Welcome to Relaxed Redefined ~ a better, healthier way to care for chemically relaxed hair. This is a personal hair journal created to share easy, do-at-home tips and techniques that have made my hair stronger and longer. I hope you'll learn something here that will enhance your healthy hair journey or better yet insprire you to start one. Happy Hair Growting!

10.29.2010

A Change is Coming...

The same way animals start preparing for winter long before the first snow flake hits the ground, it seems my hair also instinctually senses the change in weather because it is starting to freak out! I washed on Wednesday night with SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and followed with a protein deep conditioning treatment (using Aubrey Organic's GPB and Colorful Neutral Protein Filler) which I rarely do, but I felt my hair was super dry and on the verge of breaking after back-to-back uses of my Caruso steam setter. I let this sit under my Hair Therapy Heat Wrap for about 20 minutes. I followed the protein with a moisturizing deep conditioner (Aubrey Organic's Honeysuckle Rose--a cold weather staple and Hairveda SitriNillah Deep Conditioner) but only for a few minutes because it was getting late and I was getting tired. I followed the DC with a rinse of Aloe Vera Juice and distilled water--this was to combat the extra shedding I've also been experiencing lately. Everything seemed to turn out fine, I completed my normal leave-in conditioner routine minus my Shea Moisture Shea Butter Leave-In conditioner because I'm out and its taking forever for my re-order to arrive. Combing through my hair after my leave-ins was super easy so I was pleased with that cleansing and conditioning round. I then put my hair into a loose pony tail, two-strand twisted the ponytail and put a satin foam roller on my ends and went to bed. Taking my hair down yesterday morning, it looked and felt good, so much so I was tempted to wear the wavy ponytail down, but it was still damp (my hair always is) and I knew it was only 40 degrees outside so I decided against it. I ended up with a bun instead. Last night when I took my bun down to moisturize before bed, my ends were a hot mess! Dry and frizzy, I was pretty alarmed because I didn't want this dryness to lead to any extra breakage. So I squirted my ends with some water, applied my usual moisturizers D.B. Shea Butter Cream mixed with Hairveda Green Tea Hair butter, sealed with some jojoba oil (I can't even remember the last time I sealed with oil--that's how dire this situation was), back into a loose ponytail and twisted with a roller. I hoped that would hydrate those ends, but alas this morning I woke up to the same problem. :( So I took to the internet to find a solution.

My research led me to conclude two factors are probably causing this dryness right now with the weather change being the main culprit and my summer-friendly airdrying routine being the secondary issue. Now that the temperature has fallen and probably won't be getting back up (until Spring), its time for me to bring out the big guns to guard my hair from the wicked winter of the Midwest. I will definitely be spending more time on the moisturizing deep conditioner next time, using the Aubrey Organics HSR as a pre-poo is awesome, and I know once it comes back into regular rotation it will make a difference. I'll also be skipping the "real" shampoo, even though the SheaMoisture shampoo is sulfate free it still has a stronger cleanser than my super gentle Hairveda Amala Cream Rinse. Finally, I realized I need to do more to moisturize and seal my hair after the leave-in conditioner step, this is something I really slacked off on during the summer because my hair didn't really need it then, but it does now.

After consulting my normal blogs and message boards I usually run out to buy a new product I've read about that I think will instantly solve my current hair problem, but I'm not going to do that this time, at least not completely. I read that safflower oil is an excellent moisturizer for hair because it is an essential fatty acid (like all the good stuff in salmon) and applying just 1 to 2 drops to dry ends daily can greatly improve the moisture retention in hair. So no magical products for me just a bottle of safflower oil which I hope to find at a health food store and promptly getting myself into winter hair care mode. I've come too far to suffer my first hair major set back now. I will be getting this under control before the weekend is out and my hair will be ready for winter when it comes!

10.27.2010

Product Review: Darcy's Botanicals Shea Butter Curl Moisturizing Cream on Relaxed Hair


I have been using this product for about one month and so far I like it, but I don't love it. As with all of Darcy's Botanicals products, this moisturizing cream is not marketed for relaxed hair but very few natural hair products are so that didn't effect my decision to try it. I do find it curious though that this product is intended for natural hair, yet it contains silk protein which natural hair generally doesn't need. (A relaxer compromises and depletes the protein structure of hair, but natural hair still contains all of its "original" protein and therefore should not need any additional protein supplement) I ordered this product because I needed a water based moisturizer that did not contain glycerin to use in the coming winter months. I've found this product will serve that purpose well enough as it does soften my hair and gives it a nice shine, but I also found I need to combine it with my Hairveda Green Tea Hair Butter to balance the protein it contains. (My hair doesn't get along well with a lot of protein) And having to combine this product with another product in order to get the best result makes it hard to love. It is a light cream, that comes out of the bottle easily and has a pleasant tropical (in the Shea/cocoa butter way, not the flower way) scent. I usually apply only a small amount, a dime size or less, of this cream (combined with a small amount of my hair butter) to dry hair for daily moisture maintenance because the first time I used it I could tell it contained quite a bit of water. A lot of water in a product is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means if I use too much my hair will become limp. I've also used it on damp hair after my final leave in conditioner for added moisture.

Price: $12 + shipping for 8 oz bottle (a slightly expensive, but pretty typical price for a natural product)

What they say:
The Curl Moisturizing Cream contains moisturizing Shea butter, pumpkin seed oil, and silk protein to help keep your coils & curls soft, healthy, moisturized and frizz-free.

