Heat Stretching 101 For Natural Hair

I have always spoken publicly about my use of heat on my natural hair. It is something I have chosen to do to manage my natural hair due to my lifestyle and my personal taste. Using heat has helped me to maintain healthy hair, retain length, and reach several hair length goals. In this post I hope to share with you my experience, my methods, and hopefully those of you who have been searching high and low for this information will get the info you need to make your own personal decision when it comes to using heat.

Straightening natural hair - flat iron alicia james

  • Why do I use heat in my regimen?
    I personally like how easy my hair is to manage when I use heat. My knots and tangles are very minimal and I experience less breakage and shedding throughout the week. I have really tight 4a curls mixed with 4b and 4c hair. My hair shrinks up to over half of it’s actual length. It tangles so much, it makes it difficult to maintain health and length. So, my goal is not to have straight hair, but to manipulate my hair in a way that helps me to maintain it easily daily. During the time that I started using heat I retained more length than ever in my journey. I started a growth journey on Youtube in my second year starting at about shoulder or armpit length and in about two years on my four year anniversary reaching waist length.

My Journey To Waist Length

  • When did I first use heat?
    I started using heat on my natural hair when I turned 2 years natural. It was the day of my second year anniversary and I did my first blow out since being natural.
    I used a flat iron on my natural hair for the first time on my four year anniversary.
  • Why did I wait so long?
    I waited because I was still learning about my natural hair. When I first went natural I didn’t even know I was going natural. I had no confidence in my natural hair and my ability to maintain it. So, after my first year I found Youtube and blogs. There was so much information out there, I continued to take in every single thing. I have literally gone through so many phases in my natural hair journey due to information I thought was “fact”. As I progressed in my journey I continued to educate myself, but I learned to only take what I needed and leave the rest behind. This was one of the best things I could have ever done in my journey, because I developed my “keep it simple philosophy” when it came to my hair. Anyways, I got rid of the fear of heat damage, and burning off my hair. I finally decided to jump in, enjoy my journey, and do the things that worked for “my” hair.
  • How often do I use heat?
    When I first started using heat, I was only comfortable with once a month. This later changed into twice a month (every two weeks), and now I use once a week. I would NEVER use more than once a week.
  • What tools do I use?I started using blow dryers regularly, but later found it less stressful on my hair to use a flat iron. I know what you are thinking flat iron less stressful than blow dryer what? The blow dryer for me completely dries my hair out sometimes, but I noticed the flat iron kept some of that moisture in. So let’s start off with how I used my blow dryer and what I used.

*Heat Stretching With Blow Dryer: I used the tension method to blow dry my hair. This made it easier to stretch the hair without over manipulating the hair and running a brush or comb through my hair over and over again. I used the blow dryer on high air with low heat. When the blow dryer is on high air it makes the low heat a little warmer, so it doesn’t take forever to dry.

Tension Blow Drying


*Heat Stretching With Flat Iron: I use the “Andis Ceramic Multi Heat Flat Iron”. The highest temperature on this flat iron is 375  degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is labeled in numbers 1-20. 20 being the highest heat. I use the flat iron only on level 10. If 20 is the highest heat, that means it would be close to around 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I would assume level 10 which is half of 20 would be half of 375 giving me about 187.5 degrees or a little more. Although we do know that temperatures no matter what the box says varies when it comes to flat irons, so you have to use your own discretion. The reason the temperature is so important is because healthy hair burns at 450 degrees. I personally don’t want to be anywhere near that. Also, I feel comfortable knowing that I am still pretty close to the average temperature of a blow dryer which is about 100-150 degrees. Now, these are things that make me comfortable this could be different for everyone. I only use my flat iron on clean, dry hair. Before I use heat I always do a thorough deep conditioning and sometimes a light protein treatment. Heat takes moisture out of the hair, so deep conditioning adds a little bit more moisture without completely drying the hair out during heat usage. When I flat iron the sections I go over each section ONCE. I also don’t hold the flat iron in place, I go down the strand gently, but as fast as possible to get the results I am looking for. Again, my goal is not “bone straight hair”. I am literally just heat stretching.

