Monday, January 23, 2017

Caring for Natural Hair During the Winter Months

I have a love/hate relationship with the long winters that are common here in Colorado.  On the one
hand, you have fun times in the snow and beautiful scenery.  On the other, unpleasant bouts of dry skin and hair.  I realize that other states get plenty of snow like we do here in Colorado.  Thing is, we also have a dry climate which can seem even drier during the wintertime.  This seasonal change can lead to skin that soaks up lotion like a sponge.  It can also be a burden to my already thirsty natural hair. 

Each year I have to change my hair regimen in order to adapt.  It's either that or come spring I'm mourning the loss of valuable inches.  I usually keep grapeseed oil on hand which helps to seal in the moisture from one of my favorite hair milks.  That works just fine during the warmer months.  For
winter though, I have to act like I live north of Winterfell and get medieval on these curls with something heavy like shea butter or castor oil. 

In the fall, I started out using a mixture of castor and grapeseed oils to act as my sealant.  This was okay up until December when the dryness began to set in.  I tried doing deep conditioning treatments but I really just needed a good moisturizer.  I knew that I could find a moisturizing product for natural hair at the store but I wondered what would happen if I just used olive oil instead?  It technically has a molecular structure that allows it to penetrate the hair shaft so it could work right?

Curly in Colorado Natural Hair Care During the Winter
My hair is softer and more manageable
Thanks to using Olive Oil as a moisturizer
Let me tell you my hair bounced back almost instantly!  It felt so good it had me wondering why I never thought of this before?  I mean, of course I've used olive oil in my shea butter mixes or back when I started experimenting with Eco Gel.  This time though, I used it just like it were my moisturizer.  I hopped out of the shower and applied the oil directly to my hair while it was still slightly wet.  Then I used my Shea Butter Extra Moisturizing Transitioning Milk by Shea Moisture.  I have used this product alone but never had this much softness and manageability.  I finished by using Eco Gel with Argan Oil for a wash and go.  My hair felt great up until wash day which for me is about every 3 to 4 days (thanks to my psoriasis scalp).

If you're in Colorado (or having dry hair issues in general) then I highly suggest giving olive oil a try.  Look for Extra Virgin olive oil because it is going to give you the best results.  I do not suggest this oil if you plan on using heat on your hair.  Also, it may be too heavy if you have fine hair so you can apply it and leave-in for a few minutes before cleansing your hair.

I'm so glad my hot hair tip is finally out of the bag!  I get asked about how to manage dry hair all of the time and I truly hope that this helps someone.  Please leave a comment below if this has
helped you!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Heat Damage Led to My Mini Big Chop

Curlyincolorado.com Heat Damage Mini Big Chop
My teeny afro after my Mini Big Chop
Feb. 2016
Stubborn.  I guess that's the word for it because I have no other way to describe it.  I keep trying to straighten my hair until it is laid to the gods and it keeps coming back with heat damage.  Yes, I have now, to date, given myself heat damage more times than I can remember.  There isn't a stylist to blame or even a lack of knowledge on my part.  I knew better and still wound up damaging my hair while straightening it.

I blame Youtube.  We've all seen the videos where people are cranking their flat irons up past 400 degrees.  Well, I thought maybe I could too.  I mean why not?  My hair was getting longer and healthier.  I was doing protein treatments and using multiple heat protectants.  I even thought I could just wear my hair straight whenever I felt like it.  I found out the hard way that those things would certainly not work for my hair.

In the past, when I noticed a little heat damage, it was near the ends of my hair resulting in loose curls.  Last year, however, I noticed that the hair from midway down the strands to the ends was thinner than the new growth coming in.  A lot thinner.  That eventually led to some breakage which sent me into emergency repair mode.  Of course I tried protein treatments; usually the 2 Minute Reconstructor by Aphogee.  This time though, I knew that the damaged hair would have to go.

Finally, I decided to do a mini big chop to get rid of the damaged hair.  This left me with a very teeny afro.  That was in February of 2016.  My hair feels completely different almost a year later.  It's even back to my old length from before the heat damage.

Of course, I'm stubborn, so I still like to use heat on my hair.  As far as avoiding heat damage, here is what I have learned, again.

My hair now
Jan. 2017
(curls are back after straightening)
  1. Always clarify hair prior to straightening (A must!)
  2. Always use a heat protectant (Duh!)
  3. MY hair cannot withstand heat over 400 degrees (anything higher = heat damage)
  4. Touch-ups are the Devil!  Pincurls, wraps and rollers only for styling after straightening.
  5. Use heat less frequently (no more than 1x per month; less is even better)
I would like to think that this time I have finally learned my lesson.  What's good for some may not work for others.  I know that I sound like a broken record but it's true.

Have you ever tried something you saw on Youtube and it went horribly wrong?  Leave a 
comment below.

CHECK OUT MY LAST POST HERE 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Getting Back to it After a Long Blog Hiatus

Curly In Colorado Natural Hair Blog
Feeling better and ready to
get back to blogging
It certainly has been a really long time since I last posted here on CurlyinColorado.com.  There were plenty of times during my hiatus that I thought about updating everyone on my hair journey.  Thing is, the end of 2015 and all of 2016 proved to be very challenging for me personally.  It turns out that I was experiencing chronic pain from a large tumor like growth in my lower abdomen.  The pain increased and eventually led to an abdominal surgery in October of 2016.  After the surgery it was later concluded that the growth was the result of endometriosis. 


