Water Only Method and More...(Belated post!)

Water Only Method and More...

July and August have been busy busy busy. The summer holidays are here and the children are off from school which means there has been less time to work on hair videos. With that said I've decided to put my reviews of UK products on hold this year and perhaps resume it another time. I really enjoyed using the products and discovering the growing number of black owned UK companies producing natural hair products sans the drying substances that are so prevalent in the majority of hair care products today.

I'm currently working on a few projects of my own at the moment which has further reduced the time I've been able to spend on reviewing other products. I would also like to do more hair styling videos in the near future but we'll have to see if time permits!

Anyway, so what's been going on with my own regime?
As it's been summer I should have been increasing my moisture intake however I've slacked on this a little and of course your hair always tells you how it's feeling. I've noticed some smaller broken hairs when I've been moisturising and sealing my hair so I know it's time for me to up the moisture intake and also have a trim too. I'm also due a henna treatment but I'm waiting for my moisture levels to increase as It seems that the more I henna the less porous my hair becomes.

However there's something else I want to try out in my regime, something that I've been hearing more and more about in the natural hair community and that's the water only washing method. This is when you use warm water to wash your hair each day and only use natural oils to condition your hair in the process. In a way I already do this method as I don't use shampoo any more but I still use conditioner or ACV to cleanse my hair. I want to try this method for 14 days to see what happens. I'll be using coconut oil so my hair doesn't dry out too much. The coconut oil also helps to impart shine as well as ensuring hygral fatigue doesn't affect my hair too much with the constant wetting and drying of my hair. I'm interested to see whether I might get the same results as the MHM (Maximum Hydration Method) but with a simpler regime that could suit me when I want to wear my hair out in an un stretched state without it tangling too much.


Regime
What I plan to do is divide my hair into two braids then simply wash my hair in the shower scrinching and preening as I go, removing shed hairs then braid up each section. Then I'll quickly run cold water over the braids ( to close the cuticles) , dry my hair with a cotton T-shirt and press through some coconut oil and that's it. Check out the video below to hear more about the process.

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Sheabeutimia Conditioner June Review

June was the month for conditioning. With the scorching weather we've had here in London its been time to crank up the moisture and conditioning within my regime. I used Sheabeutimia's Hemp Seed Oil Moisturising Conditioner for last month. 

During June I regularly bagged my ends to ensure moisture levels remained topped up. I also used the conditioner for deep conditioning. I mixed it with coconut oil and grape seed oil and then applied it all over my hair and left it overnight. I also used the hemp seed conditioner to cowash my hair. All in all I found it a good moisturising conditioner to use especially since it contains aloe vera and glycerin, two musts when it comes to retaining moisture in warmer weather. Watch on for the full review.

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ROOT2TIP Products Review and Perm Rod Set Trial

ROOT2TIP Products Review and Perm Rod Set Trial

For the month of May I tried two products from ROOT2TIP. The first was their 'Quench Anti-breakage Creme' and the second was the 'Detangling Leave-in Conditioner Honey Rain Juice'. I wanted to try these products when doing a perm rod set. I've never used perm rods on my hair but I've been curious about what kind of sets I could achieve so I decided to have go while testing out these products.

The Set

I think the products worked well for the set and would have really done the job if I had changed a few aspects of the set. There are 4 things I should have done. Firstly, I should have really stretched my hair out well. I believed the stretch I had was ok but when I took out the rods you'll see that my roots look just a bit too puffy! Anyway, if I did the set on freshly threaded or blow dried hair the results would have been closer to what I was looking for. Secondly, I should have perhaps used flexi-rods as they have a longer area on which to twist the hair around therefore creating an elongated curl. Thirdly, the rods should have been left to dry properly! But I just didn't have the time that day! And fourthly, my hair needed to be wetter, perhaps with water or even a water based setting spray to give just a little extra hold.

More Thoughts

I was fairly happy with the set but I wanted to see how the products would work on a classic twist out on damp hair so after putting together the video review I quickly tried it out. I spritzed my hair with loads of water, then spritzed my hair with the conditioner and lastly added a little of the creme. I love, love, LOVE the definition!

IMG_2597.JPG

 

I think these products work better on damp hair that is set in a compressed style with braids, twists or bantu knots but I also think they are versatile enough to use in other ways. The creme perhaps as a conditioning creme to nourish dry ends and the Leave-in as a spritz to refresh your hair in-between styles.

