Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Re-evaluating my needs

Hey there y'all! 

Trust everyone has had a great week behind them. I am having a good hair week, FINALLY, for the first time in a while. I'm STILL struggling with breakage and shedding, but my hair feels stronger and more moisturised and more supple this week than it has in a while, so clearly I did something right this past wash day. 

Now, just quick update on what's actually going on on top of my head. I did not document when I last relaxed my hair, but I do know that it was before my birthday last year, which falls in early December. So roughly calculating from the week of my birthday, I'm about 20 weeks post relaxer, which explains the mop of new growth that I'm dealing with. This was also a very much unintentional stretch - colouring my hair and putting in twists and going to London and my very trusty hairdresser moving to another town 800 km away all contributed to me not "getting my hair did". As y'all know, I am NOT a fan of multiple textures and trying to find the happy middle ground of dealing with them, so y'all can expect one of two things happening in the near future - a relaxer update or a big chop, cause I'm DONE! Note - I am not going to transition. Ever. If I go natural, it'll be a big chop. I truly cannot stand working with multiple textures, they drive me insane!

Secondly, I cut off about an inch of hair all by myself - the raggiest of the raggedy ends, in order to curb some of the freaking breakage. And I think it worked, I haven't seen short broken hairs in my hands since. But I'm still trying to curb the demarcation line breakage. I suspect that this past wash day was the first step into the right direction, as I'm starting to think that I have concentrated so much on moisture the past few months, that I have thrown off the moisture-protein balance in my hair and THUS it's breaking like crazy. 

Thirdly, one my of my best friends have a birthday party this week themed "Great Gatsby" and I'm planning to wig it up for the party. To do this I'm planning to have my hair cornrowed on Friday and then in the process also have a protective style for a week or two whilst wigging it up. Yes, I DO realise that this might cause me to stretch even longer and that the relaxer or big chop might not happen for another couple of weeks. BUT I feel that doing this is a healthier option for the themed party than trying to manipulate my own hair into a 1920's worthy style. It's also getting cooler this side of the world and protective styling during the winter has been my go to since I started this journey 3 years ago. 

Okidokie, let's get stuck into this week's #washdayexperience, which essentially led to the above realizations. 

The Wash Day Experience

My look the day BEFORE wash day - a little pompoudour and french plaited in the back - had this protective style for 3 days straight.

My prepoo mix - as y'all can see, EVERYTHING contains argan/Moroccan oil as an  ingredient. 

Hair lost during the prepoo and detangling process, primarily shedding, but still significant breakage. 

As the pics above detail, I wore a french braid with a pompoudour for 3 days straight as a protective style before my wash day. On my wash day I mixed up my prepoo mix, this time, as you can see, using primarily the last bit of all my AVON Advance Techniques conditioners as well as the last of my Sunsilk conditioner. I also added a CRAP load of sunflower oil, feeling that it's time that I reintroduce ceramides into my hair regimen. I finger detangled and applied my prepoo mix in six separate sections, twisting up each section as I go along. During the prepoo application process I collected every single hair and ended up with too much for my liking. After applying the entire prepoo mixture I wrapped up my hair in a plastic cap, my shower cap and my AVON microfibre head wrap and promptly became a lazy bum in front of the TV. 

Prepoo chilling - still cute though, lol!!
It was a LONG prepoo session, because I forgot to put on the geyser before I started, so after sitting for about 45 minutes I wanted to go shower and continue with the rest of my washday process, but I can't do cold showers, nope, nope, lots of nope. So I then switched on the geyser and proceeded to wait for the water to warm up, a time period during which I watched an episode of something. so essentially, at the end of the day my prepoo alone was 2 hours long!

My shampoo - it's the business!

Smoothing and detangling conditioner - I need more!!!

My deep conditioner - first time experience. 

Staple leave ins. HE Bee strong is on it's last legs though.

So, water finally warm and I'm in the shower. Shampooed with Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo. I forgot how nice this shampoo works - uber lather but my hair didn't feel stripped. 

Then I dived for the HE Hello Hydration Conditioner as my smoothing and detangling conditioner. now, on a previous wash day I had massive tangles and knots, mainly due to the multiple textures and very thick new growth. So, I decided to go to my OLD method, that used to work 2 years ago, but I somehow abandoned - finger detangling at every step of the wash day process. So, starting at the nape I separated a section, pinning the rest up with a claw clip, and then with some Hello Hydration I started to finger detangle my hair. This conditioner has awesome slip, the knots easily slipped out, the tangles were not very big competition for this conditioner. I did this section by section, moving forward on my head until my entire head was covered in conditioner and finger detangled. Unfortunately, this method also means more manipulation and since my hair has not been in its ideal state, this also led to more shedding and breakage. 

Total amount of hair lost in the shower during rinsing, shampoo, conditioner detangling, rinsing, DC application and rinsing. 
After rinsing the Hello Hydration I deep conditioned with Elasta QP Intense Fortifying Hair Conditioning Treatment. I've only ever read about this conditioner as it is SO NOT available in my country. So on my recent trip to London I picked up a LOT of products that I've only been dreaming of and this was one of them. It was the first time using it and looking at the ingredients list and description it seems like a mild protein DC, but with plenty of moisturising agents. So, I applied it liberally in sections. It also has a nice slip but it also feels slightly tacky. I didn't really care for how it felt in my hands. It also did absorb or penetrate into my hair as quickly as I hoped, but I could see that should I go natural that my hair would LOVE it, because the curls in my new growth suddenly started popping a bit. I again wrapped up my hair and ended up on the couch. The instructions say to condition for 10 minutes, but I suspect I DC'd for about 45 minutes to an hour. When I rinsed, my hair felt quite strong without feeling dry.

I then applied my leave ins of MoroccanOil Treatment and HE Bee Strong Conditioning Creme and proceeded to rollerset my hair with my normal rollers. I used Ebony's, from Longing4Length, 3 comb method to again detangle and then rollerset, of course spritzing the hair as I went so to ensure that the hair is wet to ensure it be as smooth as possible. 

Hair lost during the rollersetting process. 
I then let my hair air dry in the rollers until completely dry. When I took out the rollers many hours later it was already getting late and I felt exhausted. I thus just combed my hair into a ponytail and wrapped it with my satin scarf. 

It's been a couple of days since that wash and my hair has been behaving better than it has the week before, that's for sure. It feels stronger, it looks smoother, it feels and looks softer. I've kept my styling and handling very simple - sleep with the satin scarf (that OF COURSE slips off in the middle of the night), use my rake comb when styling, wear a pony tail or pin up, massage a little bit of Jamaican Black Castor Oil pomade (also a London buy) into the roots and ends. 

Day 4 hair - pulled back into a ponytail with the bangs banging. 

My next wash day might be either tomorrow or Thursday, in preparation for the cornrows for the wig for Friday's party. BUT I am going to repeat all of the above steps and see if incorporating more protein on wash day via the Elasta QP might actually SOLVE my breakage issues once and for all! Hopefully, the hair balls will be significantly smaller. Here's to getting my hair back on track!!

Hope your wash days were awesome! If you haven't yet, join the Wash Day Experience and tell the rest of us how you keep your mane in check. 

Till next time ladies! Adios!

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