Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nasty raggedy weaves make my heart sore

You know how a person can be oblivious to something until they have a personal interest in that topic or area? Like how normal drivers rarely actually SEE bikers or cyclists until the day that they themselves have been on a bike or bicycle in the middle of normal traffic. Well, to a certain degree the same thing has been happening to me regarding hair, hair care and what I see on the heads of the many ladies around me in this beautiful city of ours. And because I now know that taking care of one's tresses need not be an extremely time or money consuming exercise, I cringe on a daily basis several times a day as I see girls with either sad, dry, badly broken hair OR wearing the most raggedy, nasty, hot mess weaves imaginable. Which leads me to wonder - with all the info available, why in the world are pretty girls practically uglying themselves up with these crows nests that they're walking around with? 

Okay, let's rewind a little bit. I have NOTHING against weaving it up, wigging it up, nor braiding it up. I've done all of the aforementioned myself and I enjoyed the choice range it provided me with. Done right, it's intense protective styling and your hair will thank you. Done right, you look good and your self esteem will thank you. I don't even have an issue with the arguments of others that weaving it up is playing to "racial insecurities" because I believe that those arguments are often exaggerated and it depends on perspective on any event. What I have an issue with is when a weave is done WRONG. When the hair used for the sew in is the cheapest, most plastic, synthetic kind on the market. When the person who installed it did not focus on the fact that it needs to look natural for it to look good. When puffs of natural new growth peak out around the edges of the sew in looking raggedy and thirsty and damaged. When a girl with a very dark skin tone decides to install hair that is simply too light to look natural, or vice versa. When a weave is worn WAY past the "sell by" date. When good quality human hair is actually used but the wearer is neglecting that hair, as well as her hair beneath it, so that even the HUMAN HAIR weave starts looking like a clumpy, split ended, dry, raggedy mess. ALL of THAT I have a HUGE problem with considering that very often some of these same women ridicule those of us who put concerted effort into their own hair. 

Another aspect of all of the above that struck me is that whenever I walk past such an unfortunate young woman, all I want to do is grab her to the side, buy her a cup of coffee and then start preaching! (Which is ironic, since I've only been on my own journey for a little over 8 months now) But unsolicited advice, especially like THAT (I lack tact sometimes) is NEVER appreciated, soooooooo, since I'm blogging about this, maybe, just maybe, one or two of these women will read this and realise that they can do better. Like Maya Angelou said - when you know better, you DO better. 

Okay, so here's some tips for these ladies, most of which I've learned from trial and error upon my own head:
  • Since you're paying money for the hair that you'l be covering your own hair with, take some time and choose carefully. Compare colour, texture, human vs synthetic. Price is only relevant in your determination of "value for money". BUYING cheap leads to LOOKING cheap. If your budget is constrained, rather wait and save up for decent hair, or make peace with the fact that you'll be buying new packs of cheap hair every month. 
  • Speaking of decent hair, quality 100% human hair can be re-used, unlike synthetic brands. It may cost you more initially, but THIS is where VALUE for money comes in. Of course, you need to actually TAKE CARE of it to get true bang for your buck.
  • When having the weave installed, make sure that person installing it actually KNOWS what they're doing, and not the chick around the corner who does it for a nickle and a dime, because then you'll end up looking like a Medusa instead of an Athena. Look for a reputable stylist, get references from ladies that you've seen wearing some enviable weaves, and once again, be willing to pay a little more, as it's worth it in the end. 
  • Whilst having your weave installed, SPEAK to your stylist, especially if you experience any pain or discomfort from the minute that the stylist or her assistant starts with your tracks. Even though a weave is a protective style, the hair underneath needs to be taken care as well, from the second the process starts, otherwise you'll be LOSING hair when the weave is removed. So, don't forget to USE YOUR VOICE.
  • Now we move on to the weave being installed and the after care that YOU, the wearer need to do. It makes no sense to pay the money for the hair and the install and then not take care of it as well as your own hair. Lack of after care definitely leads to the existence of a crow's nest. 
    • First of all, just because you're weaved up does NOT mean that you shouldn't WASH your hair. Use a gentle or diluted shampoo, get an applicator bottle so to get the shampoo in between the tracks so as to clean your own hair. Gently wash the weave itself as well, with either the same shampoo if you've installed 100% human hair, or if you've installed synthetic, a shampoo meant for synthetic hair. BE GENTLE
    • Secondly, CONDITION. Use the same methodology as above. If 100% human hair has been installed, nothing prevents you from even deep conditioning THAT hair AS IF it was your own
    • Thirdly, RINSE thoroughly. You DO NOT want any build up of product. ALWAYS BE GENTLE. Rough handling will damage your own hair as well as the weave, causing tangles and shedding. 
    • Fourthly, nourish your scalp and own hair by gently massaging a nourishing product such as olive, castor or coconut oil into the tracks. USE A LIGHT HAND THOUGH. 
    • Regarding your install, avoid heavy products. Perhaps use a light serum to detangle and then let air dry. If wearing a very curly weave, one can use a little more product than with a straight weave, but once again, avoid a heavy hand. AVOID products containing petrolatum and mineral oil. It'll just make that weave look nasty. 
  • Lastly, but definitely not least, DO NOT wear a weave for too long. Even the best quality of hair, if worn for too long, will start looking raggedy, and your own hair beneath will also suffer. In my opinion 4-6 weeks is long enough for a weave install. When removing it, I would recommend that it be done by the same stylist who installed it. In addition you MUST let you hair REST for at least 2 weeks after removal, taking care of it gently before either installing another weave or relaxing.
I believe that the pointers I put out above represent BASICS for those who prefer to wear weaves on a regular basis. And therefore it makes my heart sore to see SOOOO many sad raggedy weaves around when  it is so simple. The information is all around us. Ignorance cannot be an excuse, and it most definitely is not bliss. So ladies, PLEASE, do YOURSELVES the favour and treat your hair and your weave like the crown it's meant to be. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A bit of a ramble, and review

