Sunday, 1 November 2015

Winter Challenge.

I've been logging in and drafting post since the beginning of August. I know, right? How silly and disorganised of me. But this one is definitely going up!

I've been happy with my hair so far - I'm still shedding far too much, but I'm taking steps to rectify it. And I'm determined that next year, BSL will be mine [if you read that in the tone of those very determined, romantically obsessed girls in TV shows, then you're on my wavelength) - but, baby steps. This year, I'd just like to maintain APL until the end of December.

What am I actually doing?

1) Eating good stuff - the biggest change I'm making is what I'm putting into my mouth. I'm trying to purposefully include:

  •  Leafy greens - I rarely eat them any more, due to laziness and I've let them rot in the fridge one too many times.
  • Black sesame seeds - chockful of vitamins and things that I suspect are helping reduce my shedding.
  • MSM powder - Apparently helps your hair to stay in the anagen phase for longer, thus reducing shedding 
  • Bamboo tea - Contains silica, which could help reduce shedding and other good stuff. 
  • Good guts - I'm also a little concerned about the potential issues my guts may be having on my general health, and thus my hair, so I'm on the kimchi and probiotics.
  • Vitamin D - Yes, I know you can make it internally by being exposed to sunlight for a certain amount of time a day, but currently my sky looks like this:

Eeyore would approve.

2) Keeping my ends slick - I've noticed that a lot of fine haired naturals use shea butter on the regular, whereas I've avoided using it on my hair for the last...oh, 5 years? Winter is here, so is the cold and I'm babying my ends by using shea butter after a wash and oiling my ends every night. Easy. I have carefully avoided shea butter for a long time, convinced that it does no good for my fine, strands. Now, I've come around to thinking that there are quite a few bloggers I know who used shea butter for good effect (Laila-Jean, Curlyproverbz, naptural85) and that it might work in a protective capacity in the winter, when I seem to rub my head and hair against ALL THE ROUGH THINGS (Wonder Thing, your stubble is massively included in this list).

3) Stretched and tucked - I've been wearing buns for the last two months and my hair is responding well. Not the neglect it occasionally faces whilst up there, but stretched, and out of the way of my fidgety hands can only ever do good for my hair. I'm keeping my hair stretched by plaiting it up every night in 4 big, chunky plaits.

4) Deep treat - This fits more into my self care targets than anything else really. I am now one of those ladies who deep conditions every time she washes (I know) but I'm like to step it up and introduce other treatments for the sake of self-care and nourishment.
And because I'd like to get fancy every now and then.
And because doing this will stop me from buying new products.

I'm not too worried about exercise - I do some on average about twice a week, and there are lazier girls than me with hair brushing their butts, so.....

Current length:

Too lazy to buy a length check, so I'm just using a striped shirt instead..

Around 12 - 13.5 inches. I'm getting there!(*drop-kicks APLateau, whilst cackling madly* )

I don't expect to see much growth - I'm just trying to get into good habits before the January resolution making.

I'm torn over whether or not to wash every week or not. Every week seems like a an effort and a promise I can't keep in this ever worsening climate (chilblains! cold toes! general shivery-ness!), but I'm pretty sure that every two weeks leaves the door open for neglect and dehydration (because that's how I do).

Other than that, I don't really want to add anything extra because I know I won't do it >.<
Are you doing anything different this changing season?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Henna? It's happening..

There came a point in my life where I set myself two personal, internal challenges:

1) To see how far I could get without additional hair added, like weaves, extensions and wigs.
2) To not use henna.

Well, this year might see both of those challenges go up in smoke - but let's talk about the henna.

Back in the emerging natural hair society of 2009, when Black Girl with Long Hair was still hosted on blogger, and KimmayTube was who people where logging in to watch on Youtube, the only way people seemed to be able to do henna involved a long, drawn out process that sucked up at least a day of your life, involved military precision and organisation to prevent staining everything within viewing distance, and then an age where you tried to rinse out twigs and bits from your hair (this is why Cassia and I no longer roll together).

Sure, you got seemingly invincible hair (according to the forum legends, anyway), but it then dyed it a permanent shade of red and rendered commercial dyes useless?

