Easy Bedtime Routine for Natural Hair

Hey Daizies!

Times have gotten so busy and flying by faster than ever. I took out my braids because they were getting a lil raggedy and I was high-key missing my fro. This quarter I’ve had consistent late nights in the lab finishing coding for my Information Systems class, so spending two hours on twist outs just aren’t doable right now. But I’m still keeping my hair moisturized with an easy, time efficient routine.

  1. Divide hair into 4 sections
  2. One section at a time, distribute shea butter from root to tip. I pay special attention to the ends of my hair, especially since the weather is getting colder. I bought a gallon of shea butter while I was in Ghana (the most authentic ever), but you can get shea butter from most beauty supply stores and even on Amazon. I LOVE shea butter because it’s thick, soft, and has just enough of an oily finish to coat the ends but not too much to where my hair feels weighed down

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    Shea Butter from Ghana
  3. The next step is to seal with an oil. For this part I usually use castor oil and/or coconut oil. I often spend a few minutes massaging my scalp with coconut oil to help stimulate blood flow which ultimate helps with hair growth. When managing my hair I only use my fingers to detangle. I’m able to accurately locate knots and soften them with the shea butter and oils
  4. After coating with shea butter and oils, I twist my hair in four sections using a hairband and wrap with a satin scarf.
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Go-to hairstyle

Nowadays, I am wearing my hair in a high-puff or a low side bun with a twisted bang. Fridays are usually the days where I where my fro out loose since wash day falls around the weekend. Honestly, don’t have as much time but still enjoy taking care of my hair. This routine takes around 10-20 minutes depending on how quickly I’m trying to go to bed. In the mornings, my hair is still pretty moisturized from my night procedure so just a tad of leave-in conditioner does the job.  Next up in natural hair is TRIM SZN! More updates to come.

Xoxo,

-POP

3 Years of Natural Hair: 2 years Post-Big Chop Update!

It’s been a little over 3 years since starting my natural hair journey and it has been filled with so much learning and discovery of not just my hair, but of myself as a person. My last update was at the 2 year mark and I finally had some length going on and I was extremely proud of my progress. Since passing the big chop, and short/long stage, I am now at a length that was my ultimate #goal when I first went natural. While there are things I want to work on, I finally have that carefree Solange inspired healthy and thick afro that I always wanted.

Protective Styles of the Year

  • Box braids

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I LOVED this summer style last year. I used 4 1/2 packs of Xpressions hair in the color 1B and some highlights of the color 2. They lasted for about 2 months before I moved on to my next style.

  • Marley twists

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There’s just something about dark brown and honey blonde twists that I just LOVE! Definitely one of my favorite styles ever. This style was low maintenance and great for traveling.

  • Fro out & Loose Styles

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I had a lot of fun styling my hair this past year. The new length was always exciting. Within the last year, I embraced my natural 4c hair by wearing it in its natural state and realizing I don’t always have to do twist and braid outs that mimic a looser curl pattern to have a good hair day. This was the year of loving the way my hair is and not trying to force curls that just aren’t always there. When I first went natural, I had the 4a/4b hair texture in mind and longed for the loose spirally curls. After the big chopped I soon realized that my hair is only 4c around the edges but for the most part I would be dealing with 4c hair. I kept my kinks and coils masked in twist outs that made my hair look wavy, and rarely wore my hair out unless it was manipulated in some way. This year, I gained the confidence to wear my hair as it was in loose fro’s and other styles that didn’t always require curl manipulation and enhancement. There’s always more to the journey, even 3 years into my path.

  • High Puff

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Once I figured out the headband method and my hair was of length, you couldn’t tell me nothing with a high puff. This is the style I always wear one day post wash day. It allows my hair to dry and stay out of the way to reduce tangles.

  • 2 stand twists

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At first I didn’t think my hair would stay twisted and would unravel, but when I finally tried wearing two strand twists as a style, I was so thrilled. It’s a great style in between wash days and lasted 5 days of traveling when I was in Barcelona. I like to add some golden puffs as an accessory as well as some head wraps. The best part is that you can untwist them for a 2-in-1 protective style.

