Friday, June 26, 2015

Humectants and my NEW HOLY GRAIL!

Posted by Jen Lennox at 7:09 PM 0 comments
Hello, Curly Peeps!

I come to you today with a NEW product recommendation that I can't wait to share. 

My favorite gel, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, has been a staple since day 1, but I have been noticing lately that in high humidity, my curls are going limp. Upon digging deeper, I found that part of the reason for this is that KCCC contains humectants, which are great in less humid climates, but not so great in others. Why? Humectants absorb moisture and keep a moisture balance in the hair and skin. Sounds like a good thing, right? And it is... HOWEVER, in areas where moisture and humidity are very high, combined with the heat of summer, humectants can overdo their job by absorbing so much moisture that hair can become puffy and frizzy.

According to NaturallyCurly.com's website, the best gels for high humidity climates will be low in humectants while still being strong in hold.
Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee

I decided to give this a try and I saw a marked difference in my hair after being outside. This gel is very thick and a little bit goes a LONG way, so I used a lot less than I normally do and got an excellent result.

This is my hair on day 1 after washing, plopping (with a net) and sitting under my hooded dryer for 20 minutes.


Notice the stiff, wettish look of the gel cast. For those who try creams over gels to avoid this, you may want to switch to gel. The "cast" formed by gels upon drying actually protects your curls and lets them dry fully protected within the cast. Once hair is dry, scrunch the gel cast off and your curls will be soft and perfectly formed.

Of course, the TRUE TEST of a good gel isn't day 1 but day 2 and beyond (I usually don't go more than 2 days without washing) so...

This is my hair on DAY 2 with only a water spritz-down in the morning and 10 minutes under the dryer.

I live in Ohio, and it has been SUPER rainy and SUPER humid all week. I was satisfied with my KCCC results, but I am 100% SOLD on Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee for the rest of the summer. 

According to the reviews, this gel works just as well for fine curly girls as it does for those with dense texture. Don't let the price tag scare you, you will use significantly less of this product than anything you're using currently, and your results will last for days. I have yet to be as impressed with a styling product on my hair as I have been with this one.

That being said, I'm a firm believer in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it," school of thought, so if what you're using is working, keep using it! However, if your hair is falling flat or limp in some high humidity environments, it may not be your regimen, but your humectant component that's the problem. You can tweak one thing and keep everything else the same, and it may make all the difference.

Hello, my name is Jen, and I am a product junkie. I hope you enjoy my latest fix!


SHOP THIS ARTICLE: 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Alternative Plopping Methods : Hair Nets and Hooded Dryers

Posted by Jen Lennox at 3:12 PM 4 comments
My last blog on plopping with a T-shirt got a lot of hits and positive reviews, so today I'm going to share a couple of alternative methods if T-shirt plopping worked well for you. Unless you're one of the few who can air-dry perfect curls, you're likely using a dryer with a diffuser attachment. This is the ONLY way I can dry my own hair, as air-drying makes my curls flat and frizzy (and takes forever) and a hair dryer itself is a disaster.

T-shirt plopping worked really well for me. I kept the T-shirt on for about 40 minutes and was able to diffuse my hair afterward for an excellent result. I like it SO much, in fact, that I got to thinking.... is there a way to FULLY dry my hair by plopping without having to sleep with a t-shirt on my head or wait 40 minutes and STILL have to diffuse?

If you haven't visited the Curl Talk Forums on Naturallycurly.com, you should. There are some great women with some GREAT insight, and since dealing with curly hair is so much different than dealing with straight hair, I've gotten advice and ideas from some of the members there that I've never even thought about or read about elsewhere. One of which is the concept of the hooded hair dryer. You know that I'm talking about... the thing you sit under when you get highlights or color; the thing all the little old ladies getting perms sit under while their hair is setting up. The thought of having my own hooded dryer seemed silly to me, as my curls are pretty long. No real point in drying the top of my head while the bottom sits soaking wet. That is, until I found plopping. Now my hair is gathered at the top of my head and in the perfect position to be dried hands-free.

With or without a hooded dryer, I found great tutorial about using a hair net to plop curls, vs. the T-shirt method. WHY would you want to try this? A net allows air to penetrate through the material, thus allowing you to use a hair dryer (sans diffuser) to dry curls quicker OR air from a hooded dryer to penetrate right through the netting into the hair instead of getting stuck inside the heavy cotton material of a t-shirt. Check this out!



If you're looking to find the same nets she is using, Sally DOES have them for $2.39. If you're a beauty club member there, only$2.09 each. Can't beat that with a stick. These nets were made to fit over a full set of rollers, so they are nice an oversized and will fit over your hair even if it's very long. If you're looking to find them, they look like this:


What's great about this video is that she shows you a way to use a regular old hair dryer to get great curls. But I have decided to take it one step further and go the hands-free method. I found this amazing hooded dryer on Amazon.com and it was delivered to my doorstep today!


