Friday, September 28, 2012

Itchy Scalp Problems

It's no secret that the very front patch of my scalp has always plagued me. No amount of ol' school scratchin' with a fine-tooth comb, dabbing at my head with a cotton ball soaked in tea tree and other essential oils, greasing my scalp or just plain washing my hair helped. In fact, this irritating problem didn't subside until I laid off the heat two years ago. But, it's back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This time, however, my whole scalp was crawling with invisible ants and I attribute it to last week's 911 regimen. And if I'm going to be totally honest, my heart skipped a beat last week when I saw a few flakes in the front of my scalp as soon as I'd finished washing my hair. As the week progressed, the itching got so bad, I was patting my head like the wig-weave girls!

Last week, I put my hair in mini-twists with the intent of leaving them in for two weeks. I was planning to wash my hair on Sunday with the twists intact, but I was itching too bad to wait just two more days to wash my hair so I washed it tonight! You should have seen the look on my partner's face when I told him what I was going to do at 10:30 p.m., LOL!

Instead of using shampoo, I decided to co-wash with that amazing As I Am Naturally CoWash Conditoner. Almost immediately, my scalp felt soothed...I attribute that to the heavy coconut oil in the conditioning treatment as coconut oil happens to be a natural antibacterial. I then followed up with Herbal Essences' Honey, I'm Strong Strengthening Conditoner.
I'm ashamed of how many HE products I really like, so just add this to my growing list!
I've been drooling over the commercials for this, so I finally got some to try out and I like it! With honey and apricot extract, it allegedly gets hair 10x stronger in just one wash. More importantly, it's supposed to guard against "future" damage, reduce breakage up to "99 percent," yada yada yada...

Ignoring all the hype, the combination of As I Am's Coconut CoWash and HE's Honey, I'm Strong made my hair as soft and fine as a feather. And, no more itchy scalp! My hair had sheen, was muy pliable and had a very pleasant, but light after-scent. 

Would I buy this again? I don't know and I don't know because I still prefer HE's Hello Hydration over this particular conditioner. But, I definitely give this at least one coil up.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Counteracting Heat Damage

With temperatures plummeting, I decided last week to flat iron my hair one more time this year before my hair goes into hibernation. Normally, I'm very careful when applying heat, but I did miss a few steps and did a doozy on my hair. When all was said and done, I don't think I could've paid my comb to get anywhere near my roots and my ends (going up three to four inches towards my head) felt rough and crispy.

Unable to properly comb my hair and panicking about the damage I might have done to the hair I'd worked so hard for over the last two years, I spritzed it down, slapped in my hair butter and wore the most gorgeous bantu knot out I've ever achieved for the rest of the week. How's that for irony?!

After much Googling, YTing and reading product reviews, I resolved to hot foot it to Sally's Beauty to save my hair although I am fully aware that heat damaged hair cannot be saved. But, I just couldn't fathom cutting off three to four inches of my hair after working so hard to take care of it for the past two years! 

So, here is my 911 Regimen to Rescue Heat-Damaged Hair:
  • I parted my hair in four sections, spritzed each section with a random conditioner mixed with water and detangled. Then I applied Queen Helene Professional Cholesterol.
I prefer LeKair Cholesterol with Aloe, but Sally didn't have it and I had a 911!
  • After steaming with the Cholesterol, I hopped in the shower to wash my hair with ApHogee Shampoo for Damaged Hair. I was shocked how well this worked. My hair felt clean and indescribably different, but not stripped. And, I only had to apply it once!
I used so little of this, I think this bottle is going to last a whole year.
  • After just one shampoo application, I then applied ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor and left it on for five minutes. This product has more slip than you can ever hope for and it left my hair feeling smooth and soft.
Again, a little bit goes a long way!
  • Post-shower, I wanted to add a little extra oomph to my hair so I spritzed each section with ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer. The idea is not to saturate the hair with this product, so I just spritzed each section a few times after a brief comb-through. Ideally, you're supposed to apply heat to your hair after applying this, but body heat works fine too according to the directions.
I have mixed feelings about this as it made my hair feel a little weird.
  • The final steps in saving my hair was to apply my Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner to each section and then separating each section so I got two twists out of each section. Then, I put huge bobby pins on my roots, pulled all my twists to the back of my head and banded them into a pony tail with two scrunchies to stretch the hair as it dries over night. I also tied a satin scarf on my head so my edges lay down. I'll twist my hair tomorrow when my hair is dry.
You're probably wondering if any of this worked and while it's too soon to tell how much damage was done, I can assure you that my hair is going to be just fine. My curls returned as soon as I washed my hair and I had more curls than I've ever had by the time I rinsed out the conditioner. Only one small section was wavy versus curly, but my hair's always been like that. I had not one single shaft of straight hair! 

So, ApHogee gets two coils up! My hair was left feeling soft and smooth, and has lots of shine and sheen and I haven't even applied my hair butter yet! I also was shocked that only ONE hair was in my detangling comb when I detangled a second time and that NEVER happens! I am definitely going to use this as a one-time monthly regimen.