So, this week I've been trying to keep my hands out of my hair as much as possible by bunning, moisturizing like a crazy person and this coming weekend I'm planning to spoil my tresses with a moisturizing prepoo AND deep conditioning treatment. I really feel that I can practically see being full shoulder length and with summer on our doorstep I want to do the most I could possibly do. 

I quickly want to talk about the moisturizer I'm currently using, Revlon's Super Soft Activator, a water and glycerin based product also containing a couple of silicones. I bought a small bottle for N$ 14 (about US$ 2) and it's been lasting quite a while as I've only been using it sporadically. For the past week however I have been drenching moisturizing my hair with this stuff every day and sealing with either coconut oil or ORS Olive Oil hair dressing, wrapped it up and went to bed. My hair is SUPER soft, just like the name says, and it does feel very nice and moisturized. Only one negative point, it does make my hair feel slightly sticky and a little limp, as if there's build up, and I'm guessing it's from the cones. I will definitely have to give my hair a nice thorough shampoo this weekend. Regarding the moisturizer, next week I'm going to experiment my diluting it with water and putting it in a spritz bottle and then using THAT to moisturize and see how the results differ. 

I've realised that my hair must be pretty porous. Why I say this: this weekend I washed and roller set my hair twice, Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Both days I used Clicks Repair and Restore Shampoo (lower in sulphates, nice and gentle) Pantene Smooth and Sleek Conditioner as rinsing conditioner and my usual leave ins of Avon 3D Rescue, ORS Glossing Polisher and Bone Straight. On Friday I used the Clicks Repair and Restore Masque as treatment and on Sunday the ORS Replenishing Pak as DC.(I LOVE the smell of the Replenishing Pak. And the slip. And how it makes my hair feel like BUTTER.) I started roller setting while my hair was soaking wet. When I was completely done, the hair around the first three rollers was practically bone dry already. I realised that my hair drying that quickly must be due to the porous nature of my hair and the fact that moisture escapes quickly. Thus the experiment this week with the Super Soft Activator. 

I have no idea what products are available here in Namibia which  can use to correct the porosity of my hair, but I am on a mission to find out. Dry hair equals breakage which equals crappy retention, and I want ALL the retention I can get. So, if anybody knows of a product or regimen change which would help my current situation I'm ALL ears. In the meantime, I am going to attempt consistent care and TLC, keep my hands OUT of my hair, keep the heat FAR away from my tresses for as long as possible and keep my true length hidden from myself and other for as LONG as possible. Planning an official length check and "reveal" in December around the time of my birthday, and I am praying to not be disappointed. Have a fabulous Thursday peeps, and remember, if you're having a phuza Thursday tonight, be safe!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Weekend hair plans

Good morning people and happy Friday to all. We are having the most awesome Friday, the weather is lovely, although it does create a longing for pancakes and one's bed. It's over cast and humid, and the rain is looming over the horizon - Summer is officially here! And it's only October.

Last weekend my social calender was quite full and busy, this weekend the set plan is a motorsport event, King of Spin, tomorrow and it starts relatively early, which means that I need to start my hair pampering tonight if I wish to look like a decent human being tomorrow. Of course, I have plans to get drinks with a possible gentleman suitor tonight, so I don't really know how I'm going to squeeze everything in, but it needs to be done.

Okay the long and the short of my plans is to do the major wash day routine and maybe split it over the course of tonight and tomorrow morning. Prepoo with cheapie conditioner and coconut oil, wash, do a black tea rinse, detangle with Pantene Smooth and Sleek conditioner and DC with Clicks Repair and Nourish Conditioning Mask tonight, keeping on the deep conditioner overnight. In the morning, rinse the DC and roller set, using usual leave-in's and drying hair with dryer on cool, but fast setting. When hair is dry I'll decide then on the style to employ, but one thing is certain - NO HEAT shall be applied to my hair.

