Archive for January, 2012

Dealing with your hair when sick

Posted in curly/kinky hair, illness, Natural hair care on January 31, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

Hola! I know it’s been awhile.

I recently went to visit a sick friend in another state. Without going into specifics, her condition is chronic. It got me thinking about what happens to caring for your hair when you’re not 100 percent and I don’t mean when you have the cold or flu. Those illnesses last about a week. I mean if you have an illness of longer duration or is chronic and has no real end. Obviously, your health should be a top priority, but it can be complicated if you have highly textured hair because it has special needs. It needs to be moisturized more frequently as sebum, the hair’s natural oils, isn’t able to travel down the entire strand due to all the bends and coils in curly and kinky hair. It also needs to be detangled at regular intervals to prevent matting. So just how do you take care of highly textured hair when you’re sick for long periods?    

Some would say to get a protective style like braids or twists but you’re not likely to have the energy to invest 6+ hours of time to put them in yourself, nor to be able to have the energy to sit still for that long to have someone else put them in for you. If your hair is long enough, you could do buns, ponytails or puffs, all of which take about 5 minutes to do and won’t sap too much of your energy. However, if you have fragile edges like I do, you may not be able to wear those styles every day because your edges could get stressed and eventually thin and fall out. So if you want to retain your length, you might consider wigs, ensuring that your hair underneath is washed, conditioned and moisturized as often as your health allows. If you have medium or long hair and don’t care about retaining length, you could also consider cutting it into a TWA for some ease. You wouldn’t have to worry about putting it into a style. All you’d have to do is wash, condition and moisturize as often as your health allows and go.

Also, as far as wash day is concerned, if you’re the type that does pre-pooing, overnight deep treatments, henna treatments, etc,  you might need to simplify your routine or cut some things out of your regimen, as once again, it’s unlikely that you would have the energy to spend that much time lavishing your hair. If your condition makes it impossible to shampoo your hair or co-wash regularly, you may consider water washing. The term is just what it implies-you simply wash your hair using just water.  Many people think it’s strange and that your hair can’t possibly get clean with just water but there is a sizable segment of people in the natural hair community who swear by it who proclaim that the friction of massaging your hair and scalp under running water is enough to rid your head of debris and excess oil and that products marketed for washing your hair are unnecessary or harmful. I’ve never done water washing, so I can’t attest to these claims, but I’ve learned along my hair journey to not automatically knock something until I’ve tried it, so until that time, I won’t give an opinion. There are also some dry shampoos on the market that are marketed for those times where hair washing is impractical or impossible due to illness. With these, you don’t need water. You just spray the stuff in your hair, massage for a couple of minutes and go. However, I looked at the ingredients at a couple of them-Pantene Curly Hair Series Dry to Moisturized Shampoo and Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray and they both contained silicones, which are questionable ingredients for many naturals. If you don’t care about cones, then you’re set, but if you’re avoiding them, they may not be an option.

I hope this was beneficial. If you having any other tips, please share them in the comments.

Traveling while natural

Posted in Traveling natural with tags , , , on January 11, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, this upcoming weekend, I’m going to visit a friend in Charlotte. No big deal, right? I haven’t seen her in awhile, so I am excited about the trip but the thing that is vexing me most is my hair. I have no clue about how I’m going wear it while I’m there. Traveling as a natural is a whole other kettle of fish than traveling as a relaxed head. When I traveled as a permie, I hardly brought any hair products with me as I didn’t wash my hair frequently. Often, I’d take a comb, the curling iron and some Pink Oil. On a few occasions, I’d get some braid extensions the week before I went on the trip and called it day. Most of those things in hindsight are woefully inadequate, but then, I didn’t take very good care of my hair at the time, nor did I have a clue how to do so.

