Healthy Hair Journey

What is a healthy hair journey?
Educating yourself about products and proper haircare AND correctly applying this knowledge when caring for your own hair. 

What motivated me to start my HHJ?
I recently gave birth to beautiful twin girls. I was placed on hospital bedrest for 3 weeks. I was just lucky a friend of mine had just done some cornrows for me. When I finally got home and took the braids out we both couldnt believe my growth. I knew it was because I wasnt applying heat and unnecessary manipulation EVERY day. That was it! That was the catalyst.

Natural or relaxed?
As of June 2012 I am 100% NATURAL! :) I transitioned for almost a year then I chopped those relaxed ends OFF and I havent looked back :)

What are my hair goals?
1 year arm pit length or APL
2 years bra strap length or BSL
3 years mid back length or MBL


Tips for others wanting to start a HHJ:
1. Join a site/forum/group- not only do you get support, but you also get ideas and valuable information.

2. RESEARCH!!! Dont just take one person's word about a product or technique. Really research. Youtube and Google have tons of info, videos, and product reviews.

3. Determine what your hair type is and what your goals are. 

4. Set realistic goals. If you know your hair grows 1inch every 3 months dont set a goal of waist length hair in a year and you have a fade right now.

5.  Please dont go out and spend a ton of money! I honestly have spent about $50 on this journey and now I'm set with the tools I need. 

6. Stop playing in your hair and over manipulating it. Start wearing protective styles, moisturize your hair, determine what works best for you. Protect those ends! Always tie your hair down and/or use a satin pillow.

7. Research these topics to start: CO-washing or conditioner washing, protective styles, texlaxing, GHE (green house effect), M&S (moisturizing and sealing), clarifying... as you begin you will find more and more tips and info to help you with your healthy hair journey.

What is your hair care regimen?  
My regimen may not work for you. My hair and scalp are not the same as yours. Look at different videos/blogs and find someone who has similar hair as yours and see what they are doing. Dont just copy them, but alter their regimen to fit your needs.

UPDATED 07.15.2013 (BIG CHOPPED 6.7.2012)

Natural hair regimen:
cleansing cowash (recipe below) *as needed sometimes just a rinse after workouts*
cool water rinse 
seal w/coconut oil or grapeseed oil 
apply leave in
bun/2 strand twist during the week & style on weekends
massage scalp w/coconut oil mixed with peppermint oil 
spritz hair with water/glycerin mix
seal w/coconut oil or grapeseed oil
leave in- use up what i've got or use nothing at all
re-bun/ or leave 2strand twists in
baggy hair
satin cap
pre-poo overnight with coconut oil
shampoo (currently color treated so using a color treated shampoo)
cool water rinse
condition (currently color treated conditioner)
deep condition w/ORS replenishing pak (honey & peppermint oil added)
cool water rinse
use a leave in- try some of the ones I have lying around
seal w/coconut oil 
bun/2 strand twist 
pre-poo overnight with coconut oil
clarify w/chi
shampoo w/Ion moisturizing 
cool water rinse
ACV rinse
cool water rinse
protein treatment - Ion Reconstructor Protein 
cool water rinse
deep condition with ORS replenishing pak add honey & peppermint oil 
cool water rinse (usually deep condition overnight) 
leave in- try some of the ones I have lying around
seal w/coconut oil 
bun/ 2 strand twist
1.5 c Pantene conditioner
5 drops vitamin E oil
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops peppermint oil
1/2 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
3 Tbsp L'Oreal Sulfate Free Shampoo
tsp coconut oil 
Transitioning Regimen: 
Once per month
*I always wash in 6 braided sections*
pre-poo (conditioner & oils overnight) massage scalp with castor oil 
clarify w/Chi Clean Start 
shampoo w/L'Oreal Ever Sleek sulfate free- leave on hair for 15minutes
condition w/Pantene ProV (Curly series Dry to Moisturized, leave on 15 minutes)
deep condition w/Organic Root Stimulator replenishing pak, honey & peppermint oil overnight 
(2 packets, 1 tblsp honey & 6 drops peppermint oil)
Apple Cider Vinegar rinse
Cool water rinse
Tshirt dry until damp (no towels)
Giovanni Direct Leave in Conditioner
Herbal Essences Split End Protector 
seal w/grapeseed oil OR coconut oil mix
air dry in sections 

