Adieu Cheveux Rouges!

Hello my Autumn lovelies!

This is another hair post. I am not an expert or qualified in hair in any way. My ideas and suggestions are only based on common sense, my own research and experience with my hair. Everyone’s hair is different which is why I don’t give specific frequencies regarding hair washing and how long to leave in protective styles and so on. You have to get to know your own hair and what works best for you. 

I have decided to challenge myself to use protective styling from October 1st 2013 to March 2014, depending on the weather at the beginning of March I will decide if my challenge will end on March 1st or 31st.

Protective styling is styling the hair in ways which keep your ends away from being exposed to the elements and do not need frequent handling/manipulation.

Protective styling can involve the addition of hair extensions, for example; Single Plaits, Marley Twists, Wigs and Weaves but Protective Styling can also be done with your own hair (such as a two strand twist updo or loose bun) or by having your hair completely covered with some kind of head wrap or hat. Some fabrics can catch on your hair and tear it so you might want to consider wearing a satin bonnet or scarf under your hats and wraps. 

Personally I would say that for Protective Styling to actually be protective, you also need to bear the following in mind:

  1. Make sure that stress and tension is not being put on your hair and scalp especially your edges.
  2. You still moisturise and cleanse your hair and scalp.
  3. Deep conditioning is done regularly.
  4. You take time to assess your natural hair (especially in between styles) and respond to it’s needs. 
  5. Avoid direct heat, eg; hand held blow dryers, flat irons, tongs etc.
  6. Beware of friction (leading to potential breakage) from clothes, the inside of wigs and hats, fabric head wraps, cotton towels and pillow cases.

I will be trying out several different methods of protective styling, because I like change and because I haven’t decided which method of protective styling I like the best. I prefer not to use weaves as protective styling because I find it hard to keep my hair and scalp properly moisturised, clean and fully dried (after washing) while wearing a weave. Not washing my hair for weeks on end is not a option for me. However that is not to say that I would never try a weave again and see if I can find out a way to make it work for me, but as I don’t have a hooded dryer or intentions to buy one soon I think drying by hair would always be an issue…

I will wear my hair out from time to time, because I still love my hair and feel that I look my best with my natural hair and no “additions”. I think that for New Years Eve and other specials occasions I’ll probably have my hair out.

It is also important for me to assess my hair in between different protective styles to make sure that it’s still healthy and doing well, I don’t think it’s a good idea to take out a set of braids in the morning and then have another set put in on the same afternoon.  My hair needs time to “rest”, “breathe” and be nourished and inspected by me.

During this period I will not be cutting my hair* either. I’m not obsessed with length but I would like to grow my natural virgin hair out, as I’ve never done it before, I always get bored and cut inches off my hair, I’d like to see if I can resist the lure of the scissors and permanent hair dye. Trimming and dusting is allowed but not too often, if needed, I’ll remove less than half an inch so I don’t lose noticeable length. Proper cutting is when you remove a significant amount of hair so regularly that it appears that your hair is not getting any longer, some people do this intentionally to maintain a certain look or style and because they have chosen not to let their hair grow past a certain length. I’ll also cut out any single strands knots that remain after de-tangling. 

I have grown bored of my red ends and I can potentially see the need to blend the ends of my hair with some type of extensions later down the line so I dyed my reds ends “Dark Brown”. My ends have been abused anyway so I’m not too worried about colouring them darker using a more “gentle” dye.  

I used Sta So Fro Permanent Powder Dye it’s similar to Bigen but with all the health risks associated with the high levels of PPD in Bigen I decided against using it. I couldn’t find a traditional box dye kit that didn’t contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide or both even for the dark shades. I asked other natural ladies for recommendations and did a bit of research before choosing SSF. To be honest as I was only dying the ends of my hair and the mixture was not going near my scalp, skin or eyes I wasn’t too worried about the potential negative side effects. 

