Showing posts with label Relaxed Hair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Relaxed Hair. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hair Update | May 2015 [Video]

Hair updates have been few and far between over the last couple of years, especially on my YouTube channel, so here's the latest. I'm still transitioning to texlaxed (more info ) and my hair is a mass of textures which is the main reason low maintenance is key for me. You can see exactly how my hair looks post-wash with barely any product in the video.

The Video:

I never really wanted to do 'chatty' videos when I first started my channel and I always had tutorials in mind but it's difficult for me to do styling tutorials as I'm trying not to manipulate my hair too much. I could do some updated videos of older content like my 'Wash Day' routine or how I moisturise. It really depends on what people want to see from me. I definitely want to be more active on YouTube though as I'm slowly getting the hang of filming and editing! Let me know if there's anything in particular that you would like to see (it doesn't have to be hair related).

What have you been doing with your hair recently?

Christine Stewart x

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Styling Short Relaxed Hair

This is one of my most read posts that I decided to revamp as the most common question I get from readers is how to style short hair in ways that don't cause damage. I started my relaxed hair journey in August 2010 with broken, uneven neck length hair. I couldn’t do much with this length, and having longer hair has made it easier to do low manipulation styles and generally let my hair be. That said, though styling short hair in healthy ways can be tricky, it is possible. You just have to be a lot more creative when finding work works.

Go heatless
Cutting the heat is really important and I know more than most that it's hard to give up those hot tools. The quicker you ditch them though, the easier it will be to prevent breakage. If you want straighter styles try roller setting to keep the heat to a minimum. If you're hair is too short to use rollers wet wrapping will be your best friend! When my hair was relaxed bone straight I didn't need to reach for my straighteners at all. I found simply smoothing the hair back with a gel (such as Aloe Vera) also really helped me disguise new growth.

Roll with it 
Instead of trying to work against your natural texture, work with it. This will make it easier to disguise new growth and I promise you won’t be fighting with your hair (as much if you’re anything like me) when it comes to styling. There are plenty of heatless styles you can try such as bantu knot outs, pin curls, twist outs, curlformers, bendy rollers and braid outs. I styled my shorter hair mostly like I do now - a lot of braid outs styled into messy buns. When I was at my shortest I would create a textured quiff or fringe (bangs) and use bobby to keep my ends off of my shoulders to protect them. You’d be surprised at how some careful pinning makes it look like you’ve got more length than you actually have.

Wig It
If you’re reluctant to do the above with your hair, extensions, half-wigs, drawstring ponytails, weaves, braids or twists are all an option to prevent hand-in-hair syndrome until you’ve got more length to work with. If you're going to rely on extensions etc please don't forget about your own hair underneath! There's a fine line between low maintenance and neglect - and I know about that all too well. 

Experimentation is key when it comes to finding the magic formula, and I’ve had my fair share of bad hair days (still do too) before landing on what works for me. As long as you’re not damaging your hair there’s no reason why discovering what works for you shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. Have fun with it and take lots of photos! My one wish is that I took more photos when my hair was at it’s shortest.

Here are the few examples I could find of my hair in damage-free styles

(clockwise from left) Slicked back into low bun | Curlformers | Pincurls | Bendy rollers | Rollerset | Bantu knots

How do/did you style your short hair to keep it healthy?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Black Beauty & Hair June/July 2014

The latest issue of Black Beauty & Hair is out now. Inside is an eclectic mix of the latest hair, fashion and beauty trends and various articles focusing on relaxed hair. With the wave of my favourite relaxed hair gurus announcing their transition to natural hair recently (, , , ,  & come to mind) I've been thinking more about why I relax my hair. I support anyone trying to make that transition and I constantly have dilemmas about transitioning, but so far I always end up deciding to continue relaxing.

I'm not alone it seems and even with a decline in relaxer sales, so many women still relax their hair. Editor Irene Shelley looks at the reasons some women relax their hair and I briefly discuss why I relax my hair in the article. Also inside, are my articles on how to combat breakage in relaxed hair (FYI that's my most asked question) and how to reach your hair goals regardless of hair texture, length or the goal you have in mind.

There's also an article on the Vixen Sew-In with Radiant Hair Salon and if weaves were my thing I'd be rushing out to get this as it gives you so much more freedom in how you wear your hair. I saw a video on the Vixen Sew-In a few weeks back and my jaw dropped at how natural it looks. There's also some beautiful natural hairstyles which I'm going to try soon as I think they'll really work with my textured roots. So if you're interested, go grab a copy.

Have you got a copy?

Christine Stewart x

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Henna | March 2014

I decided to do an impromptu henna treatment last Wednesday. Weirdly I always end up craving a henna treatment as it leaves my hair feeling so strong and glossy afterwards.

I've been using henna since January 2012 but in the last year or so I've been using it less often with treatments spaced 4-5 months apart. The last time I used henna back in October I mixed it with a little bit of Indigo hoping to get a more brunette result. In short, I didn't use enough indigo and my hair kept its red tinge but I've decided I love the colour as it is.