Wash Regimen the other 3 weekends of the month:
pre-poo w/conditioner and oils (massage scalp with castor oil)
shampoo w/L'Oreal Ever Sleek shampoo sulfate free- leave on hair for 15minutes
deep condition overnight w/Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak (w/honey & peppermint)
Cool water rinse
t-shirt dry until damp
Giovanni Direct Leave in Conditioner
Herbal Essences Split End Protector
seal w/grapeseed oil OR coconut oil mix
air dry in sections 

COwash 1-2 times per week 
COwash w/Pantene Pro V
Tshirt method to dry
seal w/grapeseed oil or coconut oil mix
Giovanni Direct Leave in Conditioner
Herbal Essences Split End Protector
t-shirt dry until damp
air dry

Daily & After washes
@ night massage scalp w/homemade scalp balm:  3 tblspn coconut oil, 3tsp Proclaim 7 Oils, 6drops peppermint oil (I was oiling nightly but now I oil as needed)
seal with ONE of the following after wash or after moisturized: 
1. coconut oil mix: 1/2c extra virgin coconut oil, 1/4c TOTAL of grapeseed oil & jojoba oil & tablespoon of vitamin E oil & almond oil 
2. grapeseed oil only 

*spray scalp w/aloe vera juice in the mornings if having dry scalp 
*sleep with satin scarf and pillowcase
*other products used for styling: 100% Aloe Vera Gel, Eco Styler Gel, Garnier Fructis Anti Frizz Serum
*MOISTURIZER: aloe vera juice, water, glycerin spritz OR tiny drops of V05 before seal
*detangle with a Goody Rubber Base Styling Brush (I remove 2 rows to space out the bristles) I only detangle on damp hair 

after hair freshly washed
use coconut oil as seal and let air dry
detangle in sections with a wide tooth comb 
follow through with a fine tooth comb
spray each section with Ion heat protection spray
comb through again
flat iron small sections: 
use clean flat iron and iron the roots ONLY (iron the roots twice)
use chase method with fine tooth comb to flat iron the entire section* 
only flat iron each entire section ONCE
wrap hair each night 
*chase method: place the fine tooth comb in the section of hair you are going to flat iron. start the flat iron at the roots and the comb just after that section. comb through the hair followed by the flat iron. this all happens at once and all the way to the ends. 
1month goal- leave box braids in for 3 weeksACHIEVED! 9/2011
6month goal- no relaxers and better hair/scalp care ACHIEVED 12/2011
1year goal- bra strap length hair
5 year goal- waist length hair

*I'll be photo documenting my hair journey as well... here is a pic of me in my box braids without extensions... they've been in 1 week! YEA! Closer to that goal of 3 weeks.

Bantu Knot Outs

I just took down my box braids (no extensions) and wanted to try something new. I have been stalking youtube videos and hairlista for bantu knot out tutorials. 

Some of the curls were too tight, others too loose. I had so many questions and there were so many DIFFERENT answers.

Do I do it on freshly washed hair?
It has only been 4 weeks since my last relaxer- will that make a difference?
What do I put on my hair before doing the bantu knot out? after?
Single strand, 2 strand, or braided knot out? 

I found 3 women whose bantu knot out/braid outs I really thought were inspiring and I combined them to create my own personalized version. Here are the original three:

This was the perfect time for me to experiment. I finished my regimen for wash day then after detangling I let it air dry. 

Here's what I did for my knot outs after my regimen:

1. finger part each section and M&S like normal w/ORS Moisturizing lotion but instead of coconut oil I used Tina's suggestion of EVOO... much lighter for the curls

2. completed 18 total bantu knots (wasnt sure which I'd like so I did a few braided & single strand twists in the center. the braided give a more wavy look and the single didnt really hold for me. i love the double strand!)

3. as I twist the two strands around I twist the entire section of hair. this makes a tighter coil and as Im wrapping it into a bantu knot even if it loosens a bit it stays pretty tightly coiled

4. I bobby pinned each knot, but will probably cut up an old pair of pantyhose and make little bands to tie around them. 

5. Sprayed my whole head with my homemade leave-in conditioner from my regimen - very lightly just about 2-3 spritz for the whole head

6. tied down with satin scarf and set overnight

7. when taking them out lightly very lightly coat fingertips w/EVOO and unravel each knot then go back through and lightly coat fingertips again and separate the twists until I loved them. 

Here are the results!! I absolutely love it and it's quicker than my box braids so this will be my transitioning style for awhile. Hubby even said he liked it :) I pinned the back up because it was on my neck and I didnt want my hair rubbing at all. The pics of the back didnt come out so I left those out. I do not use any heat and havent for the last few months. 

Wet freshly washed hair

Air dried

RESULTS (sorry didnt take any during the process and wished I had):