Monday, November 29, 2010

Winterizing My Regimen

I've been experiencing more breakage than usual so I've realized I'm going to have to treat my hair differently in the Winter to maximize growth, and reduce the breakage! Here's what it's looking like so far:

  1. Continue Hairline Bootcamp to grow out broken edges (See previous blog)
  2. Moisturize hair at least once daily. Moisturize hairline 2x daily
  3. When sealing, use a mixture of Jojoba & Castor Oil. Since Castor Oil is thicker, I find it a bit more protective and effective at sealing in the moisture.
  4. As much as I tend to avoid "Protective Styles", use them 90% of the time to curb unnecessary breakage from friction.
  5. When wearing hats, use scarf or satin bonnet under.
  6. Continue to do weekly light protein, and a hard protein every 4 to 6 weeks
  7. Deep Condition hair weekly w/ my DC + EVCO. Use w/ heat (either steam or traditional heat)
  8. Use my humidifier to keep indoor moisture levels in check
  9. And of course...continue to avoid direct heat (especially in the winter since it dries out my hair so drastically)
This is looking like a solid winter reggie... now time to put it in effect!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hairline Bootcamp

A hair journey wouldn't be a journey without at least one setback, right? Well the setback of the moment is my hairline... no, not the thinning of my hairline, but the breakage of my hairline. It looks like I have a halo of short hairs around the perimeter of my hairline. I know it's breakage, because the hair directly behind this "halo" is at least double the length of the broken hairs.

So...with that said, I'm sending myself to Hairline Bootcamp. No playin' around here ladies and gentlemen. This is serious hair business. This isn't for the faint of heart, the heat-freaks, the brush-a-holics, or the wrappers. Feel free to sign up to Hairline Bootcamp at anytime you deem it necessary. Here are the guidelines.

  • NO brushing, only use wide toothed comb. Smooth edges with fingers
  • Tie scarf on forehead, not on hairline or nape. Scarf must be just snug enough to stay on at night.
  • If roller-setting (or any other type of set), leave hairline out.
  • Rollerset (or any other type of set) sparingly. No unnecessary tugging, pulling, small-tooth-combing.
  • Moisturize hairline and nape 2 x daily
  • Apply Castor Oil to hairline at least 3 x a week.
  • Relax every 12+ weeks, leaving nape and hairline for last, about a minute or 2 before rinsing out relaxer.
  • Coat hairline with conditioner and vaseline to deliberately underprocess
  • Don't even look at a flat iron. Kidding. Use heat very sparingly, but once again. leave hairline out of it.
Bootcamp will last 6 weeks, until Dec. 27. We'll assess the progress and go from there. Stay strong out there.

Keep it simple, stupid!

“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.
-Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."
-Albert Einstein

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

All too often I hear people complaining of breakage, dryness, not-so-great results, or no results at all. And when they divulge all the details of their regimen...well let's just say it looks a little more like the NFL roster than a hair care regimen.

For example... let's say you have an oil/grease stain on your favorite shirt. You buy 20 stain removers and apply all of them at the same time...and not only does the stain NOT come out, it seems to have gotten bigger! How do you know which stain remover was the culprit? Would you have known that one of those stain removers, if used alone, would have gotten rid of the stain? If you would have...(wait for it) kept it simple, stupid, you would have been able to wear your shirt out to that party on Friday.

There's no need to do pre-poos, co-washes, henna, cholesterol, protein, indigo, black tea rinses, beer rinses, coffee rinses, garlic treatments, biotin, Megatek, and ACV rinses all at the same time. Start off simple with the essentials.

There's nothing wrong with finding different techniques and methods. But take your time, let your hair tell you how it feels about your current regimen before you go nuts at Sally Beauty Supply.

How do you guys feel about the K.I.S.S. mentality in terms of a hair care regimen? Would you consider your regimen simple?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Protein...Moisture..Wet Assessments.. OH MY!

As I sit here with my Hair One sulfate-free cleanser marinating on my strands, thinking about the protein treatment I'm going to be doing later, I realize I need to share something with you guys (ladies). I remember when I knew nothing about hair, and I thought that washing your hair, putting on some conditioner for 2 minutes, and greasing my scalp with globs of DAX was all I needed. While black haircare doesn't need to be complicated, it's not exactly that cut and dry either. Especially when you are relaxed. One of the biggest contributing factors of breakage in relaxed hair is an imbalance of protein and moisture. You're probably saying "Protein??". Yes, protein. No, not like the protein shake mix you buy at GNC, this type is for your hair. Grab the popcorn and a drink, this one will be a bit lengthy.