  • Hair wraps

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Headwraps have saved me so many mornings of stress and chaos. If I was ever in a hurry, I knew that head wraps could always save the day. Even when I’m not in a rush, I loved wearing bold patterns and vibrant colored head wraps and looked up different ways of wearing them. I formed a collection when traveling and now have an assortment of wraps to choose from. I’m glad I hopped on the head wrap train!

  • Freetress waterwave crochet

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Crochet made its way back into my life with my birthday wavy style. I’m not a strong French braider so its great that I can cover the base braids with whatever type of hair I choose. This time I wanted to try a short wavy bob.

  • Straight hair crochet

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I was interested in wearing straight hair without actually straightening my own so once again crochet for any and every hairstyle wish! I was surprised with how long the style lasted. With Janet Collection kanekalon hair, the crochet lasted 6 weeks.

  • Wigs!

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After weeks of researching wigs, I finally purchased my first units from Aliexpress and Same beauty. My favorite is Veronica (first image) because the closure easily blends with my natural hair. Full review can be found here: https://youtu.be/eK6UPnzItJs

  • Silk press

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I finally went for it and got my first silk press and a long overdue professional trim.

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And most recently, I tried crochet Havana twists and this style was a 3-in1. From wearing it in long twists, to unravelling, and then cutting it short, I loved the versatility this one style had to offer.

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With all of the growth and changes, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. This photo was 1 year post transitioning and 4 months post Big Chop.

Favorite Natural Hair Products

I still have my favorite brands that were solidified last year. I select my products based on ingredients and my hair needs of frequent moisture. My all time favorite products are from Suave, Cantu, Trader Joe’s, Shea Moisture, and Taliah Waajid

How My Routine Has Changed

Wash and go’s just had to go. I used to be able to co-wash my hair the day of class or work and just go, but with more length to my hair the shrinkage is harder for me to manage. I prefer to go through the entire process of detangling before and after wetting my hair, and so with the 3rd year of my journey, I stopped doing wash and go’s.

I now stretch my hair every week which has helped minimize matting and tangles. After wash day, I typically wear my hair in a puff while it dries. Then I braid my hair in about 8  large braids and wear my hair in a stretched braid-out. I found that keeping my hair stretched allows for quicker nighttime styling and for the detangling process when wash day rolls around.

My recent blog post’s of prepooing and using apple cider vinegar, shed a light on my favorite new additions to my haircare routine. During my first couple of years through transitioning and after the big chop, I often went straight into the shampoo process of wash day. I now make the prepoo/detangling process a necessity for wash day.

Furthermore, I figured out the right proportions that make apple cider vinegar rinses work for me. I had tried ACV in January of 2016 and I didn’t like it at all but it was because I basically used almost half the bottle of ACV within one rinse. After I figured out the 1/4 ACV to 3/4 water proportions, the mix has changed my scalp game forever.

Things I wish I knew

I got my first professional trim since my big chop in 2015. Going into my appointment, I was just sure that the stylist would barely have to cut any hair off. After my hair was blow dried, I was shocked to witness the dead and split ends with my own eyes and ended up having almost 1.5 inches of hair cut off. I know I hadn’t trimmed my hair every 3 months like I should have but I still thought I was doing a job trimming my hair at least every 4-5 months. Cutting my hair when it was fully blown out with a dryer helped make the split ends more visible and I decided in May that I would only cut my hair when it was blown out. Three months later I held up that goal and recently trimmed my hair by myself. I still plan to get a professional trim at least twice a year now, so that I’m not in for a shock later down in the line.

My Updated Hair Goals

I am now on my quest for waist length natural hair but this time without in a specific time frame. After my first silk press and trim in May, I stared at my collarbone length hair and got very sad once I realized I wouldn’t reach waist length natural hair by the time I graduated. That was always my goal, and I had this illusion before flat ironing my hair, that I was almost there. After the trim of dead ends, I faced the reality that I wasn’t quite there. I thought to myself, what in the world have I been doing wrong? I had been moisturizing, deep conditioning, doing hot oil treatments, protective styles, you name it! But still, I was only at the length I had when I had my hair relaxed.

What got me out of this  funk, was looking at  my old throwback pictures from 2015 of my big chop. Even looking at the pictures from last year, I can tell my hair has grown so much! My deep conditioning sessions weren’t in vain because even the stylist noted how moisturized and healthy my strands were. Like I said at the beginning, my hair right now  is what I dreamed of when I first went natural. This is what I had to remind myself because what I have now is what seemed like would take forever to get to. One day I will have waist length hair, it may take a few years but I know one thing…I HAVE TO GET FREQUENT TRIMS!

