BLACKSTRANDS

A Low-Cost Alternative That’s Cozier

flickr/ House of Sims

flickr/ House of Sims

I never thought I’d describe myself as getting cozy while drying my hair.

I’d either anticipate cramped arms from using the blow-dryer forever (I have a lot of hair), or having to sit stiff-necked under the hooded dryer for hours.

Maybe I’m old school – or just late, but when I first saw the Gold N’ Hot Jet Bonnet Dryer attachment laying around in my friend’s place, I was a little skeptical. It looked kind of flimsy to me – like it wasn’t ready for my hair.

But after she emphasized the pros for me: she could move around with it on and even lie down (notice what excited me) I decided to give it a try.

Now, I’m not claiming this is an $11 alternative to the latest Pibbs (get real), but I was pretty pleased and surprised with my drying results after I tried a rollerset – The visual result turned out to be a HAM, but I can’t blame it on the dryer. My roller-setting skills that day were on E.

For one, the cap part fit comfortably over my head, even with those huge, gray magnetic rollers I had on.

Secondly, I didn’t think my hair would dry as thoroughly, but it actually dried quicker due to how close it was to my head.

To use it, you simply slide the end of the attachment on nearly any  sized hand-held dryer nozzle, and turn it on (to any heat setting you prefer – although this will, of course, affect your drying time).

Another great thing about the attachment, is that it won’t burn you from direct heat – the air from the dryer fills up the cap and only has small holes near the crown. It seems like most of the drying comes from indirect heat in my experience. While I did shift and twist the cap in different positions to help with equal heat distribution when I moved around too much, it was a much cozier and comfortable experience than other hair drying methods I’d tried.

To be fair and honest, I don’t use it that often because I usually air dry my hair, but when I do try rollersets, perm rod sets, and so forth – I’ll quickly opt for this, instead of the noisy hooded dryer.

Other favorable qualities:

  • it’s hand-washable
  • it deflates, and can be folded back into its small box for travel
  • a much better option (in my opinion) for doing a deep conditioning treatment, if you don’t feel like setting up a hooded dryer or staying still underneath one.

gold n hot jet bonnetYou might look crazy- and love it ;)

While I’m definitely not ditching my hooded dryer, I think this is a pretty good buy for 11 bucks, and allows for more comfort if you’re going to be drying for longer periods of time.

:: Hope this helps ::

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Diffuse Your Frizz

flickr/ Pensiero

flickr/ Pensiero

Its that time of the year- not too cold and not ridiculously hot.

But when the rain strikes, there seems to always be that warm, humid stickiness that destroys nearly every loose hairstyle… This is frizz creeping into the picture.

And frizz + curly/kinky hair usually = a nightmare.

So here’s a few tips for fighting off the poof-ball hairdo syndrome:

  • Start things off the right way: If you don’t have the time (or its getting to chilly outside to let your hair air dry) and you must use a blow-dryer, use a diffuser. This will significantly cut your drying time down (making the heat experience a less prolonged and damaging one to the hair). Also, make sure you don’t confuse a diffuser with a concentrator. A diffuser is better for curly hair since it evenly distributes heat, thus, combating frizz.  It’s also a  better option than the direct heat of a blow dryer without the diffuser attachment.
  • Use a cream, gel (or even serum) to give a bit of weight and hold to your curls or style. An alcohol-free preferably natural product would be the best way to go.
  • Just go the ultra-protective route, and hide your ends. I LOVE my Urban Outfitters slouch beanies. I can just smooth my edges down, slide on my hat and go!  This option will also give you a chance to give your hair a break. Less manipulation usually lessens your risk of breakage.

:: Grow On ::

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Salon Review: Dominican Essence

11th Earl of Mars/ flickr

11th Earl of Mars/ flickr

I’m probably gonna write a lot, so I’ll jump right in with the review and make this as straight-to-the-point as possible.  I visited Dominican Essence salon yesterday morning and had a great time. I left looking and feeling great. Here’s the scoop.

