Yinka’s Braids – A Review

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

This post is a review on hair styling services by Yinka of Yinka’s braids.

Selfishly I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t want Yinka to get so busy that she can’t do my hair anymore. However that’s not really supporting a sista now is it?  I met Yinka at NHW 2014 in London, we had a lovely chat and we exchanged business cards. I liked her work illustrated on her card so a few months later I gave her a call.

I wanted my hair to be canerowed and two-strand twisted without extensions, Yinka explained that as she currently does not have a salon she is unable to offer “wet services” that was fine with me, so we made an appointment and around a week later I detangled, cleansed and conditioned my hair,  hopped on my bike and made my way to Yinka.

  Yinka’s place is welcoming, clean and comfortable. Before getting started on the actual styling Yinka assessed the health of my hair and gave me a mini consultation. Yinka is natural herself and has fine hair – like me so she understands the struggles of not making the hair look “gappy” once the style is finished, in addition Yinka is sooo gentle. I’m used to my natural hair being handled roughly by braiders because they are not used to – or don’t like dealing with natural hair. A lot of braiders are only concerned about the finished look of the style and are not concerned about the health of your hair or damage from manipulation. Yinka did not insist on working on dry stretched hair, she was happy to work on my hair while damp and only used a comb for parting, any tangles we came across along the way Yinka gently finger detangled them just like I would.

PicMonkey Collage (4)

These small fine canerows did not hurt a bit and I loved the style so much, it was a lovely protective style, as you can see I also wore my twists in a bun to protect my ends even more. Since my first appointment I have seen Yinka regularly for twisted and braided styles. Prices start from £20.00 but are individual and based on the length of your hair or extensions and the complexity of the style, I can confirm that Yinka’s prices are very reasonable and very good value for money.

Yinka also braids with extensions and installs kinky twists, Men and children are also welcomed for hair styling services.       I know many of you twist/braid your own hair but I do not have the skill to style my hair as neatly or quickly as Yinka can – even if I could I wouldn’t do it because I don’t believe we are designed to do styles on our hair that take more than an hour maximum. If we were supposed to style our own hair for hours and hours we would have been born with an extra set of eyes to enable us to see the back of our heads clearly ( I don’t know where these eyes would be placed)  and we would have a different type of shoulder joint so our arms didn’t ache so much.

Jokes aside I honestly believe that hair dressing and styling especially of natural African/Afro/Black/highly textured hair should be a special bonding experience. Hair is very personal and has spiritual meaning for a lot of people. In some cultures including my own there are many beliefs related to hair and you are warned not to let just anybody handle your precious tresses.

Ms Yinka Herself.  photo credit Yinkas Braids

Ms Yinka Herself.
photo credit Yinkas Braids

I am very happy to continue to have my hair styled by Yinka and she is extremely talented at what she does, Yinka is happy to chat while she works if you want to talk but she can also sense when I’m too tired to talk or I’m engrossed in my book, there’s no pressure to keep talking the whole time.

To see more photos of Yinka’s work and to like her facebook page – click here

Yinka is based in London and can be contacted on 07869554529.

@yinkas_braids on Instagram

Thanks for Reading

luv

Sian

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Are You a MANE Diva?! (Review)

Hello My Naturalistas!

Today I’m sharing something a little different…

A WEAVE review! Yes I said it, I got a weave.

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Although my protective style challenge is now over and I was rocking my ‘fro all over the streets of Paris a couple of weeks ago, I have fancied a change for a while and wanted to get a weave that was close to my natural texture for 3 reasons:

  •  I rarely use heat on my hair so I couldn’t blend my hair a straight weave.
  • I still want to wear hair that looks like it could have grown out of my head, instead of an Asian or European texture.
  • I love Afro hair and I want to rock a BAA (Big Ass Afro) but I’m still a few years away from that with my own hair.

I had my eye on some hair from the USA but it was sooo expensive and I have been stung with those customs charges in the past adding an extra £100.00 to an already ridiculously expensive bundle of hair.

I decided to stick to my principles of  supporting UK businesses and discovered that Mane Divas based in Essex,  UK provide NHA (No Heat Alternative) extensions especially suited to women with natural hair.