  • What is heat stretching? I started to refer to my heat usage as heat stretching because number one I didn’t want my use of heat regularly to be mistaken for heat training. I am in no way trying to change the natural texture of my hair. I love my curls and coils, and I love that my hair still has versatility after over three years of regular heat usage. Heat training is when you are intentionally adding an excessive amount of heat to your hair to change the texture of your hair and in the end making it easier to manage. With heat stretching you are not using excessive heat. You stick to low temperatures in order to maintain the structure and health of your hair as much as possible. Your only goal is to literally just stretch your hair pretty much like twisting, bunning, African threading, wrapping, braiding, just to name a few. I have chosen to use this method over the others, due to better results and success.
  • My Tips For Preventing Heat Damage

* I changed the way that I looked at using the flat iron in comparison to my relaxed days. As someone who has natural hair, I know my hair and understand that it frizzes at the drop of a dime. Going for bone straight hair is useless, and unrealistic for “me”. This is why I just focus on stretching and not necessarily straightening. When you are trying to straighten natural hair and get that bone straight look, you feel compelled to use high heat to achieve those results, and it leads to unhealthy practices for some.

* Moisture is key. Deep conditioning your hair before and after heat usage could be one of the best things that you do for your hair. Always keep in mind that heat takes the moisture from your hair, so adding to it can only help. Also, I find that going for long periods trying to maintain straight hair leads to dryness and breakage. This is why I have chosen to wash weekly and heat stretch weekly. I need to keep my hair clean and moisturized regularly. This gives me a week of nicely stretched hair. It also keeps me from going long periods of time without water in my hair, which I find to be very dangerous for my hair.

* Low Manipulation Is Your Friend. When I heat stretch I usually go for a low manipulation hairstyle. Buns are my go to hairstyle, and this keeps me from over manipulating my hair throughout the week. It also makes it easier to keep the hair stretched. When I heat stretch my hair the goal is always to make it easier to manage and maintain my hair. So, excessive styling would defeat the purpose and could do more harm than good especially when paired with heat.

  • How do I maintain my heat stretched hair with fitness, weather, etc.? Again I will mention realistic expectations. Frizz, shrinkage, etc. is a part of the journey. I have not found any method that completely prevents these things. To minimize frizz I always focus on how I prepare my hair. One thing that I know causes frizz is dryness. I always deep condition my hair thoroughly before using heat. I am big on oils so I love to add oils to my hair to not only add shine, but help “minimize” frizz. I live in a climate that has high humidity, so I understand that if there is a lot of moisture in the air, my hair will revert. There is no way to stop this process. Our hair is made up of bonds. One of the bonds that makes our hair so awesome are the hydrogen bonds. These bonds allow our hair to be shifted into so many amazing shapes, curls, etc temporarily. When moisture is introduced into the hair it changes the bonds, once it dries it stays in whatever shape you have placed it in. Once water is re introduced into the hair it causes the bonds to be broken and in the end revert. This is why humidity is NOT our friend when we have an amazing twist out. LOL! When we are having a high humidity day, the truth is I go for a bun. This keeps my hidden so that I can keep it stretched longer.
  • Heat Protectant: I have tried a couple of different heat protectants in the past, but for about two years I have been using extra virgin olive oil. I started to use this oil as a heat protectant, because I didn’t really like the way heat protectants made my hair feel. After careful research I decided to start using the oil, it was already a regular part of my hair regimen, so it was not a hassle.  Extra virgin olive oil as a high smoke point meaning it can tolerate high heat. You still want to be careful with this, because that all depends on how high the heat is you are using.  Extra virgin olive oil’s smoke point is 375 – 405 degrees Fahrenheit, 191 – 207 degrees Celsius. Even though this is the smoke point, you don’t want to use heat that is extremely hot, because that could make the oil ineffective. In my opinion this goes for any type of heat protectant. Always go as low as possible when using heat, that is my personal rule.

*A Few Other Oils You Can Use As A Heat Protectant
-Grapeseed Oil
-Argan Oil
-Coconut Oil
-Avocado Oil
-Sunflower Oil

  • When Not To Use Heat: All of the information that I have provided above is ONLY when dealing with HEALTHY hair. You do not want to add heat to damaged, brittle, dry, breaking hair. Adding heat will destroy the hair even more only increasing your hair problems. So just make note to always pay attention to your hair, how it is behaving so that you can a make a good decision on whether you should or should not be using any heat. The truth is sometimes our hair just needs a break from some of the things we put it through during the year including heat,  certain styling routines, etc. Examine Your Regimen to find what could be affecting your hair and when it is healthy you can make a decision on how much heat if any to use.
  • Quick Notes – How hot is too hot?!?! Just make a note that HEALTHY hair burns at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Fine hair can burn around the 200s – 300s. So, make sure you are familiar with the type of hair you have. I just always have a rule for my hair and I never go near 400. I will barely touch 300. Again, the lower you can go and achieve the results you like the better.

