Welcome and thank you for stopping by.

This is a place where I share my love for hair and all the things I have learned in hopes that you too will fall in love with your Divine Tresses.

I hope you enjoy!

Please feel free to leave suggestions, recommendations, questions and comments.


PS You can now email me for free consultations here:


*I am currently in Iraq and it may take up to 72 hours for me to respond to your emails. Don't worry, I will answer. :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just sharing some good news...

I WON the Profective MegaGrowth Challenge! You can see the pics from the photoshoot and dinner with the company's Marketing Manager, Davita Dunston, and the Dream Team by clicking the link below. You will see the other contest (Miss Campus Fresh Face) winner, Torie Anderson, as well :). Its a wonderful series of shots so please view them all.

http://www.profectiv.com/missfreshface2007/ (Click the arrow labeled "Next")

I had a blast! Everyone was very friendly and made me feel at home. I want to give them another "Thank you"!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Relaxers. The good, the bad, the ugly and the myths: Busted!

There is a common misperception that you can “sweat out a relaxer” when in all actuality, that’s not possible. (I’m going to get technical at some point here)

Relaxers are a chemical process that break down the proteins in curly hair in order to straighten the strands. It’s irreversible due to this fact. When the process doesn’t fully take, your hair takes a while (Maybe a couple of washings) to readjust and show that its under processed; which is why it would seem that its “sweating out”…this feeds the “I’m not going to wash b/c I don’t want to mess up my perm” mentality. Think of it like you painting over a scratch on your car, at first it looks great but as it settles, its only then that you can point out the deficiencies in the workmanship.

If you get a 90% to 100% bone straight relaxer, I can assure you that a little water will not affect the straightness of your hair. (It won’t affect it at any % that you get is straightened…I was just putting emphasis on what I meant. If you under process, it will show eventually. Look at it while its wet right after the relaxer…if you see waves of any size, its going to show more in a few weeks/washings.)

The other side to this is the fact that your hair grows from the root. It will get frizzy near the base and appear to sweat out but its not, I’m not sure of the actual per day growth rate but hair on average grows .5” per month. With that said, it won’t take long for you to see frizzies and think its b/c of sweating. I have washed me hair the very next day (and every day after that) with no adverse affects.

I personally choose to relax my hair and not go beyond 70% curl release b/c I like some texture to be left in my hair; I only want it to be manageable.

That’s another misunderstanding about relaxers…they are only meant to do just that. Relax the curl. Our hair shouldn't be chemically taken to Bone straight. Getting your hair anything over 90% is one of the most damaging hair choices women make next to double processing (color and relax). This leaves you prone to dryness, brittle hair, split ends and severe breakage….I won’t even talk about the effect on the follicles and scalp. OUCH!

I'll add more once I get a chance.....this is a topic I hold near and dear to my heart.

OK, so where was I.........

Oh yeah! Let's go there and talk about the damage relaxers cause to the scalp and follicles. Relaxers (Both Lye and No Lye) are bases toned down to be milder on the scalp with a longer reaction time. With that said, please don't go over the time limit prescribed on the packaging for your specific hair type/texture b/c no matter how you drop it, its still breaking down the proteins in yur hair. Granted, its weaker than let's say Boric acid but would you put any of this stuff on for extended periods of time on your arms? Legs??....why do it to your scalp? Exactly!

Now, for the prep, I highly recommend greasing/oiling the scalp well before a relaxer. Unless you texalax (<--we'll get to this later) then please avoid the actual hair and stick to just the scalp. Its best to use something heavier like the following: Vaseline Shea Butter Grease (This is the ONLY time that I will ever recommend using grease) Olive oil Or a mixture of oils and Vaseline/Shea butter

This will help you avoid getting any relaxer on your scalp by creating a barrier just in case during the application you do get some on it.