Check out the full review video above if you would like to know more.

Check out the rest of the fabulous range at ROOT2TIP...another UK company producing great natural products for kinky, coily girls.  

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Afrocenchix Moisturiser And Shampoo Review

Afrocenchix Moisturiser and Shampoo Review

I've really enjoyed trying out these products from UK companies. There seems to be so many who  are striving to produce products that are highly beneficial for curly, coily hair. Us curlies should be really thankful that there are finally people who want to cater to our particular hair needs.

During April I used the 'Smooth' moisturiser from Afrocenchix. I had high hopes for the moisturiser and it did not disappoint! This creamy, lotion like moisturiser instantly imparted moisture (and lots of other natural oils) to my hair. As soon as I smoothed it along my hair it felt so soft and smelt amazing. I love products that smell like yummy desserts, and this one conjured up thoughts of fresh zingy lemon pie...mmm I felt like making one there and then. (Anyway, back to reality) I used the moisturiser when I took my hair down from my usual bun or to rehydrate my bang area which easily becomes dry due to the fact that I manipulate it more often.

Here is a bun style I did using the moisturiser. As you can see the twists were shiny (but not greasy), juicy and well defined.

twistfringe_2.jpg

Check out the full video review below!

Have you tried Afrocenchix moisturiser and or shampoo before? What are your thoughts? I'm eager to try out the rest of their range perhaps in the coming months.

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With U in Mind Mango Butter Review

With U in Mind Mango Butter Review

I hope everyone one had a nice Easter holiday! Mine was quite eventful what with moving house and having a baby on the same day! Anyways I still managed to continue my use of the mango butter I got from UK company WithUinMind who sell a nice range of natural butters. I tried both the plain and the orange blossom scented mango butter which was divine! Both were wonderfully smooth and creamy but the scent of the orange blossom was a real treat to experience, it smelt so yummy! Check out my review on the butter below. 

For the month of April I have been using the moisturiser and shampoo from Afrocenchix. Check out my review in the coming weeks.

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Hug My Hair Multi seed Oil Review

Hug My Hair Multi seed Oil Review

Hello Ladies! I'm back a month later with my review of the multi seed oil from UK haircare brand Hug My Hair. Check out my video for the full review.

I really liked using this oil last month as it was light and gave my hair a lovely shine without it being too greasy. Check out the twist out I did using only the oil and water. It held really well.

Anyway, give it a go and see what you think!

Next up for the month of March is mango butter from With U in Mind. I'll be predominately using the butter as a sealant for my hair however I may add some into my deep conditioning mix or even directly onto my scalp as it seems lighter in texture than shea butter. Check out their website here.

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New Series// Review UK Natural Hair Products

New Series// Review UK Natural Hair Products - Hug My Hair Brand

Hello everyone! In this video I’m discussing a new series I’m starting in 2015. I have recently discovered quite a few UK companies that produce handmade natural products for hair and skin. I'm quite happy with the products I currently use and I'm by no means a product junky, but I thought it would be nice to try out some of their products and give them a bit more exposure. 

So many of us find it hard to get hold of good products in the UK and often turn to ordering from worldwide/US companies however I think we have some good UK companies developing products which contain beneficial natural ingredients. These products may be an alternative for naturalistas who are not mixtresses but would like to use quality products with lots natural goodness in them.

The first product I will be trying for the month of february is from Hug My Hair  .I will be using their ‘Seal n Shine’ hair oil Which contains great oils such as jojoba, grapeseed, hemp and vitamin E oil. Check out the rest of their products via their online store.

Please note I’m not getting paid by any of these companies! I’m simply wanting to support some of our UK product companies and compare the effectiveness of their products to the ones that I currently use.
Enjoy!

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African Threaded style //2

African Threaded style //2

Have you ever tried african threading? I believe there are lots of styles one can create using this method however I haven't seen many online which I feel I could wear on a day to day basis. So recently I have been trying to create some of my own!

I love using african threading on my hair. Not only as a gentle way to stretch my hair but also for day to day protective styles. Here is another easy style using threading which you can dress up or down depending on the occasion.

See what you can come up with!

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Hair out and about

4C Hair Out and About

Last saturday I went to wedding and decided to blow out my hair...well... try. 