Closing
This article is in no way to encourage others to add heat styling to their regimen. This is for those who are currently using heat or may be considering. This is based off of my personal experience and research. In the end using heat is a big decision when it comes to hair maintenance. You have to always be very careful and understand the risk that comes with doing it, even just once. DO YOUR RESEARCH! I truly hope this helps someone!

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

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My Top 10 Tips To Grow Long Healthy Kinky Curly Natural Hair

Four Years Natural Hair - Alicia James

1. Acceptance:
One of the most important things in the journey is to accept the hair that is on your head. There are people who have hair that shines like the sun, it is soft, the curls bounce back into place no matter what, and they can slide a comb through their hair like it was made of nothing but sand. Then there are those of us who have dry, coarse, kinky coily hair that does not always behave the way we would like. It is easily broken, It can sometimes be difficult to retain moisture, and the truth is it has the reputation of being the least desired hair type. (sad but true) It just has it’s own personality. Once you embrace whatever it is you have, you start to want to build a relationship with your hair. You want to find out what it likes and what it doesn’t like. You want to play around with different hairstyles and see what makes you feel sexy. You’re more open to the experience and little things like a little shrinkage and frizz don’t stop the journey!

2. Clean Hair & Scalp:
Healthy hair starts at the root and scalp. You scalp are basically the home for your hair follicles. Your hair follicles are the little tiny holes that your hair grows out of. You want to create a healthy environment for your hair follicles so that you are able to grow healthy and strong hair. When you don’t clean it,  it leads to product build up on your hair and scalp. Product build up causes dry itchy scalp. The same way you can clog the pores on your face, you can clog the pores in your head leading to no hair growth.

3. Condition / Deep Conditioning
When we wash our hair, our hair is stripped of its natural oils. You want to replace the oils so that your hair remains healthy and moisturized. Hair that is not conditioned can become dry and highly porous. This means it will have difficulty holding on to moisture. Dry hair becomes very brittle, rough and eventually just breaks. Now, everyone’s hair is different so how often you do a regular quick conditioning and a deep conditioning depends on your hair. For my thick, kinky hair, I prefer to deep condition each time I wash. Especially because I am someone who uses heat regularly.

4. Hair Porosity
Learning about porosity was a very important part of my journey. It completely changed the way I looked at moisturizing my hair. I went through almost two years of my journey wondering why all of the water and leave ins were not moisturizing my hair. I remember a really dull appearance and overall just dry feeling to my hair. After learning about hair porosity I changed the way I moisturized my hair and watched my hair transform into soft manageable, naturally shiny hair.
What is hair porosity? The way your hair absorbs moisture
How To Test your Hair porosity? Fill a cup with water. Pull one strand of hair directly from your scalp, make sure it has the white bulb. Take the strand of hair and dunk it into the cup of water, make sure it is completely drenched. Then take the strand of hair and sit on top of the water. If it sinks immediately you have high porosity hair. (hair that soaks up moisture quickly) If it takes a long time to sink or doesn’t sink at all, you have low porosity hair.
What is my porosity? I have low porosity hair
What is low porosity hair? It means your cuticles are tightly closed making it difficult to absorb water or any moisture.
How do I manage my low porosity hair? I utilize a little heat during my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I always sit under a heated dryer so that my cuticles open up letting moisture in. Then after I finish my deep conditioning I rinse my hair with cold water to make sure the cuticles are closed. If I am not deep conditioning I will rinse my hair with warm water and do an oil rinse.

5. Oils:
Oil is a very important part of my regimen. I started using oil around my second year of being natural. I use extra virgin olive oil, but there are also other great oils like coconut oil (considered to be the best oil for hair). I am not big on products, so anytime someone asks me what products I recommend I just say always say invest in a good oil. I use my oil during my deep conditioning. I mix the oil with my regular conditioner and I sit under a heated dryer for about 15-30 minutes. I also sometimes do an oil rinse. Oil rinse is just when I completely drench my hair in oil and then rinse out most of the oil leaving a small amount in. This keeps the hair extremely soft and shiny. I also will apply a small amount of oil onto my hair after styling to add shine.