LOOK OF SALON: There’s no way around it, this salon is small. But if you can get over the tight quarters, you will be pleasantly surprised. There are only 2 washbowls and (the day I came in) there were 2 stylists, so you should definitely not come if your in a rush or pressed for time.  Other than that, it seemed like the ladies there were great multi-taskers and they weren’t wasting any time. The upside to salon, however, is that it did have a very homey feel. When you walk-in you are greeted, and even the other women waiting to get their hair done seemed friendly enough. I was in and out, in about 3.5 hrs.

STRICTLY HAIR CARE: I got a wash/shampoo, a deep condition treatment, a blowdry and flat iron. Juanita, the owner, handled me from start to finish,  and she was very gentle and careful with my hair. She took her time to detangle, and before she blowdried me she used an 2-in-1 heat protectant/protein treatment spray (Rejuvenol Pure Collagen Protein Delivery and Heat Protector).

All I can say about the end result is WOW. And I am not exaggerating.  I’ve had blow-outs done before, but never have I had someone that could get my hair to stay straight with no relaxer. My transitioning hair, might as well be all natural, because as soon as I would get home (and def by the next day), it would already start reverting and/or poofing up at the roots – ruining the entire hairstyle.

I left Dominican Essence, got on the hot subway back to Manhattan, then walked to my place in the wind and my hair was still BOMB. lol

Today, it was rainy and windy, and while some of my curl and bounce fell – my hair hasn’t reverted or went straight to hell like I suspected. As a matter a fact, its still silky- and I have some rollers in it right now to put some umph back into it.

Another side bar:  here are some products/brands I saw for myself, as well as some that were listed on their “treatment” lists –> Nexxus, Paul Mitchell, Sebastian, Salerm, Alter Ego. They also offer hot oil treatments.

FYI: All treatments are only $5 extra, with the exception of Alter Ego – $10

PICS: These don’t really embody the swing and silkiness, that was my hair in the aftermath. But you get the point. lol

SDC11000

SDC11015

SDC10991

just a length shot. sorry about the quality. its hard to get those shots on your own!
just a length shot. sorry about the quality. its hard to get those shots on your own!

STYLIST – CLIENT INTERACTION: All I have to say is – Juanita is a trip! She was very friendly, but also blunt. I think I’ve been doing pretty good with my at-home maintenance, because I asked her how my hair was doing and she told me fine — I just need to make sure to do deep conditioning/protein treatments every week. My right side is also shorter than my left (its pretty much all natural, on the right hand bottom side), so I don’t know what that’s all about – sleeping on the same side maybe? But I’ve dealt with it my whole life. Regardless, she said we’re gonna work on it.

Heads up to all naturals and transitioners! Juanita will not try to force you into a relaxer. She actually loves natural hair, and kept commenting on my waves, curls and kinks (I have all three on my crazy head). She even asked me why I was ever getting relaxers in the first place.

I did a lot of research and read plenty of reviews before I went, so I know that DE salon can handle you, if you are relaxed or natural. I believe they use Alter Ego relaxers (although I’m not sure if they use exclusively). Also, you can bring in your own conditioners or products if you are extra picky with your hair.

PRICING: I paid a grand total of $35. For me, that was awesome (considering I also got a treatment)!  This is the cheapest I’ve paid for a blow-out and flat iron (back in VA, the salon I went to automatically charged naturals $45 on up).

For relaxed ladies who just want a wash and roller set (or naturals and transitioners),  the price is $15. On certain days, they even have a deal for $12.

I was a walk-in, so if you want Juanita just wait for her or request her when you get there. Also, call ahead to make sure she is there. I’ve also heard that all of the stylists there do a great job, so don’t forget to consider them (I believe her sister and mother work there as well).

OVERALL RATING:   4 Stars


SALON INFO:

1183 President Street  – Brooklyn, NY 11225

(ph) 718-756-0382

if traveling by train, take the 2 or the 5 to the President Street stop and get off at the Nostrand Ave exit.