Some women (self included) like to add things to the relaxer itself to make it more beneficial to their hair. You might be saying "Huh?? Things like what??....and what do they do?" things like:

Silk Amino Acids (SAA)- Hair is made of protein (Keratin), this is a protein so it helps to strengthen the hair and counter some of the weakness caused by the chemicals breaking down the Keratin in your tresses.

Oil (Olive, Coconut, Jojoba, etc)- Depending how much you add, these can either make your hair silkier or make your hair silkier and weaken the relaxer for a good texalax (<--Again, be patient, we are getting there, LOL). For silkier hair w/o weakening the relaxer, for a full kit don't add more than 2 table spoons of oil (total, regardless if you want to mix and use 3 different ones). I think that this coats the strands and allows the relaxer to only remove so much of the natural oil/moisture, just speculation.

If you add more for a Texalax, about 1/5 to 1/4 cup is good but I suggest working your way up to this amount starting at 3 tablespoons and experimenting with the processing time to make sure you have a solid technique to achieve the curl/texture you want every time.

Conditioner/Deep Conditioner- This is the more obvious addition.......it helps condition while the chemicals work. You can use any daily or deep conditioner for this in the same proportions as I listed for the oils above. If you want to do oil and conditioner, you can do half and half or 2/3 and 1/3...and the variables go on. Its really up to you to try it out and tweak it to your liking. I think this one is worth a shot.

Do people add other things? I'm sure they do but I don't know or I've forgotten (I work 12 hours a day everyday so the brain cells tend to get scrambled occasionally, I apologize in advance.) I'll add to this as I hear of things.

Now on to Texalaxing. This is applying a relaxer to do what texurizers do. You might ask "Why? Just do a Texturizer for all of that" Well, you can't....Texturizers and Jherri curls are Thio based and are not compatible with any relaxer base. If you apply one to hair that has been process with the other, you will experience EXTREME dryness, breakage and brittleness, you will basically lose all of your hair as well. No one wants that so I don't advise trying it.

Texalaxing is an easy way to retain some of your natural texture (how much is up to you) if you are relaxed without having to cut off all of your hair to start using a texturizer. You are basically under-processing your hair on purpose so you won't have straight hair but it will be more manageable. Texalaxing is beneficial in many ways including the following:

Helps retain thickness
Stronger hair (Less of the proteins are broken down b/c you aren't trying to get stick-straight hair)
Less breakage
No risk of over-processing
Depending on how much texture you leave in, you can acheive "wash and go" relaxed hair

Texalaxing can be acheived 3 ways:

1. Leave the relaxer on for no more than 10 mins

2. Add oils, conditioner, etc

3. Do both of the above

**Personal choice: I don't use a comb or application brush b/c they get my hair too straight. I use my fingers to smooth the relaxer thru my hair. Once I used an applicator bottle and it worked out GREAT. The relaxer was thinner and easy to squeeze b/c I add oil and conditioner. The application process was fast and clean (You have to pre-part the hair first). The only reason I haven't done it again is b/c I don't have another bottle, LOL. I was too lazy to wash that one out so I threw it away.....I'm in Iraq, things aren't that easy to come by and I hate waiting for mail.

Anyway Divas,
That's all for tonight. I hope you've enjoyed this tasty morsel....more is sure to come.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

B's Take on Trims...

I'll start off by saying that I'm not a huge fan or advocate of trimming your ends. Hair grows from the root and no amount of trimming will change that fact. Hair will grow regardless of how the ends are doing. With that said...

I don't believe in trimming hair very often, maybe 2-3 times a year unless extremely necessary. I think they are necessary when you have the following:

Tons of split ends and breakage
Uneven hair that you want to level off
Thin, damaged, see thru ends

That's it. Outside of these 3, there is no reason to trim your hair. Most hair dressers will tell you that you need a trim when in most cases, it's mainly for aesthetic reasons...basically, just so your hair will look "nice and healthy".

What's the problem with that you say? I personally like to focus on not making it "look" nice and healthy, but actually making it nice and healthy. Not only that but the hair growth rate of the average person is .5" per month. It takes you months to grow that glorious mane and you're willing to let someone take it away in a 3hr visit just to look nice?? Not me.

