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!


Hair Confessions

The bun I will be back to wearing--protective styling here I come!

I have a few confessions to make, first: I've been doin' wrong! Or more specifically I haven't been doing what I know is right, which is protective styling my hair. For at least the last month, maybe longer I've been wearing my hair down almost daily, and I know better.  Yesterday and today I came across other blogs reinforcing the importance and benefits of protective styling, keeping hair ends off shoulders and preferably tucked away altogether. The first year of my hair journey I did protective styling non-stop and it made all the difference, and since I'm back on the length retention bandwagon full-time I need to get back to what I know works. So I'm giving myself absolution and I promise throughout the rest of my 16 week stretch (13 weeks to go!) I will wear protective styles Monday - Friday and only wear my hair out on the weekends. Its time to get back to the basics!

My other confession is not as much something I need to confess as it is something I need to accept and come to terms with. Over the last few months I have been experiencing far too much breakage and I have to stop being in denial so that I can get it under control. I have to be honest with myself and accept reason I seem to be stalling in my hair growth is really because of breakage and there are multiple causes. One cause is my confession above, not doing enough to protect my hair ends, which I am going to change. But another more troubling cause is not having my moisture-protein balance fully worked out the way it should be. I also have issues with porosity and lack of elasticity. Basically all of the hair problems that cause breakage I have to varying degrees and I have to address them. Here's how: I think my plan to get back to deep conditioning weekly will improve my moisture protein balance; I will also be getting back to using a light protein conditioner weekly with my revised regimen. I am going to go back to doing an ACV rinse at the end of each wash to help with porosity and I will be ordering a ceramide conditioner this week to help with elasticity which I think is what hair is lacking most. After I fully implement all of these changes hopefully there will be some improvement.


Vacation Hair

This is not a post card, this is an actual picture I took with my own camera
(and not even a fancy camera, just a regular point and shoot digital) it really is THAT beautiful!
I just returned from the beautiful and breathtaking beaches of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and it was a positively fabulous vacation! Just wanted to share a few of my vacation pics, especially the ones that show off my vacation hair. I didn't go the traditional vacation hair route and get my hair braided because I knew I didn't want to keep braids once I returned home, and I'm glad I went with that decision. It was very humid, but since my hair has a tendency to be on the dry side, it was actually loving the extra moisture in the air. My hair was soft and easily tamed the whole time, which makes me think I need to add some steam to my conditioning routine as it seems to agree with my hair.  I did wash my hair once after we went snorkeling, but I only packed my SheaMoisture Shampoo, V05 Moisture Milks Conditioner and my creamy leave-in mix so it was a pretty basic wash. Style-wise I kept it simple with bantu knots and braid-outs, I was enjoying the weather and scenery so much I really didn't care how my hair looked so it was kind of like a hair vacation too LOL.

I call this my "Island Hair" achieved with  two pig-tail style bantu knots, which created a nice wave at the ends.
My braid out after my wash, this is was half way through the vacation and how I wore my hair for the rest of the trip.
This was my first real week-long vacation so I spent more time than I should have stressing about my hair before we left, now I know for next time that its really no big deal. Shampoo, conditioner, and a few styling products is all I needed for great vacation hair. Looking forward to doing it again--hopefully soon!!

P.S. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands, GO! It really is a breathtaking place and you don't need a passport!


Product Review: Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products Protective Mist Bodifier

I haven't done a product review in a while because I haven't tried any new products, but a few weeks ago while in CVS Pharmacy picked up this product. It was mostly on a whim, I was at the end of my relaxer stretch and game to try something, anything that might help my dry ends. This product did and still does the job pretty well. I even used it directly on my new growth the night before my touch-up appointment to soften it and make it easier for my stylist to comb through, that worked pretty well too. Since then I've been it nightly to moisturize my ends, I usually mix it with an oil-based cream moisturizer just because I tend to prefer creams over liquids. I've been sealing with Avocado oil and my hair seems to like the whole mix. I think this product is actually supposed to be a braid spray, but it works just fine on my non-braided hair. It has a thick consistency, its not a true liquid which is nice because its easy to spray into my hand and then distribute through my hair and it has a light tropical-like scent. I like finding natural products (or non-natural products with good ingredients) in regular places like Target and CVS, it means I don't have to pay for shipping to get a good product that I'll use regularly. The price was a little over $7, which isn't too bad so I'm pretty sure I'll buy it again.

Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Cetearth-20, Cetrimonium Bromide, Wheat Germ, Indian Hemp Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Aloe Vera, Bee Pollen, Silk Amino Acid, Bay Laurel, DMDM, Hydantoin, Fragrance


Starting a 16 Week Relaxer Stretch

Now that I've gotten my first relaxer touch up of 2011, I'm ready to start on the next phase of my healthy hair journey for this year.Over the next four months I will be working hard to pamper my hair so that I can finally reach my length goal and this is my plan to make it happen.
  • I will continue to wash twice per week, but one wash (weekend) will be for deep conditioning and the other (mid-week) will just be a co-wash.
  • I will use a moisturizing deep conditioner weekly with heat for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • I will alternate between light protein and moisturizing pre-poo treatments every other week. 
  • I will integrate hard protein treatments once per month.
  • Starting around the 6th week of the stretch I will dust my ends bi-weekly.
  • I will continue with my air dried styles braid-outs, bantu knots and buns.
  • I will not flat-iron my hair more than twice during the 16 week stretch.
I know that I didn't put in as much effort as I should have during my last stretch and I suffered the consequences because of it (more on that in my Relaxer Recap coming soon), but I learned my lesson and I'm ready to step up my game. Even though this will be my first super long stretch and I'm sure it will not be easy, I'm excited because I know I'm going to be giving it all I've got. 16 week stretch bring it on!


First Relaxer Prep of 2011

Over the weekend I washed my hair in preparation for my relaxer touch-up tomorrow. I went through a full spectrum of hair products and techniques starting with a pre-poo with VO5 Moisture Milks and coconut oil, I then proceed to a clarifying wash with not one, but two shampoos (only one lather each), Giovanni Tea Tree and Jane Carter Solution Moisture Nourishing. The next phase was conditioning staring first with a strong protein Colorful's Neutral Protein Filler combined with Aubrey's GBP and SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner. And finally a moisturizing deep conditioner, the perennial favorite Aubrey's Honeysuckle Rose combined with a little extra wheat germ oil. Both of the conditioner combos were left on for 30 to 45 minutes each (I was cleaning out my closet in between) and I used my Hair Therapy Heat Wrap with the moisturizing DC. This was a rather long wash process, about 2 hours total which I why I've slacked off on deep conditioning as much as I should during this stretch, its time consuming. But I know it was necessary to prepare for relaxer chemicals and for keeping up healthy hair, so I have to suck it up. So far this week I've been trying to manipulate my hair as little as possible in an effort to keep from tugging on my new growth too much which can lead to scalp irritation--which is very bad before a relaxer. I swear my scalp can sense when its time for a touch up because it seems to itch 10x more than normal in the days leading up to my appointment. But I'm only rubbing and patting, no scratching allowed. iCannot wait until tomorrow!


Looking Ahead...

I haven't even gotten my next relaxer touch-up yet and I'm already planning for my next relaxer stretch. I think I'm looking ahead because I have not been happy with the way this stretch has gone and since I can't do anything about the past, I have to focus on doing better in the future. During this stretch my hair has been very dry and prone to breakage. Just about every time I've washed I was shocked at the amount of hair lost (not just shedding), the same goes for nightly moisturizing and detangling, its been so depressing. I feel like I've really experienced a set back, but I won't know for sure until after my appointment next week. I'll be relaxing at 11 1/2 weeks, not the 12 weeks plus I'd originally planned because I'm going on vacation at the end of this month and I want to give my hair a little time to bounce back before my trip. I'd also like to try to squeeze in a second round of henna before my trip, but it may have to wait until I get back home.