I hardly ever use heat on my hair, perhaps twice a year but I thought I would give it a try for this occasion and do a length check while I was at it.

One piece of advice I wouId give to others when blowing out their hair (in addition to making sure you use a good heat protectant) is to make sure you properly detangle your hair. I did not. lol, I don't even know why I'm laughing because sorting out my roots and ends properly at the end of the day was not a laughing matter! I didn't really have the time to dedicate to properly detangling AND blowing out my hair that morning but I tried anyway. I used the tension method or else I would have had a lot of breakage using the comb extension due to my semi detangled hair. I used Cantu Shea Butter leave in and whipped shea butter as my heat protectants. I think I used a little too much of the leave-in which made my hair too wet and therefore increased the time I spend trying to dry my hair. I managed to get some length from the blow out and it was nice for the day but It's definitely not a style I will be revisiting on a regular basis as it requires too much time and the opportunity for breakage and tangles on my hair is high. ( I also don't particularly like how my hair feels when it's bone dry). How do you find blow drying your fine hair ladies?

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Listen to your hair... The first step in 4C haircare

Listen to your hair...

Listen to your hair. This would be the one great piece of advice I would give to anyone who is seeking to properly maintain their natural 4C hair. Over the last 3 years I've learnt loads about what my hair responds well to and what it reacts against. It's been a long process but I think my hair and I are starting to understand each other! 

Are you struggling with dealing with your 4C hair at the moment? Does it seem like you've tried all the suggestions and pieces of advice given in the natural hair community. I know I have, and the wealth of information can over whelm you. But I would definitely say... start by listening to YOUR hair.

There are of course general principles of maintaining 4C hair which are very useful. These should be your starting point.

In short the basic principles are:

  1. Moisture (WATER, WATER, leave-in conditioner and more WATER)
  2. Seal (butters and oils)
  3. Low manipulation (reduce frequency of styling hair, limited heat and usage of dyes),
  4. Protective styling (to help retain moisture, reduce ssk knots and protect fragile ends)

OK so the second aspect to look at is your hair.

I would definitely describe my hair as 4C BUT I have 3 different textures within that '4C' range. Each texture needs its own particular care. Check out my latest video on managing different hair textures.

Hair texture lowdown

Hair at the side front-

  • Very fine
  • Very fragile 
  • Forms tiny coils 
  • Breaks if I look at it 
  • Needs gentle handling 
  • A no comb zone!

I find this hair the hardest to grow because of its features. It dries out really easily so I've responded by ensuring I spritz this area everyday and seal with a heavy shea butter. Flat twisting this area also helps retain moisture. I find I retain the most length when this hair is regularly in a protective style.

Hair at the crown

  • Coarse
  • Wavy, kinky curl pattern
  • Looses moisture rapidly 
  • Breaks easily 
  • Grows slowly

This hair is very coarse and seems to eat moisture up like anything. I also try and spritz this area everyday and not handle it too much during the week. If it's given what it likes then it grows well and has lots of body even though the hair here has a similar density to the hair at the front.

Hair at the side - The best hair of all!,

  • Fine 
  • Clumps well 
  • Defined coils
  • Retains length no matter what I do 
  • Retains moisture well 
  • Grows the fastest

Hair at the back - a mixture of the hair on my crown and sides.

This hair is probably the most predictable and if you give it moisture and seal it well, and leave it alone it usually just grows well by itself.

What is your hair like? Do you have problem areas? Or perhaps your hair is mostly one texture. If so, watch it carefully when you apply water, leave-in conditioner and a butter/oil to it. How long does it retain moisture? Does it dry out quickly? What does it do when it's wet? Shrink up or hang loose? Asking these questions will allow you to move forward in the development of a regime that will really allow your hair to flourish.

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Regime Tweaks

Regime Tweaks

 Chunky twist out style after the trim - April 2014

Chunky twist out style after the trim - April 2014

I recently cut roughly 4cm off my ends, I think I was in desperate need of a cut as my ends we're frequently tangling and had become thin, and in addition to my already fine hair it did not look good. I think I need to increase my moisture load.