I chose the Afro Kinky Curly texture which is a tight coil that can be defined or picked/fluffed out to achieve a full billowing Afro.

The website has a lot of advice regarding the hair and I was also able to contact the Divas themselves to get advice on how many bundles to buy and what lengths. I was going to buy 12″ and 14″ like I used to when buying straight extensions but I was advised to get 2 bundles of 14 as this texture has a lot of shrinkage.

Each bundle of 14″ costs £75.00 and p&p starts from £4.99 for recorded delivery . I think the price is very reasonable considering it’s Afro kinky virgin, human hair and the company are in UK so the shipping is much cheaper than if the hair were coming from the USA or China. In addition 3% of Mane Diva’s profits are donated to The Sickle Cell Society which I think is fantastic.

One of the best things about buying from Mane Divas is the customer service, they are quick to respond to any questions or queries, I don’t need to try to figure out the time difference if I need to call them and English is their first language so no worries about their being a language barrier and having a misunderstanding. Trina was particularly helpful to me as I bombarded her with about 50 questions before actually buying the hair!

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You can purchase the hair by clicking here.

As you can see the hair comes packaged in a lovely sleek box and each bundle is tied up with a pink ribbon.

The bundles measured 7-8 inches un-stretched but they were 14 inches once I stretched the coils out which is how all non-straight extensions are measured.

The hair comes in a natural colour which is a dark brown, roughly colour 2 but it looks lighter in bright sunlight almost around colour 4.

I was worried that it wouldn’t blend with my hair which is dyed black, but it looks fine and as the hair is not chemically treated prior to purchase it can be dyed or coloured, I will be colouring mine later on after I’ve worn it in it’s virgin state for a while.

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I only needed 1 and a half bundles for a full weave with my entire perimeter left out in order to enable me to wear the hair up in high buns and puffs, plus my edges are fragile like many women so I don’t like to canerow my edges and add  tracks as the stress is too much for my hairline. In the pictures I’ve intentionally exposed my tracks so you can see my leave out, when I wear the hair down it’s so full and fluffy that I don’t need to blend my edges, so I keep my leave out in twists, 2-strand at the back/side and flat twisted across the front. Since my sides are getting pretty long I gather them into a loose bunch with the hair in the back and tuck my ends away.

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When I first saw the bundles I thought the hair would be too curly to blend with my natural hair but it was fine, the hair is really versatile and you can manipulate your leave out to blend with the extensions if you want to. The extensions are not an exact match for my varied curl patterns but obviously an exact match is impossible as like most human beings I have several curl patterns all over my head. As my leave out is minimal I had no issues with blending. The hair is very soft and clean when it arrives but I co-washed it and let it air-dry prior to installation anyway.

The wefts are strong and thick, but my stylist didn’t have trouble sewing the tracks in as she sewed over the weft not through it. I  have not experienced shedding even though I did not seal the second weft that was cut. I have also not experienced any matting which is very common in Afro-textured extensions but this is because I made sure that my tracks were not sewn too close together and I finger detangle daily, obviously once I run a comb through it there will be some shedding which is normal, my real hair sheds and this hair behaves just like my natural hair.  I remember wearing straight weaves back in the day and hair falling out all over the place it was awful!

I have been wearing this hair for a week and I flippin’ love it! On Mothers Day (30th March) I was with my Mum for over an hour before she asked me if I’d dyed my hair, I said no and only then did she ask me if I had “hair” in my hair! I admitted it but my Mum still insisted on coming and looking for the tracks… lol!

My Mum really likes the style on me and trust me my Mum HATES weave!

This hair is not low-maintenance hair, you cannot just get up, shake it out and go but that is just like real highly-textured natural hair that grows out of our scalps. You do need to keep this hair moisturised and detangled, I literally treat this hair like my own natural hair which also means that my leave out and my braids underneath are not neglected.

I moisturise both my hair and the tracks at least once per day, I use Mane Divas Milk Moist or my own water spritz mix. Every couple of days I apply castor oil to my scalp (only) with an applicator bottle and I lightly finger-detangle every night before putting the hair into 2-4 chunky twists and covering with a satin bonnet.  I don’t do anything to my leave out except moisturise it, I don’t undo my twists unless I’m wearing my hair up as I’m trying to avoid over- manipulation of my precious strands.