Now I feel the need to ramble a little bit with regard to the fact that I REALLY REALLY want to reach full shoulder length by the end of the year, which gives me a bare 2 months to kick up the retention and thus I need to be extra gentle and extra caring. I am actively hiding my full length currently by wearing buns and pining my hair up, however sometimes I can't help myself, when prepping for bed, combing out my hair to see what's happening. And it annoys me to no end that the front half of my hair is not thriving as much as the back. I know that one must be patient, but I am not the most patient person on earth and I am wondering what else I can do to increase growth and retention without looking like sorry sad Susie who's hair is always in a bun. Protective styling is not all that fun.

So apart from my general goals, I'm going to add another - actively find cute protective styles so as to retain every millimeter of growth. I'm currently 6 weeks post and thus have another 6 weeks to go before touching up and I need to baby and nourish my new growth even more than ever before, especially around my nape and hairline, so as to minimize breakage and shedding. I am hoping that all of the effort (which I have not done prior to this journey of mine) will reap many fruit so that one day other ladies can approach me and ask me how in the world did I get my hair to grow so long and healthy and shiny. I know it's petty, wanting others to envy me a little, but I've never denied the size and fragile nature of my ego, she loves such boosts.

So that's my ramble for the day. What's everybody's plans for this weekend? Whatever y'all do, be safe and have fun!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Post weekend update, with some pics

Good morning, happy October and I trust everybody's ready to take on the new month with vigor. This will also be when one truly feels the effects of the new season, it becoming cooler in the northern hemisphere and warming up considerably here in the south. It 's spring (although in all honesty, it often feels as if Namibia only has two seasons - winter and summer, and that autumn and spring fall by the wayside) and thus the days are longer and warmer and just generally more fun. It's easier to go the gym after work, since it's not dark when you're done after a good hour long session and driving home. Sun downers are so much more fun because cold funky cocktails don't really go down well during winter and the sun sets too damn early in any event. One's social calendar fills up much more easily as everyone actually wishes to come out of their state of winter hibernation and laziness and shake off the cobwebs of the cold season. Personally, the only thing I miss about the colder seasons is that my wardrobe and sense of style was so much easier while still being creative, and hair care, for me personally, was a little easier, as a simple bun in winter is so much more the norm, as summer asks for more flirty fun styles and thus much more care so as to minimize breakage and shedding.

Talking of fun and flirty, this weekend was amazing and very fun. Friday night I went to a themed Red Light District Party: Heels and Top Hats with my girl Ash. Upon entering one received complimentary champagne, and my glass was almost never empty. There were live performances, which included stand up comedy, poetry and singing. The DJ burned up the decks and the next day my feet were in absolute agony as I danced the night away in heels, which I NEVER do, ask ANYONE who knows me. My feet only truly feel better today! But heels were part of the theme so I threw them on,lol.

The rest of my outfit consisted of an ankle length black fitted skirt with a slit on the side and a black corset. My hair I simply retwisted my knots a little and then fluffed them out. Make up was simple and then we partied the night away.

I need to make the following statement - girls of today DO NOT know how to dress with class and style so as to look like LADIES. I verily believe that me and my friends were some of the very few classy ladies at the party. The GIRLS do know however how to look like very expensive prostitutes. A style lesson that I know is absolutely timeless - one must choose the focal point between chest and legs. You CANNOT show off both, because then you end up looking trashy and cheap.

I saw SO many girls on Friday night who's boobs were falling out of their dresses which were so short that daring the sit down would have been a challenge and wearing underwear would not have been great because their were SO tight that even the tiniest of thongs would leave a visible pantie line, and on top of it, wearing hooker heels. As a woman, I found it disgraceful. There is nothing wrong with sexy, and there is nothing wrong with flaunting your best assets, as long as it's done tastefully and with class and not like you're the lead in a porno movie and the clothes are gonna fly in about 2 minutes anyway! Girls!! Learn to have some self respect! If you don't respect your own body and your own image that you're projecting to the world, how on earth do you expect anyone to respect you??

Okay, enough about that rant and on to the awesomeness that was yesterday and the Trevor Noah show. The man is brilliant! I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. He has been one of my favorite comedians for a couple of years now, and it was awesome seeing him live here in Windhoek as I missed his show last year which he did before leaving for the States for about a year. I am so grateful to Ashante for hooking us all up and making sure that we don't miss the comedy show of the year.

As a precursor, I decided that I must look decidedly cute, and thus yesterday morning was a wash day, which I ended with a roller set, After taking out the rollers, I pinned my hair up in a slightly 40's and 50's style, took out some tendrils to frame my face and wore a strapless dress that I picked up at American Eagle a few years ago with a tiny little cardigan over.

I apologise for the quality of the pics, I'm still relegated to my cell phone. I pray that the situation will change soon.

Also, I realized that I need to have a ton of oils for when detangling my curls from a knot out to minimise the breakage, so I will be adding that to the planned hair haul which will probably occur this afternoon.

In any event, that was my weekend y'all (and I also watched A LOT of Grey's Anatomy over the weekend - some tears were shed, was intense). Wishing everyone an awesome week ahead and a happy, not blue, Monday further.