Jump to What Interests you Most

Search This Blog

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hair Regimen Part 1: journey and products

Shampoo. leave ins, and regular conditioners: I have yet to try the VO5, the Suave or the Trader Joe's nourish spa.
Moisturizers: The water bottle has plain, tap water in it. I haven't tried the Qhemet Biologic's product yet.

Oils: My shea butter cream is in the circle container and the two little bottles are my essential oils, rosemary and orange.

Styling products: Scissors to trim, bobby pins, gel, hair clips and the pH testing strips.

The (condensed) Beginning
Before starting college, I put braids in my hair. I didn't know when I would get my next relaxer. In a new state, a new city, living on campus, perhaps there was nowhere to buy a relaxer or get one put in. Of course then I didn't know the term "transitioning", but that's what I was doing. I transitioned until about March of 2003, exclusively in braids. 

After my hair was cut I wore twists mostly, since that's all I knew how to do. I wasn't creative when my hair was straight and I suppose I was less so with it natural. When I was sick of twists I'd ask someone to put it in braids and I'd wear them for as long as I was able. Sometimes even a puff if I felt adventurous.

The Tragedy
The summer of 2004 I got a trim from a place near campus. Instead of a trim it was, essentially, an unwanted hair cut. I was left with only one inch of hair on my head! I panicked! I kept pulling on it, convincing myself it was shrunken because it was still wet. Nope, when it dried there was still only one inch of hair on my head! I wore braids, again exclusively, until I felt like my hair was at a comfortable length for me to wear it out. I was definitely ashamed of my short hair.

In 2007 I got my hair colored. It was a light brown color, which I definitely enjoyed. It was time for a change. While in England studing for my MA I noticed my ends felt really dry. So, I decided to go to the hair shop for a trim every six weeks. I must have read somewhere that said this was the "right" amount of time to wait. It was washed, conditoned, blown out, and then flat ironed each time. My hair did grow but I didn't retain length. The color was being trimmed off slowly but surely.

The Epiphany
When I graduated in 2008, my husband and I started making plans to leave the country. We arrived in Spain in March 2009. That's when I initially decided I needed to start being proactive about my haircare. We lived in a small town where there were few, if any, people of color. So I had to learn how to take care of my own hair. 

I researched online, found homemade deep conditioner recipes, hot oil treatments, caramel treatments and the like. There were few herbal stores around. But I went to the few I could find to pick up natural products. I was focused. I made sure to do my hair every week. At this time I wore my hair out 90% of the time and only wore twists occasionally. I guess I just wanted to prove to myself I was comfortable with my hair.

Discovering Youtube
This process worked for awhile. I would shampoo on a Sunday, condition wash (co-wash) on a Wednesday, do hot oil and caramel treatments every four weeks. My hair was also deep conditioned every week. I even bought some scissors to clip my ends when I felt I needed to. Right after a wash my hair would feel soft and manageable and glorious. This would only last two days. Then my hair would feel dry, brittle, look dull and ashy and I couldn't wait until the next wash.

I thought this was the normal condition of my hair. I didn't discover there was a problem until I discovered youtube in April of 2011. I learned about pH levels of the hair and products. I knew I had to find a good moisturizer or it would start to break off. Of course there was nowhere in Spain for me to buy these products and to ship them was a small fortune.

Healthy Hair Care Journey
Luckily, I got to visit my family in the US (thank you mom for buying those tickets!). I was prepared! I sent package after package after package to my mom's house. I bought things from all kinds of websites. I even made sure to stop by Walmart to get some cheap conditioners. I also had my younger sister pick up things like coconut oil and flaxseeds. I was on a mission.

When I got back I started my healthy hair care journey. This is week three and I already notice the difference in how my hair feels and looks. It isn't dry or ashy. My husband said that my hair looked darker and that's because it's finally getting the moisture it needs! I was shocked that at the end of the week my hair was not a disaster. Usually it looks like it needs to be washed and re-styled asap! But my hair looked fresh, moisturized and soft! I know I'm on the right path.

Current and Future Products
As I've said before, the purpose of this blog isn't only to help myself. It's to help anyone and everyone who needs it. So below (in recipes) are some things I use in my hair that I really like. Above you can see the pics of all the products that I use. Tomorrow I will tell you how I use these products by detailling my current hair regimen.

So far I really like the Shea Moisture, curl and style milk. It is light, smells delicious, and leaves my hair soft, moisturized and not greasy. I also like the kimmaytube conditioner (recipe below). Mainly because I don't have to add more product to my hair until day three after my wash. Even when I exercise and sweat! However, there are still some products I would like to try in the future:

  • Giovanni--Giovanni Direct protein deep conditoner
  • Vegetable glycerin
  •  Lavender and grapefruit essential oils
  •  Jojoba oil
  • Saw palmetto (used to prevent hair loss) and catnip (used to stimulate hair growth)--both are herbs 

Don't worry, I will be sure to use what I have now. I realized when taking the photos that I have A LOT of things right now to keep me satisfied these first three months and beyond.


Kimmaytube Leave-In

1oz (or 2 Tbsp.) your favorite leave in conditioner
2 Tbsp. aloe vera juice
2 tsp. jojoba oil
2 tsp. castor oil

Put this on your hair (concentrating on the ends) right before you style.

Hot oil treatment

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp. shea butter

You will probably have some left over but I also put this mix on my scalp. Just heat to warm and put on wet or dry hair in sections. Leave in 20-30 minutes, rinse, then shampoo. Great as a detangler as well.

