Hair Shots! Non-Stretched Hair

These are hair shots from my last Wash & Go. These pictures were taken when my hair was 100% dry before I stretched, shook, or fluffed my hair. Click Here to watch my curly hair routine on YouTube to see how I got my hair to this point. The final look in that video is AFTER I fluffed, shook, and picked out my hair with my fingers.

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Thanksgiving: What I’m thankful for!

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope that you are enjoying this day with your family, eating awesome food, and taking the time to express gratitude for some of your blessings. Yesterday, I had dinner with my family and it was great to have everyone in one place with love and laughter. In just a few hours, I will be going to my uncle’s house to hang with my 60 (literally) other family members.

With all of this love and happiness, I think that it is a great time to express gratitude and appreciation for all of the things in my life. So this will be a list of all that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

  1. my family for loving me and supporting me and being there for me whenever I need a shoulder to cry on. They are the most important people in my life and I am so thankful to have such amazing people in my life.
  2. My health. I am thankful for my body for still functioning after all of the awful food and alcohol that I have put into it… and for all of the awful food and alcohol that I am about to put into it this holiday season 😦
  3. I am thankful for my dog, Peaches, for living until 14. She’s truly a trooper (she’s napping in my bed right now).
  4. having a job, a home to live in, and for having meals to eat everyday.
  5. all of my friends for giving me fantastic memories, for making me feel better when I’m feeling sad, for making me laugh, and for always being there with me on spontaneous adventures.
  6. the strangers who do nice things for me everyday: the man who picked up my cellphone when it fell down the escalator, the lady at Giant who explained which is the better cheese to use for macaroni and cheese. These small, but amazing, selfless interactions really do make my day.
  7. every person on the internet who say nice things, like my videos, and support me even though they don’t have to. The love that comes my way is overwhelming sometimes and I wish that I could thank every single person!
  8. being given an education and graduating from college. College was the best experience of my life and I am very thankful for having that opportunity.
  9. all of the places that I have been able to travel to: England, Canada, Guatemala, South Africa, New England, etc. If it weren’t for very gracious people helping me to fund these opportunities, I would have never been able to go. I am very thankful for these people for helping me to make everlasting memories.
  10. my music teachers, especially my two violin teachers, for teaching me about music. Music has been one of the most therapeutic things in my life that has helped me through depression, anxiety, and has been there whenever I’ve been down.
  11. being alive. I’m appreciative that I am able wake up and remember all of the fantastic, special, and unforgettable memories that I’ve made and being able to make more!
  12. myself. For waking up everyday and staying positive, sensitive, empathetic, and standing up for what is right, and for never losing myself after the adversities that I have faced. I am thankful for my curiosity and for always wanting to learn new things and become a better person. I am thankful for taking the initiative to go on a journey towards self-love, self- appreciation, and realizing my self-worth… things that I never practiced in the past. And I am thankful that I am able to be supportive of myself and that I have my own back during this journey!

I hope that you all are able to enjoy this thanksgiving, and please tell me what you’re thankful for!! Have a beautiful day!

My Relaxed Vs Natural Hair: Chemical and Heat Damage

Hey guys! I just uploaded a new video up on my YouTube channel! It’s my relaxed hair journey and it compares my relaxed hair (which I thought was my healthy and normal hair at the time) to my current hair. I show how damaged my hair was from relaxers, excessive bleaching and dyeing, and constant heat. It wasn’t until I learned that what I was doing was a problem, and started taking care of my hair, that my hair was able to grow and thrive. I hope that you all enjoy!

 

My Updated Curly Hair Routine!

Here’s my new updated FULL curly hair routine! All of the products (besides the EcoStyler gel, which I only use on my edges) are paraben, silicone, and sulfate free! Lately I’ve been trying to use more natural products on my hair and seeing how they work. This past summer, I spent over a $100  on natural and healthier hair products and these are the only ones that I liked. The other ones left me with hair that I HAD to wash the next day because they weren’t moisturizing enough. I hope you guys enjoy the video. Below are what I used in the video! You can also check out how I stretch my hair here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoTjjTKiBVE

Products used in this video:

Single Strand Knots: Should you worry? Plus how to prevent them!

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 1.06.52 PMOne day in my biology class, I decided to look at my hair under a microscope (when I was probably supposed to be looking at the amyloplast of a potato… or the chloroplast in Elodea lol). I looked at the root of my hair, the split ends… and then a single strand knot. And what I found was that my hair was literally was in a knot; a hair that had wrapped around itself like a headphone cord after it’s been in your pocket for two seconds!

