Sunday, September 19, 2010

To trim or not to trim? That is the question...

 I had an amazing weekend! I sing in a band and we played very well last night. I starting thinking about my hair goals and picturing myself onstage with my head full of long curls and coils or in long, vintage soft waves, or my favorite style a simple "Sade" ponytail with red lipstick. Okay, enough daydreaming but I love the options long hair provides. The downside of long hair is that the ends are old. There is no way to prevent some drying and splitting of older hair especially the ends. So to the point, trim or not? I used to be a firm believer in expecting hair ends to be flawless. I also felt the same way about my fingernails, if one chipped or had a tear I would cut them all off. Needless to say they were short more than they were long. I stopped doing that and I always have long nails now. If I chip a nail, I file it and that's it.  If I tear it, I repair it with nail glue, and keep going. My nails always look great. If one breaks I cut it down and before you know it, it grows back. Hair and nails are dead, nothing dead can be flawless, or repair itself. Stop expecting perfection from your ends. It is not possible to attain. If you see a split, trim it. If your hair is very uneven, even it up a bit, if your hair becomes extremely damaged (this should not happen) then pamper your hair and gradually trim off the damage. But constantly trimming all your hair for the sake of "perfect ends" is unreasonable for a person who hopes to have very long hair. Just as cutting off all my nails each time I seen a flaw was preventing me from enjoying my long, pretty nails. Your ends are old and will have some splits and hair does not grow in perfectly even. Besides it is very discouraging  because you will be fighting a losing battle rather than enjoying your hair. As long as it looks and feels overall good and healthy, leave it alone. Any comments?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lengthy Ambition One Hour Olive Oil Soak...

Olive Oil is an ancient beauty secret that if used regularly promotes very well moisturized and strengthened hair. Olive oil is an excellent deep conditioner. Take about a cup of olive oil or less for short hair and while bending over the sink soak your hair in the olive oil. Rub the oil into your scalp and generously along the entire length of your hair. Next, coat your hair with your favorite deep conditioner or hair mask. Put on a plastic cap,( I prefer the disposable shower caps or you can wrap our hair in plastic wrap). Sit under a hooded dryer (or bonnet dryer) for 15 minutes. Once finished under the hooded dryer, wrap a bath towel aorund your head turban style and leave on for 45 minutes (you can bathe during this time, pluck your eyebrows, do a manicure or clean the house). Now you may choose to wash this out or simply rinse thoroughly. I call this a one hour olive oil soak and it is best used at least twice a month on our dry hair. You will see that your hair will be more deeply conditioned and the treatments last quite a while. If this is too complicated or you are very busy, then wait until bedtime, follow all the steps above except skip the dryer, with the plastic cap on your head simply put the thick towel on your pillow case, go to sleep with it and in the morning rinse or wash out and style as usual.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A few simple secrets to gaining long hair faster...

You know the old saying a watched pot never boils? I disagree with that saying in the case of trying to retain  all or most of your growth. I noticed that during the two years that I measured my hair each month I seemed to retain nearly twice as much. The reason for this was that if I gained an inch in a month, the next month my goal was to retain that much or more. I may not have made it but I would always still have gained at least 3/4 inch. Now say the next month I was super busy in my personal life and didn't focus on my hair regimen (big no, no) I would measure my hair and see that I got barely a 1/2 inch (which is normal) and I would be sure to get myself back on track right away. It is a way of holding yourself accountable and learning how your hair likes to be treated. It seemed as if I grew my hair to Mid-back length in a blink of an eye because I tracked it every month. Some ladies mess in their hair waaaaayyyy too much but I do not think monthly measuring is excessive. It helps you to keep your goal in sight. Their is  another seccret to reaching your long hair goal faster, that is having a specific goal. I think that in the case of hair that goal should be set inches. It feels so good to looks back every few months and see how many inches you've gained and to be able to say how many left you need. I know some kind ladies who after three years have not retained any length. That would not happen if they were measuring each month or so and focusing on a specific goal. You should not go years making the same mistakes and getting no results. Measure monthly, I do it the first day of the month and write it down.The best way to measure your hair is to place the end of the tape measure at the front of the hairline, lay the tape across the top of the head, let it fall down the back, hold it and note where the hair ends. This is the most consistent way to measure your hair as your hairline doesn't change. So, my goal has always been 28 inches which is waist length hair for me. The longest my hair has been was 25 inches last year. What is your goal? Where is your hair going? Focusing on that goal is the secret to obtaining it? Feel free to share your goal in the comment section to hold yourself accountable and get support from me and others...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Braids and Cornrows = Long Hair?

