IMG_7137.JPG

 

I got the wonderful opportunity, via an Instagram contest, to be included in a photoshoot for Essence Magazine and Essence.com. I travelled about 3 hours by train to London and met up with the ladies from Natural Hair Daily. The photographer, Kelvin Buluck @kelbpics was absolutely amazing!. He made me feel so comfortable and was great and providing direction in front of the camera. After the photoshoot, we snapped a couple pics which are now up on Essence.com. I was photographed with my cousin who met up with me at the event. Check out photo number 38 of 42 in the Hair Street Style: Naturals Across the Pond photo gallery.

My cousin and I at the natural hair photoshoot in London, England.

 

The only styling products I have here are Ecostyler Argan Oil gel and Shea Moisture Styling Milk. Using the 2 together was causing a bit of white residue. I had to ditch the leave in and try a gel only wash and go. The results were better than I thought. My hair was firm but not crunchy or dry. I didn’t feel like I needed a leave in with this particular gel. My style lasted a good amount of time too. I did wash my hair after a few days because it got wet in the shower and I’d used Curls Control Paste on my edges and that stuff flakes after day 1.

IMG_6924.JPG

 

I’ll be across the pond for at least the next few months. I stocked up on some hair care items to take with me. Due to lack of suitcase space, however, I didn’t get to pack my entire stash. I will show what I planned to take with me. Depending on the cost of things abroad, I may get whatever doesn’t fit in my suitcase, shipped to me.

Here’s is some of what I planned to take with me:

IMG_6696

I was only able to bring the Giovanni conditioners, the Shea Moisture Leave In, the shea butter, and one of the Le Kair Cholesterols. I did transfer some of the Eco Styler into a smaller container. I had packed some oils- coconut and sweet almond but those did not make the cut. I also had to leave my bentonite clay. Incidentally, WalMart (Asda over here) stocks coconut and other oils in the hair care aisle for a relatively good price- less than £2. I don’t think I’ll need the Bentonite clay because I packed a clarifying shampoo and I mostly used the clay for frizz reduction.

My first full day here, I got some Eco Styler gel- the same one I had here…Argan, I think. It has a softer hold than what I’m used to, but I like it. I have noticed some flaking as the days go on and it does not work well with the Curls Control Paste at all. I’m cutting back on using the paste because it’s only good for 1st day hair. Afterwards, it clumps up and leaves residue. I was worried about my hair being dry here but surprisingly it isn’t.

I’m especially glad I brought the Shea Moisture with me. Products in this line are usually $9.99 and buy one, get one 1/2 off in the sale. Here in the UK they are £12.99 each. That’s $20.34 for one! Definitely too expensive for me. I actually think I should have brought a few more and left the shea butter. My hair isn’t as dry as I expected it to be…but it is spring after all (but still 50 degrees F).  Perhaps I’ll use it in winter. I may try some shea butter only wash and gos because without the humidity, my hair is very defined on its own.

One thing I’m surprised about is there aren’t a lot of naturals here in my city. Children and teens are usually heat-trained naturals. I’m the only curly head I see. This wasn’t what I expected at all, especially since there are more biracial (mixed with black) people in the UK than there are black. But my natural hair stands out and people definitely do a double take… A few members of my family are rasta and they’ve shown me the natural hair salons in the area, so I may try one out.

 

I was sent the MD Nutri Hair supplement by MD Lash Factor to review. I’ve tried out several different hair growth supplements, so I’ll let you know how this compares. I had a one month supply and I took pictures at the beginning and the end… I did however get a haircut about 1 week into it. I was also traveling a lot last month and when I take just a carry-on, I leave my supplements at home- meaning I did skip some days.

The first thing I noticed about this was the really nice packaging. For the price point- $50 per bottle- it’s what’s to be expected. The bottle comes in a box. My package came in a nice velvet bag with some freebees which included- samples of the serums and a spoolie. I have to admit that I was most excited about the spoolie because I needed one and they run about $25 at Sephora.

The ingredients are pretty straight forward and are listed on the website: Lilac, Collagen (Fish), Flaxseed Powder, Lignan Powder, Vitamin E, Niacin-Vitamin B, Biotin. Instructions say ‘take 1 capsule daily’ and there are 30 capsules in a bottle. I liked that 1 serving is just 1 capsule as opposed to 2. The capsules are also smaller than other hair vitamins on the market. The bottle does not say how much of each ingredient is in each capsule…only that the blend is 300mg. I was a bit concerned about this since I have sensitivity to high amounts of some letter vitamins. These vitamins are specifically formulated for female hair loss. While I don’t experience hair loss, I did try it for hair growth.

How It Did-

The main thing I notice was that my skin was GLOWING. I was amazed with how great my skin looked. I noticed it a few weeks in. My face just looks shinier and more youthful. Even though I live in humid Florida, my skin is usually dry. This vitamin really made a difference in that regard. Since this supplement does contain an unlisted amount of biotin, I was worried about cystic acne but I experienced none. I really didn’t have any breakouts. I had a few spots here and there that dried out in a day or so on their own.

