Friday, May 24, 2013

Wash Lightening!!!!

I am soooo excited!  Today is the start of wash day and I have an extra step to add to my (new) weekly regimen.

I have no problem with my natural hair color (except for those stray grays that keep popping up), but I have always viewed it as kind of bland. It's just dark brown....sometimes it looks medium brown in the summer sun, but most often looks off-black when worn straight and when products are added to my hair (which is almost all the time). 

I've always admired the naturally medium brown color of my sister's hair, which has red and sometimes golden undertones that reveal themselves in the sun. (See pic below....I'm the short one with the almost black hair and despite the dark background, her brown is shining through)

My initial plan when I first started my hair journey was to get highlights 2+ weeks after my last TexLax and couple it with a golden brown rinse several weeks after. However, my hair has not reacted well to my transition to lightly texturized hair and has been too weak for me to consider adding an additional chemical to my hair. 

Luckily, I just happened to come across KSIsooooFLY's blog on naturally lightening your hair. So, taking her advice and coupling it with some other information I found on the Internet, I brought some supplies and added a hair lightening prepoo to my weekly washing/co-washing regimen. Hopefully, my hair will gradually lighten without all the damage caused by permanent hair dyes. 

During my lunch break I brought a spray bottle and I took two chamomile tea bags from the kitchen at my job before leaving for the weekend and this my hair regimen is ready to begin

  1. Boil water
  2. Put chamomile tea bag in one cup of boiling water.  Allow to sit 1 hour.
  3. Squeeze the juice from one lemon in the tea
  4. Mix 1/4 cup of honey into the tea
  5. Mix 1/4 cup of conditioner into the tea
  6. Pour mixture into spray bottle
  7. Saturate hair with mixture
  8. Apply additional honey directly to hair
  9. Spray one additional layer of mixture onto hair.
  10. Cover hair with a shower/conditioning cap for 30 minutes
  1. Co-wash or wash hair
  2. Apply deep conditioner
  3. Cover hair with shower/conditioning cap and deep condition hair overnight
  4. Rinse conditioner in the morning
  5. Apply rinse-out conditioner, while in the shower and detangle while in the shower.
  6. Pat dry with towel, then t-shirt dry for 15 minutes
  7. Apply leave-in conditioner
  8. Air dry hair using the scarf method or do a braid/twist-out style.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Hot Day of the Year (aka Shiny Face Fix)

I know what I'll be pulling out of my POPSUGAR Must Haves box from April 2013.  I have an extreme sheen problem and these blotting papers will be the perfect fix for my shiny face, during these hot and sweaty Spring & Summer months.

One of our first POPSUGAR Must Have boxes contained our favorite blotting papers from Tatcha, and now we're sharing the evening edition. Party season is starting to heat up, so these clutch-size papers are ideal to throw into your bag for a night out. They won't mess up your makeup or take away your skin's natural moisture. Keep yourself looking picture perfect all night long.

Friday, May 17, 2013

POPSUGAR Must Have Subscription Box – May 2013 reveal

So, my May 2013 PopSugar subscription box arrived in the mail on Tuesday.  I went to open it and my husband informed me that scissors were not needed.  Apparently, "someone" had already opened it.  *side eye*

Anyway, the following items came in the box:

The first item in the box was a little PopSugar tote.  I could care less if this was in there or not, but will find some use for it.  I never can have enough bags. I'll probably use it for toting my lunch (or heels) to work each morning. 

The next item was the Giselle Mid Brim hat by Kooringal ($27.99).  This is something I would've never thought to buy myself, but it is actually quite nice (and cool). I think I can wear it when I brake out the black, Dolce & Gabanna one-piece this summer. :-)

Next up was the Modern Margarita set by The Modern Cocktail ($7.99).  I'm not a huge drinker, but this is cool and we will bring these out for the next social (house) event we throw or attend.....assuming it's not church related. 😬 Basically, all you need is the crushed ice and alcohol. Everything else is included in these little bottles. I guess you can also go non-alcoholic and just add the crushed ice. 