6. Proper Detangling
We all know that kinky coily hair can be very difficult to detangle. It is often one of the main reasons people give up their journey, because the hair seems to be completely unmanageable.
I have hair that is very coily and shrinks up to I believe 70% or more of it’s length. MBL length goes to less than shoulder length hair. What I like to do is detangle under a shower head, as the water runs down my hair. This helps to stretch out the coils a bit. I always have loads of conditioner on my hair to add slippage, making it easier for the comb or brush to slide through my strands. I always start off with my fingers tackling the tangles at my roots and then go to the ends and finger comb up. After my finger combing is complete I follow with a wide tooth comb. Also, the smaller the sections you detangle in the easier it will be. I usually divide my hair into two sections and then break those sections down into smaller pieces.

7. Low Manipulation and/or Protective Styling
Our hair is very fragile and easily breaks. I have found the less I do to my hair the happier it is. The less styling and manipulation the more length I am able to retain. My favorite low manipulation / protective hairstyle is two strand twist. During the time when I was really focused on length retention I wore mostly two strand twist for over a year, and retained so much length. During this time I went from bra strap to waist length in about a year in a half. It is an easy style you can do yourself and you can style them so many different ways.

8. Minimizing Heat and Proper Heat Usage
I am someone who uses heat regularly. I do what I call heat stretching. It makes it easier for me to personally maintain my hair and also retain length. I try to keep my heat usage down to 2 times a month. When I do use a flat iron I use only minimal heat. My goal is never to get bone straight hair it just to stretch the hair out. So always watching the temperature on your heating tools, use them as little as possible. I also do a protein treatment before and after using heat along with a deep conditioner. This helps to add protein and moisture back into the hair which can be taken out during the use of heat.

9. Fitness & Health
This is probably one of the least favorite tips, but we already know whatever is going on inside the body reflects on the outside. It shows up in bad skin, brittle nails, and weak hair. I have a consistent workout regimen. I am not the perfect eater, but I try to always be aware of what I am putting inside of my body, saving any bad items for the weekend trying not to go overboard. I also make sure to drink plenty of water. Believe me I am not someone who loves to drink water, but when I don’t drink water I break out really bad and my body feels extremely tired. So, water is a requirement for me!

10. Patience & Realistic Expectations
The truth is not everyone can grow their hair down to their feet in a year. There are some of us whom it takes longer to retain length, we struggle and have setbacks etc. What it takes someone to do in one year, it may take you two or three. Also, having realistic expectations about how long you will get to your desired length and the appearance of your hair. My daughter has a completely different texture from me. What I have noticed about her hair is it easily detangles, it retains length better and withstands rough treatment a lot better than mine. I know a lot of people don’t like to discuss that one word that I feel has an affect in how your hair retains length (genes), but the sooner we except this the easier it will be. This does not mean you can’t have waist length hair, it just means it may take you longer, and you may have to go through a few more trials.

When I first started my journey I never had the expectation of growing my hair longer. I had never had hair longer than shoulder length. I just knew my hair was badly damaged and relaxers was causing my hair to break off. It took me almost two years to discover that my hair could actually grow longer than it had ever been my entire life. It was amazing. I did it, and hopefully using some of these easy tools you can do it too. Don’t give up! Good luck on your journey!

MY HAIR GROWTH JOURNEY!

Watch My Hair Growth Journey Here!

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

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Why Is My Hair Not Growing? How I Examine My Hair Regimen

Flat Ironed Natural Hair - Alicia James

The good news is……

Your hair is more than likely growing, unless there is some underlying medical condition. If so, seek medical advice.

The bad news is…..

Your hair may be breaking off as fast as it is growing.

Why?

There are so many reasons why you are not retaining length, or your hair is breaking.

I have not had a perfect journey, there were times when I felt like my hair was breaking, and I was not retaining the length, I wanted to retain. Below is the method I created to examine my hair regimen.

Know Your Porosity:

How does your hair absorb moisture? Is your product just sitting on top of your hair? Is your hair just soaking up moisture as fast as you add it? Are you able to get moisture into the hair?

