Heat… Heat… Heat Damage

Sigh.

Sigh.

I’m sorry, I just don’t know how to say this.

Okay. Remember that time I spontaneously straightened my hair? Well, yup. My beautiful coils got heat damaged.

How did I determine it was heat damage?

1. Smell.

By the morning after I straightened my hair, I could smell the burn. It smelled like someone had lit my hair on fire and it absolutely irritated me, the smell. When I finally decided to wet my hair in the shower, and the smell lingered on, I knew that I was screwed. Sigh.

2. Loss of coil elasticity.

The beauty of natural hair is how versatile it is. Shrinkage has to be the 8th wonder of the world. Usually, when straightened natural hair is wet, it ought to go back to its natural curl pattern. In addition, when the hair is pulled at by fingers, it ought to spring back and curl back in. Granted, my hair, after washing, was shrunken, however there were visible straight tips. Also, when I pulled at any part of the hair, it became straight and would refuse to spring back. Sigh.

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3. Loose curl pattern.

For me, this was the third indication. I twisted my hair one night in preparation for a twist out and my hair felt too fine and thin. I am not thick-haired, but the thinness that I felt was definitely strange. That was when I studied my coils in the mirror and yup, most of my coils were really loose. Sigh.

What to do? What to do?

I decided that I was going to restart the Maximum Hydration Method. Basically, the changes that follow heat damage all point to one thing – moisture.

Different people have tried different things that have worked in helping to deal with heat damage. Here a few examples:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.

Well, clarify. That’s the purpose of the rinse. Usually, when your hair is straight, more products go in and there is high build up by the time you are ready to revert to curly/coily hair. So cleansing and clarifying hair properly is highly necessary. However, in nurturing your hair back to life, it is advisable to do the ACV rinse every so often (say, weekly).

2. Protein Treatments.

One baggage that heat damage comes with is weak hair that tends to split a lot at the ends. I actually noticed that when my hair was straight and I combed through, there were broken strands of hair on the comb and the table as well. Ugh. A store-bought protein treatment (e.g Aphogee 2-minute reconstructor) or a DIY treatment will suffice. But be careful! Don’t overdo it with the protein now.

3. Deep Condition.

Ah yes. Deep condition! Deep condition!! Deep condition!!! Choose your favourite highly moisturising deep conditioner and use it regularly and freely.

4. Hot Oil Treatment.

The point of most of these is to retain as much moisture as you can. Your hair has been robbed of its natural oils and is basically dead. So you will need to overcompensate for a while until it gets back to being independent. Hot oil treatments help. I will also add that you try oil rinsing with your frequent washes.

6. Allow hair to be slightly damp more often.

You know how sometimes we like to do our favourite styles on dry hair? Yeah, you can’t anymore. At least not yet. Have a spritz bottle handy with a water/conditioner or water/oil mix handy to spritz your ends with. In the state of damage, they get dry really easily and this will help to train your hair to be more accepting of moisture.

7. Cut/Trim.

Shiver. They say this is the last resort. If all fails, you gon need to go to the scissors (or even the clipper! *screaaammm*). If your damage is horrendous, you will need a lot of patience. However, as  you treat your hair delicately, you will need to imitate a transitioner. What this means is that you will need to trim off the ends regularly until all of your hair is back to being the hair that you once knew. Sometimes, people take the plunge and do the big chop. I. Will. Not. Be. Doing. This. No no no. I mean I only have one year of growth but please, it is never that serious. I shall nurse this hair back to life.

How can you prevent heat damage?

1. Don’t do it too much!

Usually, heat damage affects naturals that abuse the straightening iron. However, as in my case, even doing it once without proper safeguards can destroy your hair. The number of passes the iron makes through your hair should not be multiple. Two passes, and move on please. I didn’t count mine, but I bet she made more than 5 passes. When you start to see and/or smell those fumes coming from your hair then you should be afraid and stop what you’re doing.

2. Heat protect

Always, always, always use a heat protectant serum with any form of heat, especially a flat iron. I have no idea what was used on my hair (which was a very stupid thing to do. Do not be like me.). I advice that if you will be going to the salon, take your product with you or at least trust what the salon has before proceeding. There are more and more straightening kits in the market now and while I am not sure about the post-straightening services that they offer, at least they have heat protectants that help prevent damage.