I also like to focus on retaining the length that I'm growing each month. Hair grows without any instructions to do so but that's the easy part. Taking care of it so that it stays on your head is a different story.

I like the concept of the Baggie Method. Its just you lightly moisturizing your hair, sealing with an oil and then placing a bag on your ends and securing with a scrunchy. This method is AMAZING! Not only are you growing all this hair but you get to keep it and enjoy it.

Anyway, here are my recommendations on what to do with your hair so you don't have to go for that trim:

Protective styles- up dos that keep your hair from rubbing on your clothes causing split ends and breakage. Also prevents your ends from drying out.

Moisturize those ends!- I can't stress enough how important moisture is for the hair. I recommend water based (Water/aqua Will be the first ingredient listed) Think of it this way, the ends are the oldest part of the hair, it warrants extra care to thrive.

Baggie, Baggie, Baggie!- like I said earlier this allows you to retain length. The concept is such...the plastic keeps the moisture in your hair so the hair is supple. It helps you cut down on needing trims b/c it drastically reduces and /or stops breakage so your ends aren't damaged and they don't thin out.

Treat your hair like SILK- Hair is made of Keratin, which just happens to be very similar in composition to Silk. I don't know about you but I wouldn't rough handle my precious silk garments so why do it to your hair? Comb gently, avoid as many harsh chemicals as you can and just be easy on it in general.

Deep condition- Black/African American hair requires the right kind of care to thrive. I think that deep conditioning is a part of that care, it helps to build hair up when its beaten down by chemicals, the environment and hard water.

Ok, so I don't like trimming, what do I recommend in its place? Dusting/Search and Destroy.
Dusting can mean one of 2 things:

1 Trimming no more than 1/8" from your hair just to focus on eradicating splits
2 Search and destroy. Go thru your ends and look for splits and cut only them.

"Won't that thin out my hair?" Nope! I do it pretty often and my hair is Uber thick. Its still even from my last trim in July b/c of the baggie method. You're not cutting any more than right above the actual split itself.

Either one of these methods is a great way to keep your hair healthy, looking fabulous and LONG!

**I recommend using the Lunar/Moon Cycle calendars to time your trims or dusting to get the best results. Here is a link to 2009's calendar so you can plan them ahead but they change yearly so you can just get on Yahoo or Google and get one :-)


My General Recommendations

Keep your scalp clean, wash your hair often. Not always with shampoo though, conditioner is a good route to go. (It’s a Myth that we can’t wash our hair everyday, relaxed or not.) I wash with conditioner nightly, every other night if I’m tired and only use shampoo 1-2 times a week.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Our hair needs a lot of moisture in general but out here it needs more. You can use oils but use them after applying a water based moisturizer. Oils do not moisturize, they seal the hair cuticle so if you apply to dry/non-moisturized hair you will experience breakage. (I recommend care free curl instant moisturizer and care free curl gold hair & scalp spray My hair can attest to this) I moisturize 2x daily, once in the AM and once in the evening after I wash.

Try not to over manipulate your hair and wash it going straight down behind you in the shower so you don’t experience too much tangling which leads to ripping your hair out and breakage. Use your fingertips to massage the poo/co and cleanse the scalp, the hair will get clean when the poo/co is flowing thru it during the rinse phase.

Your hair should basically look like this when you're done washing it.

Deep condition your hair often, weekly if possible.

Take vitamins, if you don’t take hair vitamins at least take a daily multivitamin.

Eat well and drink water, it does help your hair growth.

If you have any questions or want to know about a product let me know, I might have tried it or know someone that has tried it.

My Regimen, Hair products and Tips...