This just became really important to me. I never knew how important it was, until I tested my porosity, and was able to truly understand how my hair absorbs and retains moisture.

I have low porosity hair:  This means that my hair cuticles are closed tightly, and it makes it harder for moisture to get in. Products and moisture can sit on top of the hair instead of being absorbed. I always wondered why my hair took 24 hours to completely dry.  This is also why my hair started to retain length once I started doing consistent deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I use heat for my treatments, and heat helps to open the hair cuticles so that it absorbs the moisture and product.

Moisturizing:

How often do you moisturize your hair? How often do you NEED to moisturize your hair? What do you use to moisturize your hair? How do you seal in moisture?

So, again porosity is going to be important when determining how you moisturize and seal. For years before I knew my porosity, I found myself moisturizing every day. I would spritz my hair with water and then seal with an oil or a leave in. Now that I know my porosity I limit moisturizing to only 1-2 times a week.  What I have found is that my hair stays clean and my styles last longer. I never understood why my hair got weighed down so fast until I learned that I had low porosity hair, and most of the product I was adding daily was just sitting on top of my hair.  If you have high porosity hair, you are going to find yourself needing to moisturize a little more, but also layering on thicker products to seal that moisture in.

Products:

What products could be affecting your hair? (make a list of the products you are currently using)Have you changed products recently? Are you using any chemicals including color, relaxers, etc.?  How effective are your products?

When it comes to products, I always try to keep it simple. This way, I always know what could be affecting my hair. When I switched products once in my journey for about a few months, I instantly noticed a difference. My hair was a lot drier than normal, and harder to detangle on wash day. I instantly switched back to my normal products. I don’t use any chemical on my hair, because due to past experience my hair broke off, and I was not able to retain length.

Styling:

How often are you styling? What kind of styling are you doing? What kind of styling tools do you use, heat, wide tooth comb, brush, etc.  Do you use heat? How often? How do you protect your hair during heat styling?

When it comes to styling for me low manipulation and protective styling is key.  After my second year and into my third year I wore mostly two strand twist. I am not saying you have to wear twist to retain length, but it was something that kept me disciplined and really kept my hands out of my hair. It was also helpful for those times I didn’t know what to do with my hair. I was able to retain the most length during this time in my journey.

When it comes to combing, I do like to finger comb. I find that I lose less hair during the process, but after finger combing I like to use a wide tooth comb to smooth the hair down. I always detangle my curly hair when it is wet only. Detangling is very important when trying to retain length, because that is when a lot of naturals lose, break, or rip out their hair. I do use heat on my hair, but my normal regimen is only once a month. I blow dry my hair as a normal part of my regimen. I’ve only flat ironed my hair once during my natural hair journey, but maybe more in the future. Using heat makes my hair more manageable for my lifestyle, and I love it, but I do understand the risk that comes with the use of heat.  I always blow dry my hair when it is freshly washed. I do a deep conditioning/hot oil treatment adding moisture into the hair, because heat pulls out moisture. I also do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.

Washing:

How often do you wash your hair? How often do you NEED to wash your hair? Do you use shampoo? How does the shampoo affect your hair? Do you co wash? How does co washing affect your hair?

I cleanse my hair every 2-4 weeks. In the beginning it was weekly, but the longer my hair has gotten and the further I am in my journey, certain things in my regimen have changed. In the beginning it was more about following a routine, because I was looking for certain results. Now, it is more about doing only what I need, so that it does not become overwhelming. I use to conditioner wash, when I was washing weekly. Now, that I wait so long in between washes, I feel my hair benefits more from a good shampoo. I find now that my hair does not feel dry and brittle after a shampoo. I also make sure to mix in a little conditioner during the shampoo. After my shampoo I do my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. This adds back any moisture that was lost during my shampoo process.  When my hair is not properly shampooed and cleansed it starts to feel rough, and styling is almost impossible. These are things that can lead to breakage.

 

Conditioning:

Do you condition your hair? What type of conditioner do you use? Do you deep condition your hair? How does your hair feel after your conditioning routine? How often are you conditioning your hair?

