Monday, September 10, 2012

CG Journey To Date

I figure it's time for another "before, during, during, during" picture. And here it is! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Packing Light (Or Not So Light)

I'm going away for the weekend, and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to take with me. I have a very nice overnight case, and I'm not going on a plane, so I don't have to worry about things bursting out of their packaging, and I'm not limited to the airline size restrictions.

Two days... is two shampoos too many? I think I'll take the CHS Treatment Shampoo, because that should work well no matter what the water conditions are like. I'll probably also take the Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo, in case the weather is really dry and I need, you know, more moisture :)

Conditioner, conditioner...I don't have a hands down favorite here yet. I'll probably take Cure Care and the Shea Moisture conditioner I have. I mix them together, so I may just mix them in one bottle. Or maybe just take the one thing of Kinky Curly Knot Today.

I can't take my beloved aloe vera gel, but I will take some epsom salts, just in case :)

Instead of aloe vera, I'm taking along Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly. I'm also going to take a sample of Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper that I got with my last order from CurlMart.

Curl Junkie's Pattern Pusha. That's been working really well for me.

My own micro fiber hair towel, of course. My hair dryer/diffuser. Oh! I almost forgot my wide tooth comb for the shower!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Best of the Best (so far)

At this point in my CG journey, these are my favorite products:

Curly Hair Solutions Treatment Shampoo (has sulfates, but also has magnesium sulfate, which makes my hair very curly)
Jessicurl's Gentle Lather Shampoo
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Shampoo

Sally's Generic Value Product Conditioning Balm (very thick)
Sally's Cure Care (much thinner, also contains protein)

Aloe vera gel (mixed with mag sulfate)
Curl Junkie's Pattern Pusha
Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly
Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel

Protein Treatments:
Spiral Solutions Protein Treatment

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hair Today

I'm having a great hair day today. I hope I get a picture later on, but in the meantime, here's what I did:

Washed with Curly Hair Solutions Treatment Shampoo. (Yes, it has sulfates, but it also has mag sulfate, and it just makes my hair curl up and thrive!)

Conditioner was a mix of Shea Moisture Repairing Conditioner, Kinky Curly Knot Today, and a little bit of Sally's Generic Value Product Conditioning Balm. Rinsed it out very thoroughly and squeezed excess water from my hair (gently).

I mixed about a 1/4 cup (a little less) of aloe vera gel with about 2 or 3 teaspoons of mag sulfate. {I use a ton of mag sulfate. Not everyone (anyone?) likes it as much as I do.}

Lastly, I applied a big palmful of Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha to my hair, and then diffused for about 10 minutes.

After that, I clipped my crown and let it air dry while I drove to work.

I've gotten a lot better at clipping. When I first tried it, I didn't feel like it did anything for my hair. Then I tried doing it with a little gel on the clips. That worked great. Now I don't even need the gel. Remember, curly hair is about 20% product and 80% technique! :)

And here's the picture! Except, it's too dark, I think, to see my hair. Oh well :) Trust me, it looks better in person! I've got curls, whirls, sexy tendrils, and some wonderful spirals! I'm loving it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Your Hair Acts Up

I have a kind of "if...then" flow chart in my head for basic curly care. It goes something like this (but I'm looking for advice on tweaking it!)

If my hair is limp, then I check for over conditioning. 
If my hair is limp and it is not overconditioned, then I do a protein treatment.
If my hair is frizzy, then I add conditioning and/or remove drying ingredients. 
If my hair is frizzy, and I feel well moisturized, then I check the length of the frizzy hairs. Maybe it's just new growth showing up? 
If all else fails, then I do a sulfate shampoo and reboot.
If it's still not working, then I look at when I got my last hair cut :)
If it has been a reasonable time since a haircut, and I'm trying to grow out my hair, then I look for new techniques, because maybe the old ones aren't working with my longer hair anymore.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What I Did Tonight

Tonight I washed and towel dried my hair. (Micro fiber towel, of course. I've been using those for years before I'd ever heard them being recommended for curlies.) Once it was towel dry, I used one of my recent product junkie purchases, Neutral Protein Filler (NPF) (from Sally's) on my hair. I worked it through my hair roots to ends, and left it on per the instructions.

