Stay (at home) Spa!

Stay (at home) Spa!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stay (at home) Spa!

      Ladies, ladies, ladies (and gents)! Summer is over!! Yes the sun may peak out every now and then and we may feel the warmth of the sun rays from time to time, but the morning I got up to 45 degree weather I knew that summer said "bye bye baby bye bye!". Well, along with the 85 degree weather we are starting to trade our sandals, bathing suits and sun dresses for sweaters, socks and boots. Of course fashion must go on, just a change of the seasons... we still intend to look fabulous on the outside, no matter what the temperature is... right?
      Well what about the inside? Or shall I say "what lies beneath..." now that the summer is gone the need for pedicures may not be as frequent or (to some) necessary as it was during the months of April- August. After all the trips to the beach, vacations, parties, and weddings, now it's time to store away cash for the holidays. Who has time to invest in facials, mani's and pedi's with the holidays coming up?
      I have the solution! Instead of going to a day spa for your pampering, have you considered a "stay" spa? Now we know there's nothing like going to a beautiful spa, walking in to sweet aromas of incense, candles lit with the faint sound of waterfalls and calming music in the background with dimly lit lights... then laying on a table where you are rubbed down in some warm smooth concoction... no there's nothing like it. However, if your POCKETS are saying "WAKE UP, you can't afford it right now"- have no fear. You don't have to go the whole fall and winter without a pedicure, and then wait until next spring and someone has to go to work on your feet like Myra from Martin (oh the horror!). Nor do you have to watch your face dry up like a prune due to lack of moisture- the moisture you would have received if you just took some money and squeezed in that facial.
     Stay Spas are very rewarding. You are in the comfort of your own home, pampering yourself for little to no cost. If you look in your refrigerator or pantry, you will find home made natural ingredients that are great for the body- not just for eating, but for other things as well. A mixture of cocoa powder, honey, oatmeal and cream can create a heavenly chocolate facial-which is a great help for dry skin. You can also take olive oil, along with your favorite essential oil (for aroma) and sugar and create a delectable sugar scrub for you hands and feet. Take butter and almond oil, slather your feet then wrap them in saran wrap, and top with booties for extra moisture for the feet. I guarantee you will smell soooo good but DO NOT eat the ingredients. Also, it's important to do a skin test first before applying any household ingredients to your skin, especially your face.
     So I challenge us all to create a stay spa to pamper ourselves. We don't have to wait until the spring hits to chisel away all the dead, rough skin we accumulate during the winter- we can be just as soft and supple all year around, from the comfort of our own home! For more information on stay spa parties,  contact me, feel free to comment, and let me know how your stay spa experience goes!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Hair Chronicles- Oh So Silky (Therma)Smooth!

So who decides to wear their hair straight during one of the hottest weeks of the summer? (raising hand with excitement) Me! Normally during the fall season, I start itching for a change. The Fall season isn't here yet, but I wanted a change. So, I decided to straighten my hair (yes, in August).
I can say that my straight style lasted a FULL 7 DAYS! I have had NO issues with frizzing due to the temperature and humidity. This is astounding ladies, especially since every day I've had my hair straight the temp has been in the low to mid 90's. I truly believe it is because of the products I used. Therefore, in this blog I will give you the tips I used to achieve my straight look, along with the products I used.
Before I do that, let me first state that I am not an advocate of using the flat iron all the time on natural hair (or any type of hair for that matter). I've seen people hair that has been flat ironed (or pressed) so much their hair literally looks relaxed and at worst, looks like an over processed relaxer. Even to the point where when their hair is wet, it looks stringy. On the flip side I've actually serviced natural clients who get their hair regularly flat ironed but when they wet their hair it curls back into it's natural state with no problem. So flat ironing your hair is one of the versatile ways to style your beautiful, natural tresses. However, just like with anything else, too much of something can be bad for you. So I suggest if you desire to flat iron your hair, do it in moderation with protection. With that being said, let's go into the steps and the products I used.

Mizani Thermasmooth- this product has been tested and tried on different textures and has proven to be a great product. Mizani products are made for ALL HAIR TYPES. I've watched this product used on wavy hair, and I have used it on extremely curly hair. The great thing about this product is it can be used on relaxed, color treated, transition and natural hair. So for my relaxed sisters, when you're in need of a touch up before your 6-8 week appointment and want your hair silky straight, Mizani Thermasmooth is the product for you. 

