Growing Beautiful, Black and Healthy, Long Hair

This is my hair growth journey starting January, 2006. I actually started July, 2003 to seriously learn how to grow out my thick, relaxed (not bone-straight) African-American hair in the healthiest way possible. This year I'm starting with hair length below my brastrap or mid-back length.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My Rollersetting Routine

The first thing I do after I get out of the shower is briefly squeeze my hair with a towel to get the main drips off (I don't towel dry my hair at all, I want some of that water left in my hair)

Then I apply Nexxus Headress Leave-in in sections.

I section my hair for the ponytails and comb each through with my wide tooth, seamless comb, which glides through easily (my hair is already detangled from rinsing the conditioner under the shower with a large tooth comb).

I loosely twist each section up into a loose pincurl/bantu and pin with a Good Hair Days pin (these hair pins are totally safe for all hair, better than bobbypins!). This keeps the hair wet so it doesn't dry out too quickly. I never have to re-wet this way.

I make ponytails one at a time with my Scunci Hair Hosiery bands (pre-sprayed with extra virgin olive oil spray), add oils (either jojoba essential oil or Aveda Anti-Humectant for humid conditions) to the length to seal in the moisture, comb that through and roll it up on a magnetic roller. I usually use the 3" green rollers.

I roll my ponytails towards the back, at least on one side, so I can sleep on my side in them, letting them airdry overnight. If I'm in a hurry, I'll sit under my ION soft bonnet dryer (the one with the space helmet! LOL ) for about three hours, using the cool setting only. I avoid all heat.


Rollersets leave me with bouncy, moisturized hair. Rollersets showed me a way to "straighten" and smooth my hair without using any heat. I don't usually use rollersetting for curls, although I have smaller rollers for that. This is a safe and healthy way to grow out one's hair

Saturday, February 04, 2006

New Hair Photos


I recently borrowed a camera from a friend to take some quick hair pictures.

This is a pic of my wet hair. Since I don't use heat, this is the only way for me to see my length.

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This is a pic of my hair after using Caruso Steam rollers for just a few minutes (I was in a major hurry!). These are very safe rollers and they infuse moisture (not heat) into the hair. Great for all hair types!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Wash After Relaxer Day


I washed my hair last night, my first wash since my relaxer touch-up three nights ago. It always looks so much better the next wash time. I think there is always residue from the neutralizing shampoo left on the hair, somewhat dulling it, no matter how well I rinse. Of course, it could be my brand of relaxer too...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Hair Regimen


Here is my hair regimen. I will update it in order to keep it as simple as possible for me.

My Hair Type (according to Andre's Hair Type System) is:

4a/4b Thick, kinky, wavy Mostly 4b with some 4a on top
I use a no-lye relaxer
I still haven’t measured my hair length.

My Regimen:

I’m so happy to have a regimen at all – before coming to the hair boards, I didn’t pay attention to my hair and was literally frying it away using my blow dryer, hot comb and curling iron. I got tired of seeing broken pieces of hair in the sink and on the floor after I blowdried and straightened my relaxed hair. I washed every 7 days which I thought was good enough. But my hair wasn’t getting any longer and certainly not healthier. A whole year had gone by and my hair was shorter than when the year started and a lot thinner, almost see-through. I realized I needed help and since I don’t trust salon stylists, I started searching on the Internet for good haircare boards. I fell in love with EZBOARD Relaxed Hair board and then found my home at longhaircareforum.com.

The keys I learned was the importance of moisture, especially for the ends, and for me - no heat. I threw my blowdryer and hot comb away (they were old anyway). I got on the bun challenge and wore my hair in a bun (or French Twist) from July, 2003 until January, 2004. During those months, I noticed my hair regaining its natural thickness and it was full of body and always had softness and moisture. I was always touching my hair, which I never did before. I started loving and appreciating my hair for the first time.