3. Healthy pre-straightening practices

This is just as important as using a heat protectant. Make sure your hair is clean and deep conditioned before the blow-drying portion of the straightening process.

Because of the weather and because I was overwhelmed by what was happening to my hair, I am now currently caring for my hair in Marley twists. I shall let you know how that goes when I take down to assess progress.

So, yes, I was stupid and I’m paying the price. Thankfully, heat damage is not irreversible. On a similar note, I came across the idea of heat training. Apparently, it is applying heat regularly to cause hair curl pattern to become looser. The idea is to have healthy hair but loose curls and texture. It has been argued that heat training is not heat damage as it does not come with the dryness and brittleness of heat damaged hair. What are your thoughts on this? Have you had heat damage? How did you rescue the situation

Remember, we’re having a Big Fat Giveaway because we love you guys! 11 days left to enter, so do it!

Be smart with your choices this week.

– Mee Mee

❤ 

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Oil Rinsing

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If you love protective styling let me hear you say “heeeey”

If you love twists let me hear you say “yoooo”

If you love twists so much that you leave them in so long until they look like you were born with them, make some noooiiissseee!!!

Yeah so it’s almost been three months since I’ve had these Marley twists in. Sigh. I admit, part of the reason is that I’m afraid to deal  with my hair what with everything that I have going on. At first the reason was that it was simply too early to take them out. I am still not used to having to pay so much just to get my hair done. So when I do get my hair done, I like to utilise my money. But now, winter is upon us and I just don’t see the point in taking out my twists and letting my hair out. I have redone the twists twice now just to refresh them. However, in recent weeks, I have noticed that my hair care habits have deteriorated. Heck, I cannot for the life of me figure out where my spray bottle is. So you know what that means. The most moisture my hair has been getting is stray drops from my overactive shower head and tiny showers from when it rains. Bad bad bad. So basically, I was tempted to take them out today. But I did not have time to deal with take-down plus post-take-down care. Not today, not this week, not ever. And then it came to me. Oil rinsing! (this has been a lengthy journey of words to get to the point of this post. Forgive me)

I have only known about oil rinsing for about a month and some now. I stumbled upon it when I fell into the dark unending vacuum that is youtube. Oil rinsing. I see those words and I think of oil just dripping down from weighed down hair and onto one’s face. Ugh. Some of that image might be true… especially in the process of doing oil rinsing.

What is Oil Rinsing?

It is basically saturating your hair with any oil(s) of your choosing before your condition your hair after a wash. It should not be confused with pre-pooing. Pre-pooing requires certain oils that need to be left in hair for an extended period of time before washing is done?

How do I oil rinse?

Simples. Get some oil that you like. For my first experience, I used Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl. It smells divine, this oil (or oyl as the product prefers to be called. Fancay). After shampooing or first cowash, pour oil generously onto hair and scalp. Leave for about 5 minutes, as you would a conditioner while in the shower. I reckon that having warm water running in the shower may allow the process mimic a hot oil treatment for a little bit. Now there are two variants of the next step. Some people rinse off the oil and then condition as normal. Others add conditioner and then rinse both a while after. I did the latter (because, longer time for oil to be in hair). And that’s it really. Nothing elaborate.

What oils are best for oil rinsing?

So you read this post and it turns out today is washday for you and you want to try out oil rinsing. You’re good to go if you have an oilsaid oil is liquid and will continue to be liquid at all temperatures while in your hair, and you like said oil. That’s really it. Even melted shea butter can be used as an oil for oil rinsing.

So what are the benefits of oil rinsing?

  • It rescues dry hair. Especially after a protein treatment or henna.
  • Increases hair moisture and softness
  • Aids easy hair detangling because the extra oil you will get in your hair adds slip to hair.
  • Can help reduce frizz
  • Hair shine

Having said that, if you do not like shiny hair, if you never shampoo your hair and if you have a problem feeling the presence of oil in your hair, then mayhaps oil rinsing is not for you. With oil rinsing, you have to remember that because there is a tendency for the oil to attract dirt and what not, it is necessary for you to wash hair occasionally.

So as I started to blab about in the beginning, I tried oil rinsing on my twists and I have to say I’m ready to have these on for another year week. It completely rejuvenated the twists and the undergrowth.