First, I used the Thermasmooth Shampoo. This conditioning shampoo has coconut oil which moisturizes and nourishes the hair. Next, I moved on to the Thermasmooth Conditioner. This is an extremely thick, creamy conditioner that softens the hair and smooths the cuticle for maximum manageability prior to thermal styling. The instructions stated to leave on the hair for 3-5 minutes, but I left the conditioner in for about 10 minutes (without a plastic cap). The next step is the Thermasmooth Smooth Guard. This is a lightweight, leave-in thermal protecting serum, and helps against heat styling damage. Apply a small amount to each section before blow drying or roller setting. Be careful not to add too much- a little goes a long way. You want your hair to have bounce and movement and not be weighed down with product. After I blew my hair out, I used the Thermasmooth Shine Extend. This spray polishes the hair while straightening, and guards against humidity. Hold bottle 8"-10" away from your hair, and spray each section before using your flat iron. Key: the smaller the section partings, the better your results. Parting in 1/4" sections will give you maximum effect. After your done, spray a little bit of the Shine Extend over your hair, since it serves as a finishing spray as well. Style as usual (wrap, pin curls, etc.). Check with your stylist about the Mizani Thermasmooth products, or contact me for more information.
Oh! Want to wear your natural hair pulled back, in an upsweep or to the side? If so, do not use gel. Gel contains water, so one dab will have your hair crawling slowly and painfully back to it's natural state. The best thing to use to smooth out edges and get rid of flyaways is pomade. There are many pomade products out in the market, but I found two to be great. Aveda Brilliant Anti Humectant Pomade ($19.00 This is a great product and serves two purposes: to smooth hair and to guard against humidity. You can also try Tigi Bed Head Pomade ($17.57 This pomade comes in a stick form for cleaner application.
I look forward to hearing your feedback! Let me know how your journey turns out! If you found this to be helpful, please take the toll and subscribe to my blog for updates on everything beauty! (not just hair). So until we meet again- take care of your hair!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mizani True Textures Part I

Ahhhhhh my natural sisters the summer is almost over! Just when I was used to getting my "wash and go on", soon it will be time to hit the double strand twists again (to prevent from going outside with my hair wet everyday and increasing the chances of catching Pneumonia).

Anywho, before the summer fades away, I wanted to try Mizani's new product TRUE TEXTURES for natural hair. When I got my hair cut, colored and highlighted back in April my stylist used this product on my hair and I wasn't crazy about it in the beginning. This is because I had already been used to Kinky Curly custard and Knot Today conditioner so I was a bit biased. My stylist put it in my hair once and it didn't achieve the same results as the Kinky Curly so I didn't like it.

What I have learned over the summer my natural sisters, is in order to see the full effect of a product you may have to use it on your hair for at least two days. This is because our natural hair has to get used to the product. I find that natural hair is like a piece of clay- you can mold that clay anyway you want to, but you just have to work with it in order to achieve the piece of art you want: the same thing applies to natural hair. I have to work with it, but I don't give up on a product after one day- unless it makes my hair dry, brittle and unruly.

So this past week I went and purchased the True Textures Curl Balance Shampoo & the Perfect Curl Defining Cream Gel. I used it in conjunction with my Herbal Essence Hello Hydration conditioner. I give the Mizani product 2 thumbs up. My hair was soft, and like the Kinky Curly custard, the way my hair looked when it was wet, is the same way it looked when it dried, which is key. Have you ever used a product and you had these beautiful spiral ringlets while your hair was wet, but once it dried you looked like Buckwheat?? Of course you have- everyone who has gone natural has had the misfortune of having one of those "hair days".

