When Good Hair Goes Bad - 4 Ways to Avoid Bad Hair Days

Monday, September 27, 2010 1:39 PM


Be easy on the juice.

I can't tell you how many times I've spent all day washing, conditioning and styling my hair - only to take it down the following day to find a greasy, overmoisturized mess.  I have thirsty hair, see. So thirsty that I've been known take it too far and get it sloppy drunk on the juice.  When the hair is wet, it's hard to tell when we're putting in too much product. I find my hair to be particularly tricky because it gets dry easily AND it gets greasy easily. I have thin strands, so if I put too much stuff in it, it will look and feel stringy. I've learned that the only product it's OK for me to be heavy handed with is my cowash and my deep conditioners. Other than that - less is more. Don't use too much of anything that is not being rinsed out.

Let it dry.

If you are setting your hair, whether it be twists, braids or rollers; do yourself a favor and leave yourself enough time for it to dry. I know I can't set my sopping wet hair at midnight and expect it to air dry completely by 6 am when I'm ready to take it out for work. Be realistic. If you have limited time, you can sit under a dryer for awhile before you go to sleep. You can go to sleep with a bonnet dryer on your head. It also helps to sleep under a fan. I've been known to put a floor fan next to the bed and sleep with it right on me all night. It's not ideal but it gets the job done when I need to resort to that. Occasionally, it turns out somewhat okay when it doesn't dry all the way. I suppose it depends on what look you are going for. If you want a defined set that will last a few days, you have to let it dry.

Seal your ends.

What are your ends doing? Not only can they make or break your hairstyle, it's also super important that you pay attention to them because their health is the key to length retention and overall healthy hair. If they are not curled/tucked/sealed etc., your style is likely to come out looking unfinished and probably frizzy/tangly at the ends. However you are styling your hair, you have to plan for what you want your ends to do. This requires some trial and error. For example, some people can braid their hair and not doing anything to the ends and their hair won't unravel and their braid out will come out lovely. I'm not one of those people. For braid outs, I have to use a roller at the end. Conversely, for twist outs all I have to do is twirl my ends around my finger. You might have to experiment to figure out what works for you.

Style for the weather.

One of the things I love about natural hair is that I usually don't have to worry about rain and humidity like I used to. Notice I said usually. Depending on how I'm wearing my hair and how long I want it to last, I still consider what the weather is doing. I know how my hair responds to different kinds of weather, so I try to work with it, not against it. I typically expect my hair to swell and get bigger throughout the day, so I plan for that. If I want my twist out to retain some definition for several days, I try to avoid rainy and windy weather. Sometimes there's nothing you can do about it, so I like to always keep a back up plan i.e. ponytail holders, hats, scarves, clips and pins.

Can you add anything to this list???

When all else fails, I usually lean on buns, pin ups, ponytails and scarves.

Sky Baby's First Quarter

Friday, September 24, 2010 4:42 PM

Happy Friday Everyone,

Our newest addition, Sky Baby, is now 3 months old.
She's been here for a quarter of a year already!
And just as we thought,
we can hardly remember what life was like without her.

I'm feeling a little melancholy because she's already growing so fast.
They are only babies for a flash, then the next thing you know they're wearing skinny jeans and protesting when you grab their hands to cross the street. Anyway, just remember to slow down and be in the moment.

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

~Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

Have a great weekend!

Mother May I?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 2:12 PM

As I was taking out my daughter's braids the other day, she asked me "Mommy, why can't I ever wear my hair out?" I told her that it would get too tangly and dry and that's not healthy for her hair. If she wants it to be healthy and strong, we need to keep it in braids and twists most of the time. Plus, I told her she's too young to be wearing her hair out. She was quiet for awhile. "But how come the tan girls in my class can wear their hair out? They're only four, too! And their hair just hangs down and moves." What she means by tan is white and hispanic. Oh boy.