You have to spend how long afterwards putting moisture back in your hair?? (The worst I heard was 1 month of bi-weekly, hour long, deep conditioning to reduce it from 'straw-like' to 'just kindadry'. WHAT.)

 And you have to do this on the regular???

No, no, no, nopeity nope nope.

But times move on, things change and evolve. I ignored the henna gloss trend of 2010/2011 and was resolute on my hennaed-hair ban - until now.

The fact is, I nearly made it past armpit length I've made it past armpit length this summer, just by extensively washing and going. But my poor fine strands just seem a little bit exhausted, and I thought to myself - why not help them out a little bit? 
It's not cheating (I'm still trying to convince myself here) - my strands are really puny and are actually transparent from more than a foot away. I have splits up to 5 inches on some of my hair strands and I know I'm due for a trim.

Fortunately for me, here in the UK, we have a little henna head guru of our own...Curly Proverbz! I found her whilst Instagram-flicking and I love her ideas on how to include henna without the mess and fuss...and mess. Henna tea? Why did I never think of that before? Inevitably, I caved and bought some from Sheabutter Cottage (also available from Beauty by Zara) and am now eyeing up Curly Proverbz's henna butter mix...

Have you ever used henna for your hair? Why?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, Old Me

I don't usually set New Year's resolutions. I didn't really believe in them. For me, the natural time for goal setting came as the days got shorter and colder and leaves fell and everywhere was bathed in a golden light. Time seemed to stretch eternal and seeped with hope and anticipation. Magical.

However, the other kind of magic struck me over the last two months - a frustratingly broken camera (my techno curse strikes again!), a lack of justice, a loss of hope, disbelief, the suffocating wrap of apathy around my neck. Bleak and cold midwinter clutched at me, as well as an unshakeable sickness.
My reaction?
Desperately throwing myself into my job, telling myself I'm too busy and sad to write on this here blog. Slashing at my internet ties and, in effect, my accountability.

The truth is, if I don't talk to you on here, I can easily go a few weeks not talking to anybody else properly. Plus, my soul was just too tired to talk, when it just seemed so pointless.

Anyway! Christmas, for me at least, proved invigorating and once again stoked those little embers of hope for the future I'd thought had been killed by the grey grimmness of reality. I read the feelings of others and the anger of many and know I was not alone. I crocheted and mixed up and created. I was rejected by potentially the cutest 18 month old in favour of my husband (hands off). Thins were put into perspective.

Idiots non carborundum.

I only have two resolutions really:

Consistent self-care.
You know when people say they let themselves go? Over the last three months, I've REALLY let myself go. It doesn't help that I'm married to possibly the lowest maintenance man in existence. He doesn't even scar when he gets spots, whereas I have scars that are possibly older than Methusalah. I've been using extra virgin olive oil as a body moisturiser, which is fine, but I'm tired of smelling like salad. Also, some days I work 8 to 8 and who wants to exercise at 9 in the evening? Not me!

So I want to:
  • Start to cleanse my face once everyday (no, I don't at the moment. Hence, Methusalah's age mates still lingering on my face, playing checkers and heckling runners.)
  • Treat myself experience wise - maybe once a week, or once a month. Just regularly enough that it stops me getting run down. Craft, relax, create or just pamper. Products are no fun if you don't take the time to use them properly.
  • Continue researching biodegradable / sustainable / eco-friendly teeth cleaning options. Chewing sticks remind me of my grandma, but she did have great teeth, so...
  • Give myself enough time to make what I need - no more olive oil body moisturiser! Shea butter only in 2015.

Simplify my stuff.
I have so much rubbish and I've just let it all build up. So I want to:
  1. Use up my craft hobby stash - all the yarn, fabric and cosmetic ingredients that I don't use on a regular basis to be gone by August.
  2. I am going to give away or get rid of all the clothes people have given me that I hate and still wear. And then make and/or buy some things I like and will wear with pride.
  3. Stop making excuses for not using things that work - hate the applicator? Buy a new one. Keep running out of a necessary ingredient? Buy in bulk. I've been cheap for too long, and always try replacing what worked with something else, which just wastes money. 
    Yeah, I'm done with that now. Onwards with what works!
I hope you're having a good day and a lovely week. And happy new year! I hope it is full of joy, love, peace, fluffy things, blessings, warmth and positivity. Oh, and chocolate. Which clearly fits under the umbrella of all of the aforementioned.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Anita Grant 20% Off

Yes, she still ships worldwide.
Yes, I'm only telling you because I've already bought mine.