I think the problems of this stretch can be traced to one source: not doing enough. I can count on one hand the number of times I've done a pre-poo during this stretch, the same goes for protein treatments. Sadly I've only done slightly better with deep conditioning, and I can see how all of this in-action has really impacted my hair. At the beginning of my hair journey I deep conditioned with heat weekly, sometimes more than once per week, my how times have changed. Putting in that level of effort got me to where I am today, but I've been slacking, and its time for me to get my act together.

In my next stretch things will definitely change. As a matter of fact I already have a plan for how my routine and regimen will differ. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 16-week "Stretching Plan of Action" on the Healthy Textures hair website and I plan to use this as the guide for my next stretch. The stretching plan is a week-by-week guide on how to get through a 4-month relaxer stretch with instructions on what methods to use when. In the past, once I've gotten through 10 to 11 weeks of a stretch some event comes up that I want to relax for and its over, but this time I am committed to sticking with the plan for the entire 16 weeks. This will put my second relaxer touch-up of 2011 in late June, and bring me to the brink of my hair journey 2nd anniversary in July. I think this is the perfect time for me to do my longest ever stretch and hopefully get the best results yet from a stretch. Its an exciting time to be Relaxed Redefined and I'm looking ahead to reaching my length goal and celebrating two years of healthy relaxed hair!


Non-Natural Product I Use

While it is very important to me to use as many natural products as possible on my relaxed hair, there are a few non-natural products that work really well for me, here's a short list of what I use and why.
Mega Care Shea Butter Oil- This product actually claims to be "all natural" however, given that it only cost 99 cents, I find that a little hard to believe. It is an oil blend containing: Raw shea butter, canola oil, safflower oil, cotton seed oil, wheat germ oil, jojoba oil, macadamia nut oil, tocopherol, and fragrance. All of these oils alone are great for hair (and skin), but when mixed in a blend like this (and sold for so cheap) its unlikely they are the highest quality. But quality issues aside, I use this oil rather than a silicone serum as my final product application before air drying. It helps seal in moisture, reduces frizz, adds a nice shine and smells really good. Not bad at all for 99 cents!

CHI Keratin Mist - I only use this product when I am preparing to flat iron, it is designed to strengthen and protect hair as it's being heat styled. I'm still on flat iron restriction so I haven't used this product in a while, but when I do, it seems to do its job. The ingredients are: Rosewater, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Silk Amino Acids, Acetamide MEA and Lactamide MEA, Lauryl Pyrrolidone, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazoline and Methylisothiazolinone, Nettle, Chamomile Extract, Algae, Aloe Vera, Lavender Extract, Rosemary Extract, Parfum, FD&C Yellow 5, D&C Red 33, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Boron Nitride Powder. A 12 oz bottle can be some what expensive ($10 to $15) depending on where its purchased, but I bought my bottle from T.J. Maxx for $7.99.

Roux Extra Strength Leave-In Treatment #619- I just tried this product for the first time last week so I haven't formed a complete opinion about it just yet, however after the first use I had pretty good results which means I will be trying it again. This products claims to increase moisture in relaxed hair by 76%, after my first use I didn't see anything I thought resembled such a large percentage, but I definitely noticed the change in my hair as I applied it. This product instantly made my hair soft and very easy to comb through during my after wash detangling session. The ingredients are: Aqua (Water) (Eau), Sodium/Tea-Lauroyl Hydrolyzed Collagen, Laurylpyridinium Chloride, Laureth-11, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Lactate, Stearic Acid, Aminomethyl Propanol, Lactic Acid, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Alcohol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool. It was $3.89 for a half ounce ample at Sally's Beauty Supply, they also come in a 3-pack for about $9.
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