I sat there stalling trying to figure out how to explain hair texture to her and the fact that our hair has different needs. I told her that those girls probably wish that they could wear their hair in all the cool styles that she gets to wear but their hair won't stay in twists and braids. I reminded her that she doesn't like to get her hair done, and that if she wore it out, it would have to be combed and dealt with much more often. I pointed out that when I cornrow her hair and put beads at the end, it hangs and swings with the best of them. Finally, I promised that I'd let her wear her hair out in the next family pics that we take. She seemed satisfied with my ramblings. Matter of fact, by the time I got done talking, she'd already moved on to the next question: "Why can't I wear my tap shoes to school?"

Have your daughters or nieces or other little women in your life asked you similar questions about their hair? What did you say??!

Award Season

11:16 AM

I love blogging. I've learned so much and been so inspired by the bloggers I follow and the readers who follow me. I look forward to our interactions everyday - the giving and receiving of support, laughs and information is invaluable.

Big thanks and hugs to Tisha from Inspired Moments for sending me the following award. I get so excited when I find bloggers whose purpose is similar to mine. Inspired Moments is full of positivity and enlightenment.

Another round of big thanks and hugs to Surviving Motherhood for sending me the following award. She has three kids like me (I'm still not used to saying the big 3!) and her stories and insights make me laugh and remind me to relax and enjoy being a mom.

Both awards require that I pay it forward to other bloggers that I think are fab. There are so many! I'm going to pass BOTH AWARDS along to bloggers who I've recently discovered (except for ChicMommyCoolKid - that's my sis). I'm sure that some of these ladies have already received the same awards, so if I've nominated you, please don't feel obligated to pay it forward AGAIN or jump through any hoops. I just think it's a nice shout out to these bloggers to say keep writing because I'm reading and enjoying what you do! Happy blogging, ladies!

Chic Mommy, Cool Kid
Killing Superwoman
OK, Dan
Simplistic Chic
Mama Locs
The Write One Blog
Tales of a Brown Eyed Girl
Being Mrs. Jones
Mommyhood: Next Right
Hysterical Randomness
Back to Curly
Eat My Dessert First
Love: The Element
Lipgloss and Binky
Diary of a Chic Mommy

I Love Being a Girl: My Current Inner/Outer Beauty Regimen - Part 2

Saturday, September 18, 2010 10:00 PM

A healthy beauty routine is not complete without considering the nurture and development of your mind and spirit.

INNER GLOW: Mind and Spirit

"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own Spirit."
~Marcus Aurelius

Soon the clocks will be falling back and the nights will be longer. With more time spent in the house, and less daylight, it's important to stay occupied with projects that energize you. Keep your mind active and surround yourself with things that inspire you. I plan to take this time to soul search and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience.

To practice mindfulness, I need to refocus on the following practices:
Yoga Focuses on the goal of developing an awareness and integration of all aspects of one's physical, emotional, and intellectual being. Yoga is like a man that I once loved and then lost. I want that old thing back.
Prayer and Meditation I've read that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God, and this concept makes sense to me. I pray and talk to God all the time, but I have a hard time silencing my mind to meditate.
Visualization Helps with the process of goal fulfillment by evoking The Law of Attraction. I've created vision boards before on poster boards. I'm going to start using cork boards, which will allow me to change things more often. A vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations that capture your dreams and desires.

**How do you stay spiritually grounded? Have you tried yoga or meditation? What about vision boards? Do you struggle to find time to feed your spirituality and empower your creativity?

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sometimes we get consumed by the pressures of life and our responsibilities and we sacrifice doing what we love because we think we have to. My 9 to 5 pays the bills, but it doesn't fill me up. Yet, I put so much time and energy into it that I don't have anything left for work that really makes me feel alive. What I realize is that my circumstances aren't limiting me. I'm limiting me. I'm now open to the idea that there are many ways that I could apply myself and offer my spiritual gifts to the world - and get paid for it. So, as I dedicate myself to Discovering the Business of Me (a la Think & Grow Chick); I'm honoring my gifts and defining my own unique lifestyle. A lifestyle that defies conventional limitations. I look forward to spending the next few months soul searching and writing. Speaking my mind. Setting boundaries. Creating more ways for me to do what I love.