If I wear my hair up, or back in one,my natural hair blends effortlessly  into the extensions as illustrated by by ponytail/puff below:

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I highly recommend this hair to anyone who wants to add length, thickness or volume to their natural hair or someone who wants to try out a natural texture before taking the plunge. Mane Divas also offer kinky-curly extensions which are a looser curl and various straight textures, if you don’t want to commit to a sew-in weave you can also purchase clips-ins from Mane Divas.

I haven’t washed my hair yet but when I do I’ll do a post on how easy or hard it was to wash the hair by myself. I’m also going to add highlights then colour the hair to see how the hair holds up.

Thanks for Reading

Luv

Sian

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*I bought this hair with my own money, prices correct at time of writing this post.

Product Review: Heavenly Hair and Scalp Intensive Treatment Shampoo & Conditioner + Hair Cream

Hello Naturalistas!

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I was given these products to review, but as usual my review is completely honest. Please remember everyone’s hair is different and just because a product may or may not have worked for my hair it doesn’t mean that your hair will react in the same way to the product/s.

I have decided to use a version of the “Evelyn from the Internets” rating system from now on, hair products will get a rating of Afro Puffs  “0” being awful and “10” being amazing. Body/Skin Products will get a rating of Skin Cells between 0 and 10 same as for hair products.

The Shampoo

The shampoo is paraben and sulphate free which is fantastic. It smells really really nice like Pink Fruitella, if you don’t know what that smells like, it smells sweet but not sickly with a strong smell of wild berries. The shampoo is a medium consistency and slightly creamy, it did lather up a lot which worried me but, it did not leave my hair feeling stripped when I rinsed it out  although my hair did feel nice and clean.

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium, Organic Aloe Vera, Mint Essential Oil, Sulphur, Wild Berries Essential Oil, Argan Oil, Glycerine, Castor OilJojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Moringa.

I’m confused about the listing of Sodium, I’m sure it doesn’t contain PURE Sodium, obliviously it’s a sodium compound but which one?

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 7 Afro Puffs

The Conditioner

The conditioner is quite thick and creamy and again smells gorgeous with a fresh mint scent with a hint of citrus. The conditioner is quite thick and creamy but it did not have enough slip for my liking. I used this conditioner as directed, which is to apply it to clean towel blotted hair and wear a plastic cap for 15-20 mins, you are then instructed to wash out 50% of the conditioner. I found it difficult to know how much 50% was but I did my best each time. The conditioner did leave my hair feeling soft and strengthened but don’t try to use it to detangle, the bottle is too small and as I said it does not have much slip at all. when my hair was dry there was not an obvious visible conditioner residue but I preferred to rise the conditioner out completely (because of that dubious sodium). All in all I think this is a good moisture treatment and you should use it for your deep conditioning treatments, it works even better if you use heat over the top of your plastic cap.

Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium, Organic Aloe Vera, Cinnamon, Lime Essential Oil, Shea Butter Essential Oil, Argan Oil, Glycerin, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Moringa

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 7 Afro Puffs

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The Hair Cream

Unsurprisingly this cream smells nice, it has a nice subtle herbal scent and a very thick, buttery consistency if you turn the tub upside down no product will fall out of the tub, it has flecks of Moringa in it but they do disappear when you apply the cream. I’m not really  sure of exactly what a “hair cream” is for, this particular cream claims to stimulate hair growth, I did not notice increased hair growth when I used it but maybe it is geared towards people who are experiencing issue in that area which I am not. I used it as directed,  applied it to my scalp and gently massaged it in. I don’t normally oil my scalp on a regular basis so it did feel nice on my scalp and it had a slight pleasant tingle. I also used this product to seal my ends when doing the LOC method and it did help my hair to retain moisture. If you use Shea Butter in your hair regimen this is like a super boosted Shea Butter, you could use it the same way you use Shea but it has added natural ingredients that are good for your hair/scalp.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera, Mint, Wild Berries Essential Oil, Shea Butter, Moringa, Argan oil, Glycerine, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil.