I then opened the Pacifica Color Quench Lip Tint in Guava Berry ($7.00).  I guess lip balm/gloss is something you can never have too much of. I'm a lip treatment fiend, so this is alright with me. 

The next item was a Beauty Blender and some Blender Cleanser!!! ($23.95).  I don't really know how to use a beauty blender and I don't really wear that much makeup, but I'll figure it out. This morning, I used it to apply my Garnier Fructis BB Cream. Is that wrong?  😕

I also received a bag of Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips from Way Better Snacks ($1.17).  I enjoy a good snack, but I gave these away to my husband. I'm more of a cookies and candy-type person and he loves chips.....especially unique ones. By the way, these were gluten-free. They gave us a gluten-free item (candy bar) in our box last month too. Do I sense a trend?

Next up were these conversation cards made by Mindy Kaling - Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself ($13.45). I could've done without these, but I'll find some use for them at one of our future get togethers. Basically, a topic is on the front of the card. Mindy tells a witty story about her experience on the topic and discussion questions on that topic are asked on the back card.  It could be about your crush, what you consider fat, awkward dates, etc. etc.

The last item was a $30 gift card to Charm & Chain.  I was excited to see that a) it was a legit gift card with no minimum purchase requirement, and b) there were items for less than $30, so you could use this and only pay shipping if you wanted to.  I haven't used it yet, but will. I'll update everyone, once I decide what to get. 
Value: This box was worth $111.55.  PopSugar promises that the boxes will be worth $100, so they are right on track assuming that you are willing to spend more money to get the jewelry. 

By the way, I was a little lazy this month and am posting other people's pics off the web instead of my own. Next time, I'll be taking my own pics of me using/holding the product and/or maybe I'll do a Vlog of me opening the box and trying things out. Who knows!

Can't wait until I get my very first CurlKit box in June. :-)

Two months ago, I received a pair of bright orange Hanky Panky thongs in my Must Have box.  If anyone knows me, they know that the one thing I dislike are tiny panties.  Ever since High School, my sister and best friend would tease me because of my preference for 'granny panties.'  When low cut jeans became the dominant style, I switched to full-coverage bikinis and boy cuts.  I hate cheekys and I hate thongs.  I do tolerate g-strings on occasion, but it's very rare....probably no more than 5 times a year.  I hate things sticking up my butt and I hate panties that are made to easily cause wedgies.....and I'm not a fan of panties that make my butt look even bigger than it already is. can imagine my disappointment when I received these expensive thongs in my POPSUGAR Must Have box.  It was my intention to give them away to my sister or my niece, but I happened to pack two outfits with a touch of bright orange in them to Jamaica.  Being that I like wearing panties that match my clothes, I decided to deal. 

Well.....those Hanky Panky thongs were the most comfortable panties ever.  Even more comfortable than some of my full coverage undies.  I was shocked.  Another thing that I'm not a fan of is lace touching my skin.  It makes me itch.....but soft.  So, go out there and get you some Hanky Pankys.  I think I got a coupon in my box to go along with the panties, so if it hasn't expired, I'll be doing the same.  Otherwise......I'll be waiting to get some more as a gift (hint, hint).
Another thing.....They look pretty too!  Something about the shape of them are very complimenting.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Texlax Your Hair: Simple Texlaxing Techniques and Tips

Here is another article I found on Yahoo Voices.....for those who want more detail on how you would go about texlaxing your hair.  I used techniques #3, 4 & 5 during my first texlax.  However, I think I will use #1 & 2 the next time I relax.  I didn't realize that the sensitive scalp formulas were a little weaker or took longer to, if they don't have mild, I'll get the sensitive scalp version.  I felt that too much of my hair reverted with my last texlax, so I will get it processed a little more this time, by allowing them to do atleast a little smoothing.
How to Texlax Your Hair: Simple Texlaxing Techniques and Tips
  • Published: Mon January 4th, 2010
  • By: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
  • Category: Beauty
Properly "texlaxing," or gently underprocessing, your hair is an art. But done correctly, texlaxing can be extremely beneficial to your hair. This article will describe techniques for "texlaxing" your hair to perfection every single time.