My thought process behind this purchase is this: I'm going to spend 15-20 minutes drying my hair everyday, whether it's a wash day or a refresh day. Instead of spending that 15 to 20 minutes in my bathroom holding a manual dryer to my head, I could spend it sitting in a chair, sipping coffee (or wine, if it's evening!) reading and relaxing. Is it worth it to me to spend $110 to get BACK 15-20 minutes of time each day? Absolutely. So, tonight is my first go. I'll take pics of the process and results. If you find any tips or tricks I haven't heard about, please share them! I love hearing new ideas.


SHOP THIS ARTICLE:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Method Test: Plopping with a T-shirt

Posted by Jen Lennox at 3:33 PM 0 comments
For months, I've been encouraged by other Curly Girls to try the PLOPPING method. I've watched countless Youtube Videos that made it seem so easy, but for some odd reason I still haven't bothered to try it... until now. 

I had nothing to do this afternoon where very many people would see me, so I CoWashed, conditioned and styled when I woke up this morning. The videos I've watched suggest that you can actually plop before bed and sleep with the T-shirt on, which is something I plan to try and post results on at another time. Today, I plopped for 40 minutes and I LOVED MY RESULTS. I was able to air-dry the rest of my hair and my curls didn't look any different than they do when I use a hairdryer and diffuser. In fact, it may have looked slightly better. Definitely less frizz, and the best part? No soaking wet hair dripping water down my back after a shower. Once my products were applied, I instantly plopped my curls and watched TV with a cup of coffee in my hand. It was fabulous.

SO: HOW DO YOU PLOP? Check out this YOUTUBE Video. If you're following the CG method you do NOT want to use the products this girl is using. You also DO NOT want to comb anything through your hair, and you don't want to towel dry your hair like she does. Basically ignore everything except the part where she puts her hair in a T-shirt, because CG girls know not to use terrycloth towels and combs. :)


I did my hair plop the exact same way she did, and here are my 40-minute results: 


My advice? Give this a try. You may need to experiment with your styling product and length of time. My normal gel worked great, but if I did an overnight plop I am not certain my curls would look as good as they did. Also, length of hair doesn't seem to matter when using this approach. Even with hair shorter than mine, I would imagine a curl boost would occur. Are you a plopper? What products work best for you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Going Natural: 5 reasons to TOSS your flat iron this Summer

Posted by Jen Lennox at 3:25 PM 0 comments
I've been going natural for a few months now, and as we head into the lazy, hot days of Summer I am struck by how different this Summer is compared to Summers of the past. I never realized until very recently how much my hair controlled what I did during a time of year that's supposed to be about relaxation, the outdoors and fun. Here are my top 5 reasons to ditch the flat iron until at least September, if not for good!


5) HUMIDITY? NO PROBLEM.


More or less, I've spent the last decade flat ironing my hair. I have long, thick, heavy, wavy hair. When school would get out for the summer, I'd spend a lot of time (without realizing I was doing it) finding ways to stay inside as much as possible. That's right. In the Summer. Stay inside. Why? Because when you spend 20-30 minutes drying your hair and another 20-30 minutes flat ironing it, stepping outside into the humid abyss of Summer is going to undo every moment of that. Which means a frizzy, half-wavy MESS, and the day will end with another shower, another 20-30 minutes of drying, flat ironing, blah blah blah. It's all too much to handle. I used to let my kids go outside while I stayed in my happy place, which was full of AC, 4 walls, and cable. Pretty much the same way I live in the winter, just switching out the AC for heat. Now that I've gone natural, I no longer worry about humidity, or heat, or sun. I go OUTSIDE, enjoy time with my kids, and don't stress about my routine later, because a CoWash is easy peasy. Summer is FUN again, and I love that.




4) IT'S OK TO GET SWEATY!


The only thing worse than humidity for those of us who flat iron our hair is the concept of sweat. There's NO way to recover from a sweat session without washing your hair, especially if it's been flat ironed. Our roots start curling up right away, so BACK WE GO to that same ridiculous routine of washing, drying, heat styling again. For years, I avoided exercise at all because of this. Even more so in the summer. Sand Volleyball? Corn Hole? Mini Golf? Yoga? The Gym? Nope. Count me out. I can't get to sweaty because I'll have to spend too much time fixing my hair. You heard that right. LET ME SACRIFICE THE HEALTH OF MY BODY BECAUSE OF MY HAIR ROUTINE. I was doing that, and I doubt I'm alone. Come on now, Curly Girls. Let it GO. Go to the gym. Run around the block. Play games with your kids, your friends. Let the sweat roll. When you go natural, sweat is an easy fix. Curl refreshing and CoWashing takes less than half the time and your hair just keeps getting better and better.



3) GO FOR A SWIM. I DARE YA.