Over the last few months I have tried to gradually reduce the amount of times I wash my hair. I have also chosen to do more long term protective styles lasting two weeks or more. I thought this would help me to retain length since I wasn't often going through the wash process, which is usually when my hair forms knots and tangles. I also read of bloggers like Cipriana from UrbanBushbabes who only wash and deep condition once a month but still manage to maintain the length and health of their hair. I thought that sounded great. I love the idea of doing less and less to my hair! However I don't think that approach worked so well for me and perhaps it was one of the reasons for my damaged ends and single strand knots (ssk's). 

Then I thought back to the first year of my natural hair journey and how I never really had ssk's and bad tangles. I guess one reason why was because my hair was shorter, but also I remember washing my hair twice in the week and regularly applying leave in conditioner and sealing. My ends were well moisturised and stayed that way 1. because lots of water was able to penetrate the hair strand and 2. I wasn't in the habit of frequently stretching my hair. Since discovering the african threading method I have been stretching my hair after every wash and although I spritz my hair between washes I've learnt that my hair and scalp benefit from a thorough soaking and kept in a style that allows the hairs to clump and curl in its natural pattern. I think I lose moisture rapidly when my hair is stretch out too much.

I also looked at photos I took of my hair when I was tracking it's growth last year and I noticed that my hair hasn't gained much length at the fringe and crown area since then. This is not surprising because the hair at my crown is coarse and breaks really easily and my fringe hair seems to form a bountiful amount of ssk's (which I've had to cut off) probably because I manipulate that area the most and it probably needs extra moisture which I've not been careful to give it and likewise the crown of my head.

So I'm going to change up a few things. This is what I'm going to try:

  • Washing my hair twice a week (while in twists)
  • Keeping my hair in chunky twists during the week.
  • Applying oil to the ends a few times a week or introduce oil rinsing.
  • Continue to finger detangle.
  • Do a short deep condition on the first wash day and perhaps a longer one on the second wash day.
  • Find styles that don't require hair to be super stretched.
  • Start to document my growth again by taking one photo at the beginning of each month. Then I will be able to see if the new regime is working.
 Simple chunky twist style which allows my hair to stay moisturised for longer.

Simple chunky twist style which allows my hair to stay moisturised for longer.

 Moisture and shrinkage go hand in hand.

Moisture and shrinkage go hand in hand.

I've learnt so much about my natural hair over the last 3 years but this is only because I've taken note of how my hair reacts to different regimes and products. I definitely think it's great to leave you hair out of weaves and braids for some of the time so you can better understand how to care for your hair and what it likes and dislikes. There's a lot of trial and error with natural haircare but I'm enjoying the journey because the further you go along the road the more you'll be able to refine your regime, therefore making caring for your hair as easy as pie!

Fine/Low Density 4C Hair

Managing Fine/Low Density 4C Hair

Hi everyone! In this video I wanted to talk about being natural and having fine, low density hair. Many people believe (and I was the same) that having afro hair means really thick, coarse hair and this is the reality for many naturals. However there are some, like myself who's hair does not share the same characteristics. My hair strands are fine/thin and I also don't have loads and loads of hair. 

Some bloggers who have a similar issue are Nalia 1908 and Evelyn From The Internets. These are good examples of naturals who are managing their fine hair, and Nalia in particular has retained lots of length. If you know of any more vloggers please leave the links in the box below and/or do post your own hairstyles on our Facebook page which naturals with fine hair can easily do.

As I mention in the video having fine hair can make creating certain styles a challenge, especially protective styles like single braids and twists which are so useful in aiding length retention. So what's a girl to do? One thing I would say is "Loose twist it!" Loose two strand twists have been great for my hair! Watch on to hear the rest!

Bola

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4c Hair Feature: Michele

4c Hair Feature: Michele

I know how encouraging it is to read about other naturals with 4c hair texture, especially those from the UK. Over the coming months I would like to bring more exposure to other UK natural websites particularly highlighting those who have 4c hair. If you live in the UK and would like to feature on the website please get in touch! So here is the first feature on UK natural Michele N Dimbua from UKnatssisters.com.

1. CurlyB: Tell us about yourself.                                                                                                                

Michele: Hello my name is Michele N Dimbua, I'm the official blogger and contributor at UKnatssisters.com. I live in Newcastle, and my facebook page is: www.facebook.com/uknaturals

2. CB: How long have you been natural or transitioning for?

M: I've been natural for 19 months now, and I love it! But at first I didn't like the look too much and I was relying on wash and go's or braid outs etc to reduce the kinkiness of my hair texture. But after that I began to appreciate my 4C texture and now I rarely do twist outs I just wear my fro out! 

