Breaking Natural Hair Rules

Breaking natural hair rules
What?!?! You didn’t know there was a natural hair committee that got together and created all the natural hair rules along with disciplinary action if you did not follow these rules?????

Ok… I hope that statement isn’t true!
What I will tell you is what I DO KNOW! I KNOW that there are NO rules when it comes to your natural hair journey. If there are rules, believe me they were definitely made to be broken!

* My Story *
I started off my natural hair journey clueless. I didn’t even know I was going natural, I had never heard the term “natural hair”. Once I started the transition, I was confused on why my hair was starting to appear curly. Sad huh??? Anyways, once I made it to almost two years I had become frustrated with my hair and with only the grace of God found Youtube. I was so close to relaxing my hair, I literally had purchased the relaxers and was getting ready to mix it up. Youtube gave me so much information on my hair. Who knew that there were so many beautiful and amazing women teaching others how to care for and manage their natural hair. I was taking it all in. I was on Youtube for hours everyday. I found the blogs and started reading those religiously. I packed my head with tons of information.

* The Problem *
It was so much information I had no clue what to do with it. I was still not progressing as much as I would have liked with my hair, and I still felt slightly stuck. Did I mention the frustration? Everything started to seem so complex. The products and methods I would try hardly ever turned out like the person who was demonstrating. I remembered thinking something has definitely got to be wrong with my natural hair. It’s damaged, it’s not for me, my hair will never grow, it’s ugly, these are just some of the things that went through my head. There was nothing planned or organized about the way I was trying to manage my hair. I was following these different rules that were not working for me. It’s even more frustrating when the rules come from different people and they start to contradict themselves. You must hold your head at a 90 degree angle when washing, oh no you must hold your head at a 75 degree angle when washing. What? Who’s right? What rules do I follow?
How do I know what is going to work for my hair??? Then I finally got it… BREAK THE RULES!

* Rebelling *
When I made it to two years natural things started to slowly but surely change for me. On my two year natural hair anniversary I broke my first “natural hair rule”. I used HEAT! (gasp) I did my first blow out since being natural. Let me tell you it was extremely beautiful, but not only that I discovered how much easier it was for me to manage my natural hair. I added regular blow drying into my regimen. I eventually was blow drying 1-2 times a month. I started consistently twisting after my blow dry and also bunning. With this combination of things my hair started to transform. It was a great moment, because I had finally found something that worked for ME. I started making my own rules. I threw out products I rarely used, I chose my favorites and stuck to them. I created a simple regimen that would work for MY lifestyle and MY personal taste and preferences. My hair was better than it had ever been my entire life!

* What I learned *
There is no one size fits all when it come to many things in life, this includes our “natural hair. If you want to truly master your hair, I definitely recommend reading blogs, read books, watch Youtube videos, but only take what you need. You have to take the information and personalize it. There are some people who can do whatever they want to their hair and it will grow down to their knee caps. There are also those of us who struggle a bit through the process. I have had setbacks, I know what it is like to have those days where the hair is not doing what you want it to do. The thing is, no matter how much advice someone gives YOU on how to fix YOUR hair, no one knows YOUR hair better than YOU! As a blogger and vlogger I can give you tips, tricks on how to manage your hair, but unfortunately I don’t have the formula to YOUR perfect hair, and I am not sure how many people actually do if any. What I do have is the formula to MY perfect hair. I wash it, I condition it, I style it, I check it. I don’t even remember the last time I let someone else in my hair. So, there is no possible way anyone knows my hair better than me. This same principle applies to you and your hair. Spend time with your hair. Find out what makes it respond. What products it likes, which ones don’t do anything for it all. What styling techniques work best? You basically want to build a relationship with you hair.

5 Steps To Building A Good Relationship With Your Hair

* Quick Info *
Remember to keep it as simple as possible. Who says you HAVE to get all the latest and most expensive products? Who says you HAVE to wear a particular hairstyle to maintain healthy natural hair? Who says you can’t enjoy or have fun with your natural hair? Who says you have to follow any of these rules? Create your own rules based off of your personal experience with YOUR natural hair.

Good luck on your journey! I hope this helps and inspires!

