December 12, 2015

12-Yr. Nappiversary and 2-Yr. Lockversary!

Greetings!
Hi family!  It feels so good to be back again!  I've taken a much needed two-year hiatus from blogging because I went through so many changes that required much of my time.  The good news is that during that season I was able to shift my focus and experience personal growth in different areas of my life.  I've missed all of you and I've been longing to reconnect with my naptural family again.  When I had some free time, I visited your blogs and vlogs to stay abreast on how you've been.  :)  I have updates for you and I've posted plenty of pics below for you to enjoy!

Nappiversary
I have been natural for 12 years!!

Lock Journey 
In January 2014, I made the decision to lock my hair again.  Wearing my loose napps for one year (2013) was a fun experience, however I missed wearing my locs.  I began my research online for a locktician, since I wanted them professionally started, and I found a wonderful lady on Yelp who started and maintained a variety of locs.  Yes, I'm a risk taker.  Her portfolio is amazing and after conversing with her for a while, I had her install my locs.  I showed her a photo of what I wanted, which were very small interlocks, and she installed them for me.  She did a phenomenal job!

Loc Stats
She installed my locs on my 10-12 inches of virgin hair.  Since then I became a DIYer and maintained my locs by interlocking my new growth.  I requested to have very small locs so that I could combine them later as needed.  She parted them in such a way that would allow me to maintain evenly parted spaces and rows if I ever decided to combine them in the future.  This is a current photo of what they look like, and in this pic I'm wearing a cornrow braidout.
For the first year: 
  • I hadn't counted my locs 
  • I've been wearing my natural hair color
  • Used my nappyloc tool for retightenings  
  • Braided and banded my locs every time I washed them
  • I'd worn them freestyle for the first 6 months
  • Washed them with Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Shampoo (my favorite!)
  • Spritzed my locs with Aloe Vera Juice post-wash
For the second year:
  • Simple routine - washed 1x/wk with Shea Moisture shampoo
  • Used my nappyloc tool for retightenings  
  • I had worn more curly styles 

2 Year Lockversary
My 2 year lockversary is next month and my locs have matured nicely.  I felt ready to combine most of my locs, so I used my new latch hook to join most of them together.  It was a good idea to request smaller sized locs, so that I could combine them later on.  I'm glad that my locktician parted my hair in such a way where my root bed and spacing would still be even after joining them.  Now I can enjoy the process of watching my locs grow out a little bigger than their previous size.  See, that is what I enjoy about having my locs; I can try new things, change things up a bit, and explore wearing different sizes.  It's a journey and it's all good. :)    

Photo Timeline
Below I've posted a photo timeline of my first two years of being locked: 

Install and Months 1-6
(left): Installation ----  (right): 1 month
(left): 3 months ----  (right): 5 months
(left): DIY fresh reti ----  (right): 6 months
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Months 7-12
(left and right): 7 months

(left and right): 11 months
(left and right): 12 months
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Year 2 (Months 13-24)

(left): 13 months ----  (right): 15 months

(left): 22 months ----  (right): 23 months
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In my next post, I'll update you with more info about my newly combined locs along with some photos.  I've enjoyed wearing my little locs and watching them expand and mature.  Now I'm ready for them to be a little bigger and strengthen my root bed in some areas, since they have grown longer.

December 30, 2013

My 10 Year Nappiversary!!!

I'm celebrating my 10th year of being relaxer-free and wearing my hair naturally!!!  I can't believe that I have reached this  milestone in my life and the journey has been incredible!   I celebrated this occasion by pampering myself in different ways.  I've been following a new regimen that includes a few new products and so far it seems to be working well for me.  As I continue my natural hair journey, I aim to keep my hair healthy and strong.  I praise God for this experience and I know that it will on get even better! 
 PUFF/AFRO
I was invited to a Christmas concert held by my former community choir, and I kept my look classic with a red and black theme.  I wore red skinny jeans, knee high black suede boots that made me even taller, a red shawl over my black ribbed sweater and simple accessories.  I even wore lipstick that I made myself.  The recipe can be found on my beauty blog: http://skinparadise.blogspot.com/  I received so many compliments and I felt great!
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FRO-HAWK


I rocked a fro-hawk during finals week of my grad program, and so many of my peers were in awe of how I could wear my hair this way.  Oh the beauty of our gravity defying tresses. :-D  This style was achieved on a braid-out  (the first time) and then on a bantu-knot out (the second time). With the first one I made 6-8 large plaits after washing my hair, and allowed them to air dry.  I've found that when I do this then my hair stretches even more making it easier to pull the sides up and bobby pin them into place.
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 MINI TWISTS

                                                           
Twists on stretched hair before shrinkage:

                                                       
Twists after shrinkage:

For New Year's I made mini-twists on stretched hair after wearing an old puff, and I was surprised by how much new growth I had.  They felt light, airy and very full.  Two days later I rinsed them and major shrinkage transformed the style into a cute bob.  I wore this shrunken state for maybe two more days because my hair tangles easily and tends to lock quickly.  In fact, signs of entanglement had begun to show so I untwisted each one.  The take down process was much faster than putting them in obviously.  Below are some pics of the finished twists up close. 