3. CB: What is your hair regime?

M: My hair regimen is simple: 

  • Co-wash: once a week
  • Shampoo: once every 6 weeks (sometimes I don't at all for the entire 2 months)
  • Bicarbonate: Once every 5 weeks
  • Treatment: once a week ; Avocado and extra virgin olive oil 
  • Deep condition: once a week; Conditioner and olive oil

Styling: I used to wear my Fro out a lot, but now I'm on a protective style challenge. So my hair is always protected on buns, braids, twists etc. 

Combing: I never comb my hair unless it's wet! I usually finger detangle.

Moisturising and products: 

  • Daily: with water and olive oil. 
  • Once a week: home made Shea butter cream. 
  • Leave in - African Pride Shea butter leave in conditioner.

Trim: when necessary! 

4. CB: What products do you use on your hair?

M: I use:

  • Alberto Balsam for deep conditioning 
  • Kuza 100% Shea butter
  • Homemade Shea buttery cream 
  • IC Fantasia Gel
  • Extra virgin Olive oil (best moisturiser)
  • Castor oil
  • Almond oil  (best sealant)

I use Almond and extra virgin olive oil because they are the two few oils that penetrate the hair strand. I buy these products anywhere. Fantasia gel I buy at any local African Shop. Olive oil - Tesco, almond oil - any Pakistani or Bengali corner shops, Alberto Balsam - Savers, Asda or Tesco. Castor Oil - Amazon UK.

5. CB: What are your 3 favourite styles?

 M: Mini twists, Marley twist, big fro! Because they are styles that most naturals don't do. It looks different and Afrocentric. 

6. CB: What do you think is the best feature about your hair texture?

M: Best feature about my hair is shrinkage, the fact that I can have it out long or short is brilliant! 

7. CB: Do you have any encouragement for those with kinky, coily hair?

M: For newly naturals... Dare to be different, there is a reason why you were given a particular type of hair! 

A big thank you Michele for featuring on CurlyB. Stay tuned for more 4c features!

Simple Twist Out Technique

Simple Twist Out Technique

Here's a quick photo tutorial showing you how I do my twist outs. It's really simple and there's no need for special products. I get a defined, soft hold using only aloe vera gel and my homemade curly pudding. See here for my video on how to make a simple curly pudding.

simple_twistout strip.jpg

Instructions:

1. Take a small section of hair.

2. Take a blob of aloe vera gel and smooth it along the section of hair making sure it is evenly distributed.

3. Do the same as in step 2 with the curly pudding.

4. Divide the section into two.

5. Begin to twist the two strands together. If you want a really defined twist you need to ensure that you twist tightly (Note: Do not twist so tight so as to put undue stress on your roots) this is the most important part! Remember to twirl your ends around your finger at the end.

6. You may be able to see some excess curly pudding on your twist, you can simply run your hand down your twist to take off any excess. The curly pudding and aloe vera should dry clear and so you shouldn't see any traces of the products once your hair is dry..

7. Once the twist is dry, simply unravel the twist and you're done. (Note: You must wait until it is completely dry or you will not get the definition)

For those of you who enjoy watching videos see below! 

Henna on 4c Hair

Henna Treatment

henna_4.jpg

I've been wanting to try henna on my hair for a while but now I've actually plucked up the courage to give it ago. To learn a little more about henna see curlyNikki's post here. After doing a lot of research on henna I decided that I would love to give it ago for it's strengthening qualities. Because my hair is fine its perhaps more prone to breakage than other naturals who have thicker hair strands so I wanted to try treatments which strengthen the hair shaft naturally. Henna leaves colour deposits on the hair which I don't really mind, as long as it wasn't going to turn it orange! I also read that it can loosen the curl pattern of your hair every time it is applied. I don't know if this will really happen to my hair as my curl pattern is so tight, but I read that this has been noticed with people who have looser curl patterns (3c, 4a hair types) so I don't think I have too much to worry about.

Anyway, onto the process. if you prefer to watch the process please see my youtube video or read on for a summary.