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Unrefined Shea Butter, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Conditioning Emulsifier, Cetyl Esters, Silk Protein, Copaiba Balsam, Gotu Kola Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Botanical Extracts, Vitamin E, Paraben Free Preservative, Fragrance

What I say: Overall this Shea Butter Moisturizing Cream is a good product, just not a great one for me, but I may order it again if I'm unable to find another product with the right ingredients that I think might work better.



*Please note this post is 100% unpaid and unsponored by the company listed. This product review is based solely on my personal opinion and experience.

10.22.2010

Length Check

This is how much my hair has grown in less than a year, the first picture is from December 2009 the second picture is from just a few weeks ago, early October 2010. Even though I haven't reached my length goal yet, I am still very happy with and proud of my progress so far. I have learned a lot about my hair (and about myself) over the past year and I think I have a pretty good grip on what my hair likes and doesn't like now. I also feel that I know what I have to do to keep it healthy: mainly continue to refrain from direct heat, gentle at home care and continue to stretch my relaxer touch-ups. The journey continues, but this is very encouraging!

RR Quick Tip: Use a T-Shirt, Not a Towel




Regular bath towels can be rough on delicate hair strands, so I use an old cotton t-shirt to dry my hair. (you know the ones you got free with that credit card application in college :) It cuts down on frizz and leaves my hair noticeably softer after a wash.

10.19.2010

Hair Envy: Ladies Who Can Sleep On Rollers

I'd like to do more roller sets, I like wearing my hair curly, but unless I can get it done during waking hours, its not going to happen because I can not sleep on rollers of any kind. Not even sponge rollers. When I've tried in the past to do a full head of sponge rollers I end up tossing and turning all night trying to find a comfortable position to rest my head in. Granted I do end up with bouncy curls in the morning, but the sleep I sacrifice (and I'm not a very nice person when sleep deprived) in order to achieve that next morning style just isn't worth it to me. I do know however that there are plenty of women who sleep easily with rollers of any kind in their hair and wake up with a head full of bouncy curls and no bags under their eyes. That is so not fair!

10.14.2010

RR Quick Tip: Towel Dry, Then Apply

Don't apply conditioner to dripping, sopping wet hair, doing so will cause conditioner to be less effective. Mostly because it slides right off of dripping wet hair down the drain. Lightly towel drying hair before applying conditioner allows the conditioner to actually adhere to hair strands and provide the most benefit.

10.08.2010

Relaxer Recap (again)

I got my 4th relaxer touch up of the year last week. While overall the process went well, there were a few problems that made me realize that I need to become even more proactive with bringing my own products to the salon. Not that I don't trust my stylist or think that she would ever use defective products on me, but I don't think her relaxer of choice: Affirm is going to work for me anymore because my skin is just too sensitive. It seems the older I get the more sensitive my skin gets, not just on my scalp but, everywhere and over the past few years I've had to make changes to body washes, body lotions and make-up along with changes in my hair products in order to accommodate my changing skin. That being said, I think making a change in relaxer brand could make a difference in the chemical burns I have recently suffered after touch ups. I have one more touch-up on the calendar for this year (not trying to look crazy over the Christmas holiday) and between now and then I plan to research other relaxer brands in order to find something that will be a little kinder to my scalp.

Other than the scalp/burning issues my relaxer turned out fine, but due to the burning my processing time was cut short again. Which doesn't matter to me because I've never liked the "its so straight it sticks to your head and doesn't move look" anyway. I think I'm probably closer to semi-texlaxed than fully relaxed right now and that seems to be working just fine for my hair, and I can comb through it so that's all that matters.

My stylist finished my appointment with my normal post-relaxer roller set and trimmed my ends after, she said my ends looks good and needed minimal trimming, even though I always feel they look terrible and fear I'll need a 1 inch chop (but I am my own harshest critic). I've been wearing my hair out this week and its quite different from the bun that I wore for a month straight before my touch up, but its nice to actually enjoy the length I've gained, for a little while, until it goes back up :). I'll be posting a length update soon.

10.06.2010

More Natural Care for Relaxed Hair

In my goal to use as many all-natural products as possible in my healthy hair journey, I've found there isn't always a ready made product available to meet all of my hair needs. So I've learned to look beyond the traditional health and beauty section for all-natural healthy hair tools, here is a short list of "non-traditional" items I use regularly on my hair.

What it is: Apply Cider Vinegar
How I use it: As a rinse, mixed with water to balance the pH level after a shampoo and help cleanse my scalp, ACV is also said to be useful in closing the hair cuticle sealing promoting smooth and shiny hair.

What it is: Aloe Vera Juice
How I use it: Also as a rinse, usually mixed with the ACV and water, helps to cleanse the scalp, promote a healthy scalp environment (reducing dryness and itching) and reduces shedding.

What is it: Wheat Germ Oil
How I use it: Mixed with leave in conditioners, Wheat germ oil is a natural ceremide which is essential for hair elasticity (reducing breakage) and give hair shine

What is it: Black Tea
How I use it: As a rinse, brew 5 to 10 tea bags, steep for 30 minutes to overnight, used to reduce and after continued use prevent excess shedding, also boosts hair strength

What is it: Baking Soda
How I use it: As a scalp scrub, mix with pre-poo conditioner for deep cleansing (just like a facial scrub) to reduce harmful scalp bacteria *note: baking soda is very alkaline and should be followed with an ACV rinse to rebalance hair/scalp pH.
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