Conditioning is a must for me. I ALWAYS do a deep conditioning after I shampoo or wash my hair. Deep conditioning over time has made my hair soft, manageable, and also has given my hair a beautiful shine.  I use a moisturizing conditioner, Herbal Essence. There are also conditioners that have protein if you need it, which would be great for high porosity hair. For my deep conditioning I use my regular rinse out conditioner, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, and I mix it with my extra virgin olive oil. Then I sit under the dryer with a plastic cap/bag on for about 15-30 minutes. Conditioning is very important to my hair regimen. It refreshes and strengthens the oldest part of the hair and also minimizes breakage and excessive shedding.

Trimming:

Do you trim your hair?  Do you do your own trimming or do you go to a professional? How much are you trimming?  How often are you trimming? What are you trimming your hair with? Why do you trim your hair? How do you know your hair needs to be trimmed?

Trimming for me is Important, especially because I use heat regularly in my regimen.  Heat can dry out and cause split ends. My ends are not horrible, but I like to make sure I take care of them. I trim my own ends with hair shears. It is important to not cut with regular scissors, because they are usually dull and can cause more damage to the ends of your hair. I trim my hair every 6 months, so that is usually about twice a year. I only trim when needed. My hair grows about ½ an inch a month, so trimming monthly would definitely be an issue for length retention. I usually trim about ½ – 2 inches of hair. I know that my ends need trimming when they start to feel rough or I notice more shedding than usual.

 

FINAL NOTES:

Make sure to check every part of your regimen. Ask yourself questions to figure out how the different processes benefit or hurt the health of your hair. You are basically dissecting your regimen to find and figure out what is and isn’t working for your hair care regimen. You can create your own questions or use the ones above from my process. Again these are the things that I do to improve and stay consistent with my hair care. This comes in handy when you are noticing changes with your hair, breakage, etc.

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

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Make Your Bun Fun For School or Everyday! ❤ Natural Hair ❤

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Maintaining and Growing My Natural Hair With Buns

Long time no blog!

Super sorry, I have just honestly not been that into my hair. Don’t get me wrong I loooove my hair, but I have not spent much time styling or playing in it. It seems the longer I am natural, the the less I want to do with it! I have spent the last couple of months just bunning. I am in love with my low buns and it just works for my lifestyle. I workout every morning and then I have to go to work. So, the bun has been a great hairstyle to just be able to stay in shape and look professional at work!

natural hair - bun hairstyle - black hair

***My Routine***

Wash
I co wash my hair once a week. I find that it doesn’t make sense to do more than that, because I am working out almost everyday. My wash day is usually on Friday, because I am off on Saturday and I also try to not work out as much on the weekend. Basically, I have the free time and it works for my schedule. I usually shampoo once a month, but it has been a couple of months since I have used shampoo. I have really gotten use to not using it.
Products:
I co wash with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner
I shampoo with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Shampoo

Conditioning
I do a deep condition once a month.
Products:
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner
Extra Virgin Olive oil

Click Here For Step By Step Details on How I Do My Deep Conditioning

Detangling
I detangle my hair once a week after my wash and conditioning. I don’t really feel the need to do it anymore than that, because throughout the week my hair is in a bun. Remember it is all about low manipulation. The less you do, the more your hair will retain length!
Products:
For slip I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner
Denman Brush
Wide tooth comb

Styling Products
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner
Note: This is the only product I have been using in my hair lately for styling. I leave in the conditioner and also like to use it to lay my hair down for a more sleek look.

The Style
Now it is time to bun!
I have been doing this routine for so long I feel like it goes by so fast.
After I have finished washing, conditioning, and detangling I bun my hair. I normally go for the low bun. It is something that I have become really comfortable with, and I love the way it looks with my work outfits. It is a really simple but classy hairstyle for any occasion.
At night I like to take down my buns, because personally I don’t like to sleep with a big hump on the back of my head and I have to redo it after my workouts in the morning anyways. I re style my bun every morning. Let me be clear that I do not comb through my hair, I just simple use my boar brush to make sure the hair on top lays down, I pull the hair back, and I bun it up.

Moisturizing
Throughout the week I don’t really have a set moisturizing routine. When I re do my buns in the morning, I always spritz my hair with water, because that is the only way I can get it to lay down and stay in place. The water gets all over my hair, so I normally take it all the way down to the ends.

Check Out How I Refresh My Hair In The Morning….