Single strand knots are not the result of damage… they are a fact of life for tightly curly hair. It is literally just a tight knot that forms in the hair. However, single strand knots can be a problem. When it comes to the detangling process, hairs can get caught onto single strand knots which can cause the hair to snag creating more tangles. These knots can also be rough to the touch. How do you get rid of them? Simply by cutting them off… there is really no other way. And try to not pull them off as this can actually lead to damage and rough ends.

So now, how to prevent these pesky little knots? Here are my FOUR tips on how to prevent single strand knots!

  1. Protect Styles:

When your hair is neat and tucked away, your hair doesn’t even have a chance to tangle up. Imagine the difference in knots if you threw your headphones into your purse versus neatly wrapping them around a heaphone cord organizer (yes, these actually exist and sound like the best invention ever)! You would expect to have a lot more knots in the cord that was just thrown into your purse. If you have your hair neatly tucked away (e.g. in a braid, bun, or twist), the strand does not have a chance to wrap around itself and to create a knot.

  1. Keep your hair moisturized!

Dry hair=frizzy hair. As much as we all love big and crazy hair, this craziness can lead to crazy amounts of single strand knots. When your hair is moisturized, sections of your hair clump together to create a unit of curls. When our hair is dried out, the hair strands become antisocial and separate from the unit of curls to stand alone… our curly hair is such the independent diva! (Look at your moisturized curls versus your frizzy curls… your frizzy curls are usually separated into single strands that create a poof ball effect). When your single strands are alone (dry and frizzy), they have more of a chance of wrapping around themselves than moisturized and clumped together curls.

 

  1. Replace your Wash and Go’s for Braid-Outs or Twist-Outs

This may be more of an issue for people with longer hair that shrinks a lot…pretty much my hair. When I do braid-outs or twist-outs, my hair has dried into an organized clump that has set into the shape of the twists or the braids. When I do Wash & Go’s, my hair dries into whatever shape and sets however it wants. My Wash & Go’s lead to much less defined hair and my strands (from different sections) usually dry in an unorganized way (my strands cross over and become wayyy too social with other clumps of hair that they aren’t supposed to specialize with). This can make the detangling process HELL!! And when I try to detangle, that strand is now more likely to wrap around itself because my hair has dried in a tangled and unorganized way. As much as I love the appearance of my wash and go’s, it makes it a lot less easier to manage and leads to a lot more single strand knots.

  1. Playing in your hair

Hello my name is Jewellianna and I am addicted to playing in my hair. If you have hand-in-the-hair-disease please confess so that I don’t feel alone. Lol This is probably one of the BIGGEST causes of my single strand knots. I play in my hair constantly; pulling strands of hair apart from its neat unit of curls can lead to the hair wrapping around itself. Hair that is wrapped around itself has only one fate–to form a single strand knot. After I am done, I am left with at least 10 additional single strand knots of hair…. Pull. Your. Hand. Away. From. The. Strand!

Don’t stress over single strand knots if you have them; they truly come with the territory of having wild, curly hair. If you notice that you have a ton of single strand knots or that they are just becoming annoying, it may be time to change your hair routine and incorporate some of these tips.

Part 3: 5 Do’s for Long, Healthy Hair

So you have avoided all things that damage the hair mentioned in Part 2: 5 Things to Avoid for Long, Healthy Hair. You’ve stayed away from heat, chemicals, playing in your hair, product buildup, and you’re extremely gentle when detangling your hair. However, you still face hair problems; your hair is frizzy, dry, crunchy, flat, or all of the above. Or maybe you’re just not achieving the your hair goals or just want to know how you can step up your hair care routine. Today I will discuss 5 things that you can do to your hair routine to get closer towards long and healthy hair.

  1. Use Moisturizing  Products

When you’ve avoided everything mentioned in Part 2 and still face hair problems, the next thing to look at is the products that you are using! The most perfect head of curly hair (if there is such a thing), will even look lackluster if crappy products are applied to it. Us curly girls have hair that tends to be on the drier side, and unlike people with straighter or wavier hair who do not need to be as selective with products, we need to be careful in choosing products for our dryness-prone hair. I’ve bought products that left my hair feeling dry, sticky, flat, and frizzy. I’ve also bought products that left my hair feeling moisturized, shining, and super defined. Believe me, with the right products, your hair can transform. Check out my article Product Recommendations fro Curly Girls to see which products I love and recommend!

  1. Cleanse the length of your hair if you use silicones, butters, or oils on your hair

So in Part 2, we discussed how product buildup can prevent your hair from being moisturized. Butters and oils, when applied to dry hair, just sit on top of the hair and do not offer moisturizing benefits because they do not contain water. Silicones are another substance in MOST conditioning product, usually unless noted otherwise, that lead to product buildup. Silicones can be great in a hair care routine because they add slip (yaye for detangling) and add softness to the hair.

