Saturday, October 24, 2009

Celebrating 3 years of Natural Hair - 10/21/06

October 21, 2006 was the day I got my third and last “little chop” -- 3 cuts I had gotten between then and August of 2005 when I stopped texlaxing. (My texlax had been a medium-strength sodium hydroxide relaxer kept on only as long as it took for the hairdresser to apply it). With the last of my texlaxed ends cut off, I walked out onto Church Street in Cambridge, MA with naturally curly hair for the first time in my adult life.

  December 2006 - A rainy day of shrinkage

This year I became aware the date was creeping up sometime in September. I began to mentally mark the days to my natural anniversary. It would pop up in my mind periodically. I thought about possibly celebrating it, at least with a "woohoo!". I looked forward to being 3 years a natural, one more year of knowledge and increased love for my hair.

 October 4. 2009 length check - wet and styled. I lose 2 inches when it dries.

I remembered the tough spots I faced in those 3 years: a bald spot on my temple, thinning hair from menopause and dropping hormone levels; having a major cut mid-2008 to get rid of some bad ends; and finally, the painful 16+ month transition from brown, color-treated hair to fully and naturally gray.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hair Q &A: Hair in a cold, cold climate

Q: My daughter has a hair type EXACTLY like yours, and I am @ a loss for what to try in her hair. We live in a very cold climate so I am opposed to wetting her hair daily, but NO matter what I do her hair comes out looking like an oversized cotton ball. When wet it is eerily similar to your hair type but swells into frizz. HELP!! BTW you have a beautiful mind and beautiful hair! Thanks Sis!

A: Thanks so much for your kind words, I felt really good reading them.

Cold climates are usually dry and that's the challenge. I think I'll write a post on this topic (see previous post). If your daughter's hair is similar to mine, her hair could get puffy and frizzy for 2 possible reasons:

Fall 2009 Hair Routine: Guess summer is gone. At least that's what my hair is telling me.

A month into Fall and it snowed today, a light wet snow. Alrighty then!

Life was good in the summer once I figured out what my hair needed - Up to 3 days with one wash and go and high dewpoints to help my hair more easily fluff out and back down on day 2. I would do dry twist outs after 3 days and easily go 6 days before washing again.

Now I wake up to a stringy hard mess on day 2. But you know? It's all about making those seasonal changes:

  • One of these is shea butter. Haven't touched it once since maybe May. Now it's my new best friend. The thickness of it works better for me in cold dry air to keep moisture in than a thinner product like Qhemet Olive Honey Hydrating Balm or even castor oil. Both of these work like a charm in the summer, hydrating and protecting the ends yet inviting that atmospheric moisture in.I emulsify about a 1/4 tsp of shea butter in my hands in the shower and scrunch right over conditioner after I've detangled. I make sure to cover every end. If I'm dry twisting, a little shea on my ends after moistening them with Afroveda Curly Custard or Curl Junkie Honeybutta leave in is protective and softening.I'm also adding a little shea butter to my Devacurl Set it Free for dry 2nd day hair. Shea butter works especially well to hydrate if the product I'm using contains large amounts of glycerin.

  • Glycerin, that's another thing - I dial it down in the cool to cold dry weather, when there is much less moisture in the air to be captured. Glycerin heavy products like Qhemet Honeybush gel and CJ Aloe Fix will go into hibernation until what passes for the monsoon season up here.

  • More water for the hair in the winter-- This may sound counter-intuitive because the last thing you want to do is walk around in the cold with wet hair -- and I'm not recommending that. But this time of year, my hair needs more frequent hydration -- more cowashings and shampoos to get it wet more. To avoid the wet cold head, I will use my diffuser more often or even my hard bonnet dryer, and wash more frequently at the end of the day. I'll try more roller sets to bun for 3 days or so, followed by dry twist outs. Adding a light scrunch of moisturizing product daily, of course.

  • More moisturizing deep treatments - did I say more? I did not do one moisturizing DT the entire summer. Not one. With the moisture-attracting and enhancing products I used and the high dewpoint, there was no need.

My hair's key to summer/hot/humid vs. winter/cold/dry? In the summer, I want my hair and the atmosphere to be equalized. That means I'm going to load on the humectants and attract moisture to my hair. If it's equalized I don't get frizz. If my hair is less hydrated than the atmospheric moisture, it's going to frizz. Badly (See my Summer 2009 journal).

In the winter, none of that equality with the air crap. I will do everything I can to keep moisture in my hair from being leeched by the dry air. That means more moisturizing (water, conditioners) a heavier butter like shea, more frequent co-washing/cleansing, more deep treatments, and more frequent moisturizing of my dry hair.