You’ll see the salon sign, as soon as you come out of the subway

:: Hope this helps ::



Filed under: My Hair, Uncategorized

Off To The Salon

Yiping Lim - flickr

Yiping Lim/ flickr

This past year, I’ve been to the salon a total of 2 times. Once last December and then once this summer.

Needless to say, I’m not really big on salons. I’m not necessarily a hair snob, but I’ve been to TOO MANY SALONS where the stylists just don’t give a flying flip about your hair. I’m a student with tight pockets, so I usually don’t have the time or patience for it all.

However…

Lately I’ve been really lazy with my hair. I just don’t feel like experimenting with styles, and I’m a little too content with my protective ‘do. With that being said, I’ve done a lot of research and decided to try out a salon in my area. It’s a rather small salon, but I’ve heard great things about the owner, their services and relationships they hold with their clientele.

So, I’ll be jumping on the train and checking out Dominican Essence (in Brooklyn) sometime later this week.

From what I’ve heard they are very affordable and the ladies there treat the customers like family. I’m really eager to get my “consultation” and more feedback on how I can up my hair care routine and kick up the volume on my look!

Stay tuned for the review and pics!!

And BTW,  At some point I’m looking to book an appointment at Anthony Dickey‘s salon in Manhattan. Yep, the “doctor” of curly haired girls himself!  This may take some time, but you best believe that I’m gonna try to work it out with my broke self!  lol

:: Grow on::

Filed under: Uncategorized

Smooth Sailing

flickr/ P.A.

flickr/ P.A.

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies!

I’ve just recently settled back in NY and I’m here to bring in the Fall with updates on my regimen and hair status. I’m almost one year in…. of being relaxer/chemical free!

This is definitely what I’d call the smooth sailing stage of my transition.

At this point, I really feel like I could do the big chop at any point….or really just transition forever!

For the first time in years, I’m consistently retaining length– and thus my hair is probably longer than its been in quite some time. I really believe the key to retaining growth in black hair (because black hair DOES GROW at the same rate as any other hair) is combating and/or preventing breakage and keeping one’s hair moisturized.

My regimen is really very simple, and I find that the less I do — the better!

The trickiest part in dealing with my hair now, is learning when I need protein and when I’ve had too much.

I use extra virgin coconut oil to seal my wet hair after every wash, so I find that I can’t do the protein deep conditioning treatments like I used to. The last time I used hair mayo it left my hair a little heavy and hard. This should never be the case right after a wash. To correct the moisture/protein balance in my hair, I used a moisture rich deep conditioner a couple of days later (Aussie Moist 3 min Miracle really is a miracle!)

I probably get the most questions from transitioners, so here are a few tips that help me when my hair isn’t “acting like itself”:

1. Try using a light moisturizing conditioner on your ends, if your hair is feeling a little dry. I tend to use Vo5 Moisture Milks since they smell great and they are very light and watery. This can be especially helpful in the fall/winter if you can’t wash or co-wash as often and don’t want to get your whole head wet throughout the week.

2. Another product that seems to be great for most textures – isn’t heavy or greasy- is Karen’s Body Beautiful hair milk. I love this stuff. Its great for hair “emergencies” when things get too dry or tangled. You can use this as a conditioner while washing (its great to detangle with) or you can even keep it or apply it on the hair as a daily leave-in. Matter a fact, since I’m back in NY, I’m going down to Karen’s shop to stock up!!

3. Try mixing oils. If you think you’re hair is a little protein sensitive, and your using something heavy in protein everyday or frequently, like coconut oil, mix it with another oil. Right now, I’m using a small spritz bottle of extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil mixed, just to change it up!

Now, as far as hair health and length updates, they will be coming soon! I’ll keep you guys posted, so hang tight.

:: Hope this helps ::

Filed under: Uncategorized