 Hey everyone, I have been very busy in my professional lfe because I am on the hunt for my dream job, I will keep you posted on how that goes! Now to the subject at hand, braids and cornrows. When I first decided to grow my hair very long I took several pointers from the crown and glory technique of Robin Woods. I think this is a good technique but not 100% perfect ( no technique is, they all must be tweaked for the individual). That was when my hair was relaxed and I didn't quite fully understand my hair but I acheived good growth.  As a teenager (relaxed) I used to cut my hair into trendy styles such as the "Toni Braxton" and when I wanted my hair to grow back I would put it in crochet braids and six to nine months later "voila" I had hair again. I would leave my crochet braids in forever, and I would use moisturizer near the roots and tie them down at night with a silk scarf. All the girls at school would say "She cut all of her hair off and now it is longer than mine." Their hair appeared as if it wasn't growing because they has not retained any of their growth. Let's go back a little further to my childhood. I had extremely long and thick hair by any standard, my mom kept my hair in cornrows with beads and ponytails, she had a regular wash and trim schedule as well. My hair was enviable. So, I have been reflecting on my long history with braids and cornrows. And now that I am a mother to a daughter and natural I dedcided that braids and cornrows need to be a bigger part of my life if I want very long hair in a relatively short period of time. For the last three weeks, I have been styling my daughters' hair in cornrows with beads and leaving it up for two weeks is the plan. I assure you she has already retained about a 1/2 inch. She has a very good length and she is still only 3. So, I decided to formulate my own regimen with cornrows. It could also be done with box braids. I have been wearing my hair in cornrows and basically treating it the exact same as if it were loose. For example, I am co-washing me and my daughters' hair while in the braids. The obhective with a cornrow/braid regimen in my opinion is "leaving the hair alone" the braids themselves do not make your hair grow but not manipulating your hair can prevent a lot of damage. Plus, if you are natural it helps minimize constant single strand knots, matting and annoying detangling sessions. If you are relaxed you must be sure with ANY braid regimen that your hair is not severely damaged because the braids could cause breakage on fragile hair (especially if you add braiding hair), so make sure your hair is strong before attempting this and use a leave in like Infusium 23 often. Okay, so this set of corrows have been in for 6 days, 8 to go (maybe more). I measured my hair and in three months I will let you know how many inches I have been able to keep on my head. I know that even when I reach my long hair goal of waist length hair that I will continue to braid and cornrow my lengths. Sound interesting to you?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wen Re-Moist Intensive Hair Repair Mask

I am in love with this product. When I first went natural I was shocked at just how dry my hair was. So the first thing I did was stop using shampoo because my hair does not like much shampoo. I tried Wen products when they first came on the market, I loved it on my relaxed hair. It kept my hair moist from within almost. Now my curls love this repair mask. It is like a super deep conditioner. I have been using it each week and I have noticed that my hair seems to stay moisturized longer and it is very strong. I think Wen is a great product for co-washers also because the product is made for that purpose. I would like to tell you that if this product gives my dry 3c and 4a curls and corkscrews long lasting moisture it is a keeper. Also, if you are a wash and go type this gives you the healthy start to keep the wash and go's looking good with less product for curl definition. Relaxed ladies can benefit because it really does fortify your weakened strands. Anytime you can find a product that keeps dry hair from becoming brittle (this makes the hair more flexible) you have a product that helps with retention and reaching long hair goals!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moisture is where it has always been...

I think some of us are just too stingy with our hair when it comes to moisture. BUT if you want longer hair as fast and as healthy as you can get it moisture must become your new bff! That is why wearing our hair up is really helpful cause the hair can be moist and not look stringy or greasy! Cornrows are great. Low and high loose buns are great and so is wearing the hair in perhaps one braided ponytail. Be heavy handed with your faorite moisturizer and remember water counts as the number one moisturizer! Moisturize your hair daily for keeping all the length you have ambitioned to grow!

A New Norm

As a child I remember all the cartoons of black girls had the girls hair in two small afro puffs whereas the cartoon of the white child would have long flowing hair. I always thought to myself 'I want long flowing hair,I don't think afro puffs are my style.' Of course now afro puffs are definately a cute style but the point is, as a child I wanted to define my own beauty and I wanted styling options. I think that if we work hard to disspell the hair myths that are dominant in the black hair care world when our children are watching cartoons they will see the little black girl character with long flowing hair in one episode and beautiful ringlets in the next. I hope that we start putting half as much energy into really learning how to care for our hair and grow it as we do into styling and weaves. Then seeing long haired black women will become the norm"


It has often been said that a woman's hair is her crown and long hair is a glory to her. So what does that mean for the woman that feels her hair will not grow? Does she have no crown? Will there be no glory for her? That would not be fair or just. Many black women have been trying for so long to grow their hair with no real results. Therefore, many of them have turned to wigs or weaves so that they can have the appearance of long hair. Women of other races occasionally also resort to these options. Others have just given up all together. It no longer has to be this way. If you are black you can grow long hair just like any other race! The key is doing the techniques that work for black hair. The days of the black woman saying "I'm trying to grow my hair " whereas many in other races can say "I'm growing my hair" are over. We no longer have to try to grow our hair we can just grow it."