Cost: £15.00

Rating: 6 Afro Puffs

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I was given this product range to review a few months ago, but being the PJ that I am, I wanted to use up some other products first and I also wanted to use theses products exclusively for a few wash days to make sure I gave them a fair chance, after all you can’t tell much about a product after only one use. All of this range has plain packaging which is fine by me but some people like fancier label and whatnot. One thing I love about this range is that it’s a BBGBB (another Evelyn phrase) meaning Black Girl Beauty Brand but I added an extra B for British, June -the lady who sells these products from her salon is located in Brixton, South London and her mobile number and landline number for the salon is printed on the products so if you have any questions about using the products you can call/text/WhatsApp June and she always gets back to you. The products are made in UK and not tested on animals so smiles all round!

Heavenly Hair and Scalp Website.

Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

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Salon Search Episode 4.

Hello My Cakers, Bakers and Beauties…

Here is a review on my latest salon experience, the Salon I’m reviewing is Ziuzo Hair and Beauty Salon in Lewisham the address is:

84 Lee High Road,
London,
Lewisham,
SE13 5PT

Based PURELY on the reviews from NoScrunchie.com, I thought I’d give this salon a try.

I called up at around 10am on 3rd Jan 2014 and made my appointment for 14:00. I arrived ten minutes early and was told to take a seat on the sofa, which I did. The owner/manager Vicky was finishing off cutting a lady’s hair who had just had a wave nouveau treatment but there were 3 other natural haired ladies in the salon, one was waiting on the sofa with me, one was under the steamer and one was at the next work station, I couldn’t see any other stylists there but there was a Junior there who was sweeping up hair and so on.

After waiting around half an hour the Junior offered to take my coat and asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. I let her hang my coat up but declined the tea. Then I waited some more, all this time Vicky had not said a word to me although when I first came in I said hello and that I had a 14:00 appointment. by 14:50 I was fuming! No word of apology or explanation was given to me about why I was waiting so long. I asked Vicky if she knew how much know how much longer I would have to wait and she coldly replied “about 20 minutes”. I really needed my hair done that day or I would have walked out already, I waited 20 more minutes and nothing happened, well nothing happened to ME the other two ladies were getting their hair blow dried and flat ironed. The lady on the sofa was still there next to me… waiting.

At around 15:15 the Junior was instructed to put gowns on both of us who were on the sofa and by 15:40 I was finally in the chair Vicky said we were both having treatments and started on the other lady first – fair enough. When Vicky finally got round to me she roughly undid my twists and started feeling my hair, she seemed confused as to why my hair was slightly damp so I explained that I always detangle my hair using water. Vicky parted my hair to look at my scalp and then started roughly raking her hands through my hair! After a while she stopped and asked what kind of treatment I wanted, I knew I needed a moisture treatment but I wanted to see if she was a decent hair dresser or not, Vicky actually said your hair is not breaking and is quite strong so I will give you a moisture treatment. Ok fair enough – I asked how much that was and she said £30 so I agreed but when I asked to read to ingredients in the Treatment It was a Motions Deep Treatment I read that it had quite a few proteins in it, as far as I’m concerned a moisture treatment for MY hair shouldn’t have protein in it. However as I was pressed for time and I’m not particularly protein sensitive I went along with it . Vicky Shampooed my hair first and then wrapped it in a towel before preparing the other girl’s treatment, I noticed that the other girl had olive oil and another conditioner mixed into her motions treatment but they were both finished up on her.

The Junior was instructed to apply the treatment to my hair and to her credit she was very gentle but applied the treatment to my hair in the same way you would apply a Relaxer, only on my roots and with a hair “paint” brush. As the Junior was obviously Caucasian I asked her a few questions about how long she had been working with Black People’s Natural hair I won’t write down the whole conversation but her answers satisfied me and the way she handled my hair was the same way I handle it so I was happy. The treatment was applied to my ends and I was put under the dryer, not the steamer but whatever… Ok.