Only to discover, a few minutes later, that NPF gives me a mild asthma attack. So, whether it works well or not, I won't be repurchasing :) I'm willing to do a lot of things for curls, but regular asthma attacks is not on the list :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two Month check in

So, I've been using the Curly Girl (CG) method (no sulfates, no 'cones) for about two months now, and I decided it's time for a photo check in!

Here I am pre CG. At the time I was washing my hair with a no sulfate shampoo, but I wasn't using any conditioner. I would comb all the "tangles" (and, though I didn't know it, all the curl) out of my hair when it was wet, and then I would brush my hair when it was dry. I wouldn't look at it again for the rest of the day. As you can imagine, I hated having my picture taken, so it was hard finding any pictures of my hair from those days. Oh, and just to be clear, I'm not in my own house in this picture. I'm at a party. Yup, the hair you see in this picture is my fancy "party hair".

Here I am today. Still using sulfate free shampoo, but now I've added conditioner, aloe vera gel, and Spiral Solutions (SS) Curl Enhancing Gel and SS Firm Hold to the mix. Air dried, and then scrunched out the crunch with my hands. (Gently, since my curls disappear with a harsh word.) Herman, who you'll meet in the next picture, is on the other side of my head.

Here's a picture of my favorite curl. I've decided to name him "Herman". I used to not play favorites with my curls, but now I hope the other curls get jealous and try to earn names of their own :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today's Hair

Here's today's hair. Rocking Ringlets, Spiral Solutions (SS) Curl Enhancing Jelly, and SS Firm Hold, let air dry. I scrunched out the crunch, and then added Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee, just to prevent things from drooping later in the day. Normally, I do the root fluffing thing, but I didn't do that today. I wanted to see what my hair looked like w/o it.

I also got my eyelashes done today. (I'll post about that later.) The place where I get them done is in a hair salon. On my way out, the owner of the salon loved my hair so much, she asked me what products I used to make it so fun and cute. Maybe I'll turn her into a curly hair stylist :)

Anyway, results? Lots of spiral curls, which I love. Lots of scalp, which I don't love. Still trying to find that middle ground between curl and volume :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lessons Learned

I've only been doing this for a little while, but I've already learned a few things.

1. Your hair never looks as bad as you think it does in the reflection of the car window.
2. Your hair never looks as good as you think it does in the reflection of the car window.
3. You can't tell what your hair looks like in the car's rear view mirror. No, not even if you have a huge one that spans the width of the window.
4. No matter how little curl you have, no matter how bad a hair day you're having, there is someone you know that envies your hair. It's true, even if they never tell you.
5. Putting product in your hair to make it curlier is not cheating.
6. If my hair did what Meg Ryan's hair is doing in this picture, I would say I have stringy hair. Meg Ryan does not have stringy hair (or if she does, so what? the hair still looks cute). I need to lighten up on myself.

Reality check: when my hair looks like this, I think it looks stringy. But it really doesn't look stringy. I'm just too demanding. I need to lighten up.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

DIY Curly Bob

On Tuesday, I was home sick with a fever. (I totally blame this on the fever.) I saw this YouTube video How to Cut Your Own Hair. So I did. (And yes, I would totally love to have the curls of the woman in the video!)

It's an inverted curly bob, and I really love it. To judge by all the compliments I've gotten, other people do too. (I've never gotten this many compliments on my hair!)

So many people mentioned the curl. Our CEO said how much she liked my hair. Even the straight men gave me compliments. (One guy said, "Your hair, it is very beautiful")

I guess I'll wear this style a little more often :)  (And look! My spirals are starting to show up for the camera! Shy little things, aren't they? :))

Monday, April 16, 2012

Myths and Realities About Wash N Go Hair

Over at CurlTalk I see a lot of women asking for "Wash N Go" hair. They want to enhance their curl, but they don't want to have to work at it. And who can blame them? We all have so much going on in our lives, and some things seem like they should just be simple. And daily hair styles seems like one of those things. (Special event hair styles are another thing entirely.)

To me, enhancing your curl is like wearing make up. Do you have to do it? Of course not. You don't have to wear make up and you don't have to style your hair, and people will not lynch you if you don't. (Trust me, I've done the no make up and no hair style thing for over 40 years and except for that one time, I've never been threatened with a lynching. But that time doesn't count, because there were extenuating circumstances involving a mad scientist and his creation :)

Also like make up, you can either use one product or lots. (Some women won't go out of the house without putting on lipstick, other women won't go out of the house without putting on foundation, blush, mascara, etc.)