However, these products can feel great initially but after continued use, they can coat the hair and prevent the hair from absorbing water. This leads to chronically dehydrated hair that looks soft, due to artificial chemicals and the artificial shine from oils and butters. Click Here to see a list of  water-soluble (silicones that can dissolve in water) and water- insoluble (silicones that must be washed off with shampoo).

I could go on and on about silicones and product buildup, and I think that I’ll write a separate article about it. For now, just know that you must cleanse the length of your hair to remove oils, butters, and silicones whenever you wash your hair (unless you wash your hair everyday, then you can just stick to “removing” twice a week and cowashing the other 5 days). Cowashing can be very beneficial to the hair. But unless you completely avoid products with oils, butters, and silicones, you must remove these heavy products from the length of your hair when you wash your hair. (The two exception to using oils or butters is right after washing when they can seal the water into the hair. The second exception is using coconut oil as a prepoo because the proteins are able to absorb into the hair. All thought the coconut oil doesn’t offer moisture (water) to the hair, it does provide benefits to the hair by adding protein. Besides these two situations, oils just sit on top of the hair and add shine or softness to the hair). Keep an eye out for my article on how I remove product buildup from my hair.

  1. Wash/ Cowash to suite your hair’s needs

During a period of my natural hair journey, it was normal for me to go two weeks between washes. While I was in college, I went one month without washing my hair, and I did not wear protective styling (covers eyes in shame). Not only did this create MASSIVE amounts of tangles (it was taking me 4 hours to detangle), it left my hair dry and brittle. Going too long in between washes can lead to dehydrated hair, and dehydrated hair is hair that is prone to breakage. Ideally, my hair does best when I wash it every other day or twice a week. Unfortunately, it takes very long for my hair to dry so I settle for washing my hair twice a week. I recommend to wash hair at least once every week; you can go every two weeks if you consistently wear your hair in protective styling but I think that once a week is best; just try out different frequencies. I used to wash my hair only once a week because someone else recommended that routine, but now I realize that my hair thrives on being washed twice a week. Don’t be afraid to go outside of your routine; a change may be the very thing that your hair needs.

  1. Wear protective styling—but do not keep them in for too long

Protective styling is truly a beautiful thing when it comes to growing long hair. Buns, braids, twists, ponytails, weaves (that do not need a leave out that requires straighteneing), and wigs keeps your hair from getting tangles and single strand knots, thus, reducing the risk of breakage from the detangling process. My hair thrives when I wear it in buns or braids, and keep it away and protected. However, “protective styling” can also be damaging to the hair when used improperly. I will discuss different styles that are not protecting your hair, but often thought of as protective styling:

  • Wearing wigs, weaves, braids, and twists for long periods of time-

These styles can give us a break from dealing with our hair while offering our hair protection. However, when they are left in for too long ( for months on end) and when the hair underneath is neglected, these styles can be damaging. Hair needs moisture and our scalp needs to be kept clean. If our hair does not receive water, it becomes dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. If our scalp is not clean, our hair follicle becomes clogged, preventing growth. Make sure that you aren’t leaving your styles in for months at a time and neglecting your hair underneath

  • Flat ironing your hair during the winter-

I often hear people say that they want to give their hair a break, let their hair rest from being curly, or take a break from washes. This is not protective styling; it is jus styling. Flat ironing or Dominican blows out are damaging and are counterproductive to protecting your hair to achieve growth.

  • Wearing tight braids, buns, weaves, wigs or twists-

All thought these styles can be extremely beneficial to hair growth, if installed in too tight, it can actually lead to hair loss. “Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids.” This can happen on any part of our hair, but is most likely to occur at the fragile and fine edges of the hair, resulting is patches of hair loss in our temple and crown area.

  1. Trim your hair

When our hair leaves the scalp, it is no longer living; it is dead. This means that hair CANNOT repair itself and any damage is permanent. There are products that artificially “heal” the hair by fillings holes in the cuticle, but this is only temporary. Hair that has been damaged, whether it be from heat, chemicals, or even unavoidable wear and tear, needs to be cut off. Split ends can travel up the hair shaft. Damaged cuticles can snag onto other hairs and create tangles. Hair that is damaged needs to be cut if you want healthy and thriving hair. Deciding when to trim your hair is based off of your hair’s needs.

  • If your hair has significant visible damage and breakage that you are trying to get rid of, you may need to cut it as frequently as it is growing (if hair grows the average of 6 inches per year or 0.5 inches per month, you can trim 1 inch every two months. At the end of the year, your hair will be the same length, however, you will have cut off 6 inches of damage.
  • If you use chemicals and heat, without visible damage then your hair may need to be cut less often (a very small trim every 3-4 months) to prevent split ends from traveling up the hair shaft. **I trim my own hair every 4 months even though I don’t have visible damage. This is to get rid of and prevent split ends.**
  • If your hair is relatively healthy, has no visible damage or straight pieces, and has few split ends, you could get away with trimming your hair once or twice a year. However, if you do notice an increase in split ends, your ends feel rough to the touch, or you notice that your hair is getting tangled more easily, you may want to increase it to every 4 months.