A Tutorial On How I Do My Low Bun (No Heat)

A Tutorial On How I Do My Low Bun (Heat Stretched Hair)

*** Some FAQs ***
How is my hair responding? Breakage?
My hair is responding great to my bunning routine. My hair has always responded really well to protective hairstyle, so I kind of got lucky with this routine. Last year I was a bit rough on my hair. I told the story about how hard it can be to maintain your hair being a Youtuber. Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way. Anyways, My hair has been retaining length the way it normally does, and it just feel so much better. I have not had or noticed any breakage recently. I also want to say that I always try not to do my hair too tight. I can be a little heavy handed, but I am always aware of my excessive pulling and tugging.

Check out my blog “Youtube Is Destroying My Hair”

How Long?
I am planning to make bunning a big part of my regimen. Now that I have seen how well my hair has done with bunning I want to continue doing it as long as it is working for me. This year I want to wear buns the entire year as a protective style challenge and then check in at the end of the year by revealing my length and health at the end of the year. I’ll give any info regarding ups, downs, challenges, successes! Next year I will still do bunning, but also balance that with wearing my hair down a little more depending on what I have going on!

Will I Get To Enjoy My Hair?
I am enjoying my hair! I have been natural for almost six years now. It will be six years in August! I have done so many different things to my hair as far as styling goes. The proof is on my blog and Youtube page. I am at the stage where I honestly don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I love my hair and I love that I feel like I have what works for me, and what keeps me feeling good when it comes to my hair! I think that once you become confident in what YOU are doing with YOUR hair, no matter what it is…buns, flat ironing, wash and go, afros, twist outs, braid outs, coloring, wigs, weaves, etc. you will ALWAYS enjoy your hair and better than that, your life!!!!

We all know…..
“It’s Bigger Than Hair”

Alicia James
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Working Out With My Senegalese Twist and Day 16 Update

Working out with senegalese twist
So it has been over two weeks since I got my twist done. Let me tell you, I have been having so much fun with these twist. They are just super gorgeous and have been very easy to maintain. Two weeks in I have already noticed growth. My scalp have not been extremely itchy. I keep applying the extra virgin olive oil at twice during the week and massaging my scalp. I try to be really careful with my edges. Any hairstyle that I do I try to keep the front as loose as possible. I am also thinking about trying to go ahead and wash them. If I do this it will be in my third or fourth week. I will follow up and let you know what method I use.

Anyways..let’s talk about working out. The first day I had to work out with my twist I had no idea how it was going to be. I put my hair in a really high bun and I jumped on the stair master for about an hour. The twist held up nicely, I had no problems. Then later that week I went to Zumba Step and also decided to do a high bun. The bun completely collapsed. The hair was too heavy to stay on top of my head with all of the jumping up and down, squats, weights etc. So, I just took it all down and let it hang, that was super irritating. I had twist all over me and I had to keep moving them out of the way.
So, the next day I had another Zumba class and I put my hair in one simple ponytail with a headband. SUCCESS My hair did not move out of place I used a Good Headband to secure the ponytail and it lasted throughout my entire workout with no problem. So, that is how I have been wearing my hair for every workout in a ponytail. My ends get slightly wet from sweating, because I am usually wearing a tank, but you can lightly rinse the ends after your workout with water.

So far so good!

ღ Day 8 ღ 2014 Hair Growth Journey – Protective Hairstyle & Itchy Scalp


So, around day 5 my scalp started to itch a little. I was patting my head like a crazy person. I got kind of nervous, because I didn’t want to have to go 3-4 more weeks with irritated scalp. I figured my head is totally confused and trying to adjust to this new thing I am doing here. I don’t know. Anyways… I decided to get my extra virgin olive oil, put it in a bottle and apply to my scalp and massage. I did this really quickly and went to bed. When I woke up no more itching. Ever since I did that, I have not had a problem with itchy scalp at all. It has been eight days and I have not washed my hair. I will be getting me some witch hazel later today so that I can keep my scalp clean. I really don’t want to wet my hair while wearing these twist. I don’t want to risk damaging my hair. I could wash these twist, but it is not going to get my hair thoroughly cleansed in any way. It will just cause my hair to start reverting and also my hair may stay wet for a long period of time. So, I am trying to avoid it. If I can go about 4-5 weeks without washing it will not be anything really new for me. When I wear my two strand twist with my natural hair, I don’t wash due to tangles and knots.

This is still all new to me, so I am discovering the things that are going to work for me. I am loving every minute of it though!

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