For my last treatment I did a henna gloss, which is basically henna mixed with conditioner. The ratio was about 2/3 henna with 1/3 conditioner. I added the usual suspects (lemon oil, lavender oil and chamomile tea) to Yemeni henna to get the dye release first and added conditioner before I applied it to my hair. I said in my last post I'd try using just Coconut milk and henna, following the recipe on blog, but I completely forgot.

Regardless, I love the results and the colour is richer now as it was fading slightly. My hair has also got that 'pick me up' it needed. I've been neglecting it in the last few months where I was getting bored with my hair and frustrated with the mix of natural/texlaxed/relaxed textures. I think I might try and do another treatment sooner next time or maybe try just applying henna to my ends to breathe a bit of life into them. Hopefully I'll finally try that recipe with Coconut milk!

Have you tried henna?

Christine Stewart x

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Hair Talk | Natural or Relaxed?

I don't do these posts often as I'm don't how much you're interested in me just gabbing about what's going on with my hair, but I thought this kind of post was due.

I last relaxed my hair way back in October and today makes me currently 5 months post relaxer. I usually relax between 8 and 12 weeks, 16 at a maximum. I'm not sure why I've stalled my relaxer so long. I admit that I miss the straightness as it's been 4 months since I used heat. I also seem to be battling with endless tangling currently. At the same time I'm finding it hard to let go of the new growth and finally relax my hair.

I've toyed with the idea of a keratin treatment but as my last two times I've tried it myself didn't work out I'm reluctant to try it again. I really want to find an alternative to relaxing as I do eventually want to give up the 'creamy crack' altogether but I'm not ready to fully embrace my natural curls by transitioning just yet.

This has been an ongoing dilemma of mine and it's made me reluctant to play my hair over the past year. I used to do different hairstyles and be excited about trying something new with my hair. That feeling has subsided but I'm hoping I'll work something out soon. I guess for now I'm still unsure.

Are you experiencing any dilemmas with your hair currently?

Christine Stewart x

Monday, 10 February 2014

Relaxing | Self Relaxer Preparation

This how I self-relax my hair with a no lye relaxer. Everything detailed here is a combination of my own personal experience with relaxers, what I've read online and from books. I am not a professional.

DO NOT relax on hair that is breaking or damaged.
If you are going to relax take the time to get your hair at it's best so you have the best results.
Do not try applying a relaxer yourself if you are not confident, please go to a professional instead.

Now let's begin, this is a pretty long post but I didn't want to miss anything...

The week before the day of your relaxer

3-7 days before relaxer day clarify to remove product build up and do the necessary conditioning treatments.
Relaxers break the hair's protein bonds, so it's good to do a protein treatment before relaxing.
Test porosity as low porosity hair might not relax and porous hair might be relaxed too easily. 
Hair needs to be fully dry and detangled 2 days before relaxer day as the scalp needs time to build up it's protective barrier (by producing sebum) to prevent scalp burns.
Do not comb or scratch the scalp as this causes damage leading to burns. 
Patch test. Section off about an inch of the hair, apply relaxer to the new growth and neutralise as normal. Take note of the results to guide how the relaxer will be applied on relaxer day.

Before the applying the relaxer

Read relaxer instructions!
Gather your tools before mixing the relaxer to make sure you have them all. You will need: plastic sectioning clips (not metal), an applicator brush/sprush, a plastic mixing bowl (optional), Vaseline or a protective base for the scalp, a thick conditioner or oil to protect previously relaxed ends, gloves and of course the relaxer kit. You will also need a timer and a old towel to put around your shoulders. 
Section the hair into 4 sections as shown in the relaxer instructions. You can make sections within the four sections to make the application process faster. 
Apply the protective base to your whole scalp but not on the hair as it will stop it from relaxing.
Apply oil/protective cream to previously relaxed hair.
Decide on your method of application i.e. self-relaxers might add oil to the relaxer in order to slow the process down and give themselves more time or have someone apply the relaxer to the back sections whilst they do the front. I use the half half method which involves relaxing half of your hair at a time. 