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PUFF WITH TWISTED SIDE BANGS
  
I changed things up a bit by adding twisted side bangs with my puff.  I think I might wear more twisted bangs in order to preserve my hair line, and I need to sew a few more hair ties since this blue one is my default color choice no matter what I wear.
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HAIR REGIMEN

New Regimen: Here is my new regimen.  After I wash and condition my hair i'll spritz aloe vera juice all over, and then seal in the moisture with my oil mixture using:

1 oz. Vitamin E
1 oz. Castor Oiil
1 oz. Avocado Oil
1 oz. Sweet Almond Oil

My hair will dry quickly once these oils have been absorbed.  My hair feels slightly moisturized, and even more so when I spritz it with water.  I'm so glad that it doesn't feel as dry either.


November 06, 2013

Healthy Hair & A Pretty Puff




It feels so good to wear my puff again!  I mentioned in my last post some reasons for ending my BL journey, so in case you need a refresher feel free to read it.  Over a 5 month period I have had so much new growth and I'm surprised by my length when it's stretched.  It's 12 +/- inches long as compared to when I first wore my puff in January.  My hair is still thick and very full, and that's one quality which I love about my natural tresses.  So far I've been wearing a puff and I've decided to change my regimen since I would like to keep my hair healthy, strong, and moisturized.  

Regimen
I still wash my hair with Alaffia's Liquid Black Soap Shampoo and I switched to a new conditioner. It's Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing Conditioner and it has a pleasant scent.  Since I have skin sensitivities I had to make sure their ingredients were safe for me to use, and I've posted them below.  My hair is responding well to this conditioner so far, and if it continues at this rate then it might become my staple product.

Post Wash 

-Spritz with Aloe-Vera Juice and Water Mix (1:1 ratio) as my leave-in conditioner/moisturizer
-Part my hair into 6-8 large sections
-Moisturize each section with coconut oil
-Make large twists and let them air dry over night.

I finger comb my hair in the shower and twist it up when i'm done, that way I don't need to de-tangle my hair with a comb or anything.

Night Routine
At night I'll wrap my puff with a big satin scarf, or sometimes I'll make large twists.

Day Routine  
Each morning I will remove my scarf, finger fluff my puff or untwist my large twists and finger comb my hair, and then I'll wear one of my hair ties.

Goals 

-Finger comb more often and refrain from using my wide tooth comb in the shower
-Keep my regimen simple
-Retain length and protect my edges  
-I would like to try the L.O.C. method (Liquid-Oil-Cream) and I've purchased a few oils already
(Avocado, Sweet Almond, Castor, and Vitamin E).  I plan to use these oils to seal in moisture and give my hair the nutrients that are needed.  I'll keep you updated once I have my oils and begin the process, and hopefully this will be an addition to my current regimen.

Short-lived Braidlock Journey

I have ended my DIY braid lock journey (June to October 2013) and took down the remainder of my locs as of last week.  Initially I installed 530+ micro braids and kept them in for 5 months before I made this decision.  Many of them had unraveled and their formation changed, which left me feeling uncomfortable with how they were developing.  Since I didn't feel at peace with continuing the process I took them down.  I'm back to wear my hair loose once again and I feel good about my decision.  This really is a hair journey, and I'm glad that I can share my experience. :-)

The take down process was simple since my locs were plaited, semi-unraveled and had not meshed yet.  I used a push pin and water, and I used my shea butter/coconut oil mix to moisturize my hair as I took down and re-twisted each braid.  Once again I wore a bun and my hair ties to mask the transition.  I was amazed by how much new growth I had over a 5 month period, as well as the health of my hair.  So now I'm back to wearing my puff again and I feel good.

Senegalese Twists on My Locs





 On my trip to Jamaica, I saw several women wearing Senegalese twists and I thought they were absolutely beautiful.  I had never worn this style before and I've always wanted to give it a try, so when I returned from my trip I started the process of adding extension hair to my 1.5 month old braid locks.  The process took a long time, but since it was summer vacation I didn't mind.  Initially I kept them long for about 2 weeks, and then I cut them much shorter because it was quite warm during the month of August.  I kept these twists in for 2 months and only interlocked my new growth once.  I made sure to keep these twists small so that it would be easier to loop them through my new growth. I also used perm rods to dip the ends and my curls held up quite well.  I had quite a bit of new growth and the style was no longer a short bob, plus it was time to take them down. They were fun while they lasted and I received many compliments.