or two (especially the nape area).

Otherwise, it is wake and go hair!

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The blunt truth of a picture


For a number of months (9+), I focused on getting my hair past a certain length. It grows fast, but every winter I’d lose over 3-5 inches.

Recently, I thought I was shoulder length until I did a stretch test: pulling a two-strand twist and seeing how far it would go.

To some people, getting their hair this length is not a big deal, to me it is a big deal. My hair has never been longer than shoulder length, and maybe 1-2 inches longer.

I was pleasantly surprised by the length, but then I found something else to be horrified with.

I need to seriously lose weight. The sad part is that I do work out (daily) and watch what I eat. Aside from the camera-adds-10-pounds-excuse, I need to change something.

Right away!

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