The Mizani is the shampoo is not as thick as us natural sisters prefer our shampoos to be, but it does it's job. The shampoo left my hair soft, moisturized and easy to manage. Also, the defining cream gel is more of a cream than a gel, and it is very light- but also, gets the job done. My hair was not sticky from the product and when it dried it left my hair SUPER soft. Of course the product smells good and as I said, my curls stayed in tact as my hair dried. Now Mizani has two extra products that goes along with the True Textures line- Curl Replenish which is an intense moisturizing conditioning mask, and Moisture Stretch which is a cream for coiled and tight curls that is treated the same way as the Perfect Curl Defining Cream Gel. My client used the shampoo, the conditioning mask and the moisture stretch on her hair and as I was doing her double strand twist/updo her hair was incredibly soft- so I plan to go and pick up those two products and use them in conjunction with the moisture balance shampoo- to see how the entire line performs on my hair. My next blog will be on the entire True Textures line so look out for it!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Never Forget My (Relaxed) Roots

Ok my chemically dependent sisters, this one is for you! During my 13 month schooling I learned so much about hair relaxers. A lot of the information given to me I knew, but there was some information that I never knew or realized that a lot of the terminology that I had been using as it pertained to my hair was WRONG. On top of that, these terms and ways of doing things were adopted by the stylists I've gone to! So part of the blame of why my hair fell out on some occassions were as a result of the the stylists.
When I was in school, I vowed that I would do hair the right way. I have been doing hair for about 15 years, but it was from watching different stylists and creating my own style of doing things. I soon found out that your own style doesn't mean it's the right way, or that the customers best interest will be at heart. A lot of stylists cut corners in order to get more heads in the chair. While there are techniques that can be used to cut a process down, a clients service should never be compromised so one can make more money- that is not how you keep or expand your clientele.

Did you know?

All my life, I have called a relaxer a perm. I need a perm, how much does a perm cost, do you want to perm my hair? perm perm perm! It wasn't until I was in Cosmetology school that I learned this term for the type of chemical process WE get is WRONG.
Perm is short for PERMANENT WAVE. What is a permanent wave? A permanent wave is a chemical process used for someone who is caucasian (for example) or any other nationality that has straight hair and wishes to have curly or wavy hair. Likewise, permanent waves are chemical treatments used by African Americans (for example) or other nationalities with extremely curly hair who wish to loosen (not straighten) their curl pattern. An example of a permanent wave is Wave Nuveau, which we've seen in many "around the way" hair salons.
A RELAXER is what I used to have, and so many of you receive every 6-8 weeks. This is the correct term (not perm). A relaxer relaxes the curl pattern making it straight. Now one may say well I can use the term "perm" because the treatment permanently straightens my hair. While that is a good argument, it's still incorrect. If you go to any beauty supply store and look at relaxer boxes, it will say "hair relaxer" or "no lye hair relaxer". It will not say "perm".

Treatments & Products for Relaxed Hair:
Pantene Pro-V for Relaxed & Natural Hair- this line of products holds true to it's name. It works both for relaxed and natural hair. I've used it when I had a relaxer, during my transition period, and when my hair was fully rid of chemicals. They have a great line which includes a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a shampoo for dry scalp (which is excellent) and a hair mask which is amazing. If you're looking for a new shampoo and conditioning treatment, look into Pantene Pro-V products. You can get it at your local beauty supply store, as well as Duane Reade, CVS or Target stores (DR, CVS and Target often has sales so check your weekly circulars for more information).

Moroccan Oil- chances are you will not find this product in your normal African American hair salon, but you will find it in your middle-upper class African American and Dominican hair salon. This product is great for deep conditioning and hot oil treatments. You can also take the oil and mix it with your hair formula when coloring hair. The oil helps to moisturize the cuticles to prevent breakage during the color process.

Conditioners- you can't go wrong with Alter Ego or Alfa Parf conditioners. They are very good for chemically treated hair. If you are running low on funds, a good 'ole jar of cholesterol mixed with extra virgin olive oil will be a great deep conditioner.

Some of the above products are expensive, but they are great for the hair. There are some store-brought conditioners that are good but I am a firm believer that "you get what you pay for". So make sure whatever products you get for your hair, make sure they work for you. DON'T short change yourself with products- you'd rather pay quality money for quality products for quality results/healthy hair, than pay a cheap price for a cheap product and end up with cheap/damaged hair.

In conclusion, for the summer months, make sure you keep your hair conditioned if your hair is constantly exposed to sun and chlorine/salt water. Stay away from excessive heat/blow drying to prevent split ends.

Until we meet again, take care of your hair!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Natural Hair Revolution!

