Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tips for Charting your Hair Growth!

(Braid take down..I Retained 1.66 in 2 months) 

Hello ladies!  My Crochet braids have been out going on 3 weeks and I'm currently nurturing my hair.
In my last couple posts I've been talking about how I plan to protect my hair all summer  with braids or twists to retain length.  My first style of choice were Crochet Braids.  If you've been following me for a while you know that braid extensions are my style of choice when I want to retain maximum length.  When my hair is fully covered it allows my hair to grow uninterrupted(meaning no detangling, no handling of my hair at all for 6-8 weeks). This ensures that whatever I grow during the this time is retained. During my second year I noticed I didn't retain much as I could have, because I didn't max protect as much. I quickly noticed the difference in my retention and somewhere during my second year I picked  it back up! When trying to grow your hair out you have to pay attention to any changes in your hair before you get too far off track!  
Big Chop, Years 1-3(slightly stretched)

Big Chop, Years 1-3 curly

Most of us have read that hair grows on average 1/4 to 1/2 an inch per month. Most of us who are interested in retaining length will estimate that we should be able to retain about 5 to 6 inches a year. But, when this doesn't play out many women assume that their hair is simply not growing.  

So first thing's first, lets make sure that you are actually growing new hair out of your scalp!  There are several ways to do a length check. Set your calendar for a 2 month marker. Measure the length of at the start of that marker, then again at the end of your 2 month marker.  You can choose your measuring stick everyone use different means to track length retention.(Some use a measuring tape, marked shirts,or body placement)   
Measuring new growth before removing braids(1.66 inches)
Measuring 1 inch in the front

In the above photo, I am at 8 weeks growth in my braided protective style. I decided to measure my new growth before removing my braids. This measuring stick helped me to learn that my hair does grow at in average rate  in one area, but a faster rate in another. So I know it grows!

Body placement Measuring
(taken 2 mos ago I am now close to  my 4yr anniversary)

 If you aren't into measuring inches it may help to simply use body placement measuring. Checking at the end of your 2 month marker (At 2 mos there should be enough noticeable growth to chart).  Find a place on your body to which you measure your retention  each time. Above I chose to make a shirt marking Bra Strap, Mid Back, and Waist length. I also have small 2 to 3 inch markers in between these large lines, but its not necessary.   The idea is to established that within a 2 month time period that your hair is actually growing. Now that you know its growing,  its time to learn how to hold on to that length!   This is what I like to call protecting your investment. Most of  us put a lot into our hair care and retaining consistent length is one way of knowing that you are doing something right.    

To Help Retain your Growth

1.   Wear low manipulation hair styles
2.    Keep your hair moisturized to prevent breakage( includes Deep Conditioning!)
3.    Keep your hair strengthen with protein and or Henna treatments
3.    Handle your hair with extreme care
4.    Keep your ends super moisturized and sealed with oils
5.    Wear protective styles as much as possible(keeping ends off shoulders)
6.    Be consistent with your proven  regimen
7.    Be Patient

*Of course the above tips are all proven based on my personal journey and experience. You  probably will hear it doesn't take all of that to retain length, and for "some" this is true. But if you know you need help in this area, then try it because you have nothing to lose!

Well until Next Time keep it Healthy and Happy! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Get Maximum Wear out of your Crochet Braids:My 8 week Update!

Hello Ladies! So how's your summer hair care routine going? If you have chosen to wear braid extensions then you are probably  enjoying the break, I know I am!  I've had my Crochet Braids in for exactly 8 weeks.  I am very pleased with how well the braid hair has held up. I am still getting day one compliments! So I thought  I would share some tips on how to get the most out of your Crochet Braid Protective style.  

*For those who  may not know what Crochet Braids are it is simply using a latch hook needle to attach braiding bulk hair to previously cornrowed hair.  The first step mimics a sew in weave preparation. Just choose a braid pattern that suits your hair length. Also, I only use synthetic curly bulk braiding hair.    

Installing the hair/latch hook needle used

Step One: Find a cornrow pattern that you like Step two: use your latch hook needle to feed the bulk braiding hair under the cornrow and  pull over. Secure with your choice of knotting techniques. This installation after braiding takes me about 4 hours. (You tube has countless tutorials showing you how to install crochet braids so check those out!) 
A Fresh  Install 

How I care for my Crochet Braids

By choosing synthetic curly hair, my style is pretty much set. I literally don't have to do anything to this hair to keep it curly.  Also by choosing a tight curl pattern I get more life out of the style. In my experience, looser curl patterns tend to tangle and mat more. The tighter curls will frizz or get occasional knots on the ends(similar to our natural hair). If I get a knot or too much frizz I simply snip it out. 

What I use on the hair: Water, S-curl no drip, or African Royale BRX Braid spray

I  use water from my spray bottle in the mornings to break the hair up. I wear my hair bound in a pineapple a night. Just like my real natural hair, this tightly curled hair clumps together. You can also break it up by simply shaking your hair.  

I use the S-curl No drip moisturizer to hydrate my natural hair underneath. I  separate the synthetic hair to expose my braids, spray liberally onto my braids and squeeze until I feel it's penetrating the braids.  

exposing new growth and braid underneath..
 S-curl no drip is primarily water, glycerin, and conditioner. The new formula also has some argon oil in it. It's very moisturizing and I like using it while I'm wearing braids because its light weight so there's very little build up if you use this.  I have also noticed that it helps keep the synthetic hair soft and detangled and does not coat the hair. Its AWESOME!  This has kept my hair looking like new for these 8 weeks.  
African Pride BRX. If you use the S-curl no drip.this spray is totally optional it can be used to moisturize your natural braids underneath and it keeps the synthetic hair smelling great! I typically grab this after I've done an ACV rinse or just want to freshen my hair after a work out because it smell really good. 

I conditioner-wash every 2 to 3 weeks..when preparing this hair for install I have it soaking in warm water, Apple cider vinegar, and conditioner so I know that I can cleanse my scalp & hair with these ingredients without harming the synthetic hair. (I would avoid using shampoo, it seems to be harsh on the hair.)

I typically will use an ACV rinse to scrub my scalp, and then follow up with a co-wash, rinsing it out in the shower. Co-washing these braids seems to bring them alive again!
Freshly Washed
I also use an all natural oil mix to massage my scalp, and I can't forget my  favorite The Follicle Mist by Hydratherma Naturals to keep my edges strong! And that's it. Its  really easy to keep these braids looking great, while caring for your own hair. 

Short re-cap!   Keep the hair tied up at night, keep your hair and scalp nourished underneath,work out tangles and knots as needed with S-curl no drip moisturizer,Snip when needed, co-wash as needed, shake and Go!  Done! 

8 Weeks.. and time to remove

Until Next Time!!!