I did let Vicky know that I was EXTREMELY dissatisfied at waiting over an hour and a half with no explanation or apology, and told her that the only reason I selected her salon was because of the reviews on No Scrunchie .com, I said that I had an event to attend to and had practically run out of time and although I respect her as a business woman and a Sister I was not happy with the service I had received on that day. Vicky did apologise and explain that she had been let down by her other stylist and we had a mature adult conversation about the whole situation and what it’s like to run a business on your own. In the end I found that although Vicky handled my hair a bit too roughly for my liking she is knowledgeable and not prejudiced about natural hair.               I did get a style in the end, Flat Twist in the front and two-strand twist in the back, Vicky was happy to work with my hair from damp which suited me. In conclusion, after talking it out with Vicky I would go back to the Salon one more time to see how things are on a day when Vicky is not rushing. I am happy with the hairstyle and my hair was and is soft and shiny after the treatment.

I’m sincerely sorry I do not have any photos I was really pissed off that day, but when I go back to the Salon I will take some photos.

Thanks very much for reading especially if you made it to the end with no pictures!

Luv

Sian

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Shaloy’s Big Chop!

Hello my Cakers, Bakers & Beauties!

My gorgeous “little” Cousin Shaloy has been wanting to return to her Natural Hair for a while now, Shaloy has seen me transition, big chop, colour, straighten, dye, bleach, henna and mini chop my Natural hair and decided that she was ready to go for it! Kudos to Shaloy because she knew transitioning was not for her and took the (what I consider to be brave) decision to big chop without transitioning. Shaloy had a head full of  healthy, long, thick relaxed hair and after a Summer spent back home in Jamaica, Shaloy called me up and asked me to go with her to BC, the next day off we went off to the Barbers!

I recommended that Shaloy go a Barber to do her BC, as hairdressers charge too much for the same thing and Barbers tend to be quite straight to the point. I’ve had a few friends tell me that when they have been to the hairdresser the stylist has tried to convince them not to cut their hair off or they have not cut enough off.

Once we got to the Barbershop, I think I was more nervous than Shaloy was! Even though Shaloy is technically an adult, I thought I might be blamed for her decision and for encouraging her to cut off her hair. In our family as well as in many other families, Hair is a big deal particularly long hair, my Jamaican Grandmother once asked me to promise not to cut my hair again as I always used to cut if off every summer when I was relaxed.

Shaloy’s Mum also has really long thick relaxed healthy hair that she takes great pride in.  I was dreading what her Mum would say once she saw her practically bald eldest daughter!

When it was our turn the Barber asked what Shaloy was having done and I said “she wants to cut it all off” The Barber asked Shaloy once if she was sure she wanted to cut if ALL off and once she said “yes definitely” he went at it!

Here’s the story of Shaloy’s Big chop in pictures…

Before, putting a brave face on...

Before – Slightly nervous

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Before, healthy relaxed hair (as healthy as relaxed hair can be)

Loosened the bun, ready for the scissors!

Loosened the bun, ready for the scissors!

Last chance cuz, are you sure?

Last chance cuz, are you sure?

She was sure!

She was sure!

New growth, fresh and free!

There is no going back now… Still smiling though

Shaping and trimming

Shaping and trimming

Looking good...

Looking good…

All done, slightly faded and curved at the back for a touch more feminity.

All done, slightly faded and curved at the back for a touch more femininity.

Throwing the chemically processed hair in the bin.

Throwing the chemically processed hair in the bin.

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

Only £10.00!  what a bargain tell me if you know a hairdresser who would do the same thing for less than a tenner!

Only £10.00! what a bargain tell me if you know a hairdresser who would do the same thing for less than a tenner!

 

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My mid-length ‘fro on the left, Shaloy’s sassy big chop on the right. Love you Cuz! xxx

Progress... 3 months later

Progress… 3 months later

New Colour

New Colour

More Before and Afters

More Before and Afters

Thanks for reading,

Luv

Sian

X

Holiday Hair – Part Two

Hello My Beauties!

(Hello to my Cakers and Bakers if your curiosity brought you here too)

So after two weeks of being in the sunny and beautiful Dom Rep, I decided to take my twists down!

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I know I’m really terrible at this protective styling malarkey.

I decided to remove my twists for a few reasons:

  1. I was getting a lot of slippage, swimming every day, rinsing and moisturising daily combined with their soft water plus the texture of my hair and the extension hair led to many twists sliding off and needing to be re-installed.
  2. I was really hot with all that extra hair. (duh!)
  3. I have heard that hairdressers in the Dominican Republic are amazing and I wanted to experience this first hand.
  4. I missed my own hair!

