My Staple Hair Products

As a follow-up to my No Heat Challenge video, I decided to let everyone know what hair products I’ll be using over the next few months.  It turns out that I feel the most comfortable sticking with what I know.  That brings us to what I would consider my “Staple” products.  These are the things that I keep coming back to after trying other products.  Sure, sometimes I like to change things up a bit, but right now I have this desire to just keep it simple.

MY YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT THE HAIR PRODUCTS 
I’LL BE USING FOR THE 
4 MONTH NO HEAT CHALLENGE

One thing I want to mention, that is not shown in the video, are my moisturizers.  I’m still in love with the Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme but I’m also using the Elasta QP Mango and Olive moisturizer.  Otherwise, everything else is in the video.  You can also take a look at what’s listed in the tab above named “Hair Regimen” to see some of the things I do on a weekly basis.

Natural Hair: Growing it Out In Your Own Time

This last couple of weeks I’ve been kicking myself for the frequent trimming that has kept my hair journey stuck in neutral.  Right now my hair sits just below APL (arm pit length) in back and layered in front with bangs (when straight).  My main motivation for going natural was to grow my hair longer.  I figured I was on a five year plan but saw how much faster my hair grew (or broke less) during the first year natural.  I was so excited and figured I would see Bra Strap Length hair (BSL) some time around the halfway mark.  When that didn’t happen, I started to get down on myself and wonder what I was doing wrong.  It also didn’t help that I kept seeing progress pics and videos from others who gained length and thickness in what seemed to be much less time.

HAIR GROWTH TALK AND TIPS
INSPIRATION VIDEO BY “MYNATURALSISTAS”
This week though, I watched a very helpful video that reminded me that everyone’s natural hair journey is different.  It’s okay to look to others’ experiences for inspiration.  However, it is unrealistic to compare my hair to someone else’s even though we may have the same hair texture and starting point.  Each hair journey is a very individual experience and there are so many different variables that decide the outcome.  There’s also a lot to learn along the way and we all do this in our own time. 
For now, I’m going to try to not focus so much on what I DON’T have and get back to appreciating what I DO have.  The longer length will come in time so I’m just going to have some fun with my hair as it is right NOW.

New Year; Same Hair Goal

Trying to get past this length in 2013

For my hair journey, the beginning of 2013 looks pretty much like the end of 2012.  My main focus this year will be to protect my hair from ME!  That’s right, I’ve figured out the real reason why I’m still sitting at the length I am now.  Some people call it “Scissor Happy” but I’m now calling it counter productive.  I really like when my ends have that blunt cut appearance and when they don’t, I’m pulling out the scissors.  As far as retaining length, with this way of thinking, I’m at a stand still with my hair.

Lately I have been looking for ways to distract myself because yes, I’ve been thinking about cutting again.  I hit APL (Arm Pit Length) at the sides a couple times in 2012 and saw it as an oppurtunity to even things up.  Now, I do still have bangs in the front and layers on the top and sides, so my bottom layer is still the lengthiest part of my hair overall.  I guess I have always wanted to help the other sections catch up to the rest which would mean trimming the longest bits little by little.  Still, even with that being the goal I figured I would just hover at BSL (Bra Strap Length) before trying to make my hair more even.  At this rate, I’ll never see BSL which for me is only two more inches away (in back; when the hair is stretched).

Last fall I counted and it looks like I gave myself at least 6-7 trims throughout the year.  Some to get rid of heat damage (searching for the perfect curl) and some to give my hair that look of blunt ends.  My last trim for 2012 was at the end of November and I honestly think I should put the scissors aside until the spring.  I really am curious to see where my hair will end up in the coming months but the urge to cut is always there.  Not sure if I can do it but I’m gonna try.

Protective Style: Flat Twist UpDo

I’m finally embracing the idea of protective styling to help me retain more length.  This concept has been so hard for me to grasp because I absolutely love wearing my hair out.  The more time I spend over at K.I.S.S. hair forum the more I see that during the week (Monday thru Friday) there really isn’t any need to wear my hair down.  I’m usually shuttling the kids to school, exercising and running errands which does not require a glam look.  Still, when I want to look somewhat put together I just throw my hair up into two large flat twists and I’m good.

Before, I discovered this look I was always wearing two french braids (under hand braiding) or two cornrows (over hand braiding).  Sometimes though I think the braids made me look a little juvenile so for this reason I started wearing the twists
more often.

Flat Twists secured
with a Barret

My process is pretty simple.  I discovered that the flat twists have lots more volume when I allow my hair to air dry first.  Usually after my wash day routine, I apply my leave-ins and just pull my hair back into a braided bun for a whole day until it is mostly dry.  Then I take the hair down so I can apply my moisturizer and seal with grapeseed or olive oil.  After this step, I separate my hair into two large sections, parting down the middle and pin one side up with a clip to keep it out of the way.  I lightly comb out the other side with a wide tooth comb and begin flat twisting from the front of my head all they way to the nape.  I found that the twist looks best when I grab smaller sections for each turn.  After twisting all the way down I let the twist sit for a few minutes because it will gradually loosen a bit and look fuller.  I repeat on the other section.  Once both flat twists have “grown,” I take the tail ends and twist them around each other.  I then tuck them at the base of the twists with a bobby pin or barrette.  If I want bangs I just take a small section at the front and do three small two-strand twists.  Then I swoop them and secure the bangs into one of the twists.  If I see any loose points along either twist I just use bobby pins to tighten things up.

I used three small two-strand twists
for a side swooped bang

I enjoy wearing this style because it has the potential to look really glam with a little makeup and some earrings.  This is also an easy style to take down so that I can moisturize and seal my hair whenever it is starting to feel dry.  The best thing is knowing that I’m taking care of my hair by simply keeping it tucked away.

Finally APL and Holiday Hair Styles

My Holiday Make-Up Look
with Roller Set hair

The Holidays were fast and furious which left me feeling like I needed another break after it was all over.  Still, it was a lot of fun dressing up and going out with the family.  I especially enjoyed finally getting to see how long my hair was after the two Hair Growth Challenges I participated in over at K.I.S.S. 
last fall.

One of the challenges encouraged participants to start using Hot Oil treatments on a regular basis while the other asked everyone to start using a Growth Aid to help speed up hair growth.  I kinda fell off the bandwagon on the first one because since I sometimes have gel in my hair, I wasn’t too crazy about applying oils on top of that to do the treatments.  However, I do feel like the second challenge introduced me to an interesting growth aid that appears to actually work.  I’ll speak on that later on down the road.

The two challenges ended in December so I was really excited to see if my hair reaped the benefits of all that hard work.  I am happy to announce that I have finally reached my goal of APL length hair!  The top layers are still hovering around my collar bone thanks to that mini big chop I did last year but the back and bottom layers are doing really well.  Since I like to wear my hair in big curls I can see that I won’t be satisfied until my hair is around BSL or longer.  Right now with curls my hair sits just below my shoulders.

   I also needed a trim so I took care of that and decided to wear my hair down for the holidays.  Since I’ve been using roller sets to stretch my hair out I only ended up flat ironing the entire length of my hair once. The rest of the time I was able to enjoy a straight look with the help of my rollers and a little flat ironing at the roots.  My hair has reverted back and is going to be put away for awhile again but it was fun while it lasted.

Roller Set styled in a
Pin-Up Do with Back Down

Flat Ironed hair after
air drying in braids overnight
Flat Ironed Back View