When you want to enhance your curl, you can use one product (usually a curl enhancer of some kind), or many (curl enhancer, mousse, gel, plopping, diffusing, etc.)

I think the two biggest reasons women want that mythical "Wash N Go and look fantastic" hair are time and feeling like a fraud.

Time? It really doesn't take that much more time to put some product in your hair. When you're new at it, it takes longer, but once you've had a week or two to practice, you get really fast :) I air dry my hair in the car while dropping my son off at school and driving to work (I turn on the heater). If I have an extra 10 minutes at home, I will diffuse my hair dry.

I think one big reason is "feeling like a fraud". They think that if they have to work at curly hair, they don't really have curly hair. I understand it, but it's not true. If you have to exercise and work at being fit, does that mean you're not really fit? If you wear make up, does that mean that you're a fraud? If you have to clean your house...ok you get it :)

Hair, like everything else in our lives, needs a certain amount of maintenance. That doesn't mean you're a fraud :) So give up the idea of "Wash N Go" hair, find out what you can do with what you've got, and then decide how much effort you want to put in your hair on a daily basis. As you improve your skills and your techniques, your time investment will become less, and you may discover that your idea of "Wash N Go" expands.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Photo Trail

I'm going to post some pictures of my Curly Girl (CG) journey. Before, during, and after, if you will. These are not for the faint of heart! :) But, sometimes you don't know how far you've come, until you see where you were.

Before CG. This is from my wedding, hence the make up, and styled hair. June of 2009.

This is from June 2011. (Why, yes, I do only take pictures once a year. Just kidding :)) This was 6 months after my Perm From Hell. You can see the damage and the frizz, plus, I still don't have any curls! At this point, I was learning how to take care of my hair, but hadn't started CG yet.

 This is from April 2012. (Ok, it's from today.) I used some new products I'd gotten from Spiral Solutions. You can't really see it in these pictures, but trust me, my hair has more wave, more curl, and even some spirals going on! I've been more or less CG since 3/9/12, so a little over a month.

Friday, April 13, 2012

No brush, no comb?

I stopped using a brush a while ago. It was making my hair a frizzy mess, instead of actually doing what I wanted a good brushing to do :) I switched to wide tooth comb only, but only dry hair, since I'd been told wet hair was so fragile.

Then, last month, I started using my comb in the shower, but only when my hair was full of conditioner. I would still comb my hair after it dried, because I couldn't Scrunch Out The Crunch (SOTC) enough, and it made my hair look wet or producty. (Some women can carry that look off. I am not one of them.)

A few days ago, I switched to only finger combing my hair in the shower (with lots of conditioner). I SOTC when it's dry, and maybe finger ruffle and/or finger comb to break the clumps and get more volume. So, this is my third(?) day with no comb and no brush. I think it's working great, but I don't think it would work unless your hair is super fine and super thin like mine.

But I could be wrong :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hair Type

I've been hanging out on for a while. It's a very informative site about how to make the most of what curl you have. People rate their curls according to one or two of many different systems. For example, according the system, I'm 2a or 3a. That means I have either wavy hair (2) or curly hair (3), and the "a" means that it's fine hair.

The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey rates them by visual appearance as well. How much spring factor, and how much they curl. According to that system, I'm closest to being a Botticelli, or Cherub.

I mention this only as a starting point for the appearance of my hair. Mostly, when I need to find out what works best for my hair I focus on density (thin), texture (fine), and highly porous. My goals for my hair are (obviously) to be healthy. After that, I can't decide if I want volume (because my hair is both fine and thin) or if I want to develop my curl, so that I'm more firmly in the Botticelli camp. I'll add a "current status" picture this weekend. It will be my first PBC (Post Big Chop) picture :)

The Big Chop

Back in December of 2010, I got a perm. I know, I know. Why would someone with naturally wavy/curly hair get a perm?

At some point, I'll post the whole story, but for now, let's just say it destroyed my hair. Parts were fried off, and the stuff that was left was very damaged.

I started coddling my hair, and reading about the Curly Girl method. I finally went CG on 3/9/12. On 4/9/12, I decided to do The Big Chop and cut off all the remaining damaged hair.

That was yesterday. This is my journey.