Next up is my nails. I didn’t notice any faster growth than usual. I have been keeping my nails super short because of travel and packing and such. I did have some white spots in my nails and I noticed the new nail bed looks healthier and the spots are growing out. My nails haven’t grown out enough to tell if they are stronger.

And at last…my hair. I always take note of my body hair as well as the hair on my head. I didn’t notice having to shave/epilate and faster than usual. I did notice that my body hair was a lot silkier and somewhat finer than usual. The effects were similar to when I took MSM. I couldn’t find my length check shirt for the starting picture. I did trim my hair a week or so later and I took another picture with the shirt afterward.

Here are the quick pics I took. I think I got about 1/2″ of growth in about one month. Although this is average for many, this is faster than usual for me (which is 1/3″ per month). To compare, I get about the same- 1/2″ per month with both Hairfinity and Mane Choice. The main difference was with MD Nutri Hair my skin looked absolutely amazing. The main downside is my hair grew in finer and silkier (I already have fine hair so this is not something I want).

IMG_6485

First picture is pre-haircut on April 7th. Next is post haircut on April 15.

This picture was taken May 13, 2015.

 

I’ve had my braids out for a while. I’ll post a hair update after this article. I didn’t take any pictures during the take down process. It took me about 3 days to undo all of the braids. I wore mini braids for about 5 1/2 weeks.

Here are a two styles I wore while my hair was in braids. The first is just my bun. I’ve posted quite a few mini braid bun tutorials before. For this one, I used a small donut bun thing from the dollar store for more volume. The next style I wore to work. It’s two flat twists that join into a low bun.

 

On the topic of goals…I decided to make some goals for this year. Last year I made goals, but I didn’t focus on them as much as I should have…so many of them will be the same or similar.

  • Wear more protective styles- mini twists or mini braids. My hair does better in these than being out. When I have social events to go to, I like to have my hair out and big because it’s somewhat of a safety blanket for me… I need to find more styling options for my protective styles and be more confident in wearing them out while travelling or socializing.
  • Use less heat. Still working on this one. I think my ends do better when I’m not using a blow dryer or flat iron. I think diffusing is not all that great for my hair either. I did use a heat protectant on my curly hair last year, which is not typical of me.
  • Focus on problem areas. My nape and crown are still something I want to work on. I’m not so concerned about my sideburn or hairline…but my nape does bother me because I know it can be as long as the rest of my hair. I keep cutting my crown but eventually my layers will start to look odd so I need to focus on preventing thinning and breakage.
  • Get back into a regular routine. Last year, I did what I want to my hair when I wanted. Although my hair didn’t suffer from that, I think it’s better for fine hair if I deep conditioned (with protein) at least once a week. I have to get back to my Saturday DCs. I’ve also only left my DC in for 2-4 minutes lately…I think I need to get back to DCing outside of the shower for a longer period of time.
  • And of course…length goals! I’m actually really happy with the length of my hair right now. It took my haircut last summer for me to realize that I was happy with that length. And now I FINALLY feel like my hair is indeed long. I’ll keep growing it out but I’m not too concerned about any particular length in any particular time. I still would like to get to at least waist length but I’m not actively thinking about it.
 

I transitioned to natural hair for 5 months. During that time I did wear mini braids. The were slightly larger than what I wear now. And out of concern for my ends unraveling, I wore them in various buns and updos. It is possible to wear mini braids on transitioning or relaxed hair, but there will be challenges. Here are a few tips for braids for those transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.

 

  1. Keep transitioning hair detangled. Hair with textured roots and straight ends is much more prone to tangling and breakage than all-natural hair or all-relaxed hair.
  2. Stretch loose hair either with heat or without to create a uniform texture. Something as simple as airdrying transitioning hair in several ponytails will keep the roots stretched and the hair will be much easier to braid.
  3. Make larger braids. In most cases, the density of the roots vs the relaxed ends will differ significantly. To avoid the look of wispy, stringy ends, use larger parts and make larger braids so the ends won’t taper into only a few strands.
  4. Secure the ends of your mini braids before wetting them. Use hair bands to band the hair or put the mini braids in large twists or braids before washing them. Having secure ends will prevent unravelling caused by water. Make sure to rinse shampoo and conditioner out thoroughly and keep the mini braids secured until fully dry. This will also help prevent frizz.
  5. Stretch braids when drying. As with loose transitioning hair, the roots of the braids will shrink. After washing mini braids on transitioning hair, put the braids in ponytails to stretch the roots and create a more uniform look when dry.
  6. Use different products or different amounts of products if necessary. If your relaxed hair love protein, but your natural roots do not- add a protein leave in only to the ends of your hair and use a more moisturizing one on the roots. With your hair in mini braids, it will be easier to concentrate product on only the areas that need it.
  7. Style mini braids with rollers, bantu knots, braid outs, twist outs, and other textured styles in order to prevent the ends from unraveling. Straight hair does not hold in a braid, but wearing textured styles will help the mini braids last longer.
  8. Don’t leave the braids in as long. As stated before, transition hair tends to tangle more than relaxed or natural hair due to the two textures. To avoid a headache when taking out braids, don’t wear them for too long. About 4 weeks is a good amount of time to wear one set of mini braids.
  9. Embrace the unraveling when it’s time to undo the braids. If you are on your last week or days of wearing mini braids, let the ends unravel on their own. It will help speed up the take down process.
 