I love the path I am on and the dedication I have to caring for my hair.  My hours of deep conditioning and massaging my scalp are also a form of self care because. Seeing my hair grow and thrive is exciting and I’m ready for this next year of healthy hair and life!

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-POP

 

DIY Prepoo & Detangler for Under $5

Hey Daizies! Detangling has made my wash days so much easier as my hair continues to grow. Detangling is the process of unraveling the tangles from root to tip of each section of your hair. This process allows my hair to not got extremely tangled when the water touches my hair and shrinks up. Your hair is in its weakest state when its wet, and tangles ultimately lead to breakage. I want to maintain length and healthy ends, which is why I always detangle before any part of wash day.

The term prepoo alone involves lathering your hair with a conditioner so that less nutrients are stripped during the shampoo process. While you can always buy sulfate-free shampoo, the process of manipulating your hair and using water still can strip a little bit of nutrients from your hair.

I combine both methods by using pre-poo ingredients and the action of detangling at the same time. There are tons of detangling products you could buy but I’ve come up with a DIY detangler that’s worked great for the past year.

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The first ingredient is Vo5 conditioner. I can’t believe this dollar tree staple of childhood would find its way back into my hair care routine. Because you can find it at the dollar tree, you probably would overlook it but you don’t always need to break the bank to maintain your hair. This conditioner is great for detangling because it is thick, creamy, and has great slip. It’s nourishing formula is provides an ample amount of hydration that is needed while I’m manipulating my hair and therefore, the strands won’t be prone to snapping when I’m going through them with my fingers.

The ingredients:Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Stearalkonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Steareth-21, Glyceryl Stearate, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract, Soy Molk, Passiflora Incarnata Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Biotin, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 20, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Red 40 (Ci 16035), Red 4 (Ci 14700), Orange 4 (Ci 15510).

Nothing amazing stands out in the ingredients but there aren’t any red flags among the formula.

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The next step that takes the Vo5 to the next level is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO is a penetrating oil and really gets through the shaft of the hair strand. This extra moisture is an excellent prepoo ingredient and the more moisturized my hair is, the easier it is to detangle as well. You can get olive oil in the oil and flour section of your grocery store for around $3-$4. It doesn’t really matter what brand you get since the ingredients should be the same.

I mix together the conditioner and oil with water and shake together in a spray bottle.  You can also use a plastic bowl you don’t care about, but the application is easier for me if I use a spray bottle. I then section my hair in 4 parts and begin the process of detangling which takes me about an hour on a good day.

What is your favorite DIY detangler?

-POP

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair

 

I’ve mentioned ACV in a few blog posts before but haven’t made a specific post detailing how I go about using it in my hair routine. My love for ACV came about during the times when my scalp just doesn’t stop itching. Usually, this happens every few months and seems although I deep condition every week and shampoo every two weeks, there are times when there’s still too much build up and my scalp becomes irritated. I reach for ACV and then these problems cease.

The benefits of ACV seemed too good to be true. When I first heard of using the vinegar for hair I was wondering what could be so great about apple cider vinegar and why was everyone raving about it. Well, for starters ACV has pH balancing properties. Before I thought pH balance was only something internal but I had no idea your scalp had a pH balance and this prevents the growth of bacteria and dryness. Basically pH balance is an important part of scalp health and ultimately hair growth. It acts as a natural cleanser and removes product buildup and dirt from gels, leave-ins and other daily products. These properties explain why my hair and scalp feel so relieved after using the rinse.

When using ACV it is important to use the right portions to reap all of the benefits. You don’t want to make the mistake of using too much of the ACV. I had the tendency of pouring too much ACV into my bottle of water just because I wanted to make sure it REALLY worked. However, when I used the portions of half water and half ACV, my hair felt harder and drier and my prior deep conditioning treatment seemed pointless. ACV is an acidic ingredient so dilutting with water is crucial. The measurements I use for my 4c and prone to dryness hair is 1 parts ACV and 3 parts water.