Caramel treatment

6 Tbsp. honey
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 overripe bananas
3 Tbsp. molasses
4-6 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. cornstarch (depending on how thick you want it to be)
1 tsp. wheat germ oil (can be substituted for any other natural oil of your choice)

Place all ingredients except the water into a blender, blend until smooth. Add water bit by bit if the misture is too dry. Sieve to remove the banana bits. Pour mixture into a suacepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. You don't want to "cook" the mixture but you want the cornstarch to cause it to thicken. It only takes a few minutes. Add more water if it's too thick or more cornstarch if it's too runny. You want to end up with a caramel colored mixture that is the consistency of a thick batter. If it's too think it will drip from the hair. Put it into a container. This is enough for two applications. To apply, divide hair into three or four sections and put generously on the roots and all the way to the ends. Cover hair with a plastic cap, let sit for 1-2 hours or overnight for really dry hair. Wash with sulfate free shampoo and deep condition. Freeze the remainder until you are ready to use it.

 Herbal rinse

2 Tbsp. horsetail (treats brittle hair)
2 Tbsp. sage (treats brittle hair)
2 Tbsp. rosemary (stimulates growth)
1 Tbsp. lavender (stimulates growth)
1 Tbsp. camomille (softens hair)

Put the amounts in a pot with water, bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Once it's cool pour over hair after you shampoo and deep condition and don't rinse out. This makes my hair smell really good! (The kitchen as well when it's cooking). Be careful though because it can stain your bathtub.

Shea butter cream

(Put in 1 Tbsp of all the ingredients. You can use any essential oils and regular oils you like.)
shea butter
olive oil
grapeseed oil
vitamin e oil
almond oil
coconut oil
rosemary essential oil
orange essential oil
castor oil

Mix everything together with a hand mixer or a blender. It will come out nice and creamy.

Be sure to check out Part 2 tomorrow!


  1. Okay, so you've given me hair recipes before but there are so many to choose from. So I will make you do it for me :). I have a problem keeping my hair moisturized on a daily basis. In the morning it will be nice and shiny, but by the middle of the day it's back to being dull. Also, I need to maintain my hair in twists during the week because I bike, but I don't like the products I use to twist my hair because it keeps my hair greasy. What should I use to keep my hair moist and shiny, but NOT greasy?

  2. Great question! I fight with this as well. First you need a good leave in conditioner. I use the Giovanni or most of the time just plain, tap water. Then you need a good moisturizer. For your hair type I would try the Shea Moisture line of products. I have the curl enhancing smoothie and the curl and style milk, but there are a TON of products. You can find them at Target or Walgreens...then you need a good oil to seal it in. You should try shea butter. It's good for twists and keeps your hair moisturized. Actually this week I used my leave in conditioner, then I used my Qhemet Biologics moisturizing cream, then shea butter. After that I twisted my hair. I did this on Monday. It's Thursday now and after working out and running, my hair is JUST as moisturized! Shea butter can be greasy but just use a little. I have to say my Qhemet Biologics is the bomb! It moisturizes and my hair and is NOT greasy. You can only buy their products online though. Mine cost $16 for a big container. There's a link in the post to their website. But if you want to try something you can actually go to the store for try Shea Moisture. But the most important is to seal your hair with oil after, that's what keeps the moisture in. In addition, you have to apply moisture EVERYDAY not just one day. I've applied my Qhemet everyday since Monday. The shea butter only once because I have fine hair and a little goes a long way with me.

  3. What about when you wear you hair out naturally? That's usually when my hair loses the most moisture through the day.
    I do have a shea butter that I use, and it works well. Maybe I should transition to using creams over oils?

  4. Oils should ONLY be used to seal in moisture. They are NOT moisturizers. So if you don't have a moisturizer than you need to get one. But when I wear my hair out (I don't plan to do so during the summer because it's so dry here) I would moisturize etc. the night before. Leave in conditioner, moisturizer than seal in the oil, put in big twists or whatever then take them out the next day. So get a moisturizer! Leave the oil for sealing in or for your scalp!

  5. Wow I love your recipes! Especially the shea butter cream. I just washed my hair, I usually wash on sundays but I noticed it was so oily because I had run out of jojoba and was just putting shea butter on my hair which was just way to thick. So I'm washing early and I think I'm going to go whip up a version of that shea butter cream right now!

  6. Thank you!!! I can't wait to get some jojoba oil! I've been looking everywhere. But the shea butter cream is great. You can add any oils that you want really. Whatever you think your hair needs. It just makes it easier to apply. Like you said, it's so thick. Right now I'm loving it after my moisturizer to add to my twists to give them hold. My hair stays soft and moisturized all week! I just add some to the ends at night. Oh, and I think a little birdy told me you got a relaxer at some point? Is your hair natural again? Did you "big chop" or transition?

  7. I did get a relaxer for about 6 months but then I just cut it to my ears and then let it grow out. It grew pretty quickly after I cut it out, so clearly my hair didn't like it. Check out the website for shay and co. they are local here and have great prices. I could send you stuff when you run out.

  8. Wow. I can't picture you with a relaxer. But at least you tried it and know it's not for you. I'm checking out Shay and Co. right now and YES! Please send me stuff!! lol. There are a ton of essential oils I want to try. I also want to try those shampoo bars. Have you?