Applying the relaxer

If using no-lye, mix the relaxer until its a creamy, uniform consistency (usually for 1-2 minutes).
Start the timer!
Apply to the new growth only, one section at a time.
Start in areas that take longer to process. For me it's the middle so I start with one of the back sections and apply top to bottom. Try to rotate where you start relaxing i.e. if you last relaxed the left side first, start with the right side on your next relaxer.
Apply relaxer to the hairline/edges and nape last as these areas are the most delicate.
Most home relaxer instructions state to spend just 8 minutes in total applying the relaxer so you have to work quickly for an even result. 
SMOOTH SMOOTH SMOOTH. It's the smoothing process that makes the hair straight.
Aim for 80% straightness as 'bone straight' hair leaves the hair weaker.
Do not leave on until you feel burning! Your scalp should never burn.
Rinse with water and make sure ALL visible traces of the relaxer are gone before neutralising.
OPTIONAL: Before neutralising you can apply a protein treatment (leave 5 minutes extra to do this step).
Neutralise (with the shampoo that came in your relaxer kit). For the first use keep it on the hair for 5 minutes giving it time to neutralise. Rinse and apply again. Neutralising locks the hair in it's current state so keep smoothing the hair straight. Rinse and apply again. By this point you don't have to keep the hair straight.
Make sure all traces of the relaxer are gone before doing anything else. Some relaxer kits come with a colour indicator shampoo which I personally prefer as these let you know if the relaxer is still in your hair.
Protein step! As you've just broken your protein bonds by relaxing put it back to keep your hair strong.
MOISTURE MOISTURE MOISTURE. Use a moisturising deep conditioner after protein.
Test porosity. Relaxers dramatically lift the hair cuticle and porosity may have to be corrected.
Apply moisturiser/leave-in as normal and you're done!

Try to be gentle with your hair for the next week or so and monitor how well the relaxer process went. Another protein/moisturising treatment might be needed. Try to avoid heat as this could cause damage whilst your hair is in a weakened state.

By following these guidelines you should experience minimal breakage or damage.
Please don't use a relaxer before knowing how to apply it correctly and seek the advice of a professional. Relaxers are damaging, but it's the improper use of relaxers or not caring for your hair afterwards which can cause more problems.

Christine Stewart x
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Post updated & reposted 10/02/14

Thursday, 23 January 2014

DIY Hot Oil Treatment

There's now well and truly a chill in the air and the cold can be so harsh on our bodies, especially our hair. Each time the winter rolls around I rely on hot oil treatments more and more to inject some life back into my winter-beaten tresses. They're inexpensive and you can use as many oils as you like. I like to do hot oil treatments before shampooing on wash days - though you can use them as a deep conditioner too.

All you need is an oil of course, some bowls and a shower cap - oh and some time to spare too!

1 Grab your oil(s) of choice and measure out about 1-2 tablespoons into a bowl. My favourite oils to use are a mix of Coconut, Avocado and Sweet Almond oil

2 Warm the oil by placing the bowl it into another bowl filled with boiling water or you can just stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds

3 When it's cooled slightly so it's not too hot pour the oil a little at a time into your palms. Apply the oil generously to your ends and then start spreading to the rest of your strands. I tend to keep the oil off of my scalp as mine gets quite oily naturally. If your scalp is dry using oil can help nourish it and protect it from over stripping shampoos. 

4 Once applied clip your hair up and put on a shower cap to keep the heat in - or sit under a steamer if you have one

5 After 10-15 minutes rinse off and follow with shampoo and your usual wash routine

Have you tried a hot oil treatment? 

Christine Stewart x

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Post updated & reposted 23/01/14

Thursday, 2 January 2014

What is texlaxing?

Instead of processing my hair bone straight I purposely underprocess my hair to leave some texture which is called 'texlaxing'. Texlaxing is done with a relaxer, there isn't a product I'm aware of called a 'texlaxer'.

Why did I start texlaxing?
I first started texlaxing my hair by mistake in 2011. I wanted healthier hair and I was so scared of overprocessing I started leaving the relaxer on for less time. The result was slightly textured roots. At first I hated my texlaxed hair. To me it looked odd and, weirdly, damaged next to my bone straight hair. It was actually healthier than my straight hair, but I ended up trying to 'correct' it by reapplying a relaxer to the underprocessed parts. I did this several times but I never managed to successfully correct the texlaxed areas. The same areas even now are still texlaxed and this led to an impromptu transition to texlaxed hair. I love my texlaxed hair now and eventually want to cut off all the bone straight parts. 

What are the benefits of texlaxing?
Texlaxed hair is stronger than bone straight relaxed hair. When you relax your hair bone straight all of the protein bonds are cut and this leaves the hair significantly weaker than in it's natural state. This means when you reach for the heat, style roughly or neglect it, the hair can be damaged more easily. By leaving your hair with some strength it can resist damage better. Also, the point where your texlaxed and new growth meet (line of demarcation) isn't so pronounced so it's less likely to break.

What are the cons of texlaxing?
(These apply to those who choose to transition from relaxed to texlaxed hair)
- 3+ textures which can be difficult to blend
- Moisturising regularly is key or you might see breakage where the different textures meet
- Texlaxed hair is different to the bone straight ends so may require different treatment or products
- The texture (or lack of) of your ends might make them look thinner than the rest of your hair

How do you texlax?
- Use a mild relaxer rather than super or medium strength
- Put oil on your hair or in the relaxer itself to prevent it processing fully
- Leave the relaxer on your hair for less than the recommended time
- Skip the smoothing process which makes the hair straight
- Use only some of the activator liquid for no-lye kits

Have you heard of texlaxing?

Christine Stewart x

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Post updated & reposted 02/01/2014