What is Texlaxing?

"Texlaxed" hair is a term that was coined in the Internet hair world to describe a hair texture that falls between texturized curls and chemically relaxed, straight hair. "Texlaxing" is the intentional underprocessing of hair with a relaxer chemical, and is typically done to create volume, body, and texture in relaxed hair.

Popular Texlaxing Methods

There are many methods for texlaxing the hair, and most center around reducing initial disulfide bond breakage in the hair fiber. Disulfide bonds are the bonds that cause our hair to have a naturally curly, or kinky texture. Breaking these bonds prepares them for straightening in the smoothing stage of the relaxer. An alternative texlaxing method involves simply skipping the official disulfide bond straightening process. Texlaxing methods can be used alone or in combination to achieve various degrees of textured, relaxed hair results.

1.) Downgrading your relaxer

Reducing disulfide bond breakage by downgrading the strength of your relaxer is the easiest method for texlaxing the hair. Reducing your relaxer strength from a super or regular formula to a mild or sensitive scalp formula (or even going from lye to no-lye) will increase the amount of time required for full processing. This will give you more time to quickly apply your relaxer, and then rinse before enough bond breakage has occurred to really straighten the hair.

2.) Diluting your relaxer

Similar to downgrading the actual relaxer formula strength, adding oils or conditioner to your relaxer formula also decreases the strength of the relaxer and increases the processing window. This texlaxing dilution method also works by reducing the viscosity (thickness) of the relaxer crème. The relaxer crème's thick, pasty consistency helps the hair remain fairly straight after the disulfide bonds have been broken during chemical application. Oils and conditioners reduce this straightening power by making the crème less thick so that the curls are not weighed down and flattened as easily by the relaxer. If you decide to add oil to your relaxer, add a little at a time and check the consistency of your formula. Do not make the formula too runny or soupy; some thickness is desired! I find that around 1/4 cup of oil works well with a small, single use relaxer tub. Also avoid using essential oils (like peppermint and rosemary) in the relaxer-- you don't want anything tingling or stimulating your scalp while the relaxer is there nearby.

Another variation of relaxer dilution can be done with no-lye relaxer formulas where a separate activator must be added to the relaxer crème. Adding only 3/4 or 1/2 of the activator to the formula automatically reduces the relaxer's strength. Remember, no-lye relaxers are inert (not active) and cannot work on the hair until they are mixed. Portions of the relaxer that are not mixed with activator will not process you.

3.) Putting up a Barrier

Applying a thick cream or oil barrier to the hair prior to relaxing will protect it from damage and slow down the action of the relaxer. By slowing the relaxer down with a heavy, protective base, you can still relax your hair for the normal suggested time period for your hair type without fully straightening the hair. Reducing relaxer contact with the hair reduces overall bond breakage and helps the hair maintain a little extra texture. Basing the scalp should be done anyway with a relaxer, but applying a little extra to the scalp AND new growth will give you extra protection and time to process.

4.) Decreasing Relaxer Contact

One of the easiest methods for texlaxing the hair is simply decreasing the relaxer's contact with your hair. Simple reduce your processing time! This method works when all other texlaxing methods fail. In fact, this method is perhaps the number one cause of unintentional texlaxing and underprocessing. It is how I stumbled upon the idea of leaving texture behind in my own hair! Processing the hair for a time less than the recommended time will always texlax your hair.

5.) Skipping Disulfide Bond Straightening

Contrary to popular belief, hair straightening does not begin and end with the application of the relaxer. The relaxer chemical simply breaks your hair's disulfide bonds; the smoothing step is where your hair and its bonds are straightened into their new, permanent position. So a texlaxing method that takes advantage of this concept would simply involve you applying the chemical relaxer, and allowing it to process without physically manipulating (smoothing) the hair into place. Skipping the smoothing step of the relaxer application prevents the disulfide bonds from fully straightening into a new, permanently straight bond orientation.