To feed my passions and develop my craft, I need to make time for:
Reading and Writing As a writer, there are famines where I don't feel inspired to write and there are feasts where I can't find enough little pieces of paper to write my ideas down until I can get to a computer. It's a cycle of connection and disconnection. I am most in touch with my soul when I'm making love to words. Everyday, I thank God for having writing as an outlet and everyday that Inner Voice tells me to keep writing. Keep feeling and keep noticing. If my life is a search for meaning, then words are the clues that show me the way.
Taking Deliberate Action Instead of being a victim of circumstances, practicing deliberate action is about becoming aware of what I want, planning the steps I need to take, then acting - without fear of outcome. I will be investing time in planning and acting.
Stepping out of my Comfort Zone I have to make myself uncomfortable in order to grow. I must do things I've never done before in order to make things happen in my life that have never happened before. I know that fear is a liar, but I still struggle with it daily. Overcoming fear and continuing to overcome fear will always be part of my spiritual plan.

**Are you using your gifts to make a living? Do you find ways to do what you love whether you're getting paid for it or not? Have you ever felt like you don't have anything to offer or that you're not good enough? In what ways can you acknowledge your power and reposition yourself?

SEX and Four Other Things that are Sneakily Damaging Your Hair

Monday, September 13, 2010 12:41 PM

Of course, it's not the sex itself, but all the rubbing of your delicate strands on the unhairfriendly cotton sheets, the grabbing, the swinging - you know, the general abandon of it all. A roll in the hay can cause a mess of dryness, knots and tangles. Maybe you are better than me and you always put a scarf on or maybe you sleep on satin sheets. If not, it's something to think about. I'm sure that tangling and knotting is the last thing on ur mind in the heat of the moment, but at least be aware. It all comes down to how far you want to take this hair thing. I don't think it's healthy to be so concerned with hair that we stop living in the moment, but at the same time, we must consider all the factors that contribute to our length retention or lack thereof.

Do you feel unsexy when you have your scarf on during relations? How does your partner feel about it?

Which leads me into another sneaky hair damager - laying around the house with your hair out. The problem is the same as above - it causes dryness, knots and tangles. Typically, if my hair has been up all day, the first thing I want to do when I get home is take it down and let it be free. Instead of leaving it down though, I do one of the following things:

*Put it in a very loose, messy bun (and tie a scarf over it if I lay down)
*Put on my satin cap
*Put it in a loose french braid and tuck the bottom under (and tie a scarf over it if I lay down)

How do you wear your hair when you're laying around the house?

Another good reason to take your bun or ponytail out when you get home is to release the strain on your hair from the ponytail holder. I only use soft scrunchies and seamless ponytail holders on my hair and I don't put them in as tight as they can go. When I get home, I take it out or at least loosen it even further. The hair shouldn't be pulled too tightly, and the metal pieces in a lot of ponytail holders can snag the hair and break it or pull it out.

Another sneaky snagger is a comb with seams. If you look closely at your comes, you may notice that the seams are uneven or jagged. Try to avoid combs with any seams at all. They can snag the hair and leave us wondering why we're losing so much hair or have so much shedding.

Finally, I love a wool sweater as much as the next girl. But if you wear your hair down and allow it to rub on the sweater all day, you are causing your ends to die a slow, painful death. I hate to be dramatic, but it's terrible for your hair. I'll also throw in wool caps and coats with this one. Throw a layer of silk or satin between your hair and the wool. Throw a scarf over your shoulders or sew a lining into your hat. Alternatively, you can avoid wool caps altogether and simply wear your hair up when you have on a wool sweater or coat.