Welcome to my blog! I am really excited to get this started. I've had so many questions about how I embraced and survived the transition from relaxed hair to natural hair. I've also been asked many questions about the products I've used on my hair. So I decided to start a blog about my experiences and what works for ME. Note that everything I use may not be suitable for your type of hair. It is important that you do a hair analysis, or have a beauty professional do a hair analysis to see what type of hair you have, and what works best for you.

So: the following are the steps I took to go from relaxed hair to natural hair. I believe this is the best method not just because I used this method, but it was indeed a stress-free transition.

1) My last hair relaxer (not PERM but I will explain during my next blog) was in May 2008. I decided at that point I needed something different and decided to take the challenge AGAIN (I went natural is 2005 after the birth of my second child but I wasn't ready so I got a relaxer after 3 weeks).
2) For the next 10 months I wore what I call "phony pony's" ponytails, weaves and braids. When I wore the pony tails I washed and deep conditioned my hair once a week, to get rid of the build up for gels, sweat, and the natural oil build up from my scalp and pores. When I braided my hair I made sure to invest in a good oil for my hair and scalp. I did not keep the braids in too long: keeping them in causes your hair to break at the root due to the extensions pulling and weighing your own hair down when your hair starts to grow out. With weaves, the same rule applied. Weaves make your hair grow a lot but you must be careful on how long you leave weaves in, and make sure your stylist does not weave your hair too tight.
3) In March 2009 when the weather started to get a little warm, I decided to take out the fake hair and wear my own. I started getting my mind mentally prepared for the change. After all, I haven't seen my natural hair texture since I was 14 and I didn't pay that much attention to it then because the "in" thing was to get a relaxer and not walk around with your hair "nappy". So I began to roller set my hair on perm rods (the rods that are used for permanent waves) and that is how I achieved my straw curl set. Using straws on natural hair just wasn't going to work for me, so I had to improvise.
4) In June 2009, I couldn't take it anymore. The constant warring between the two textures on top of my head nearly drove me nuts- especially when I washed and conditioned my hair, and I saw all of this beautiful, natural new growth and then these straggly, stringy ends just there, limp and dead. So my friend, who has been natural for years offered to cut my relaxed ends off. Now my timeline was September but I couldn't take it anymore! So there I went and....BAM! Off. Gone. Did I like it initially? Not really. I wanted big, natural ringlets cascading down my face, blowing in the wind...yeah not just yet. So, 20 years of relaxers, wash & sets, getting burnt by the blow dryer, using vinegar and cholesterol conditioner to wash out the sores from the relaxer... gone. I am au natural!

Now what do I do? I go to the beauty supply store and purchase loads upon loads of products. It took a while and through trial and error, with the help of my natural sistahs, I learned about some great products most of which, I still use today. Let's take a look at some of those products.

Shampoo- I don't use shampoo often, but when I do, I use Phyto Organics Theratin Extreme Moisture Shampoo is a great moisturizing shampoo. You can find this at your local beauty supply store, or JC Penney's Salon (they often have great sales on retail products).

Homemade conditioners- Fresh Haas Avocados with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Store brought conditioners- I found Herbal Essences to be a great conditioner. I use the Hello Hydration, & the Long Term Relationship conditioners.

Oils- you can make some great homemade hair oils for daily use or for hot oil treatments. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil as your base and mix oils, depending on results you want to achieve (I will go more in depth on this at a later date.

Styling Products: Kinky Curly Curly Custard and Knot Today Hair Detangler are two amazing products for natural hair! I've been using it for the last 3 months and I love it! The knot today is used to detangle your hair and separate your natural curl pattern. The Curly Custard is an organic gel that helps to enhance your natural curl pattern and they way it looks wet is the way it looks once your hair dries. The trick is you have to read and follow the directions. The best method I've found is to apply these products in the shower while your hair is saturated. You can find these products on the Kinky Curly website:

Styling Products: Mizani True Textures is a great product as well. I only used it once, and the curl pattern was stretched out more than the Kinky Curly, but the texture of my hair was different. I plan to do more research and experimenting with this product, so I'll keep you posted.

Well that's just about all folks! I know this is a wealth of information, but as the summer creeps around the corner, keep these things in mind:

* Wash your hair with conditioner. If you frequent the beach or pools, you will need to keep your beautiful, thick tresses moisturized.

Until we meet again, take care of your hair!