My Personal Texlaxing Method

My personal texlaxing method is a combination of methods 1, 2, and 3. I use a basic sensitive scalp relaxer (Mizani) that is diluted with 1/4 of a cup of oil (olive or almond oil). I also heavily base my scalp, as well as the entire length of my hair-- from root to tip. I process my relaxer for the normal amount of time for my hair type which is usually 10-12 minutes or so. Since I know I am working with a thick vaseline buffer and diluted relaxer, I do not fret if I accidentally go over my time. I also smooth my hair to what appears to be 100% straightness as a final step.

Final Notes:

An entire head of texlaxed hair takes years to grow in. You will notice the difference between your bone straight hair and texlaxed hair on wash day-- because your texlaxed hair will appear fuller against your thin, bone straight ends. Texlaxed texture is best seen on air-dried hair. If you ever grow tired of the texlaxed results, in mostcases* a corrective relaxer can set you straight. * I've heard of many cases where those who used no-lye relaxers had a harder time correcting the underprocessing than sisters who used lye relaxers. That is something to keep in mind.

Finally, remember-- texlaxed results may not be apparent immediately after your relaxer. Many times, several washings and conditionings are required to reveal your level of texture. An explanation of why this occurs can be found in this article: The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing.

Hair Update and The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing

Hair Update and The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing
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For those of you who have been following my hair journey, you already know that I had been without a relaxer for almost 6-months due to pregnancy and then decided that I liked my natural texture, but not enough to continue to go completely natural.  Because I have basically been getting relaxers since I was 9 years old and always got retouches every 6-8 weeks, I only noticed the untameable attributes of my hair.  Having 6 months of new growth let me see that my natural hair was a bit unruly, but also very curly and kind of pretty.  While researching how to treat my transitioning hair during my 6-month journey, I learned of a term called "texlaxing."