Image

 

The photo above was taken just before applying the colour to my hair, the instructions say to apply it to dry hair and I followed all of the instructions precisely. 

Image

 

The dye comes in a small glass bottle and you mix it with plain tap water, the kit includes a measuring cup so you know exactly how much water to add to the powder. 

Image

 

The resulting mixture was very runny but thickened slightly with further stirring, as my hair was dry it went on quite easily. There was barely enough mix to dye the ends of my hair and as you can see from my photo there was not that much red left in my hair. if I was going to dye my whole head I think I would have needed 2-3 packs but at 99p per pack it’s not going to break the bank.

after 30 mins I co-washed my hair and the dye washed out very easily. My hair felt a little dry and was knotted in places but that was my own fault for not dying/washing my hair in sections like a normally do.  

I’m happy with the finished result (below) it looks like my hair is all one colour now, in bright sunlight I’m sure it’ll be patchy but since I’m in UK I won’t be exposed to bright sunlight until next spring! I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it!

 

 

Image

 

That’s pretty much it for now thanks for reading the whole post, It was a long one without a lot of pictures!

Luv 

Sian

x

 

*Unless I have a major setback or need to do so for my own health or safety.

Advertisements

Salon Search Episode 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Everyone!

In my next search for a salon, the name Darren Scott kept popping up on blogs and forums so I decided to check it out, I called them up and was able to book an appointment for the very next day. My appointment was 17:00 Friday 10th May 2013.

It was really easy to find my way to the salon from my office in London Bridge, the whole journey took around 45 mins which is fine with me.

I was 15 minutes early but the staff welcomed me and greeted me by name which was nice. 

Image

 

The Salon is bright and airy with “graffiti” style art on one of the walls and lovely light fittings,

Image

Image

 

I know that  seems like a small thing to mention but when you have been in many “hood” salons where all they have is a naked light bulb swinging from the ceiling with flies buzzing around it, a pretty light fitting really matters. 

Apart from the decor and the warm atmosphere I also immediately noticed the two dogs wandering around the salon. Personally I am not really an animal person, I’m not afraid of animals and at times, I don’t mind touching animals but I like it to be my choice, the dogs are friendly enough (one licked my knee while I was waiting….) if you are not a dog person then I’m just giving you a heads up. At the end of the day when you run your own very successful business like Darren Scott does you can do what you want in it. 

After a staff member took my coat and offered me a drink I had a hair consultation with one of the guys. I had come to the salon with damp hair as I’d had it under a shower cap and beenie hat all day. Even though my hair was physically damp the stylist could tell it was actually dry on the inside, I was really impressed by that, he also knew I had used Henna and that had contributed to the dryness of my ends. He said that even though Henna is natural  it can be really drying to Afro-Caribbean hair,  in fact this stylist and Darren Scott himself, both told me that (professional) bleaching would actually be better then Henna for my hair! The stylist recommended a treatment and trim which is exactly what I thought I needed, I had the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme treatment which is actually put on before washing the hair so it can penetrate into the strands, it’s basically a pre-poo!         As I had a build up of castor oil on my hair it was given a quick a shampoo first then most of the excess water was gently squeezed out, the Elasticizer Extreme was applied, and I was popped under the steamer. 

Image

Image

 

After 20 minutes or so, my hair was washed and conditioned, then my stylist Kerri blotted the water out of my hair and gently blow dried my hair with a round brush. I was freaking out about heat being used on my already damaged hair but Kerri was very gentle and explained that she wanted to straighten my hair in order to cut it. After blow drying with the round brush Kerri straightened my hair with the L’oreal Steampod it’s ceramic flat iron that   delivers a stream of high pressure steam to the hair shaft, at the same time as straightening it, the steam is supposed to deeply hydrate the hair without causing heat damage. Kerri only had to do one pass of the steampod on each section of hair but my hair is very fine anyway, when she was done it was straight and didn’t feel dry or brittle however it wasn’t as shiny as I would have liked, I blame this on my damaged hair though not the tools or the stylist. As you can see from the photo below my ends were very uneven.