But at least I'm sharing now. Why must you focus only on the negatives...? Jeez! Pay attention! Discounts! Christmas in less than 8 weeks! Pressies!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Wash Day - Maximum Hydration?

So, yes, I tried it. I jumped onto that Maximum Hydration bandwagon. Kind of.

I modified it - I hate jumping in and out of the shower, so I cut out all the steps that were unnecessary to me and focus on two steps instead - the baking soda cowash and the clay rinse.

This is how I seem to start every wash day:

Unleash the haystack!

1. I didn't pre-poo! I totally forgot! So I started by adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda to about 200ml (3/4 cup) of Garnier Ultra Blend Shea Butter and Avocado Oil Conditioner. I slathered my hair in it, carefully detangling with my fingers.

2. After about 10 - 15 minutes, I rinsed it out and then put on my clay mask.

Ehhh....maybe I should have rinsed better....

I used 50g micronized rhassoul clay
1 teaspooon coconut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons of water

I had mixed it all up while I had the baking soda in my hair. It had a very light, mousse-like texture.

It's not just Aero that have got those bubbles...

I left it in for 30 minutes, making sure to cover my hair in a plastic bag since it was a little drippy.

3. I rinsed it out, then added in some more Garnier Ultra Blend Shea Butter and Avocado Oil and left it on for 5 minutes while I searched furiously for my shower gel. My hair actually seemed to drink up the conditioner a little and I definitely had less splashed all over the walls. I was working in two and a half sections - left, right and my fringe. I'd just made two braids for either side and twisted my fringe up.

4. Then I got to work. Leave in of Kinky Curly Knot Today, and then Curl Enhancing Smoothie and then Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I'd had to add in the Curl Enhancing Smoothie to reduce the frizz and increase clumping in my hair, because my fine hair was not listening without it.

Before product
With product, but no Curl Enhancing Smoothie *unimpressed face*
 At this point, I was fed up. I'd minimised my faffery by cutting out the cherry Lola treatment, since I don't have any liquid aminos, and I didn't really deep conditioning because I never do and it cut the jumping in and out of the shower business, which I am not a fan of.

I'd had to go into the shower twice so far and even after all the hair I'd removed with the baking soda cowash and the mask in my hair, I was losing more hair and I could see from the small length of some of them that it was breakage.

Bearing in mind, I've already shed my mammoth ball of hair by this point.
I was tempted to quit after only the first section but I plodded on.

My wash and go was starting to look exactly like it did in the summer, when I'd done similar steps, minus all this silly fussing and ARGH I'VE JUST BROKEN THE ONLY PLASTIC CLIP I HAVE LEFT!

Furious, I finished my hair and contended that, when it tried, if I hated it, I could just wear a bun.
Then I waited for it to dry and shrink up as per usual.


Guys, this is my hair 80% dry. It didn't shrink! Like, at all! Apart from the shrinkage necessary to create the curl, of course.
I'm gobsmacked because I was not expecting this in the least.

Also, it turns out I have two other plastic clips, but they were hiding in my drawer.

Friday, 3 October 2014


Oh look! Beautybyzara have got the entire As I Am Range! Only £2.99 shipping?

Oh my goodness! I wonder if they have it... Gidore's been out of stock of it for a month already! I've always wanted to try the Coconut Cowas -


Guess I'm not the only one...

*Twiddles thumbs as she impatiently awaits the restock.*

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Oh Dear...

Remember that wash day when I said I was leaving my hair in twists to get the best of both worlds, styling-wise?

And that I was hoping it would turn out like that faux wash and go I had, that was actually really awesome?

Yeah, no.

I left it 4 days, and by that time, my hair's most haystack-like tendencies had set in. Maybe I should co-wash more....


My highlights are actually high lights. High above my head.

If you need me, I'll be sporting a bun. 
Maybe under a hat.