Can you suggest any other ways to protect your hair from wool apparel in the winter time?

Sometimes, all these things seem like way too much to think about. For me, I'm willing to make sacrifices as long as it doesn't detract from me enjoying my life. All of these tips are relevant whether you are trying to grow your hair or not. I've mentioned many times before that my hair has cycled between shoulder length and mid back length my whole life - a cycle of growth and breakage. Typically, the breakage phases would come when I stopped paying attention to details like this.

Decide what sacrifices you are willing to make so that maintaining your healthy hair is still a fun aspect of your life and not a burden that distracts you from living...and loving ;-)

Happy Monday!

I Love Being A Girl: My Current Inner/Outer Beauty Regimen - Part 1

Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:03 PM

As the seasons change, I always feel the need to reevaluate my self-care routines, not only to adjust to the weather but also to sort of audit myself. This allows me to notice if I'm holding onto bad habits, ineffective routines and old ideas. We are constantly evolving creatures, and to stay fresh and in the present we must be ready to say out with the old and in with the new periodically.

Today in Part 1, I'm documenting my Hair and Skin routines. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3.

OUTER GLOW: Hair and Skin

I have been bunning for about two weeks now. Even if I wasn't growing my hair, protective styling would be the most sensible option to keep me looking somewhat put together these days. The only thing I will add to the bunning regimen that I've detailed in this post, is that I'll be shampooing and deep conditioning with heat once a month. The themes here are high protection and low maintenance. Sometimes you have to pause and listen to your life. For me, common sense tells me that I need to put some high maintenance into other areas of my life and some low maintenance into my hair in order to make the progress I desire all around.

Current Products in Rotation:
Shampoo -
SheaMoisture Moisture Retention
Cowash Conditioners - Aussie Moist, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Tresemme Naturals
Deep Conditioner - *Revisiting - Open to Suggestions!*
Detangler/Wet Leave-In - BeeMine Juicy Spray, Jane Carter Detangling Leave-In
Creamy Leave In Conditioner - Giovanni Direct Leave In, Kinky Curly Knot Today
Moisturizer - BeeMine Luscious Balanced Moisturizer
Sealer - BeeMine Hair and Scalp Moisturizer, homemade shea butter/coconut oil mixture

***What are your current hair goals? Are you working with or against the flow of your life to achieve those goals?

I've struggled with my oily, acne-prone skin since I was a teenager. I've never had major cystic acne, but I've always had bumps and dark marks. As I've grown older and tired of trying many different chemical treatments to clear my skin, I've finally begun researching what I can do to improve my skin from the inside out. Although I love makeup, I'd like to be able to go without it and not be self-conscious about my blemishes.

Current Routine:
Drinking -
at least 8 cups of water everyday
Oil Cleansing - I've started using The MopTop Maven's oil cleansing method. I've heard of oil cleansing before, but I never did any research on it or tried for myself. I'm so glad I did. It's been two weeks and so far my skin is looooving it. At night, I oil cleanse with Castor Oil and Hazelnut Oil. I still tone and treat spots with Mario Badescu products, which are expensive but effective. In the morning, I cleanse with my beloved Clarisonic and diluted Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. It's gentle and the pepperminty tingle awakens and refreshes me. Once a week I use my Yes to Tomatoes mask to clarify my pores.
Exfoliating - I exfoliate with exfoliating gloves at least every other day in the shower and I moisturize my skin while it's still damp with my shea butter/coconut oil mixture.

***If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, have you considered that your diet could be affecting your skin or that there may be natural alternatives to spending tons of money on harsh treatments and chemical services? What has been your experience??

The Ultimate Prize

Friday, September 3, 2010 2:51 PM

Imagine that you are in a room full of wrapped boxes. Each one is wrapped differently - some are decorative and some are plain. Some are ugly, dirty and scary looking. You have no idea what is in each one.

