Thursday, July 16, 2015

How To Recover From Hair Damage

If you are subscribed to my YouTube channel (and I hope you are ^_^.. but if not, go ahead and click the red button to the right of this post and subscribe really quick) then you may have seen my video this week on the horrifying experience I recently had at a local African Hair Braiding Shop.

Fortunately, after a short time of her tugging, pulling, and being totally irresponsible with my hair, I had the courage and fortitude to stop her and leave without letting her to continue to ruin my hair, but unfortunately it really only takes ONE bad decision to damage hair, especially fragile curly hair... and after only spending about 30 minutes in her salon, I had already received damage.

I've already gotten well over 100 comments on that video from different views describing their past experiences with these shops and the main thing that they all seem to have in common is their poor hair practices, such as:

  • Improper detangling/combing methods (using fine toothed combs on course hair and starting from the roots and forcing the comb down to the ends of the hair)
  • Extremely tight braiding 
  • Unsterile hair tools (a few viewers even described horrible infections from these occurrences) 
  • Poor customer service

All or even one of these practices (except of course the bad attitudes, which is either simply a culture barrier or poor home training lol) can result in:

  • Temporary Hair Loss (breakage)
  • Traction Alopecia
  • Bumps
  • Boils
  • Infection
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Thinning Hair
  • Permanent Hair Loss

Fortunately for me, getting up when I did allowed me to save the overall health of my hair. And while it still looks the same to the untrained eye, dealing with my hair every single day and knowing it well has allowed me to be able to spot problematic areas and even changes.

After I left the salon I did experience damage. 

My hair (particularly on the left side of my hair) experience breakage and bit of thinning out (due to the breakage) towards the ends. 

So since then I have been asked share how I "bounced" back and how to deal with damage after ordeals like this so I want to just share with you a few good practices to get you back on the right track.

The first thing you want to do is GET A TRIM

Now, I personally haven't trusted ANYONE with scissors near my head since about 2009 when I got my last big hair cut as a relaxed woman. I even did my own big chop because I didn't trust anyone. 

So for my trims, I do them myself. That way I can control EXACTLY how much is coming off. But if you have a trusted beautician, you can go to a salon for this. 

Explain to them that you just had a damaging experience and tell them you ONLY want to cut off the problematic areas

This trim is not meant to be your normal trim (like your 12 week trim or how ever long you go between trims). This trim is not even supposed to make your hair back even after the damaging experience. This trim is ONLY supposed to be cutting off the areas where there is VISIBLE breakage and split ends from the damage

You will not be doing yourself any good by going into the salon and getting a fresh new CUT. You don't have to take it that far, and it'll just make you feel even worse about the damage if you feel like now you're starting all over. 

The next thing you want to do is MAKE DEEP CONDITIONING YOUR BEST FRIEND. 

While your hair is recovering from damage you really want to give it as much TLC as possible. Invest in a good deep conditioner and deep condition your hair at least 1x a week. I really suggest 2x during damage times if you have the time. The focus of this conditioner should be "restorative." These conditioners are going to give your hair moisture, but it is also going to help strengthen your hair. 

Note: You don't have to worry about hard protein treatments or anything like that. You don't want to put your hair in any more shock than you already have and quite frankly, protein treatments can do a lot of damage if not absolutely needed. (The only exception to this rule is if the damage you have done to your hair is color related. For example, if you just hard bleached your hair, then a hard protein treatment would definitely be necessary) 

The last thing you want to do when recovering from damage is LEAVE YOUR HAIR ALONE. 

I know when you're trying to get your hair on track you want to keep moisturizing it and oiling it, and all these other things you think are helping. But truthfully, all this is doing is causing you to manipulate your hair too much. 

After damage try to deep condition your hair, moisturize it ONCE and then leave it alone. My best practice suggestion would be to loose bun it for a couple of days and then start the process all over again (co-wash, deep condition, moisturize, seal, and bun). 

If you want to take it a step further you can simply bun your hair with the deep conditioner still in and leave it in for a day or so and really let it penetrate your hair. 

This is exactly what I did after my ordeal. I came home and immediately deep conditioned my hair, bunned it, and left it alone for a few days before I went back to styling. 

My next step is to give my hair a VERY SMALL trim this weekend. 

I will also deep condition 2x /week with Shea Moisture's Restorative Mask

I will continue to wear my hair in my standard wash and go, but since I don't pineapple at night, or re-apply anything to refresh my hair between washes, this is still a low manipulation hair style for me. 