Image

 

So Kerri trimmed and evened up my ends for me, 

Image

Eventually I’m going to cut out all of the Bleach/Henna I love the colour but the damage is horrendous!

My hair did not look nice at all no matter how many times Kerri tried to stroke it into position, I was quite upset even though I only had myself to blame for my ravaged ends, my hair did not look like I had just spent two hour plus in the salon, I was meeting my husband for “date night” and my hair was so shapeless and horrible I decided to dig into my purse for some pins and try to fling in an updo of some kind. I was kind of annoyed that my stylist didn’t have a solution or maybe she wasn’t allowed to do any more to my hair but luckily Darren saw us dithering about and asked what was wrong, I explained the issue and Darren was kind enough to switch places with Kerri and with a few smooth brush strokes and pins Darren had created this beautiful updo.

Image

Image

Image

 

Clearly I was much happier with my hair at this point and I was happy to go and meet hubby for our date.

In total I paid £75 for this visit, I think that was quite good considering everything I had done. I also booked my next appointment which was to have a perm rod set a couple of days before my birthday. 

I left the salon relaxed and happy which is a change from feeling tired and stressed, as I used to when leaving my old salon in Peckham. In the Peckham salon each stylist rented a chair from an unseen owner and had to go on the street and hassle random women outside hair shops to get business. I had a stylist I would always use but often other stylists would try to “steal” me away from her, I’d even seen a fight break out between other stylists because of this! In addition the salon was always full of the stylist’s and client’s children running around, as well as it not being very safe for children with all the fumes, dangerous chemicals and sharp objects it was not comfortable for the customer as the children would be shouting and screaming and climbing all over everyone, I never wanted to discipline any one else’s child but their mothers were always totally ignoring them, except one stylist who could often be seen breastfeeding her child while simultaneously braiding a customers hair! 

Darren Scott Salon is a short walk away from Maida Vale Tube Station and I was soon back in central London to meet my beau. 

Image 

 

Transitioning…. Again

Hi Everyone!

I have “lost” my curl pattern. I know hair naturally changes throughout our life time, for example when we are born our “baby hair” is a different texture to that of when we are children and then after puberty the texture usually changes again, apparently every 7 years  our hair texture could potentially change.

However my curl pattern has gone because I abused my hair ,  in my post  My Natural Hair Journey So Far  you can see how much I coloured my hair.

Any kind of chemical process can loosen/ damage your curl pattern, the most obvious type of chemical process being relaxing or perming. However bleaching and colouring can change your curl pattern even if you colour naturally with henna or other plants.       As you know I bleached, coloured and hennaed my hair repeatedly. Below is the result:

Image

Image

Dry hair with no discernible curl pattern much thinner at the ends than the roots.

In addition my ends are splitting and breaking off. You cannot “mend” split ends there are treatments and lotions and potions that improve the look of split ends but the only way to really get rid of them is to cut them off.

Yes I am smiling in the photo because cutting my hair doesn’t really bother me too much I always used to cut my hair off every summer and it grew back and that was when my hair was relaxed. When I bleached the tips (again and again) I was fully intending to cut them off but I never got round to it.

This is what my curl pattern used to look like:

Image

No it wasn’t the tightest curl but I loved it! I had so much volume and bounce!

So now I’m going to cut all the coloured ends off, but as you can see from the current hair photos most of my hair is coloured. I do not want to go back to a TWA (right now, I’m liable to change my mind) so I’m going to cut off the coloured parts slowly which is transitioning… Again!

I don’t have a grand plan to transition I’m going to just do it, I will be doing protective styling but I’ll also be wearing my hair out because, damaged or not I love rocking my own hair and most protective styles that use “extra” hair annoy me and I cannot leave them in for too long.

My lovely sister in law canerowed my hair for me with extensions and I added an old hair piece I found in my hair collection:Image

Image

Image

Unfortunately the braids were so tight in the back that I had to remove the style after only one week. I really liked the style, so I left it in for one week hoping that it would loosen up a bit if I regularly misted my hair with my water oil mix, but it was still just as tight and I was getting bumps at the beginning of each braid at the nape of my neck. The bumps anywhere round the hair line are a sure sign that the hair has been pulled too tight and breakage can occur.

I want my hair to be cut professionally so I began the search to find a decent hair salon that caters to natural hair.

More about the search in my next posts.

Take Care

xSx

My Natural Hair Journey So Far…

Little Sian, 1987 or '88

Little Sian, 1987 or ’88

1989..ish

1989..ish

Sorry for the delay in writing the rest of my Hair Journey, I’ve been quite busy lately.

A quick update on my current hair style… I couldn’t bear to keep the kinky twists in any longer, they were getting so messy and there was so much slippage that they had to come out. I removed my kinky twists on 22nd March, so I had them in for just under 3 weeks. So much for keeping them in for the whole of March! I just couldn’t do it, I missed my hair even though from day to day I don’t know what to do with it sometimes.

It took me around 3.5 hours  to remove the twists as I only used my fingers to undo the twists without cutting the ends of the twists as they were the same length as my own hair and I didn’t want to accidentally cut any of my hair off, I used my water spray bottle to moisten and loosen each twist before and during removal. I took my time to de-tangle each twist at the root so I wouldn’t lose much hair, but some hair loss was inevitable as the hairs that would have normally been lost via natural shedding have not been able to escape the confines of the twists. After removing all of the twists I finger detangled a bit and applied my raw organic virgin 100% pure coconut oil as a pre-poo treatment. I wrapped my hair with cling film and then put on a woolly hat to encourage some heat to generate. After that I went to bed to allow time for the coconut oil to penetrate into my strands before washing my hair. I realise that without pictures you’re only really getting half of the story so next time I promise to take pictures.

Anyway back to my natural journey… In my last post about why I went natural I ended it by saying  it took me only 1 week to dye my natural hair, once I’d decided to rock my natural hair out and stop wearing my curly weave.  I dyed it with a Dark and Lovely Box Dye Kit I dyed it brownish but It didn’t really show up that much as I didn’t read the instructions properly!

In my first few weeks of rocking my TWA I really didn’t know what to do with my hair as I felt it was so short and I can’t canerow my own hair I pretty much tied a scarf round my hair line and pushed it back a bit to make a mini Afro Puff.

I searched and searched for natural salons online but most of them really only deal with Locks I found a place in Stratford called Purely Natural and I called and booked an appointment. I didn’t have a fantastic experience at that Salon and it was too expensive, I paid £45.00 for a simple two strand twist style with canerow on one side at the front, The style was similar to this: 

But of course my hair was much, much shorter than this, Sorry no photo of my actual style it took about one hour for the stylist to twist my hair as it was already washed and dried when I arrived. I decided to get a pedi-mani in their beauty parlour downstairs and before I left the Salon my  hair was starting to unravel! I told the stylist and he accused me of doing it myself!! As if I’d ruin my manicure! Anyway I decided I wasn’t going back there ever again and looked for other stylists I found a Company called Bespoke Hair Styles…

I contacted them via Facebook but they were so busy I couldn’t get an appointment until April but I really liked the photos of their work so  I accepted the appointment and waited wore my hair in Puffs until then…

My first Bespoke Hair Style  April 2012.

My first Bespoke Hair Style April 2012.

4. First Bespoke Hair Style April 14 20125. First Bespoke Hair Style April 14 2012

The Ladies of Bespoke Hairstyles, M and H work from home in Essex, they are two strong, independent business women and they are so talented with hair it’s unbelievable. The M, Melissa welcomed me into her home offered me a hot drink and introduced me to her friend/business partner Hugette, I felt so comfortable immediately it was like I’d known them for ages they asked me about what I do and I told them about my cakes and since then, they have been my biggest supporters outside my family. Melissa and Hugette have inspired me so much and still do to this day they are pretty much like family to me now.