  • 1/4 cup of ACV and 3/4 cup of water

Easiest Way to Use ACV

I’ve tried using ACV before and after I condition, as well as using only ACV as a rinse and following with a leave-in conditioner. I typically use the rinse method when I have a protective style that has a lot of hair ie: crochet braids, twists, etc. When I have more time on my hands I use ACV as my shampoo and then follow with a conditioner to reapply the moisture.

To apply the ACV it is easiest to use with a spray bottle. You can spray the mixture directly onto the scalp or open the bottle top and rinse it throughout your hair. This process usually takes about 5-10 minutes. I then let the mixture sit on my hair for at least 5 minutes and then I rinse thoroughly with cool water.

I use ACV monthly or when an itchy scalp scenario arises. It’s not a weekly type of treatment due to its acidic nature. It’s been about a year since I first started using ACV and I gladly hold it in my arsenal of top DIY products for natural hair.

  Learn more about the benefits of ACV in detail here. 

-POP

 

What Should Be in Your Natural Hair Travel Kit?| Checklist for Packing

It’s the second half of summer’17 and in the spirit of vacation season, some of you may have experienced the cumbersome planning process when it comes to packing as a natural. Weeks before a trip I am usually thinking about how I will style my hair while I’m away. Based on the styles I plan, I can pack accordingly. While I have a tendency to overpack, I never want to cut corners when it comes to planning for my haircare regimen.  However, it is totally possible to pack a thorough natural hair travel kit that doesn’t involve taking your entire bathroom arsenal of hair products. Here’s how to do it:

Think functional

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Leave-In
  • Sealant

These are the main product areas I make sure to have when I am traveling and plan to wear my fro out at some time. Depending on the length of stay, the size of the products I take may vary. If I am only going to be gone for about a week, like with my trip to Cabo, I go to Walgreens and purchase tiny 3oz empty bottles that are TSA approved. I then put product into those bottles and double bag them using a ziplock bag or plastic bag. Short trips don’t require a separate hair product haul, just take what you’ve been using and put them into tiny bottles and you should be set!

Longer Stay = More Flexibility

You have more flexibility if you are checking in a luggage and with that comes the opportunity to add to your list of necessities. I could go a little while without Shea butter for a few days or even a week, but thinking about an entire 4 months without Shea butter would be hard to fathom. Now that I use it for more than just my hair, I would definitely crave moisturizing my body after a long warm shower. Furthermore, I can get by with using water and a leave-in conditioner for a braid or twist out, but an amazing curl enhancing product takes things to the next level. This comes in handy if I know I’m about to have a cute day and want to take some flawless pictures. As of now, Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream and Shea Moistures’ Coconut and Hibiscus Curling Cream are my top two favorites. With that, Shea butter and a curl definer are added to the list of necessities.

  • Butter
  • Curl Definer

Stock Up on Your Faves

For longer trips, think of products that would be hard to find overseas or whoever you’er going. For example, when packing to study abroad for a semester in Italy, I knew I probably wouldn’t come across my favorite Cantu Leave- In Conditioner. There aren’t sections in the store isles dedicated to natural hair in Europe. It took months to scout out where I could find ethnic stores in Milan and if I was headed to a city with more black people, like London or Amsterdam, going to the hair store was always apart of my itinerary.

After 2 months I finally found a hair store in Milan, after joining the right Facebook groups and getting solid directions on where to find the store. The brands were quite limiting and a simple bottle of leave-in conditioner would cost to the equivalent of $15 USD and for  smaller size than I would normally get. At this point my Cantu leave-in was almost gone but I refused to pay twice as much for half. I had to use other brands I wasn’t quite familiar with and didn’t like as much. In an attempt to pack modestly, I only brought one jar of leave-in knowing dang well I use about 2 every two months. My advice here would be to PACK YOUR FAVES IN BULK. You will thank yourself later.

Another product that’s hard to come by is a sulfate-free shampoo. Even when I finally found the hair store in Milan, and the one in Rome, the shampoos had sulfates and other ingredients I normally avoided. Again, I had only brought one bottle and definitely wished I had brought more. But have no fear, there’s always DIY cleansing methods and ACV became my best friend.