IMG_6350.PNG

 

 

Save on QRedew handheld hair steamer now. Use code: Lucky for free shipping March 13-17, 2015.

Tagged with:
 

I posted an article over a year ago about my plans and goals for my hair in 2014. I had forgotten about this but Youtuber TheKGLifestyle just posted a video on 2015 goals and it jogged my memory. So here’s an update on how I did throughout 2014…

  • Wear more protective styles. I think I did a lot better with this in my newly natural days. I think I only wore mini braids once last year. On a regular basis, I did wear my hair mostly in large twists for the week. I worked out a lot and that was the most convenient for me. That counts right? right? 😬 I usually were my hair in a high bun daily anyway.
  • Use less heat. This one was sort of a pass and fail. 😕 I wanted to stop straightening so much and stop diffusing my wash and goes. I did well with not straightening- mostly because it takes so much time and in the humidity, my hair just doesn’t stay straight. But in 2014, I was the queen of the wash and go and I diffused my hair every. single. time. I wore back to back WnGs and redid them about every 4-5 days. I probably used more heat that usual. But I did sit under a hooded dryer occasionally. My hair just won’t airdry in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Use more oils and butters. I did finally restock my shea butter and make a shea butter mix to seal the entire length of my hair. I did find that it was really difficult to cowash off so I cut back. I have been coating my mini braids in shea butter. I didn’t do oil rinses consistently or try new butters. 😐
  • Focus on problem areas. I didn’t think about the hair at my widows peak or edges. I trimmed the hair at my crown a lot. It’s still shorter and thinner than it should be. 😕 I tried to do my buns differently so I wouldn’t stress that area. My nape still needs help too.
  • Find an all-natural, hard protein product. I used neutral protein filler from Sally’s a lot. It’s not all natural but it’s cheap and can be diluted to last a while. I still haven’t tried the Aubrey Organics, but I plan to when I take these braids out.
  • Find hair perfume or styling product with a pleasant scent that lingers. I didn’t find a leave in that I love, but I bought the Terrescentials Left Coast Lemon clay wash and it smells great. Even though you rinse it out the scent does linger a bit. I also use lemon and orange essential oils to scent my homemade products.
  • Repurchase staples. This is the one area that I absolutely followed through on. 👏 I kept a stock of my Giovanni conditioners, my cholesterol DC, and my Shea Moisture leave in.
  • Finally, some length goals… Grow hair to waist length. I’m still not claiming waist length. 😮 I got a few haircuts in 2014. I actually miss how good my wash and go looked when I first got it cut. I’m toying with the idea of getting another cut…
WnG May 2014 vs Jan 2015

WnG May 2014 vs Jan 2015

 

I set my mini braids on sponge rollers overnight. To style them I put all my hair on one side and bobby pinned the braids in place.

IMG_6276.JPG

 

DSC02494DSC02494

I finally braided my hair again. I used the same routine as always. You can find my detailed braiding routine in my ebook. I shampooed with a product from my hotel in NYC. It was an organic brand called Pharmacopia and I actually really liked the shampoo and conditioner (that I used while on vacation). I conditioned with Giovanni Nutrafix…I had forgotten how much I loved this stuff! I left it on for a few minutes then finger detangled.

I used my Shea Moisture hibiscus styling milk (can’t remember the exact name) as a leave in. Afterwards, I coated the whole length of my hair in my shea butter mix and put it my hair in 6 braids to dry overnight. I took down 1 section at a time and braided in rows. I only used a rat tail comb to part, I did not use a brush or comb at all to detangle (last time I used one was in November). Here’s the method I use for parting my hair for braiding- Parting on a Grid.

It took me 3 days to braid my hair. I braid for a few hours and stop when I want to. I could have easily finished the last bit on day 2, but I didn’t bother. I probably had a 1 inch square section left, lol. I didn’t take any pictures of the process because I’ve done so so many times before. Look under the “My Mini Braids” category to see all my braid related posts. Specifically, here is my last set of mini braids from July 2014.

DSC02522

DSC02649

I haven’t washed these yet, I’m enjoying the look without the shrinkage. It’s weird that my braids are long now. I still remember when they didn’t even reach my ears. I did curl my ends with sponge rollers the first day. I wore them in a bun so they got a little crinkly. For these pictures, I smoothed the braids out and bumped the ends with a flat iron on low heat. This was the first time I used heat on my braids and I liked the results. I’ll most likely wear these for about 6 weeks.

DSC02615 DSC02614

 

DSC02497DSC02496

 

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: