2011 Hair Challenge

January 1, 2011

Today is the day.  The first day of the 2011 Hair Challenge sponsored by MopTop Maven.  For this challenge, I did the first hard task - getting my hair trimmed.  It was quite painful to see those inches go to the floor, but I know it's better to cut it down to the healthy part and start from there.

As outlined in the challenge, here are some tips that the MopTop Maven has suggested:
  • Proper Detangling Techniques
  • Keep the stress low on the hair follicles [avoid tight buns, pony's and tight braids]:
  • Keep your hair moisturized 
  • Lay off the excessive heat: Excessive heat breaks down the Keratin bonds in your hair which could cause breakage and overly porous hair [overly porous hair does not retain moisture well]
  • Monitor temperatures if you use heat: Always make sure you are using the appropriate heat setting for your hair type.
  • Go easy on the products that contain alcohol [gels, setting lotions, hair spray]: These products can dry out your hair leaving it brittle, the ends split, and your strands lacking moisture. 
  • Keep your hair protected at night: Sleep with the use of a satin bonnet, or on a satin pillowcase, not only will this help protect your strands from breakage, but it will also help stretch the life of your hair style. 
  • Deep conditioning regularly: Hair that is highly textured needs regular conditioning intervals to help replenish lost moisture and nutrients to keep it healthy and promote hair growth. 
 She also suggested some essential tools:
  • Wide tooth comb: For detangling
  • Soft/hard bonnet dryer: For deep conditioning
  • Conditioner
  • Ouchless rubberbands
  • Moisturizing Shampoo
  • Clarifying/Chelating Shampoo
  • Natural Oil: For sealing moisture in your hair, I recommend Grapeseed, Jojoba or Coconut.
  • Styling aid: For doing styles like twist outs or braid outs. You can use hair butters like Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter, or puddings like Miss Jessie's
 I am opting for a combination between the natural and ayurvedic regimens.  So basically I'm going to make some of my products and use products from the ayurvedic regimen like henna treatments.

Here's my basic shampoo regimen:
  • Detangle using a mix of water and a cheap conditioner.
  • *Section hair and exfoliate scalp as needed (brown sugar scrub)
  • Wash hair in sections (this will be a first)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse
  • Oil rinse (adding my own blend of essential oils)
  • Seal ends (shea butter and castor oil mix)

Starting Point:

2.5 - 3 inches

My Products of Choice:

Plus raw, unrefined shea butter, castor oil, and Shea Moisture products

January 11, 2011

Just giving a brief update.

I've washed my hair twice since starting this challenge and I have tried washing my hair in sections during the last wash.  What I can say is this:  I needed that trim even though I was reluctant to admit how badly I did.  During each wash, my hair has felt terrific.  And I will admit that washing in sections is a bit of a chore, maybe because my hair's not long, but using the ayurvedic shampoo bar was helpful (plus it made my hair super super soft; no stripping) and in the end detangling was like a non-issue.

I love hats and it's been so cold around here that I've literally worn them everyday.  I haven't styled my hair since this BT (big trim) so I've been wearing my hair in the same braided sections I do after a wash.  I have also made a point to have my hair covered in a satin cap or scarf underneath my hat, if the hats aren't lined.  Hopefully my hat won't fly off at work and I'm shamefully embarrassed.  lol

I've been moisturizing and sealing my ends every other night and then braiding the section back.  I also oil my scalp 2-3 times during the week.  I know there is great debate about this but my scalp needs it.  My friend's dad makes this amazing hair grease packed full of every oil and herb your hair/scalp needs so that's what I'm using.

January 19, 2011

I've been aching to try a henna treatment.  I purchased some Nupur henna at an Indian store over the Christmas holidays and finally got the guts (and time) to do it.  I read that henna was really messy, but I didn't have that problem.  Trust me though; I took precautions and covered everything in the bathroom and wore plastic gloves.  The gloves are not optional.

My biggest concern was making sure that my hair would not turn to the color of the henna.  I asked probably every Indian person I knew before trying this and they assured me since my hair was dark I wouldn't have any problems, but I was still a bit skeptical.

So why did I henna?  As a protein strengthening process, but naturally.  I took a few pictures for you.  Not the best; they are from my camera phone.  I also didn't want to take any chances with henna getting on or in my camera.  What you will notice, besides how much my hair shrinks when wet, is that all of my gray hairs turned a coppery color.  Very interesting....

70 g of henna mixed with 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 humectant conditioner, 1/2 cup cholesterol.  
After letting it sit overnight, I mixed in some Vatika coconut oil.

(before sitting in for about 2 1/2 hrs.)
See why I was concerned?
It's amazing how your face looks different when your hair is a different color.

(after rinsing out the henna)
See those gray hairs?  Yeah, an indigo treatment might be my next step.  Who knows.

May 5, 2011
As you know, I've been participating in the 2011 Hair Challenge sponsored by the Moptop Maven. Life got a little hectic and I took the easy way out and decided to get afro twists put into my hair so I could manage better during that time. Over the Easter vacation, I took those twists out and noticed my hair needed a lot of TLC and a trim. Remember the last time I got a trim? Yeah, it was more like a cut and I was near to tears. This time I rectified the situation a bit by pretreating my own hair before letting anyone else touch it AND by requesting a shampoo and blow dry BEFORE getting the trim. At least if a lot of my hair got whacked off, I wouldn't be wondering if a mistake had been made due to the crinkles in my hair.

I noticed a lot of hair wasn't falling all around me on the floor (to my surprise) and when I looked in the mirror, I was totally shocked! So apparently my hair did grow since January. It wasn't a farce.

Now what have I learned? It's okay to get professional help periodically, and blow drying before trimming works for me. (I don't even own a blow dryer.) I also learned that taking care of your hair while in twists or braids is really important.

May 2011 Length Check

Now, I think I'll do some two strand twists.

August 5, 2011

August 2011 Length Check

Well, I hennaed my hair again.  I'm still loving the henna process.  I thought to finally try indigo, but it is so hard to find in-person that I would have to order it.  So, I just opted against it.  My hair seems to love the henna process, but this time of year I am seriously battling the issue of dryness.  My hair struggles to retain moisture anyways and with temperatures being at an all-time high, it's even more difficult.

I don't know if this challenge is working as effectively as it could be.  Maybe it's me.  Maybe I just don't want to spend forever and a day focusing on my hair, but at the same rate, I want healthy hair, growing hair.

I got a trim at the only salon I know open on Mondays - Walmart.  The stylist allowed me to talk her through how to manipulate and trim my ends.  If she was put off by it, she didn't act like it - so I tipped her.  :-)  My hair is definitely doing something - even if it's just growing thicker by the day.  Part of me wants to get a longer protective style - those afro twists; part of me says, "you can't afford it now.  Be patient."  lol

In the meantime, here's my August hair.

I guess I should actually measure my hair, but it looks a little longer than May's Length check.

I'll measure it, but not today.

September 17, 2011

So basically, I got my hair trimmed in August, but it still wasn't to my satisfaction.  I still had little fairy knots on the end that shouldn't have been there and my hair felt extremely dry.  This summer was super hot and it seems that I had a battle to keep the moisture in.

Anyhoo, I went to yet another stylist, but this time I was super pleased.  My hair felt the best it has felt almost all year, my ends felt fantastic, and I'm sure I will return to this salon again.

Then I got afro twists put in two days later and I hope that my hair will continue to grow during this protective style season.

Only had time for cell phone pics for now....

November 8, 2011

Well, it's November now and ordinarily it wouldn't be time for a length check since the 2011 Hair Challenge ends in December which would warrant an automatic length check.  But, seeing that I decided to take all the afro twists out of my hair after almost 8 weeks, and I got another trim afterwards, a length check might as well be done.

So, I spent an entire Friday evening taking all of the afro twists down.  Normally they would have stayed in longer, but some were trying to loc since I didn't have time/funds to have the edges redone and I was tired also of wearing headbands and scarves.  Anyhoo, I took them down.  That same night, I treated my hair to a bentonite clay mask.

I had tried the bentonite mask before and didn't like it, but this time I basically used a recipe that one of my FB friends used and I loved it.

My recipe mods:
equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar
tea tree oil
* she added rosemary oil but I didn't have that
Mix and apply.  Leave on for about 15-20 minutes and thoroughly rinse.

After the treatment, I applied hair cholesterol, put on a conditioning cap and went to bed.  But not before mixing up a fresh batch of henna.  Yep, two different treatments in the same weekend to satisfy two different purposes.

On Saturday, I applied the henna right on top of the cholesterol that was in my hair.  I left it on for about 4 hours, rinsed it out, shampooed and deep conditioned as usual.

Now the question was:  What am I going to do with my hair?

Thankfully, CurlyNikki shared a video of a hair bun tutorial for 4b/4c hair, which is my hair type.

So upon watching this, I immediately went to the hair store (correction - beauty supply store) to look for this Jamaican braid.  I chose a pack of "Bob Marley" hair and decided to give this look a try.  Here's my bun, which is probably going to be my "go to" style to help me get through the end of this hair challenge.

At work people were asking me if it was really my hair.  Sure for $4.99 - it's mine.  lol  Just gotta get some cute hair clips.

A few days after sporting this new bun look, I got my hair trimmed and then back into the bun it went.

After blow drying my hair, my stylist took a step back and wiped the sweat from her brow.  It was hilarious!

November 28, 2011

Today I bought my first wig.  A half-wig to be exact.  I never thought I'd wear a wig and I'm a bit scared about rocking it work tomorrow, but I'm going to do it.  Kids will tell you if you look a hot mess.  So, yes ma'am, yes sir, I'm going to finish out my protective styling for this year with my own hair tucked away inside of this curl madness.  Maybe I'll show a pic soon.  Gotta figure out what I'm doing first.  lol

December 6, 2011

So this is my first wig - a half wig.  I'm wearing this wig as yet another protective hair style choice during this winter because getting braids again is just too expensive right now.  I watched a lot of Youtube videos and then made my choice.  It's synthetic.  Honestly, a human-hair wig is a little too creepy for me.

What else have I done?
I tried a new shampooing regime:
  1. Pre-treat scalp with antiseptic mouthwash.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes before washing.  (Makes the scalp feel tingly and good.)
  2. Washed with Shea Moisture's "Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo".
  3. Deep conditioned with a mixture of coconut milk, vegetable glycerine, and avocado oil.  (Hair was super soft afterwards.  Will try other combinations later.)
  4. Applied shealoe before braiding my hair.
What is shealoe and how did I make it?
Shealoe is a mixture of raw unrefined shea butter and aloe vera juice.  I melted 4 oz. of shea butter in a double boiler, poured it into a glass bowl, added 4 oz. of aloe vera juice and blended it until it made a slightly creamy mixture.

I put the bowl in the freezer a couple of times to help with the consistency, but I left it in too long and had to reheat the mixture and start over.  Got it right the second time.  You have to keep this mixture in the refrigerator*, but it is super creamy and cool to work with in my hair.

The next time I'll probably add my favorite essential oils.

 Don't you just love how I reuse old containers?  I have soo many Shea Moisture containers like this.

* Note:  putting the shealoe in the refrigerator will cause it to look hard like in this photo, but it melts in your hands so nicely.

Maybe there's an inner mixtress in me after all.  lol

January 1, 2012

On December 31, 2010 I got my hair trimmed in preparation for Moptop Maven's 2011 Hair Challenge.  As  you know, my trim was more like a cut and I was a bit taken back, but I did have a fresh start.  After the trim (ahem, cut), I was left with 2.5 - 3 inches of hair.

Over the past 12 months, I've learned a bit more about what my hair likes and doesn't like.  I've learned who to trust with trimming my ends.  I've learned that you don't have to spend a whole lot of money on products because if you're willing, there are plenty of wonderful items that you can make with basic ingredients.

My hair shrinks like no tomorrow and because of this, I prefer to have my hair blown out professionally before any trimming is done.  Actually I don't even own a hand-held blow dryer, but even if I did, I would consult a professional.  Theirs do better blow outs.

Below you'll find a slideshow of my 2011 Hair Challenge experience.  The only month that's absent is April.  That was the month I was sick so most likely my hair was a bit of a mess hiding under a headscarf.  lol

So what were my end results in spite of several trimming episodes?
Front bangs:  5.5"
Sides:  5"
Back:  4.25"
Crown:  6"

So my hair did some growing (even if you can't always tell!)  lol

Another look:

Here's to another year of hair growth and maintenance!

Happy New Year!


  1. I'm going to try that mixture!

  2. Your hair is so beautiful! And looks so strong!! Moisture is definitely essential for our hair. I'd be lost without mine.


Thanks for stopping by my blog. Bloggy comments make me smile and responding via email makes me smile even more. Due to spam concerns, posting anonymously has been removed as an option.

If you would like for me to respond to your comment(s), you must not have a no-reply blogger status. To fix that, simply add an email address in your profile and voila, I'll be able to write you back. :-)