Logistics

  • Shea butter melts even if its in your checked luggage or carry on. Avoid wasting your product by bagging your butter.
  • Tape the lid shut for you bottles and creamy products or IT WILL LEAK!
  • Even after taping, things can get rough when transporting. Put your bottles in bags to avoid loosing precious ounces of your products
  • If you do end up buying products from the markets or grocery stores, make sure you use Google translate app to translate the ingredients to make sure you’re not buying a product with harmful chemicals or ingredients

With that, I hope preparing for your natural hair while traveling is a little easier and you can focus more on the trip itself! In short, think of what you can’t live without and the basic necessities for your hair to be happy and healthy.

-POP

Protective Style Update: Crochet Havana Twists

Greetings Daizies!

My latest protective style has been Havana twists! Not just any Havana twists, but crochet! I was initially apprehensive of crochet twists because I wasn’t sure if they were going to look like… crochet. I was even going to opt for the tried and true Marley hair for a crochet fro but I am so glad I hung on to my curiosity rather than fear. My crochet twists are definitely one of my top favorite styles I’ve done so far!

I especially LOVE the color.While I don’t plan on dying my hair anytime soon, the beauty of protective styles is that I can play with different colors on synthetic hair rather than dying my actual hair.

Logistics

  • 5 1/2 packs of Janet Collection Havana Mambo Twist, 1 EXTRA pack that I ended up returningIMG_2818
  • Mix between (5) 1B/30 and (2) ombre packs (OEM4/30)
  • Braiding time : 3 1/2 hours
  • Crochet time: 2 hours
  • Durability: The twists did get frizzy, as I expected, after about a week and a half. I maintained the styles by trimming the stray hairs and tangles. At the start of week 4, I replaced the most frizzy twists with the extra pack of hair from my 6th pack.
  • Maintenance: I continue to moisturize my scalp and base braids with leave-in conditioner and oil(coconut or Jamaican black castor oil). I wash my hair using a spray bottle, while tying the twists up in a pineapple. I mix ACV and water together in the bottle and rinse the mixture through my scalp, avoiding the mass of hair for an easier wash day and quicker drying. I follow with conditioner as usual.

LOVE this style and I’ll definitely try jumbo twists again. I plan to take the twists out this weekend, for a grand total of 4 1/2 weeks as as durable style.

Stay tuned for more!-POP

Favorite Products & Maintenance for Twist Out Longevity

It’s been a while since I’ve had a natural hair post. In the past year I am glad to see my twist out results reach new heights and last way longer than previous attempts. In order to make my styles last for the entire week the right products, low manipulation, and proper night time care are essential.

The process and products:

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie+ JBCO ( Jamaican Black Castor Oil)

Cantu Leave-In Conditioner+ Shea Moisture Multi-Vitamin Soft Curl Gel Cream+ JBCP

Cantu Leave-In Contioner + Taliah Waajid Curly Curl Gello+ JBCO

I use a combination of the products listed above starting with a creamy product first to help detangle my hair, then a gel or curl enhancer, and lastly sealing with an oil. I love JBCO because it is thick and helps soften the ends of my hair while also promoting healthy hair growth.

I usually pick a relaxing Sunday or Saturday evening when I’m done with everything to begin the 2-3 hour hair project. I start by sectioning my hair in 4 sections, and lightly spray my hair with water from a spray bottle. I’ve tried both methods of making as little as 12 twists to as many as 50. The amount of twists depends on how defined I want my hair and how long I want it to last.  If using combination 1) the Curl Enhancing Smoothie cream is distributed throughout each section. I twist my hair firmly and make sure the two strands are even. Then, I massage the castor oil onto my scalp and especially to the ends of my hair. When I wake up the next morning, I take my time with unraveling the twists. I only separate my hair from the roots right up until the ends of my hair. I don’t separate the ends of my hair so I can prevent frizz and because throughout the day/week it will separate itself.

Night time maintenance: Maintenance is key to making the style last. Even though I don’t want my hair to revert back to its natural state right after a twist out, moisturizing is key. I apply Cantu Leave-In Conditioner to my hair and section my hair in 4 sections again. I also apply coconut oil to my ends to prevent frizz and JBCO to my scalp to promote hair growth. I put on my bonnet and call it a night. Another trick is to simply twist only the front pieces of your hair to make the style look brand new each day or to touch up some locs to keep the curls defined. Nighttime routine only takes me about 10 minutes.

By the end of the week, I’ve enjoyed my twist outs run and it will be time for wash day. Stretching my hair helps prevent tangles and knots and twist outs are one of my go-to stretched styles.