I hope you all found this article helpful! Please keep checking back for new articles and YouTube uploads!

Product Recommendations for Curly Girls

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Product Recommendations:

People often ask me for product recommendations. These products mentioned in this post are usually the first products that come to mind! We learned in the article (which will be up tomorrow)that the right products transform you hair–in both a good and bad way.  I hope that you guys enjoy these products just as much as I do! (Also, when I give product recommendations or hair advice, people often ask me if it will work for their “hair type” or texture. Unfortunately, I am only one person and cannot try out products on every head of hair. Just try things out and see what works for you. However, these products should work on ALL curls). The conditioners that I recommend (besides the curl enhancing smoothie which I only use on top of my regular conditioner and NOT as a detangler) areto be used both to detangle and to be left in the hair. I don’t recommend leave-in conditioners because they are often the same as conditioners just in a smaller and more expensive bottle. Also, all of these products, besides the coconut oil and Alaffia Shampoo, can be found in most grocery stores!

 

  • Aussie Moist conditioner (contains silicones)-

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My all time favorite product is Aussie Moist conditioner; this conditioner has been a staple throughout my entire hair journey! I’ve gotten so many people hooked on this product and it is truly a savior for ‘transitioners’, newly naturals, and long term naturals. This conditioner is:

  • very thick
  • has loads of slip
  • leaves my hair feeling super soft
  • low priced
  • and smells HEAVENLY

This product works for all types of curls.  [Aussie Moist contains Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone which is a silicone that does not dissolve in water. However,  ““it is not supposed to accumulate on top of itself” (click for source). However, I’ve found that this product does indeed buildup on my hair and needs to be clarified from my hair].

  • Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration –

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Hello Hydration is comparable to Aussie Moist, all though I prefer Aussie Moist because it smells better  (even though this still smells AMAZING). I also think that this is a little less moisturizing than Aussie Moist, but don’t get me wrong, this product is still super moisturizing and leaves my hair feeling soft. [Hello Hydration contains “Aminopropyl Dimethicone” which is a silicone that is difficult to wash out and may lead to product buildup overtime. Clarifying the hair is recommended when using this product.]

  • Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie (Silicone-Free)-IMG_5197

This product is amazing! It smells like vanilla cupcakes to me and it is super moisturizing. It is perfect for those curly girls with thick hair that could use a little help in the moisture department. However, this product is pretty thick, so I wouldn’t recommend it those curly girls who have fine hair that is prone to being flat and weighed down. And all though this product is silicone-free, it does contain butters and oils that need to be removed from the hair to prevent product buildup.

  • Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner-IMG_5196

This product  is great for those who want to avoid silicones and parabens but also want moisturized curls. This product does not have much slip, because it is silicone free. I wouldn’t recommend it if your hair gets extremely tangled or if you go a week or more between washes. However, it does a sufficient job at being a detangling conditioner when I apply a generous amounts and keep my hair drenched with water. Like the Curl Enhancing Smoothie, this product needs to be clarified from the hair due to the butters and oils in it.

  • EcoStyler gel (any kind)

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This gel is GREAT for defining curls, taming those edges, and for guaranteeing sleek  and frizz-free styles. However, I find that this product leaves my hair feeling dry. Most of the time, I prefer only to use EcoStyler on my edges because I don’t like how it makes my hair feel dry.

  • Alaffia’s Authentic African Black Soap

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When it comes to shampoos. I really don’t have much loyalty. I’ve probably used 15 different shampoos while being natural and have bought maybe one of them a second time. I saw this soap while I was at MOM’s. All though it isn’t technically a shampoo (it is multipurpose and can be used as a body wash and as a shampoo), it works well enough and doesn’t leave my hair feeling super dry like most shampoos. I can’t put this product on my “TOP FAVORITES” list yet because I’ve only been using it for a few months, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is searching for a natural and healthy shampoo/ body wash.

 

  • Coconut Oil

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I rarely use oil and butters on my hair; mostly just on my body and for cooking.  When I first went natural,coconut oil was a staple in my hair care routine. Now, I just feel that it gets all over the place and makes everything greasy. If you are washing your hair enough and using great and moisturizing products, then oil shouldn’t be necessary in your hair routine, but you can always use it. If I do use coconut oil every so often on my ends (like once every month/ every other month), I’ll use this coconut oil that I found on Amazon.com.