It took me a couple of hours to remove my twists, I untwisted while my hair was damp and used my fingers only. Since the twists were slipping out anyway it was very easy to remove them.

If you are removing any type of extensions make sure you take your time and do not rush, it will be easier to remove your extensions if your hair is damp or wet (naturally kinky curly hair) you can use water, conditioner, natural oils or a combination.

I recommend removing a small cluster of braids maybe ten or so, depending on the size of your sections then de-tangling that section using a seam free large toothed comb or your fingers and coating it in more conditioner or oil before braiding or twisting that section, this process will be easier than removing all of your braids/twists and then trying to de-tangle all of your hair at once.

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Don’t be concerned that I was swimming every day without fully washing my hair, my Uncle’s pool is filled with mountain rainwater and has a natural filtration/cleaning system, it was fantastic swimming in a pool that did not stink of Chlorine, burn my eyes and irritate my skin.

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Once all of my twists were removed, I washed and deep conditioned my hair, I brought my Kinky Girls Essentials Kit on holiday with me and it was a life saver as it was very hard to find natural hair products in shops in the area of Dom Rep we were staying in.

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Image Belongs to http://www.SheaDecandence.co.uk

The next day my Mum and I hit the streets of Sosua (North Coast Beach Town) looking for a hair dresser. I went to 3 different salons and made enquiries before I found one where I was comfortable, unfortunately many of these women were not happy to handle my natural hair and I was repeatedly offered a relaxer, for them it was shocking that I as an adult woman would walk around with my “bad hair”.

The majority of women in the Dominican Republic do have beautiful, long and healthy looking hair but 99% of the Dominican women (I saw) wear their hair straightened either by heat or chemical processing.  I won’t go into it too much in this post but generally the Dominicans feel that they are not Black and do not acknowledge that they are indeed people of African descent instead choosing to focus on their Spanish Heritage.  I found the colourist attitude of the Dominican people to be very obvious and slightly upsetting, it went so deep that I did not see any darker skinned Dominicans working inside, by that I mean phone shops, banks, supermarkets and so on. It is acceptable to wear your natural texture if you have very loose curls or waves but to display your kinks is frowned upon and very rare.

Moving on, I found a salon owned by a Jamaican man who has been living in DR for most of his adult life, I spotted a hairdresser in the window twisting the hair of a young girl the best part of it is that the young girl had hair like me!  The hair dresser was called Ana and we actually had a really interesting conversation about “race” culture hair and history.

I had my hair washed, deep conditioned, blown out , flat ironed (sorry Natural Nazis)  and cut for the equivalent of £5.00 GBP! Of course I tipped Ana well for her time, Ana was very gentle with my hair plus she was heavily pregant and there was no air conditioning in the salon.  I don’t use heat on my hair at home and even when I go to salons in UK I don’t let them use direct heat on my hair (except once per year when I have it professionally flat ironed) indirect heat is also used sparingly maybe once per or twice year.  I don’t use heat because my hair strands are already very fine and I have a lot of chemical damage from self inflicted repeated colour abuse on the ends of my hair, I’m fully aware of this and I’m in the process of transitioning out of this damage.

Here are a few photos of the process.

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I had a good 4 inches cut off which really helped to even out my hair but did not get rid of all the colour damage, I’m not big chopping again because I don’t want to and it’s not necessary although my ends are very thin I am not experiencing a lot of breakage.  I’ll be doing a series of mini chops  until my hair is all virgin again.  I do not have a photo of the finished look but I’ll tell you that it was so humid in the Salon and in DR generally that my hair started to revert IMMEDIATELY, I put it in a bun before I even left the Salon.

The next day we visited Mount Isobel De Torres and I thought it would be a nice change to wear my hair out, that was a crazy idea as you will see below:

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Riding the cable car up the mountain, that’s my Mum looking at my windswept hair!

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Replica of The Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio.

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My hair has recovered from this traumatic experience…lol and is currently recuperating in (considerably shorter) two strand twists.

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Current state of my hair Sept 2013.

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Thanks for Reading.

Luv

Sian

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