…I know, it’s a lot, I’m a product junkie:-) (Don’t worry these are only suggestions, I’m not telling you to go and buy but if something sounds interesting at least you will have some idea if it’s good or not)

I use short cuts so here,

-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
DC-Deep Conditioner
UBH-Ultra Black Hair

My regimen:
I co-wash every night or every other night if I'm tired. Wash with poo and DC once a week, don’t co-wash on that night. I use my growth aid nightly after the co-wash. I use the Carefree curl stuff daily to moisturize my hair. I use the Profective daily after the Carefree curl stuff (mainly around the perimeter of my head, every inch) I also use the Mango Butter around the edges, I switch up between this and the Profective when I feel like it.

To develop your own Hair Care Regimen, start of slow, steady and simple. If you truly disslike the current state of your hair, you should evaluate what you're doing now and the products you are using. Keep using them for a few weeks, following the directions closely and see exactly what they do for your hair. Check out the label and see what ingredients are listed. If you see no improvement, look at products with different ingredients and try them out for about a month and so forth. Now, in order for this to be effective, you need to listen to your hair. I'm going to post some data on how to do a strand test so you can know which route to go and what ingredients to look for based on what your hair needs. Your hair will occasionally talk to you, I'm going to show you how to listen and respond :-)

Claudie’s Hair Revitalizer- A sulfur growth aid that can get you an inch (or in some cases more) of growth in a month (Hair normally grows .5” per month) I use it every night after my co-washes. I try to stop for a while to give my hair a break every other month for about a month or so.
http://www.claudieshairrevitalizer.com/ (she also has an edge balm…I forget what its called but you should see it)

You can also check her products out here:
http://members.fotki.com/HairRevitalizer/about/ Feel free to look around at her pics, reviews and all that!

Sulu Max Gro- http://www.suluhair.com/
Max Gro is a sulfur growth aid can get you an inch of growth in a month (Hair normally grows .5” per month) It stinks so I mixed it with some peppermint oil. I use after my nightly co-washes. (from the makers of MTG, this has a better carrier oil and doesn't smell as strongly as the MTG, but it still stinks somewhat, peppermint oil helps)

MTG- (Don’t worry, it was originally made for humans with scalp conditions, someone used it on their horse and saw the growth…) http://www.shapelys.com/
MTG is a sulfur growth aid can get you an inch of growth in a month (Hair normally grows .5” per month) Same thing as Sulu Max Gro, made by the same company as well.

Tea Tree oil- Has antibacterial properties and stimulates circulation so I use it in my co-wash mix and sometimes I dilute the poo with water and add a few drops of this for an extra clean feeling (it tingles a little) http://www.herbalremedies.com/

Peppermint Oil- this and Tea Tree oil get added to a lot of thingshttp://www.herbalremedies.com/

Co-wash mix I use a water bottle, these are approximate measurements
4 tablespoons moisturizing conditioner (or any conditioner you like)
About 2 tablespoons EVOO
4-5 drops of tea tree oil (a little goes a LONG way)
1 teaspoon peppermint oil
About 3 tablespoons of water

It should be about the same consistency or a little thinner than yogurt. Use it to wash your hair, focus on the scalp. Massage it with the pads of your fingertips, not the nails. I make sure my hair is laying down flat/flowing down my back like in the pics and don’t manipulate my hair like they do in the commercials b/c that causes tangles. When it gets an inch longer I’m going to put it in 4 braids and wash it that way…http://www.growafrohairlong.com/ (Robin has instructions and a video on how to wash your hair in braids like I described)

Source of Life Liquid vitamin- I love, love, love this! It tastes way better than any liquid vitamin I have tasted. It gives you a lot of energy. I was taking Centrum previously and it helped with my hair but this is more potent and has more stuff in it. http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Plus-Source-Life-Liquid/dp/B00014IHKA/sr=1-1/qid=1172488935/ref=sr_1_1/103-6107823-7211867?ie=UTF8&s=hpc

Porosity control conditioner/corrector- I like this a lot too. It corrects the PH and porosity of your hair. Your hair feels different the instant this touches it. It’s one of my staple products now. http://www.amazon.com/Roux-Porosity-Control-Corrector-Conditoner/dp/B0002030QO/sr=8-1/qid=1172488889/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-6107823-7211867?ie=UTF8&s=hpc

Dove- The moisturizing formula (white bottle) is the line I use for my daily co-washes, I use the shampoo too for my weekly poo washes. My hair feels soft after this.