NOTE: While my hair loves protein and is treated to some type of protein treatment every week, a lot of people have protein-sensitive hair. If you are protein-sensitive, I'd do a strand test first. Also, ApHogee products are designed to work together to repair your hair, so I wouldn't recommend subbing or swapping out products when using ApHogee. And, please thoroughly read AND follow the directions when using these products.

P.S. Assuming the worst, I was planning on using ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment but I'll save that for another day and hopefully that will be a day when I want versus need to use it!
This is a heavy-duty treatment not for the faint of heart!

Monday, September 10, 2012

As I Am Naturally Triple Failure

Last week, I was so in love with my curls I didn't want to wash my hair. But, y'all know me...I MUST wash my hair every week. So, in an attempt to try something new, I tried to wash my hair while retaining my curls with the help of three As I Am Naturally products. The end result...BIG FAIL! Here's the gist of what I did:

  • I carefully sectioned my hair, misted with distilled water and applied As I Am Naturally's Hydration Elation to each section prior to twisting.
This didn't leave my hair feeling any better or worse than any other deep conditioner, store-bought or DIY.
  • After steaming with Hydration Elation, I proceeded to wash and condition as normal. Then, I applied As I Am Naturally's Twist Defining Cream to each section.
My hair felt "funny" compared to when I use my Bounce Butter.
  • Then, I applied As I Am Naturally's Smoothing Gel and twisted each section.
Still not knocked out. Hair still felt "funny."

Crossing my fingers and whispering prayers to the Good Hair Angels, I let my hair dry overnight and eagerly awaited the big reveal the next morning. To my utter disappointment and dismay, my hair did not turn out as expected, nor did I retain the beautiful bouncy spirals I somehow achieved the week before.

Yes, I have body and lots of it, and yes I have curls popping all over my head, but my hair lacks the shine and softness I've come to expect. In fact, the back of my hair feels like it's been dipped in a bucket of pure chlorine...rough, immovable and undefined frizz. And when I feel my hair, it rustles and crunches-a sure sign to me that my hair is desperately dry. But, for those of you who want to try this line, the good news is I didn't get those annoying white balls when I used both of these products together, so they're at least compatible.

Sadly, however, I must give Twist Defining Cream and the Smoothing Gel two coils down. Hydration Elation gets one coil down. Considering these products cost upwards of $20 each, I expected more. I really, really, really wanted to like them, but I don't. 

Fortunately, I had free samples to try out. Had I bought full-sized containers of these products, I would've been pissed to the highest of pisstivity! If my hair didn't feel so awful, I'd leave it as-is to see if my curls hold for the duration of the week (which they do when I use my Bounce Butter) without product reapplication, but As I Am Naturally just isn't worth the risk. Bounce Butter here I come!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ayurvedic Treatment and Co-Washing are a Go!

Forgive me if this is a little herky jerky, but I'm writing this while watching POTUS speak during the DNC.

Anyway, last week, I decided to try this co-washing thing again. I've always been a co-wash naysayer, but let me explain why, first. All of the co-washing methods I've seen and read about use cheap conditioner, sometimes diluted with water. Personally, I need and want to have a clean scalp, and I know conditioner can't do the trick. A lot of co-washers say they don't like shampoo because it's too harsh or strips the hair. While whatever shampoo you use might have a higher than desired pH balance, if you're of that ilk, water naturally reduces your hair's pH level as you rinse out the shampoo. Second, conditioner closes the cuticle so how can you get your hair clean if the cuticle is closed?! Last, ALL hair experts agree that if you co-wash regularly, you MUST wash your hair with shampoo at least once a month...but don't let me go off on that tangent 'cuz that's really gross when I think about it. All I have to say is if you wouldn't dare wash your clothes with just fabric softener or take a shower/bath with lotion, why would you wash your hair with conditioner?

With that being said, I had tried a sample of As I Am Naturally's Coconut CoWash a while ago and really enjoyed it, so last Sunday, I broke down and ran to my local Sally's to (gasp!) buy a full-size jar. HINT: Even the instructions on the jar advise co-washers to shampoo their hair periodically, LOL!
Just $7.99 at your local Sally's!!!
So, in keeping with my regimen, I spritzed my hair, gently detangled with my trusty old Mebco Detangling Shower Comb, applied the Coconut CoWash made 10 loose twists on each side, clipped them to the top of my head and slid under my Huetiful steamer! Honestly, my hair never felt better! I was tempted to do a WnG, but I don't have the right hair type to even attempt to pull it off, but still...

Trippin' off my good hair high, I decided to make a potentially new Wash Day product so I pulled out my stash of Ayurvedic herbs and one other special ingredient to create a moisturizing Ayurvedic hair mist! 

I'm not a daily mister, but I did mist my hair with my new concoction while twisting my hair with my Bounce Butter. It's too early to tell, but I think I'm on to something!!!!!!!!! Not only does my new concoction contain a wonderful and sweet smelling humectant, it's filled with multiple herbs to strengthen the hair's root and shaft, promote gloss and sheen, ward off the greys, cleanses and conditions the hair, stimulates hair growth, corrects scalp issues, thickens the hair, prevents hair loss...Need I say more? Are you as excited about this as I am?!