I sit here writing this post realizing that others may have experienced something similar.  All I can say is, if something doesn't seem right, definitely seek medical attention early before it gets out of  hand.  The pain left me feeling down and unmotivated.  I also wasn't sleeping very well which made me tired and not up to my best during the day.  However, since the surgery, I have fully recovered and am feeling so much better.  I'm even back to exercising and sleeping normally.



Curly in Colorado Natural Hair Blog
Scenes from my new office space
My new found energy has got me wanting to get back to things that I missed out on while I was down with the pain.  Blogging is one of those things so you'll be seeing more posts here on CurlyinColorado.com.  Another positive is that our family purchased a new home in 2016!  This month marks one full year of living in our new house and we are lovin' it.  We have more space and are even enjoying a designated office just off of the master bedroom.  I'm adding to the space all of the time and can't wait to start filming for my YouTube Channel and creating content for the blog. 

So there it is!  My blog hiatus is officially over.  Let me know if there are any topics that you would like to see in a post.  See you soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Summertime Wash n' Go Routine

The results from
My current wash n' go routine
with my new bangs
Now, we all know that a wash n' go is really just what we say when we wear a style that shows off our natural curls right?  Okay then, with that said, this is what I've been doing for the past few weeks for MY wash n' go (insert smiley face here).  To be honest, the hot, summer-like weather did not hit us Coloradans until mid July.  For that reason, I've only just recently gotten into a routine for my curly hair.

Last month I picked up The Conditioner by Paul Mitchell, which is actually a leave-in.  This stuff leaves my hair so soft and moisturized.  I decided to start using it under my hair gel in place of the Aussie Moist that I was using throughout the winter.  I found out that using too much of the Aussie product led to heavy buildup and dryness.  The Paul Mitchell product is lighter and doesn't have the type of silicones in it that will cause those problems.


Another star in my product lineup is the Curl Love Moisture Milk by Camille Rose Naturals.  It's a creamy moisturizer that always gives me more hang time when I use it on my curls.  I know we should embrace the shrinkage and all but, we are still not friends to this day.  So I appreciate the extra length I get whenever I use this product.

Something else I've started doing to keep some of my length is blowdrying my hair instead of air drying.  Yes, I know it can be bad for the hair but I use grapeseed oil to seal in my moisture.  This is considered a heat protectant.  I can vouch for that seeing as how it saved my curls from heat damage several times in the past.  Also, I usually don't pull out the blowdryer until my hair has had a chance to dry a little.  When I feel the gel in my hair go crisp, that's when I know it is safe to start drying it without causing too much frizz.

My all-star lineup of products
Camille Rose's Curl Love Moisture Milk,
The Conditioner by Paul Mitchell,
Eco Gel and Grapeseed oil
My whole process is pretty simple.  I cleanse and condition my hair and scalp in the shower.  I detangle while I still have loads of conditioner in my hair because it gives me enough slip to detangle with my denman brush.  After that I towel dry my hair.  I know that is another no-no step but I like for my products to soak in to my hair so, the dryer the better.  I apply my leave-in conditioner first and follow up with the Moisture Milk.  I seal both of these in with grapeseed oil.  Finally, I section my hair and spritz it with water before applying my gel.  If I'm going to use my blowdryer, I wait about an hour before blowing out the roots and any damp areas.  Otherwise, I just leave it to air dry.

There you have it!  That is my current wash n' go routine for the summer.  When I think about it, it's really not that different from before but still has a few tweaks here and there.  Be sure to check out my video on how I did my wash and go previous to this.  That's all for now until next time!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Letting Go of Heat Damage

www.curlyincolorado.com heat damageNaturally curly hair can take some getting used to.  When I first went natural I did all that I could to learn more about how to grow my hair longer and stronger.  Since I hadn't worn my natural hair  since I was a pre-teen, I was very new to the idea.  Because of this my hair journey began with a lot of trial and error.  Heat damage ended up being on of my biggest mistakes early on.  I created a regimen for myself that included straightening my hair once a month.  Of course, I knew about deep conditioning and heat protectant but still didn't know how MY hair reacted to heat.

At the time I was of the mind that hair of my type required at least 400 degrees or more for straightening.  I later found out that using the right technique also plays a huge role in how smooth my hair turns out.  Also, I was of the mind that having natural, unprocessed hair meant that my hair would withstand heat and manipulation differently.  This mindset eventually led to my misuse of heat on one occasion that left a section of my hair heat damaged.




www.curlyincolorado.com
Heat Damage in front kept me from having
a uniform look when wearing my curls
Fast forward a few years later and here I sit, on the rebound once again.  Earlier this summer I found myself dealing with heat damage.  Mind you, this was from an incident that occurred last summer.  I allowed the hair in my bangs section to regrow for a full nine months before I finally decided to chop off the damaged ends.  It was a hard decision to make but it really was a lot easier to wear curly styles afterwards.

www.curlyincolorado.com heat damage
My bangs after chopping off the heat damaged ends
The lesson I learned is this; listen to your hair.  When the hair is responding to a new technique or product in a negative way, don't ignore it.  I knew that the section had been compromised by the heat use but did not take the necessary steps to correct it.  Now, when I see a slight change in my curl pattern, I pay attention.  Heat damage is one of the ways naturally curly hair cries out
for help.

I have several posts here on the blog about heat damage and what I have done to combat it.  Although it can be irreversible in some cases, it still proves to be a way to learn more about what the hair can and cannot take.

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