Herbal Essence- Hello Hydration Poo and Co…I LOVE this stuff!!!

Conditioners for daily Co-wash- I use moisturizing Co only, any cheap kind White Rain, Suave, whatever. Nothing with protein b/c this is a daily thing for me (You can co-wash as often as you like) if it says: amino acid (wheat, silk or other), protein, lysine…don’t get it b/c those are proteins. Yes I do read EVERY label on the hair product before I buy it. (too much protein causes brittle dry hair)

Shampoo for weekly wash- Again, nothing with protein.

Poo mix (I do this when my hair doesn't feel really dirty but my scalp itches and I want to wash it without stripping it. I use a water bottle, these are approximate measurements):
1-2 tablespoons Poo
3-4 tablespoons Baking soda (anti-itch)
6-8 drops of tea tree oil (a little goes a LONG way)
About 1 cup of water

This will be really thin so be careful about your eyes. I just pour the mix on my head, massage my scalp and let it sit for a few. I do this 2-3 times b/c it's so mild.

Care Free Curl Instant Moisturizer- Use this daily right before the carefree curl gold spray (see bellow).

Care Free Curl Gold Scalp and Hair spray- I love this stuff, use it daily.

Care Free Curl Gold Activator- It moisturizes and it gives a little hold, nice! I use it in lieu of gel for my phony ponies and it works out great for me.

EVOO- I use this sometimes after I moisturize to seal in the moisture. Oils do not moisturize! If you put just oil on dry hair, you have just sealed the cuticle with no moisture and no moisture will be able to get in so the hair will dry out and start breaking.

Profective Mega Growth (in the yellow jar)- I like this a lot, it’s a good creamy moisturizer, I use it around the entire perimeter of my head and make sure to saturate the back where my wig rubs...dry hair breaks easily. I sometimes apply to the shaft of my hair and ends when it feels like it needs the extra TLC.

Elasta QP Mango Butter- I like this a lot, it’s a good moisturizer, I mainly use it around the entire perimeter of my head and make sure to saturate the back where my wig rubs...dry hair breaks easily (I alternate with the Profective)

Aphogee Treatment for damaged hair- WOW!! I love this and use it after every relaxer. This is a serious protein treatment (Which is why I’m trying to stay away from everyday use of protein). Follow the instructions to the letter b/c when you blow dry the product; it makes your hair extremely hard and easy to break. (Don’t move it or touch your hair) my hair felt really strong after using it. My mom sent this but you can get it here:

http://www.folica.com/ApHOGEE_Treatme_d115.html (they have the 4oz bottle here) Make sure to use a rich moisturizing conditioner after this. Aphogee, Motions, Silk Elements and Elasta QP all make really good ones.

Ultra Black Hair Deep Conditioner-Amazing!!! I just started using it weekly to DC. It stimulates my scalp like crazy and makes my hair strong. Cathy Howse says that a good Deep conditioner for “us” should Stimulate your scalp, Lubricate the hair shaft and Strengthen/Repair any damage. This conditioner does it all but you MUST use a sit under dryer or heating cap or it won’t work. I got a bonnet attachment for my handheld blow-dryer, just like sitting under a dryer:-)

This is where you can get the Cathy Howse conditioner http://www.ultrablackhair.com/

Ultra Black Hair Moisturizing Crème- I use this after I DC with the conditioner above

Cholesterol-my mom bought me the Lustrasilk cholesterol with aloe and I like it, I usually mix it with stuff. Mainly in my co-wash mix, I just do whatever I feel like with that mix so it varies. When I use it straight it does a great job of detangling, when I have a ton of new growth and use this I can actually run my fingers thru my hair and feel my scalp!! (That is a No-go otherwise, LOL)