This style lasted about 4 weeks until I got bored of it and started to miss my hair,  it was still quite neat by then but I get bored easily so I took it out and for the next few weeks I wore my Afro out and wore puffs again, I dyed my hair again and this time it actually worked.

6. Freshly Washed 24th June  2012

Freshly Washed no products. June 24th 2012

Freshly Washed no products. June 24th 2012

8. Freshly Washed 24th June 2012 Full Front View

The colour was called Rich Auburn (Dark and Lovely #374) and I loved it. I’ve always loved hair colour and I couldn’t stay away from it.  My hair had grown a bit by then but because of “Shrinkage” you can’t really tell.

I most often wore my hair out with some pinned back. This is me in June 2012 again with a “wash and go” hair style.

10. 22nd June 2012 with eyes

This is me on holiday in Ibiza late June 2012, I did feel a bit self conscious being the only Black girl in my bunch wearing her natural hair out but it was important to me to keep my hair out and not get a protective style to go on holiday as I always used to do.

11. Ibiza side puff June 2012

In all that Sun and drinking tons of water and running up and down my hair grew quite a bit over Summer 2012, this is me in July 2012.

12. 10th July 2012 Top View13. 10th July 2012

In August 2012 I decided to get my hair coloured professionally and have it trimmed and flat ironed, I was mad to do it all on one day I had highlights bleached into the front of my hair, and my hair was blow dried and flat ironed, thinking about it now I’m surprised there is still any hair left on my head.

14. Blonde and Straight August 2012

To be honest though my hair didn’t really break after this torture, I think because I had it done in a professional salon and they used protecting serums and what not my hair didn’t really suffer too much.

In November 2012 I went back to Bespoke Hair styles and got this Asymmetric flat twist style, I loved it!

15.  More Flat Twists November 201216. More Flat Twists November 2012

I kept this style in for about a month and went back just before Christmas, I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I knew I wanted an updo, they created this amazing swirled up do with the ends of my hair threaded with wool and wound into a bun.  This was a protective style as my ends were safely tucked away. The ends of our hair are the oldest part and are therefore most susceptible to damage.

18. Threading and Flat Twist 20 December 2012 19. Threading and Flat Twist November 2012

In Jan 2013 I tried something different and used bendy rollers to set my hair.

20. First Flexi rod set 16 Jan 201321. First Flexi rod set fluffed 16 Jan 201322. First Flexi rod set day 5 . 17 Jan 2013

As much as I loved the blonde/brown colour I didn’t want to keep chemically colouring my hair as I knew it wasn’t good for my hair, I’d done more research into natural hair and learned that I could use pure natural Henna and other herbs to colour and condition my hair. With true Henna you can only get shades of Red/Orange I wanted a deep red colour so I chose Henna from Yemen as it is known for it’s deep colouring. I’ll do a post on how I do my henna another day.

So I went from this… 23. Henna Before 30 Jan 2013

to this 24. Henna After 30 Jan 2013 my hair is not damaged it’s just longer on the left.

The colour is a lovely deep red colour on my lighter ends and only has a slight subtle red hint on my darker roots.

I went back to Bespoke hairstyles and they flat twisted this beautiful vintage style.

25. January 31st 2013, red vintage twists

That was the end of January 2013. I have learned so much in the last year and my thirst for knowledge continues. I’m sorry for the lack of photos, I never intended to blog about my hair journey so the photos were only meant to be for me. I plan on taking many more photos in future.

If you are thinking about going natural just do it, it can be hard at times I’m not going to lie but it’s worth it, if you look after your hair it will grow and flourish.

Take Care.

xSx