I also eat a vegetarian diet, lots of veggies (raw & steamed), eggs, soy products like tofu, Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), soy & almond cheeses, tamari, lots of raw almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds. I drink lots of water every day – about 10 eight ounce glasses. In November, 2005, I added whey protein to my regimen and I experienced some growth spurts in just a few weeks. I only used 1 scoop (18 grams) for one smoothie each day and I learned from a nutritionist that two scoops each day is okay. More than that can be too much protein, especially when eating other protein sources. I'm going to try two scoops (I prefer this in my smoothies so two smoothies daily) starting February, 2006 and see what happens.

I take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily, usually in my salads. My daily vitamins include: one tablespoon of brewer’s yeast, 1000 mg of vitamin C, zinc lozenges, iron, grapeseed extract, spirulina, 1000 mcg of B-12. I have MSM and biotin but I haven’t taken them in 8 months or so. When I did take them it was once in a while - I kept forgetting about them for some reason. As of March 22, 2004 I added drinking carrot juice to my regimen each day. As of February 3, 2006, I learned (from Sylver2) that drinking water with lemon juice squeezed in it increases hair growth! I know lemon water keeps the body very healthy and keeps the immune system high. She had phenomenal hair growth in 2005 so I will add this to my regimen.

My regimen is very simple, but a little time consuming in my opinion. I’m always looking for ways to cut the time down.

I've self-relaxed with a regular strength, no-lye relaxer for many years now. Since 2003, I decided to stretch out my relaxer touch-ups as far as I can without breakage. For me, this is 13 weeks. My hair loves it when I stretch relaxing out - it's much stronger and healthier looking. My hair is texturized since I relax only 10 minutes rather than the recommended 25 minutes (for my relaxer) for coarse hair.

• I wash and deep condition every 3 days. Washing more often than every 7 days has made a remarkable difference in my hair. I prefer washing my hair before going to bed so it can airdry during the night.

• After washing, I generously apply Humectress on my hair and comb through with a wide tooth comb. Then I put on a plastic cap to deep condition for 30-45 minutes .

• I rinse out my conditioner (Humectress) under the shower and detangle my hair at the same time using a wide tooth comb along with the force of the water. My detangling only takes about 3-5 minutes. I stand under the water and rinse a little longer before getting out.

• Next I apply Headress leave-in and comb through. It really detangles exceptionally well but by that time, my hair is already detangled from the Humectress.

• I apply Constant Care for Ends on my hair ends to seal in the moisture or Protective Healthy Ends.

• Then I apply some Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade to all of my hair to seal in the moisture and keep my hair from reverting in the humidity. It also adds some shine to my hair (which Headress does not do). This Aveda product is really good at keeping moisture locked in my hair.
• I section my hair into 4 to 5 ponytails with Scunci cloth covered seamless bands (Scunci Hair Hosiery) , pre-soaked or sprayed with olive oil to prevent any breakage.

• I may use just a little more Aveda pomade on the ponytails right before rolling each ponytail up on large and extra large magnetic rollers (2 '" and 3" rollers).

• I tie up my rolled up hair in a satin scarf and put a silk oversized bonnet over it. Then I let it airdry overnight. I now have two ION hairdryers, one hard bonnet and one soft bonnet. If I'm in a hurry to dry my hair, I will use one of these with the cool setting only. It takes about 3 hours to dry this way.

• The next day my hair is a little bit damp and if I want to wear it in a bun, I’ll put it in a bun with a silk scrunchie and let it finish drying that way. Or I’ll smooth it up into a French Twist. If I want to wear it down in a braid out, I’ll braid it in 4 braids for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. By the way, as of June, 2004 I have pictures of my hair braided up which some ladies thought was a pretty style in itself. Now I wear it this way too with accessories! After braiding my hair for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, my hair is usually dry. I just unravel the braids, moisturize my ends and I’m ready to go. If I have a lot of new growth, I’ll tie my loose hair down for about 20 minutes in a silk or satin scarf. It really reduces the poufiness so my hair lies flatter against my head. Or, if the new growth is very dense, I'll just keep it braided up and add hair jewelry or flowers.

• One thing I don’t do is comb my airdried hair until my next wash. I’ve learned that’s a way to lose a lot of hair through breakage. I use my fingers to comb and my hands to smooth.

