Nov 20, 2014

Natural Hair Diaries | Products I Use, Straightening Natural Hair & My Journey

Hello there beautiful girls! I know that this is an update that has been long awaited! Now, its here! Today I am going to share the products that I use on my hair, my thoughts on straightening natural hair and my natural hair journey...which I once labeled my Natural Hair Diaries. 

If you are new to my blog or my natural hair journey, I have been natural since January 2014. I did not big chop and instead of elected to transition cutting off my relaxed ends as my natural curls grew in. Transitioning can of course be a more tedious process than doing the big chop because you are dealing with two textures. My transition posed difficulty because at the same time I was growing my relaxer out, I was manipulating my natural curls and weaker 'previously relaxed' hair with heat. However, with dedication, persistence and a commitment to reaching my goal...I embraced my natural hair. Over the years, I have almost exclusively worn my natural hair straightened. I experimented with my natural curls, worn perm rods, bought a wig (at one point) and even had clip-in extensions made. Most of you know that my experimentation with my natural curls was short lived. The reasoning for that is mainly attributed to my fine hair texture. My natural curls require a lot of product to remain tamed and the amount of work it required to have to do my hair daily was not something I was a fan of. So here we are, 4+ years later...almost 5 years and going natural was the best decision I ever made. In honor of my almost 5 year natural hair journey, I wanted to add an entry into my Natural Hair Diaries. 

The products that I use on my natural hair have recently changed. For the majority of the time I've been natural, I almost exclusively used Influance Hair Care Shampoos and Conditioners with the exception of Moroccanoil and Biolage Daily Leave-in-Tonic. However, after nearly 3 straight years of using the products, I wanted to try something different just to see how my hair reacted. I first started to branch out with Aubrey Organics, which I still love. But, my new combination of products have taken my hair to another level. 

So let's discuss products because although there is not much that I use...they pack a huge punch when used together! Four products are my current holy grail! 

First, I shampoo my hair using the Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo. This product is amazing. I used this product occasionally over the years but didn't commit to using it solely until recently. It is a vegan product that my hair just loves! It helps to detangle my curls during the shampoo process. It tames the frizz of my natural curls, thus helping to tame the frizz when my hair is heat styled. And it has absolutely no sulfates, which my hair loves. I typically will wash my hair three times in the shower while my hair is split into two sections detangling with my fingers only along the way. I then will apply my conditioner next to leave on for approximately 20 minutes. 

I currently am in love with the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner. The key words in both my shampoo and conditioners are moisture and hydration. Since I wear my hair straightened 99% of the time, it is critical that it stays hydrated. Back to the conditioner...It is an absolute dream especially for a drugstore product. I dont know that there is anything left to be said about this product. I use this for deep conditioning and as a regular conditioner. It helps to further detangle my hair in addition to the shampoo.

As far as styling aids, I still use the Biolage Daily Leave-In Tonic along with the CHI Keratin Silk Infusion. A few sprays of the leave-in and one quarter-size amount of the silk infusion and I proceed to blowing out my hair. Sometimes I will switch out the CHI Keratin Silk Infusion with the Moroccanoil...just depends on what I reach for. Go ahead...SCREAM because I do not use a heat protectant. I just do not feel that it benefits my hair at all. I have tried various heat protectants in the past and have not experienced a drastic change in my curl pattern after prolonged use. If anything, it weighs my hair down. When you are manipulating your hair with heat weekly, there is bound to be a change to your curl pattern. For the most part, only the ends of my hair are not as tightly coiled as the rest of my hair but I have accepted that comes with the territory of wearing my natural hair straight. 

I do not use any other products in between washes to maintain my hair and if I sweat my hair out while working out...I rock a bun or a ponytail until the next wash day...which is generally speaking every 7 days. And the biggest question is how I maintain my hair while working out. Its an easy answer...I always wrap it. And I dont sweat a terrible amount in my hair so wrapping it works great for me. My hair will get oily before it gets completed sweated out. 

Hope this helped and that you enjoyed this post no matter where you are in your own hair journey! Let me know if you would like a separate post on the styling tools I use (blow dryer, flat iron, etc.).

Until next time...

Nov 15, 2014

Weekly Photo Diary | Traveling to DMV, Winter Weather and Longer Hair

So glad that a lot of you enjoyed my last blog post where I caught y'all up on everything that has been happening in my busy bee life! Here is the post in case you missed it:  
I have been relaxing at home today since I was traveling last weekend to Maryland to visit my family. No to mention, colder weather has arrived in Texas which naturally makes me want to hibernate. I left the house at one time today and that was to pick up two bottles of my favorite wine [Stella Rosa]. I had every intention of getting my nails done today but I just didn't feel up to it. 

Here's a recap: 

Let's get started with me discovering that most stores have completely skipped over Thanksgiving and went into full on CHRISTMAS mode! Indeed, Target is already looking like December 1st. After discovering Christmas already reached Target, I prepared for a two day workshop in Downtown Dallas for work. It was a two-day workshop right in the heart of Downtown Dallas, which meant I was able to meet babe for lunch at Klyde Warren Park and enjoy some time out of the office learning something new. I took in the change of scenery as much as I possibly could!

Following the workshop, I prepared to fly to Maryland for four days to spend time with family. So glad that I have two places I will always be able to call perfect home state of Maryland with its leaves changing colors along I-95 and my dear new home of Texas where cows roam free and Tex-Mex food makes me feel guilty every weekend. Had a blast with my family having breakfast at the Amish Market, followed by trying chocolate covered bacon and stocking up on my favorite childhood  candy (Peanut Chews and Frooties)...pedicures at Scrub Nail Boutique in Fells Point, located just past Inner Harbor service on Sunday at Reid Temple {Mommy's church home -- If you live in the DMV, I highly recommend it as Rev. Watley will bless your entire life in one sermon}...and finally a photo with my twin, Mommy...who let me wear her necklace to church, allowed me to borrow her black leather jacket during my stay and who woke up to fix me a morning smoothie as I relaxed in the family room. She is the same as she has always been and for that I appreciate her more than she will ever know. 

Btw, I even snapped a pic with my baby sis! She's not a baby anymore but she is the youngest of the four of us!

I included some throwback photos from 'little Erika' before she grew into the woman she is today. It is so very important to never forget where you came from! Photos of 'little Erika' serve as a gentle reminder that I had the best childhood because although I was quite clumsy (hence the scar on my forehead that is permanently with me) I was surrounded with love. Love from parents, love from grandparents and even love from those friends that eventually turned into family. I know that my Daddy would be very proud of who my sister and I have become!

My return to Dallas and its beautiful Downtown skyline... and unforgettable sunrises.

And then Friday I decided to put my clip-ins to use again to avoid a wash day that I am dreading because its so cold outside. Not to mention, my hair has grown a lot so feels like quite the chore to blow out and straighten.