While I have no before pictures of the dull, dry, brittle mess my hair was this is what it looked like after oil rinsing:

Ignore that bald patch. That's the result of a bad decision to get ghana braids done.

Ignore that bald patch. That’s the result of a bad decision to get ghana braids done.

I will definitely be doing this again and I am  interested in seeing the effects it will have on my beautiful fro when I decide to let it free.

I hope this was helpful to somebody. Has anyone else tried oil rinsing? Any advice? Testimonies?

Take all the positivity for the week. I wish you lots of good hair days!

– Mee Mee
xx

Maximum Hydration Method: My Experience so Far

Hey beauts!

I had so many ideas for how to present this post to you. They excited me, these ideas. I was going to show you every day, with pictures, how my curls were evidently approaching maximum hydration. I was going to give you pictures to ooh and aah over of how day 1 hair was way different from day 5 hair.

But…

There was no difference. I’ll let you have a quick look before I go off on a rant.

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Day 1

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Day 3

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Day 7

There you go!

In case you missed it, there is a post on the Maximum hydration method (MHM) here.

How did I go about my MHM?

I began with the Cherry Lola Caramel treatment.

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The best way I can describe my hair after this treatment is that it felt stripped of everything. The smell of the aminos was very overpowering in the mix. At a certain point during the treatment, I began to smell ammonia coming from my hair. Ugh.

Mistake Numer Uno:

Apparently, on day 1, after the Cherry Lola Caramel (CLC) treatment, the ACV or Baking Soda rinse should NOT be done. Somehow, I skipped this part of the instructions and after my CLC treatment, I did an ACV rinse. In hair science, what I ended up doing was opening up my hair cuticles with the CLC treatment in readiness for moisture and then closing it straight back up with the ACV rinse. Bad bad bad.

After the ACV rinse, which I kept on for about 30 minutes, I co-washed with Tresemme naturals nourishing moisture conditioner. This was my first time of using this conditioner and I have to say that I quite like it. Product review in the future? I then DC’d overnight with this conditioner as well.

Now, I have a feeling that perhaps I was wrong for DC-ing with just a conditioner and not a product created specifically for use as a deep conditioner? What do you guys think?

The DC option I opted for was the overnight option. So basically, I began each day of my MHM treatment at night, close to bed time.

Come morning, I would rinse out the deep conditioning treatment and then do a bentonite clay rinse for 15minutes. From day 1 – 5, I did the clay rinse for 15 minutes. On days 6 and 7, desperate for results, I did clay rinse for up to an hour.

After rinsing out the clay, I sprayed my damp hair with a mixture of Tresemme naturals nourishing conditioner and water. I then finished with ecostyler gel.

As explained in the MHM post done previously by AB, there are certain approved products for use in the MHM treatment. I admit, before commencing on this journey, I did not do an extensive homework. I made a number of assumptions, one of which was that Ecostyler gel was definitely on the list of acceptable gels. Afterall, most people swear by Ecostyler. But alas, I was wrong.

Another assumption I made was that by day 7, my hair was definitely going to look like the ‘after’ pictures I had been seeing around hair blogosphere. Wrong! I won’t even lie, it kinda hurt. Mainly because I religiously went about this treatment, excited for results.

Will I say this was a total waste of my time and resources?

No no no. Infact, I have made a decision to stick to the MHM treatment. Why? I got results that were not physical.

– My hair felt softer each day, without any products in it.

– I experienced very minimal or no breakage. By day 2, I stopped seeing loose curls lying all over the bath tub after my hair wash.

– My hair also felt stronger.

– My dry twist outs were super-defined, without any products. This was the result that amazed me the most. Unfortunately, I have no pictures because I am yet to learn how to wear a twist out so I end up destroying it after careful unravelling.

For these reasons, I would definitely recommend the MHM treatment. AB asked me a few days ago how keen I was on ‘finding my curl definition’. I believe my reply was something like “2 out of 10”. I am happy with the way my hair looks at the moment. I was just fascinated by the results this method produced for other women. I shall continue the MHM treatment and if anything changes, I will definitely report back to you and let you know how I may have altered the regimen.

This is is from me for now.

I hope the new week was off to a brilliant start.

Be good to your hair!

– Mee Mee

xx.