Relaxers, Moisture & Protein
When we relax, we actually break the protein bonds in our hair and sort of rearrange them by smoothing it out with a comb or our fingers. Of course it's not that simple, but that's the general gist of a relaxer process. Now that the protein bond has been broken, that leaves our hair a bit weaker than how it was in its original state. We have got to put the protein back to re-strengthen our hair. The role of moisture here is quite obvious. If your hair isn't moisturized, that means it is dry, and what does dry hair do? You got it. Without moisture, your next stop is Breakage City.

Moisture= Elasticity and flexibility
Protein = Strength and structure.

Too much protein = dry, hard, crispy hair
Too much moisture = mushy hair, very stretchy, no structure and cannot hold on to a style (curls, etc)

Lets begin by talking about protein. There are two types of protein treatments:
  • Heavy protein
  • Light protein
Heavy Protein: You apply this treatment following a wash, and it should be used about every 6 weeks. It MUST be followed by a Deep Conditioning, as these protein treatments make your hair very hard and brittle. If you don't follow with a moisturizing treatment, you WILL experience breakage...remember, relaxed hair needs a BALANCE of protein and moisture.
Light Protein: This protein treatment is usually in the form of a conditioner, and may provide a moisturizing effect as well. It is used following a wash. It's not as strong as the heavy protein and can be used on a once weekly basis. Some choose to follow this up with a moisturizing conditioner, I, on the other hand, do not. This is what works for my hair.
Mid-Relaxer Protein: This one is new to me. I've only done it once but I like what it does for me. You apply your light protein after you rinse out the relaxer from your hair, but BEFORE you neutralize. Why does this work so well? Basically, your hair cuticles are very open after applying a relaxer. This makes the hair more susceptible to accepting protein at this time. You let the light protein sit on your hair for about 5 minutes, rinse, then apply your neutralizing shampoo to complete your relaxer process. You'll find more information about it here, as well as more detail regarding how to properly self-relax your hair.


Naturally, African-American/Black hair is drier than most, because of its distinct curl pattern. The curlier, tighter, and kinkier the hair, the dryer it will be---generally speaking. This is because our natural oils (sebum) have a more difficult time making its way down the shaft in this curl pattern. And I know I always struggled with dry hair, and many other black women who still do. How do we apply moisture to black hair? Several ways.
  • Deep Conditioning
  • Using a water-based moisturizer
  • Leave-in conditioners
Deep Conditioning: Conditioning using indirect heat such as a hooded dryer, or conditioning cap. With heat, usually 30 minutes, without heat, an hour or so.
Water-based moisturizer: This keeps your hair moisturized on a daily basis in between washes. The first ingredient is always water. Most ladies apply it daily, some every other day. This is usually followed by "sealing" the moisture in with an oil.
Leave-in conditioners: We apply these after our final rinse, and it keeps some moisture in our hair. Like a conditioner, just lighter.

What happens if this delicate balance is out of whack? Breakage! And we all know how infuriating that B word can be. How do you know which you need? I stay on a schedule:
  • Hard Protein (Aphogee 2 step protein treatment) every 6 weeks,
  • Light Protein once a week (Aphogee keratin 2 minute reconstructor).
  • Moisturize every day with Garnier Fructis sleek & shine , seal with jojoba oil
  • Deep Condition about once a week.
How to tell whether you need protein or moisture in your regimen

There's several websites that offer suggestions for strand tests and wet assessments. Click here for a pretty good article I found on wet assessments.

It took me a while to really get to know when my hair needed more moisture or more protein. But now that I have my regimen down, and I know my hair pretty well, I can tell when I'm lacking one or the other. I can't even begin to emphasize how important this is when it comes to retaining length in relaxed hair. Anywho, thats all for now. Happy Hair Growing!

Sulfates and Your Hair

In the haircare world, there's lots of terminology, no-no's, and fads flying around. One of the highly discussed terms we hear about is "Sulfates". I'm sure if you lurk on sites like Long Hair Care Forum or Hairlista you have come across this term. Let's delve a little more into this.

What are sulfates?
Sulfates are basically surfactants, the substances that decrease the surface tension of the water so that it spreads out more easily. The reason your shampoo lathers is mainly due to the sulfates in it. Because the sulfates in shampoos are so strong, they are excellent in removing dirt and grime. They allow the water stick to dirt and grime so that they can be removed from hair and scalp.

The most commonly used sulfates are Ammonium Lauren Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Sodium Laurel Sulfate (commonly known in the hair world as simply SLS)

Are they good or bad for your hair?

It's pretty much a known fact that sulfates aren't very good for your hair, or your body in general. Shampoo and other beauty product companies still continue using them regardless of their bad reputation. Why? Simple. They're cheap to make and that rich lather is very hard to imitate with other "healthier" options.