I hope this helps! 

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them to me! 

Also, don't forget to check out the actual horror story video over on my channel!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Transitioning Tips (My Favorite Products & Methods)

Last month marked 3 years post relaxer for me. I got my last relaxer in May of 2012 and decided to do a semi-long term transition (The reason I say semi is because generally, a "long term transition" is usually considered 2 or more years, however, I did not just jump right into my big chop... so I consider myself somewhere in between).

While, I had been natural before, I had tried to transition a year before that and failed because dealing with your natural hair, and dealing with transitioning hair is two different beasts, totally. I tell people all the time that my natural hair is LOADS easier to deal with than my transitioning hair, simply because it's all (generally) one texture.

Today I got a message on the HairMary Facebook page on "What products should I use to transition?"... I'll discuss at the very end why I was almost reluctant to answer this question, but for now... I'm going to share with anyone who is currently transitioning or thinking about transitioning my favorite products and techniques I used while I transitioned.

First up...


While I usually have to fight off my urge to let the Product Junkie in me emerge today, while I was transitioning I was literally a creature of habit. I did my research on my own on what products were good for relaxed AND natural hair (since I still wanted my relaxed hair to be healthy in case I changed my mind AGAIN about this whole "natural thing" lol), and I also took advice/tips from some of my favorite relaxed/transitioning YouTubers at the time (Shorty2Sweet59 and Nina Pruitt). So once I found these product, these are the ONLY products I used for the duration of my transition.

1. Deep Conditioner (in my opinion your deep conditioner is the most important thing you need in your transition)

2. Protein Conditioner (The level of protein you purchase depends on how your hair reacts to protein. My hair is very protein sensitive so I chose a mild protein so that my hair could get the protein it needed, without going into overload)

3. Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer 
4. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 

5. Silken Child 

Those are the only 5 products I used basically through the entire duration of my transition. 

So what did I used them for? 

Deep (Moisture) Conditioning: I deep conditioned my hair 1x a week (on Sundays) with the Queen Helene's cholesterol conditioner. I applied this all over my hair and allowed it to sit for 45 mins-2 hours depending on how much time I had. This product left my hair super soft and manageable. 

Protein Conditioning: I conditioned my hair with the protein treatment 1x a week (on Wednesday) with the ORS Hair Mayo. I applied this all over my hair and allowed to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Moisturizing and Sealing: Nightly, I moisturized and sealed my hair with the Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer and sealed with the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. This kept my hair manageable and soft throughout the week. 

Styling: When I wanted to wear styles such as twist outs and braidout, I used the Silken Child on wet/damp hair, sealed with EVCO, and allowed to air dry overnight. 

For actual tips on how to manage your transition, check out this earlier post

Now, for the part I mentioned earlier about not initially wanting to answer this question...

I want to stress that no particular product is the end-all-be-all in transitioning. You don't any or all of these products to have a smooth (or as smooth as it can get lol) transition to natural. Products aren't going to work miracles or change your hair into something that it's not, but some do have better ingredients than others that can make the process a bit easier. 

As always, do what's best for your hair. 


Towards the end of my transition I did find a product that helped to manage my new growth wonderfully.. I sprayed this directly on my new growth (new growth only, not the length of my hair) nightly. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Jumbo Box Braids [The Details]

Sometimes we have traditions we don't even know about. For me, it's my beloved box braids.

I didn't know it until this year but every May/June for the last 4 years, I have installed box braids to begin my summer. So although I didn't plan it, naturally it was time.

I love my box braids because it gives me break for having to style my natural hair every other day (being on the curly girl method I do my wash and gos every 3 days) and it also allows me to feed my inner eccentric soul for a little while.

This time around I did them a little bigger than usual, opting for the "jumbo" look instead of the standard smaller ones. And while they certainly are heavy, I really like the way they came out so I'm going to share the details for those of you may want to recreate this look.

The Hair:

  • I used Harlem 123 Kanekalon hair 
  • I used 17.5 packs of hair total 
The Color:
  • 17 packs of color 1 hair 
  • 1/2 pack of color 51 hair (for the silver/grey accent pieces)

  • It took me 10 hours (including food and snapchat breaks lol) to complete my hair
The Prep:
  • Shampoo'd and Conditioned with Maple Hollistics 
  • Deep Conditioned with Shea Moisture Restorative Masque 
  • As my leave-in I used Shea Moisture Castor Oil Leave In Conditioner 
  • Sealed with EVOO 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.