Here is what you do know:
You know there is something to be discovered in each box.
You know that the outer wrapping does not necessarily indicate what's inside. For example, an ugly box may have something wonderful inside.
You know that in one of these boxes in this room is your dream come true - just waiting to be opened.

All you have to do is start opening boxes and remember that success is guaranteed. The only way you can fail and not open up your dream is if you give up. Along the way, you may get tired of opening boxes. Some of the contents in the other boxes may distract or discourage you. But you know that if you keep going, your determination and faith will reward you. You may even be pleasantly surprised at all the cool things you find in the other boxes. Maybe you will even feel empowered by your ability to open the unpleasant boxes and still keep going. You know that the only thing that can stop you is you.

What would your world be like if you believed without doubt that you have the power to open up your dreams? If you believe that life is full of opportunity, and you understand that you are here for a purpose; you will always have the motivation in your heart to keep going. You will know that you have to open other boxes to get to the one you want. And most importantly, when you finally open the box that you've been looking for, you will realize that the prize isn't contained in one particular box at all. The prize is what you've learned about yourself along the way.

My New Easy Button

Thursday, September 2, 2010 11:36 AM

Bunning is my new easy button. Here's why:

1) PROTECTIVE: Bunning will not only protect my hair, but will also give my skin a much needed break from being subject to the products in my hair. In the winter, bunning will protect my hair from the elements and wool sweaters and coats.

2) CONVENIENT: My bunning regimen has been requiring minimal time in the evenings and mornings. I have more time to focus on the family and other things that I need to do (write!). Bunning will go well with my long overdue return to the gym.

3) VERSATILE: Buns are only boring if you allow them to be. I can be creative with different styling - high, low, side, braids, flowers, scarves, etc. Also, I'm enjoying my earring collection much more because normally my hair mostly covers my ears. Finally, I can wear them for both work and play.


Wash. I am going to start clarifying my hair once a month. I have not been doing this since I went natural. Without clarifying, I could be allowing build up on my hair to block nutrients from absorbing. So, I will use a clarifying shampoo monthly followed by a moisturizing shampoo. I'll continue to cowash as needed - usually weekly.

Condition. I will be deep conditioning with heat when I shampoo from now on. I will continue to do pre-poo treatments occasionally when I cowash. I'll continue to use a water based leave-in conditioner after I cowash.

Moisturize. Some products can serve as a leave-in conditioner and a moisturizer. Currently, I'm doing this step separately.

Stretch. This is key for me. I don't plan on wet-bunning. Leaving my hair wet leads me to tangles and single strand knots. I plan to stretch in one of two ways, depending on my mood.

======>Blowdrying. Last week, after moisturizing I blow dried my hair on low just enough to get it dry and stretched out. It was still bushy and full which for me is necessary for a nice fat bun. I don't want to blow dry more than twice a month.

======>Braiding. This week, I will put my hair in a few plaits after moisturizing and let it air dry. Once it's dry, I can work it into a smooth bun or I can work it into a messy, wavy bun.

Seal. Nightly, I take the bun out and massage my scalp, spray my hair with a light leave-in conditioner and seal my ends with an oil or butter. I put it in a loose braid or twist and wrap it around itself at the base of my neck, put a soft scrunchie on it, and put a scarf on.

Notes and Reflections.

*I use a soft black scrunchie to do my buns and I don't put it in too tight.

*Part of my problem with many protective styles is that I have this need to be able to massage my scalp and have access to my hair. I've never been able to keep a braided style for more than a few days. Bunning allows me to still have access to my hair and scalp every night.

*I will move the bun around on my head quite a bit. Wearing it in the same spot all the time can cause breakage.

*I will dust my ends and do search and destroys as needed. I will likely get it trimmed professionally the next time I decide to wear it down and straight.

*This routine will be low maintenance, and this is what I need right now. I will focus on other things, and leave my hair alone to do its thing.