Now that I’m natural and am aware of how to care for my hair properly, it’s different. I have to take about half of my product stash with me when I travel. I need moisturizers to keep my hair from getting dry, oils or shea butter to seal in the moisture so it doesn’t evaporate and stylers or gels to set my hair. Not to mention a conditioner to co-wash with and a leave-in conditioner to detangle with or use as a moisturizer. I don’t bother taking shampoo with me when I travel these days because it’s just one product too many, but then I co-wash the majority of the time anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much. Just try getting all that stuff on a plane. Putting all that stuff in checked luggage doesn’t always work. When I went to Canada a couple of years ago, I discovered that the top of my container of KCCC had come loose during the flight there and it had spilled, making a gooey sticky mess all over the plastic bag it was in as well as all over all of my other hair products. Hoping to avoid a repeat of that disaster during my trip to Bermuda last year, I wanted to put my products in my carry on luggage. However, as security has become so strict, they make you put liquids in those inadequate 3 oz containers. I attempted to put as much stuff as I could in those containers, but I only have about 4 of those things. Also, 3 ounces of anything is a joke to many naturals. We either have thick hair and/or a lot of it, which requires a lot of product to adequately comb or style our hair. I would have had to take over 20 of those little containers with me to ensure I could wash and style my hair decently and that would have been ridiculous. Frustrated, I stuffed the regular containers of all of my products in the carry on and prayed that the security guards would ignore them. I arrived in Bermuda with all of my products intact, but when I was leaving the country, the guards there confiscated them. It was infuriating, but at least it happened on my way home instead of on the way there as the products they confiscated could be easily replaced in my home territory. Most of the products I use aren’t readily available outside of the United States so if my stuff had been confiscated on my way to Bermuda, I’d have been up ish’s creek. And I have to bring my own stuff as I cannot rely on the shampoo and conditioners that hotels give you. The shampoo the hotels give you usually contain sulfates, which are too harsh for my hair. And most of the conditioners they give you contain silicones, which dry out some people’s hair. Luckily, for this upcoming trip, I’m taking the bus and not flying, so the possibility of stuff getting confiscated is slim to none.  As far as styles are concerned, a lot of naturals would do a protective style to cut down on maintaining their hair, but most protective styles don’t look good on me and even if they did, I wouldn’t have time to do most of them before I leave anyway. Wash and go? I’ve been rocking one since last weekend and I’m itching to do something else. But if I do a twistout or braidout, do I really want to retwist my hair every night while on vacation to maintain them? Bah. I wish I had some bonafide tips for traveling with natural hair, but I actually am in need in some myself. The best that I can come up with is to try to limit the amount of products you take with you to avoid the issues I’ve had before. I have a couple of products from Curl Junkie that double as leave-ins or stylers, so I’ll be sure to bring those. Actually, any product that has multiple uses is ideal so that it can cut down on the amount of stuff you bring with you. Also, if a product contains a lot of oils or butters, it may be best to bring that with you so that you can avoid having to bring oils or butters separately. For example, anything from the Shea Moisture line would do for this purpose. Shea butter is one of their main ingredients so if you use anything from that line, you don’t need to bring separate containers of shea butter or oil. If Shea Moisture doesn’t do it for you, any products containing lots of butter or oils will do. I would avoid taking heat styling tools such as flat irons and diffusers as they can be bulky and take up too much space, leaving no room for more necessary stuff. That’s about all the tips I have for now. If anyone else has any other pointers, I’d love to hear them.

This entire post reminds that I have to start packing.

Random stuff

Posted in coping with HPV, life, Natural hair care with tags , , , on January 6, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

Happy new year! This is basically going to be a fairly short post as I just wanted to assure people that I was still among the land of living.

As far as that flexirod set I did on New Year’s, it was a total fail, so no pictures. As I was putting the rods in, I couldn’t get most of the pieces to roll in a spiral pattern for some reason. Most of my hair got rolled around and around in the same spot on the rod. And even with a hooded dryer, the set took forever to dry. Over TWO hours! Um, yeah. So it’s not something I’ll try again very soon. The next night, I did a three strand twistout and then on Tuesday, I did a wash and go using Shea Moisture’s Curling Souffle and diffused my hair as it was just 20 degrees out that day. I’m not sure how I feel about the stuff yet. It’s probably marketed as a cheaper alternative to KCCC, but it’s thicker and stickier than KCCC and it doesn’t elongate my curls as KCCC does either. It does define them nicely though and I’m on day four hair, something that doesn’t happen often when I do wash and goes. I did use Giovanni’s Direct Leave In underneath and that was not the business, as the Curling Souffle interacted with it my hair turned white. I had to scrunch my hair to get the white out. Next time, I’ll have to use a lighter leave in with the stuff. No pictures yet, as I didn’t think to take any. When I try the Curling Souffle again, I’ll be sure to take them.

I also went back to the gym this week and I am sore. Anytime you don’t maintain an exercise regimen for any length of time, you lose whatever muscle tone and cardio strength you gained and it can take a couple of weeks to get back to the level you were at before. I weighed myself this morning expecting to be totally displeased with the scale, but I’m actually only one pound heavier than the highest recommended weight for my height. I only gained two pounds, given all the crap I ate over the holidays. It could have been worse.

Later lovies!