I decided to buy Lush Caca marron (£8.25 a block) because I wanted to get the henna from a trusted source. While researching I read a few comments from people who had been scammed when purchasing their henna. They had tried to purchase the Jamila brand henna but instead had been sold fake henna which probably contained harmful substances. Also, some kinds of henna need to be mixed with other ingredients so that the dye can be released. Everyone I read about seemed to do it in a different way so I searched for an easy solution. Lush Costmetics sells henna in blocks which you simply add hot water to and stir up. I also consider Lush to be a trusted brand so I decided to buy my henna from them. I chose the Caca marron because I prefer the darker chestnut tones it is said to give instead of redder tones. The Lush henna also contains some great added ingredients like coco butter and essential oils.

Things you will need

  • Henna
  • Gloves
  • Plastic cap
  • Clips
  • Heat proof bowl
  • Newspaper (for the bathroom floor)
  • Old towels
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Hot water
  • Vasaline (to put on your hairline to stop the henna from dying your skin)

 

Getting Ready

I would say that planning is essential for the whole henna process. I would suggest setting aside a day when you're not massively busy. Firstly get all the things you need together and put them in the bathroom e.g. newspapers for the floor, old towels, clips, vasaline and cleaning equipment. Then mix up the henna with hot water and stir it until It reaches a thick yogurt consistency.

 

Application

Section off your hair into 4 or more sections. Apply vasaline to your hairline. Put your gloves on and apply the henna to your hair by gently patting it onto the section you are working with. Be careful not to press and smooth down the henna too hard along your hair. The henna is very gritty and I read that if some of the sharp pieces are pressed down onto the hair too hard there's a possibility of introducing mid shaft splits along your hair strand. This part took me about 30 minutes. 

Wrap your hair in cling film (optional for extra protection) and put a cap on. I kept the henna on for 6 hours, during this time I went out to the shops and just simply popped a beanie hat on over my plastic cap. I kept the henna on for 6 hours because it was convenient for me and my timetable. I think the pack says you can leave it on for 2-3 hours but I don't think it really matters if you leave it on for longer than the stated time. 

Be prepared to do a bit of clean up. But don't worry. if you've tried to be careful when applying the henna then the clean up shouldn't be too bad. I suggest cleaning the sink area as soon as you have finished applying the henna to reduce the chances of stains.

Results

When washing the henna off do so one section at a time. You can use a conditioner to do this. I used Cantu shea butter conditioner because I had some I needed to use up. It took me 4 washes to really get all the bits and pieces out so make sure you leave yourself enough time.

After I washed the henna out, my hair felt great. My curls really popped, especially at the crown area where the curl pattern is more of an 'S' shape. My hair didn't feel hard or dry like many people had reported from their own experiences. I didn't follow up with a conditioning treatment as my hair felt really good. I just applied my curly pudding and stretched my hair as usual. In the morning I styled my hair, it still wasn't dry and hard. Instead it felt really soft and hopefully it had been strengthened by the treatment too.

Pros and Cons of Lush Henna

Pros:

- Improved the condition of my hair

- Easy to use

- Reasonable price

Cons:

- Very gritty ( this made it difficult to wash out)

-  Strong grassy smell developed hours after henna was applied 

-  Quick and careful clean up is needed to avoid stains on sink

- Planning the process is essential

 

Overall I would recommend giving this product a go to discover whether it works well for you and your hair. You might find the whole process a little too fussy and drawn out, or perhaps you find the benefits to your hair out weigh the process. I have two young children, 4 and under, so I made sure that when I was applying the henna they were occupied with my husband. When I wanted to wash the henna off I did so in the evening when they were in bed. I loved how my hair felt after using it so I'm going to continue to use it, perhaps four more times and see what the effects are. What have your experiences been with henna? Good? bad? or ugly?! 

 

African Threading

African Threading

Have you ever tried african threading on your hair? You might remember it from your youth (I certainly do) when perhaps your mum or auntie wrapped huge amounts of thick black thread around sections of your hair to create stiff , sticking out spikes of hair. Well recently I have revisited this method of wrapping my hair- not as a styling option but rather as a way of stretching my hair.  It's fast and easy to do and works really well yielding similar results to a light blow out. I would really recommend you give it a try if you're looking for a good way to regularly stretch your hair without using heat. Here's part 1 of my video explaining the process:

Here is part 2 showing the results:

Note: Apologies for the low lighting in the video, I recorded the video late at night!