Besides shampoo, what other products use these sulfates?
Unless otherwise stated, you'll find sulfates in: toothpaste, dish washing liquid, soaps, laundry detergent, carpet cleaner, body wash, shaving cream, bubble bath, stain remover.

So...what's your opinion on sulfates?
I'm not necessarily against sulfates as a whole. I haven't seen or felt any adverse effects by using body washes, dish washing liquid, soaps, or laundry detergent. I have, however, tried a sulfate-free toothpaste and while it was hard to get used to not having bubbles, I kinda liked it.

Yeah, yeah yeah, but this is a hair blog.. How do you feel about sulfates for your hair?
I didn't have a problem with sulfate shampoos---that is until I started using SULFATE FREE shampoos. I always suffered from dry scalp and wondered why. I started hearing things about sulfate-free shampoos, and sulfates causing scalp irritation. So I said, what the heck, let me try this out. I did it.. and dandruff/dry scalp has become a thing of the past! My scalp is well moisturized, my hair is soft and is well's a win win situation. I tried going back to using sulfates to see if the sulfates really were the culprit causing my dry scalp. LOW AND BEHOLD, MY DANDRUFF CAME BACK! So now, I know the deal. I'm a sulfate-free girl, except for my clarifying or relaxer days.

Spill the beans. What sulfate-free shampoo do you use?

Final word
Ladies (and gentlemen), it's not about whether or not I use sulfates. It's not about me bashing sulfates or those that use them. I just believe we have to arm ourselves with information on the things we choose to buy/use. Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. There are thousands upon thousands of products that stare you in the face every time you go into a beauty supply, Walmart, or pharmacy. Before you reach into your pocket to spend your hard earned money, know what you're buying and know what works for you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Throughout my hair journey, one of my biggest gripes has been learning to roller set. It's bigger than just "learning to roller set". It's also a way to avoid direct heat and give your hair that shine and bounce that we all crave. I FINALLY got it, thanks to Buildable Beauty on Youtube. She posted an awesome series of videos (5 parts, actually), showing us her Roller setting method, which she calls the "Anchor Method". You'll see why as you watch the video.

After I watched this, I tried it and GOT it. It has to be the best tutorial I've seen. Since then I've been roller setting my hair after my wash every 3 - 5 days and I get great results everytime. Ready for the big reveal??? Drumroll please.


Told ya! If any of you out there try this tutorial, and it worked for you, let me know!

My 1 Yr Hair Journey Anniversary

*Originally posted on on 8/13/10*

So... its been a year. There's been lots of ups and downs, some disappointment but overall its been GREAT. This is the first time in my life I've had hair this long even though its not BSL, APL, or hell even SL. I'd consider myself Full NL, after I started off as EL, but to me that's a huge deal.

I dealt with a LOT of breakage which caused me to get about 2 inches cut off at one point during my journey. I didn't yet quite understand the moisture/protein thing. I also don't think I knew what REAL moisturized hair felt like. I was doing what others were doing and not really understanding what MY HAIR wanted or needed. It took me EIGHT MONTHS to understand my hair, and from then, I didn't look back.

My last relaxer was in March, so I did a 20 week stretch, which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. My hair dresser today was like WOW when he saw my NG! lol. Even the salon owner, who knew me when I had broken EL hair was like "Kimora, look at all that hair you got!"

The only thing though is that the braids I was wearing over the summer broke off my edges somewhat. My hairdresser didn't relax the very nape of my hair. I bought some castor oil today and I'm going to give it one last try. Here's my progress over the past year.

a comic strip!

More pix taken today. One thing I'm really happy about is that my hair is the same length all over, not choppy. I'm also happy it still looks full.

Jojoba Oil--The Answer to All of Your Beauty Woes

Don't you just love it when you can use one product for more than one thing? Olive oil: Good for your hair, skin, and stir fry... this blog we'll be talking about JOJOBA OIL. You're probably saying "WTF is a jojoba?". Don't worry. I got you boo. Read on.


WTF is a jojoba?
Jojoba (pronounced ho-HO-ba) is a botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree (Simmondsia chinenis). What’s interesting about it is that it isn’t actually an oil, but rather what they call a wax ester.

Why do we care about this "oil"?
Because out of all of the compounds in nature, this wax ester is the most similar to human skin oil (sebum). It is theorized that applying jojoba to the skin can “trick” the skin into thinking it is producing enough oil, thus balancing oil production. The bottom line for us is that jojoba oil is non-comedogenic so we can use it without fear.
  • Provides all day moisturization – jojoba oil doesn’t evaporate like water based moisturizers can.
  • Very stable – jojoba oil does not become rancid or lose antioxidants even after long periods of storage.
What can we use it for?