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

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Egg and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Protein Treatment On Natural Hair

* 3 Eggs
* 1/2 Cup 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil

* Mix the eggs and oil together in a bowl
* Start Off With freshly washed hair
– I don’t like to shampoo afterwards, because protein can make the hair feel a little dry by itself, so shampooing afterwards would     just be overload
* To make application easier, you can put the hair into four sections then apply all over the hair root to tip
– It can get a little messy, so if you can hold your head over a sink as you apply.
* Sit under a heated dryer for about 15-45 minutes (until egg and hair starts to feel stiff) You can also use a regular blow dryer
* Once the hair has become stiff and feels a little hard rinse. I rinse with conditioner only.
* After I complete my protein treatment I follow up with a good deep conditioning ALWAYS! This helps to keep my protein and moisture BALANCED. Too much or protein or moisture can lead to breakage.

How Do You Know You Need Protein?
If your hair is feeling limp, gummy, abnormally soft, or over moisturized, you need protein.

Beware Of Protein Overload
I know it is easy to start having issues with your hair and go straight to the protein treatment. I also know that some people do it as a routine to stay ahead of the damage. You want to be very careful with this only do protein treatments when NEEDED. Overloading your hair with protein can cause excessive dryness, make your hair feel hard or rough to the touch, and excessive breakage and shedding. Remember it is all about BALANCE. Balance between moisture and protein.

Are you Protein Sensitive?
I have used this phrase before, but it can be a pretty big box.   I guess what I really want to say is, I don’t believe specific people or just born with protein sensitivity, it comes with certain routines and hair practices. Anyone can be protein sensitive it just depends on the state of your hair.  So, I will try to break it down as much as possible.
Some people just don’t need to add regular protein treatments to their regimen. Our hair already has protein, so for those of us who have not chemically altered our hair and have pretty healthy hair practices it is not necessary. If you have done a protein treatment and you noticed your hair has not been the same. It is rough, it’s all of a sudden shedding and breaking you may be protein sensitive. Now, this is not something you can’t fix. It just means that you threw the balance of moisture and protein out of wack. You may have done a treatment that was too harsh, or you may have not needed any added protein at all. What you need to do is start working on the balance by adding as much moisture as possible. Weekly Deep conditioning until you feel like your hair is back on track. I always recommend a good hot oil treatment. Note: Low porosity hair is normally hair that does not need a heavy protein treatments often. If you are someone who uses heat like me it should only be necessary once every 1-2 months.

Making Scrambled Eggs In Your Hair
So, I have heard the horror stories of eggs actually cooking on the hair, and being hard to wash out. I have never experienced this before. I am sure adding the heat to your hair plays a part in that. Try not to put your dryer on high. Also when you rinse the egg out rinse with cool water if possible. I also think having an oil in your mixture is key to helping the egg rinse out easily. I would never just use plain egg in my hair. I am sure that would make the hair extremely dry making it harder to rinse some of the egg out. Also, if you are still on the fence about the egg being hard to wash out due to it cooking just go with a plastic cap and leave it on for about 30 minutes to an hour.

How Does Protein Treatments Work
When you are natural and you have not added any chemicals including relaxers and hair dyes, black hair tends to naturally have a low porosity. This means the cuticles on your hair strands are closed tightly. The older the hair gets the more the cuticles start to lift. Lifting is not necessarily a bad thing, it is great to be in the middle of low and high! Also, certain hair practices such as excessive manipulation, rough combing and styling can lift the cuticles. This kind of hair is usually considered to be damaged and it is difficult for the hair to maintain any moisture. This is when it is great to use a protein treatment, because it helps to fill in those gaps.

A Few Light Proteins Treatments / Conditioners 
(I have ONLY used ORS Hair Mayo) Do your research before trying any of the products below!
ORS Hair Mayo
Aubrey Organics
ORS Replenishing Pack
Neutrogena Triple Mositure Deep Recovery Mask
Hydratherma Naturals- Protein Leave In

Quick Notes/Tips
Using egg seems to be a pretty strong protein treatment. I have tried other treatments in the past, and they were nothing like using eggs. So, remember there are lighter treatments out there for you to try if you are extremely sensitive to protein or you are a little hesitant about the process.

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


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.

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 ————————————————————————-
“easy natural hair”

Click For More “Natural Hair” videos!

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