Oh boy. There's humidity. There's sweat. And then, there's the POOL. Nothing more terrifying for those who flat iron than the damage you have to deal with when your head is full of chlorine. I used to dread going to the pool (although I LOVE THE POOL) because I knew the hot disaster I'd be dealing with when I came home. Not only do I have to deal with the HOUR (or more) routine that awaits me, but now I have to use a bunch of special products to try to make my already damaged hair soft enough to even start the process in the first place. Which is an ordeal. When you allow your hair to go natural, a trip to the pool is easily managed with a little clarifying (non-sulfate) shampoo (Kinky Curly Come Clean is excellent) and a quick 5-minute hair masque (Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex is my current fav) in the shower. Go to the pool again. Do a cannonball or two. There's no longer a reason to get anxious when your hair is no longer an issue.



2) VACATION AT THE BEACH? ENJOY IT.



Ahhhh, the Beach. The sounds of the waves. The Sun. The salt in the air. Every one of these things are a breathtaking part of Creation that we should be able to enjoy, but for those who heat style, they can induce panic. Even if you manage to pull your hair into a ponytail or bun it's a stiff, gummy mess when you get home. When you allow your curls to just BE, that salty air can enhance your style in many fabulous ways. In fact, many of our straight-haired counterparts actually BUY PRODUCTS with salt in them to GIVE them the beachy look that WE get naturally if we would just LET OURSELVES be natural. Which leads me to my number 1 reason to ditch the flat iron....




1) YOU HAVE WHAT SO MANY GIRLS WANT. STOP FIGHTING IT.

(Annalyne McCord is fabulous. And natural.)

Yes, we all want what we can't have. It's the human condition. I'm just as guilty of it as the next gal. What I've discovered in my journey is that SO many women are jealous of my curls. They wish they could have them. They pay money getting perms and body waves just to have a HINT of what God gifted me naturally. What a disservice not to embrace it. Until this Summer, I never realized how my hair was controlling my life in many negative ways, all because I was fighting something that was given to me as a gift, not a curse! Life is SO SO good. I cannot wait to jump into Summer with both feet....and big hair.




This is my husband and I at the Rolling Stones concert. It was outdoors, super humid, and would have caused mass panic before I went natural. It was one of the best nights of my life. Get out there and start living! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Hair Refreshing: How long do YOU go between washes?

Posted by Jen Lennox at 12:50 PM 1 comments
Many curly girls have different routines in the summer vs. winter months. Humidity, outside temps and schedule changes often cause us to change up the way we take care of our curls. Today we will discuss refreshing techniques and how often we CoWash in the summer.

Keep in mind, my hair is 2B, low porosity (needs extra moisture) and is fairly dense (thick). My techniques may work for some, but definitely take your own curl type into account before mirroring what I do. Also, I would love to know YOUR summer techniques, because they may be helpful to others with similar curl types.

I usually wash (Co-Wash) my hair every other day. I know many women who can go 3-4 days without washing and use various refreshing products to help them get through. If I work out, sweat a lot, or spend time at a fire pit or camp fire at all during any given day, I will CoWash regardless of whether it's my normal "day" or not. Smoke of any kind is  easily absorbed into my hair and will not go away without a good washing. Same with moderate to high amounts of sweat. Most curly girls will agree that CoWashing daily isn't always best for moisture retention, so what do you do on your "off" days?


There are several products on the market made specifically for in-between washes. Here are a few I've used and really like:


If you're a Deva Devotee, you will love this stuff. It has the same lavender fragrance of The One Conditioner and can be used on dry hair or in addition to a water spray-down for in-between days. It infuses a little fragrance into the hair and is very lightweight. I always have this on hand in my arsenal.



I don't use this product too often anymore because I've had less and less of an issue with oily scalp, but I have pretty much tried every dry shampoo on the market (both expensive and cheap) and this is the best one I've ever used. It is light, doesn't give you big WHITE patches in your hair (not everyone is a blonde!) and smells great. Curly Girls Beware: too much dry shampoo can clog hair follicles and do you more harm than good, but I have never had any issues with moderate use of this product. Highly recommend for those who have any oil in the scalp area between CoWashes.



Of all the things I use on "off" days, this is what gives me the most milage. Once you've nailed down which hair products work for you, you'll see if they stand the test of time on in-between days. My gel is excellent and easily reactivates with water. The FIRST thing I do in the morning is spray my hair down with water LIBERALLY, scrunch gently with my hands and start diffusing with my hair dryer (you may not need to do this if your hair has natural bounce without heat). Depending on the day, that may be all I need. If there's any frizz after my hair is dry, I use a dime size amount of silicone-free curl cream and voila! Perfect reactivated 2nd (or 3rd) day curls.



This is a bit pricey, but it will easily last several months or more. I use this only on in-between days if there's any sort of "frizz halo" starting on the outside of my curls. I have very thick, long hair and a dime-size amount is plenty to tame the frizzies. I apply it to my hair dry, not wet, and only when needed. I've had my current bottle for 3 months and it's still almost full. 


What products do you love? Whats your in-between routine?
 

Jen's Curly Mess Template by Ipietoon Blogger Template | Gift Idea