Saturday, May 05, 2007

mixing it up

I don't want to be a mixer. I don't want to be one of these people who sits around experimenting with new combinations of ingredients, always searching for that perfect mix. I don't want to have to go through all of that just to get and keep my hair the way I want it.

Unfortunately, I have no choice but to mix it up.

My decision to stop relaxing my hair was made, in part, because I want to reduce the number (and intensity/toxicity) of chemicals that I put in and on my body. Fortunately, I found MotownGirl right around the time when I started thinking this way and she showed me that there are simple ways to maintain hair without using a lot of man made crap. The Homemade Hair Recipes tab on her gem of a website is just chock full of alternatives to commercial products.

Unfortunately, NO TWO PEOPLE HAVE THE SAME HAIR. She reiterates this constantly on her site. Of course, doing the extra work to find resources for and people who have my hair texture & length has proven to be even more of a help. MotownGirl and Aldrea have beautiful natural hair that is significantly longer than mine, and I suspect, a different overall texture. So I quickly discovered that what works for them may not always work for me in the same way.

Last week, I started a Hybrid Leave-In Conditioner (L-IC) experiment, 'cause I liked certain things about both of the ones I had been using.

RESULTS:

  • I didn't feel compelled to use sooooo much of MotownGirl's L-IC since my hair was already moist and glycerin-y from Aldrea's L-IC
  • The first day, I still had some dripping. But it didn't last nearly as many hours through the day and it was slightly less gross than when I used Aldrea's L-IC alone.
  • So, the second day I used less of both. I was very pleased with the results.

But I would like to not need 2 products every day, ya know? I had been trying to mentally isolate what is good (product-wise) about each of the L-ICs. We know my hair loves glycerin, but that I suspect that that is what's been sliding all down my neck and face throughout the day. I know that my scalp agrees with the olive oil. We have determined that the thicker conditioner (used in MotownGirl's L-IC) leaves a gross white residue that is hard to remove without compromising the shape of my fro. And we know that the thinner conditioner (used in Aldrea's L-IC) doesn't do that. The last 2 times I've made that one, I have used Suave Green Apple Conditioner. It smells good, even though I am not wild about the fact that it's lime green. I try not to think about it, 'cause so far I've been happy with what it's doing for my hair. And lastly, I know that I like the thicker consistency of the MotownGirl L-IC.

So here's what I came up with, based on what works & what doesn't work:

African Cheetah's Leave-In Conditioner (1st Draft)

1.5 oz / 3 tablespoons Vegetable Glycerin
3.0 oz / 6 tablespoons Suave Green Apple Conditioner
1.5 oz / 3 tablespoons Aloe Vera Gel
4.5 oz / 9 tablespoons Water
.25 oz / .5 tablespoon Olive Oil

The consistency is thin and watery. It doesn't have a strong smell and it's not at all sticky to the touch. It also doesn't leave any kind of residue on the hands, except for a little of the oil. (But who can't use a little extra lotion on their hands every now and then?)

I guess we'll see what happens...

~

Since it's the 1st weekend of the month, I'm changing the Easter fingertip towels to the Spring/Summer fingertip towels; I'm running vinegar through the coffee pot; I'm cleaning my jewelry; and (the part you care about) I'm doing the Deep Conditioning Routine that I ripped from MotownGirl last month. Here's a re-cap...

STEP ONE:

Baking Soda Rinse

1 tablespoon Baking Soda
2 cups Warm Water

This cleans my hair and scalp in a way that my co-wash does not. I don't use many products on my hair so I don't have "product buildup". But I like the clean that comes from this rinse. It's not gritty like you might think and it makes my curls POP!

STEP TWO:

Deep Conditioner

Giovanni 50:50
Olive Oil

I really like the consistency & the ingredients in this conditioner (click here to see ingredient list). I leave it in for at least an hour, wrapping my hair in Saran Wrap and covering that with a tight-ish wool winter hat.

STEP THREE:

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

1 tablespoon Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups water
10 drops Essential Oil of Peppermint

I follow this with a cold rinse of water. Apparently that helps seal the hair's cuticle. This rinse is supposed to help with shine/sheen. Adding the Peppermint EO is supposed to help cut the smell, but I'm told that the smell doesn't linger on your hair anyway.

May is the 2nd month of this routine and I'm still very pleased with it. As I said last month, it is not nearly as tedious or cumbersome as it sounds.

4 comments:

A. Miréille said...

You can also check out naturallycurly.com where there is a whole section devoted to homemade recipes not divided by hair type, and separate forums for each hair type if you want to limit your exposure. Happy Mixing!

Piscean Princess said...

Thanks. I went over there this morning & was a bit overwhelmed by the multi-cultural-ism of that site. So I wound up at nappturality.com. I'm not a big fan of that site - I find it quite cumbersome and sprawling. But I think I'm going to keep experimenting.

I didn't like the new stuff I made up. I only used it for 2 days. At this point, I don't even remember why I didn't like it!

[groan]

Damali said...

i have to tell you that i envy the amount of time you have to spend on your hair. mine is dry and lifeless most of the time...the scalp especially. i hardly oil it and often forget to wrap it at night before i fall into the bed exhausted....

and on your first of the month organizing..just wow. i don't think i know what a finger towel is and i don't think i've ever cleaned my jewelry. LOL

Piscean Princess said...

girl, you & your hair need an intervention or some therapy or somethin'

how you just gone not oil your scalp?

this whole spending time on my hair is new to me & quite an adjustment. I went from spending ZERO time on hair (unless you count the hour or 2 that i was at the salon each week) to having to do something EVERY SINGLE DAY. And now I truly appreciate the phrase "bad hair day".

The mixing is pretty easy, I mean usually I end up with so much product...and I know the monthly deep conditioning routine sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. Believe me, if it required a lot of effort I wouldn't be doing it.

LOL @ the fingertip towels! You should see my easter set-up girl. It's my favorite home decorating holiday because of the pastels. Next closest one is Christmas. The funny thing about those habits is that until now (w/ the new boyfriend) no one comes to my house.....ever. Seriously, I would go 6 or 9 months without another human being stepping through my door. But the fingertip towels must be in line w/ the season.......just in case!