I was introduced in January, 2006 to Neutrogena Moisturizer Silk Touch by a beautiful, ultra long-haired Diva on the Internet. Just a little adds so much moisture to my hair. I then put a silk or satin scarf on immediately afterwards. I'm now using this as I box braid my hair for a braidout. It works very well!

In January, 2006 I was also introduced to an older product, Luster's Pink Hair Glosser which has many essential oils and other good hair oils in it. I use this as my finishing touch and my hair is so shiny. It's non-greasy and has no alcohol, smells good too! Thanks to another beautiful, long-haired Diva!

This regimen so far has allowed my hair to retain length as it grows and to recover my natural thickness. My hair always has lots of swing and body and shine. I have no problems with tangles or shedding at all. I love my hair!

Hair Products:

Nexxus Botanoil Shampoo (it’s made especially for relaxed or color treated hair)

Nexxus Humectress Moisturizing Conditioner (this is my must-have conditioner; it works wonders on my hair)

Nexxus Keraphix (a perfect protein recontstructer for my hair)

Nexxus Headress Leave- In Conditioner (I LOVE this leave-in! It detangles, moisturizes and it smells great!)

Biolage Leave-In Conditioner (I love this one too for detangling – I sometimes will alternate this with Headress. Biolage leaves more shine.)

Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade (I’ve learned how to use this correctly to prevent my hair from reverting too much during humid days)

Luster's Pink Hair Glosser (no alcohol in this one and great shine with many natural oils!)

Suave Clarifying Shampoo (I use this only if I need remove any build-up, which is rrarely. It costs only 99 cents and works very gently and very well!).

Neutrogena T Moisturizer Silk Touch (just a little adds much moisture! I then put a silk or satin scarf on right after applying.)

Constant Care for Ends (I still have this from the Wanakee site, called HairOil now at hairoil.com. It consistently works great on moisturizing my hair ends. It lasts a long time for me when I keep it in the fridge.)

Protectiv Healthy Ends (I like this product to moisturize my ends when I run out of Constant Care for Ends. )

Jojoba, Rosemary, Lavender essential oils (I use a few drops of these together to massage my scalp an hour or so before washing. I buy mine at the health food store or online at www.iherb.com).

Accessories:

Wide tooth seamless comb - best for detangling my hair

Good Hair Days pins – so much better than bobby pins! It has a great grip and will not pull the hair out. I love these pins!

Silk and satin scarves – I rely on these to keep my hair from rubbing on anything while asleep and for smoothing down my edges and/or puffy hair, like new growth hair.

Satin pillowcase – in case my scarves slip off

Large and extra large magnetic rollers - to rollerset my hair while airdrying

Long metal duckbill clips – for magnetic rollers

Caruso Steam Rollers (I love how it puts moisture into my hair and it's no heat! I'm still experimenting with rolling techniques. So far, I really like making waves and spirals with these rollers)

Silk flowers, hair sticks, silk ribbons, barrettes and hair jewelry – I now love wearing something pretty in my hair – more so when I’m wearing buns, a French Twist and now my new braided style. It really looks so pretty and feminine and I always get compliments.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

My Recent NTM Experience

I am learning more and more each day, it seems, about growing healthy, black hair and having it look beautiful too.

Just a couple of days ago, I learned from a beautiful, young, African-American woman with almost waist-length, relaxed 4a/b hair (it already looks waist-length to me!) to try Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-in Creme on my hair, only after my hair had dried. It can be used on wet hair but it looks like some are having the best results on dry hair.

I tried it and oh boy! It added the moisture I really needed on my hair right away. It just melts into my strands and is very light and non-greasy. Smells good too. I have 15 weeks of new growth on my mostly type 4/b, slightly relaxed hair and NTM really softens it well. Immediately, my hair wasn't as bushy as it was with all the new growth!

According to the label, it protects hair from UV rays and humidity. I haven't had the chance to test it under humid conditions yet but I'll post the results. I'll post new hair pics when I get a new camera. Check back for some of my 2004 & 2005 hair pics.

Here is a hair photo of a braidout style
taken earlier last year: I airdried my
hair using big rollers, then box braided it.
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