  • moisturizerMoisturizer – After dispensing any facial moisturizer onto your palm, try adding a few drops of jojoba oil to make it into a super moisturizer. Flakiness will subside and the moisturizer will have an improved feel on your skin. During the summer, I used Jojoba as my body moisturizer, as opposed to lotion, because it was less heavy and absorbed very quickly into my skin, leaving it soft and moisturized. Also, due to the anti-oxidants in it, jojoba can greatly help to prevent wrinkles or other effects of aging.
  • Acne Treatment- It can help to treat and prevent acne symptoms of pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. This oil helps to dissolve the oil production of pimples or blackheads and also helps to break the acne, thus, you can have a smooth acne free complexion. I can attest to this. I have used this on my face for the past 4 months or so and my face is just about perfect and has a wonderful glow.
  • makeup removerMake-up remover – Since jojoba oil is not an eye irritant, nor allergenic, you can use it to remove eye makeup. It also easily removes foundation, blush, and lipstick.
  • lip balmLip balm – I use jojoba oil from time to time. I just put a few drops on my finger and apply to my lips. Lots of lip balms tend to contain comedogenic (clogs pores) ingredients, so jojoba oil is a nice alternative. As a side note, if you need major help with dry lips, pure petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic and works as well.
  • conditionerHair conditioner – You can mix a few drops of jojoba oil into your current conditioner or use it on its own. You can also add it to damp hair before drying. Also, you can add it to dry hair to promote shine. Jojoba oil also moisturizes the scalp, helping prevent dandruff.
  • shavingShave prep - Put jojoba oil on your beard area beneath your shaving cream for a more comfortable shave. This helps prevent razor burn and leaves your skin feeling nice and soft.
  • massageMassage oil – I use this for massages and my skin is very soft and moisturized afterward, without a heavy or "greasy" feeling.
  • Before Swimming- Run several drops through your hair before diving in the pool or ocean. The oil will help close your hair cuticle and prevent harmful chemicals from drying your hair.
  • Carrier Oil- Although jojoba is great on its own, it can be used as a carrier for essential oils such as peppermint oil, or other beauty treatments as it can "carry" their active ingredients into your pores and skin.
  • Cuticle Oil - Rub a drop or two on your hands and cuticles at least once per day to keep them moisturized. If you add a bit of tea tree oil to your jojoba, you have a quick all natural anti-fungal treatment.

Final Word

There's so many oils out there, it's easy to get lost in it all. Take your time and research each of them; see what they do for you. After all, everyone's hair and skin needs are different. As for me, I haven't one negative thing to say about my beloved Jojoba. I hope you feel the same. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wiggin' out

So, since my last blog on here, I've "wigged" it quite a bit. I went through a few wigs, all of which I loved. I think they did a lot for me, besides giving me a break from my hair when I was frustrated. I believe it helped me retain length when my hair was a bit shorter. If it weren't for the wigs, I'm sure my frustration would have driven me to cut my hair. I'll introduce you to them.

Here was one of the first full wigs I bought.. Let's call her "Janet". I used her from February to about May, on and off.


Here's "Mommy"...sassy lil thing she is.. Everyone loves her. I used her sporadically on the weekends and such from about February to April.


Here's another one I loved. Let's call her "Betsy". Everyone thought she was all mine. lol.


An advantage of wearing these wigs is that your hair gets a break from the elements and you can wash as often as you'd like without worrying about styling your hair afterward. I would wash my hair and then air dry, moisturize, do some cell block D cornrows, and slap the wig on when I go out. For some, especially those with shorter hair, its such a reprieve from the daunting task of figuring how you're going to style your hair without heat.

Be careful when wearing wigs that the wig comb doesn't irritate your nape or edges, as these areas are really sensitive and delicate. Traction alopecia is not a game. Keep those edges (and hair) moisturized under those wigs!

I'm Sorry...

I know I've been neglecting you.. No..No its not you. It's me...Well, actually, I've been seeing someone else. Yes, thats right, another site. Her name is Hairlista(.com), and she treats me so good! She has lots of beautiful pictures, gives me advice when I need it, and encourages me to be better...

lol! Let me stop, but honestly I have been neglecting you, Hair Chronicles and I'm sorry for that. See, I'm one of those people who is consistently inconsistent and I was having an inconsistent streak for blogging (actually I've just been doing it on Hairlista lol). To make up for that, I'm going to do a RAPID succession of blogs to make up for lost time. Forgive me?