Once I was free to go back to getting relaxers, I decided, instead, to texlax my hair.  I considered this my happy medium.  I am posting a beginners guide to texlaxing that I found online at Yahoo Voices.
Before reading the below article, I think it makes sense to give you an update on my hair, which will explain why I am looking for further explanations on texlaxing in the first place. 
So, I went to the salon in early April with loads of product on my hair.  I found an old hair protectant gel under my sink in the bathroom that came with a relaxer kit I brought a long time ago.  It was supposed to protect previously relaxed hair from being re-processed, while you were relaxing your ends.  After basing my scalp with hair grease, I applied this protectant on my previously relaxed hair and my 5-6 months of new growth.  When I went to the salon, I asked for a mild relaxer.  Since they didn't have this available (I was getting a Mizani relaxer), I explained to the hairdresser that I did not want bone straight hair and would like her to put the relaxer in and wash it out shortly after.
The results, as far as I was concerned, were perfect.  My hair had a slight wave when the relaxer was washed out, but it easily straightened with the roller set and root blow out that I got.  We went to Jamaica the following week and I noticed that when my hair got wet for the first time (at Dunns River Falls), it curled up and stuck up all over my head.  I thought it was a very pretty curl pattern (which excited me), but didn't want to look like a scarecrow, so I slicked it down with some more water and put placed a headband on top.  When we returned from Jamaica and I washed my hair for the first time, my roots were even more curly and the middle of the back of my hair was basically reverted to it's natural state. :-/  On top of that, I would have short strands of hair all over the bathroom floor whenever I combed my hair.....even when I used my fingers or a shower/wide-toothed comb.  I mention short strands because I want to make a distinction between natural hair shedding and breakage.  My hair is not extremely long, but close to armpit length.  There is a big difference, in length, of the hairs that would be on the floor if my hair was shedding vs. if it was breaking.  One week I did a protein deep conditioning treatment to strengthen my hair and the next week I did a deep moisturizing conditioning treatment to combat any breakage from dryness.  Still my hair continues to break. 
Anyway, one of my BFFs transitioned to natural hair many years ago and she suggested that since I was not willing to do the Big Chop (where I cut off all my relaxed ends and start fresh) that maybe I should start wearing my hair straight until I get this breakage under control.  She suggested that the difference in textures is likely causing my hair to break.  While I think she's right and I'm probably going to have to get my hair done for a little while (or get braids or a weave), I also decided to do some research on Texlaxing and try to learn more about the process and what happens when you transition into texlaxed hair.
  • The Beginner's Guide to Texlaxing
  • Published: Tue November 24th, 2009
  • By: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
  • Category: Beauty
Do you want more body, texture, and volume with your relaxed hair look? Are you tired of dry, flat, lifeless relaxed hair that continues to break? Consider "texlaxing" your hair!
What is Texlaxing?
"Texlaxing" is a term that was coined on internet hair care forums to describe a relaxer service that is intentionally allowed to underprocess in order to create volume and texture in the hair strands. The word "texlax" is a cross between two very real chemical services: texturizing and chemically relaxing. Texlaxing simply represents a point of middle ground between the two chemical services.
What's the Difference: Texturizing, Relaxing, Texlaxing?
Texturizer: A texturizer is a chemical process that is formulated to loosen the natural curls and kinks of textured hair types. Texturizers are typically done by individuals who wish to wear their hair curly a majority of the time, but prefer a looser, defined curly look.
Relaxer: A relaxer completely straightens the kinks and curls in textured hair. It's typically worn by those who wish to wear straighter hair styles on a regular basis.
Texlaxed Hair: Texlaxed hair straddles the fence between the two services and offers the best of both worlds. It is, essentially, an underprocessed relaxer. Depending on the degree of relaxer underprocessing one chooses, texlaxed hair can allow much of the original texture and curl to remain in the hair while still allowing it to straighten easily to near stick straightness. Though this textured looking result is achieved with a straightening relaxer, the underprocessed hair often looks similar to texturized hair-- hence the term "texlaxed."
It is often very difficult to differentiate between texlaxed and relaxed hair if the hair is heat styled, and depending on the level of underprocessing--texlaxed hair and texturized hair when airdried. Texlaxed hair shows its texture best when the hair is airdried and unmanipulated after a wash.
Why Should you Texlax Your Hair?
Texlaxing Improves Thickness and Elasticity:
Texlaxing your hair can be extremely beneficial. For one, by allowing a bit of natural texture to remain in the hair, texlaxing is able to drastically improve the thickness of the hair. No more limp, lifeless bone-straight hair. Texlaxing also helps the hair retain its elasticity so that it can resist breakage. Overall, and barring any additional strain or processing, texlaxed hair is a healthier head of hair!
Texlaxing Reduces Bond Breakage:
Texlaxing reduces the number of broken protein and disulfide bonds in the hair. These intact disulfide and protein linkages are directly responsible for the hair's natural strength because less bond breakage means stronger hair.
Texlaxed Hair Tolerates Color Better:
Texlaxed hair is also better conditioned to tolerate hair color than fully relaxed hair. Permanent hair coloring and relaxing can greatly damage the cuticle and inner layers of the hair, but since texlaxed hair is "partially or slightly" relaxed hair, there is less overall assault on the hair fiber. Simply put, hair fairs better when it is colored as texlaxed hair versus fully relaxed hair.
Texlaxing is a Safety Net:
Texlaxing the hair provides a buffer against overprocessing a relaxer. Even if you slip up and allow your relaxer to process a bit longer than it should, you've got extra, intact hair bonds on your side!
After relaxing your hair, your texlaxed hair results may not be apparent at first. Some hair properties, like texture, take a few washes to bring out because of the various levels of deep bond breakage that take place during a relaxer. Texlaxed hair may appear almost bone straight and even limp and flat immediately after a relaxer, but replacing your lost/broken hydrogen bonds through washing and deep conditioning will return some of the original thickness and texture.
I hear it (and have said it myself!) so many times, "My hair is better 2-3 days after the relaxer... after I wash it." (This hair phenomenon of delayed texture appearance is exactly where the saying "washing out a relaxer" comes from! Hair appears straight, but after a few washes the hair appears to revert or thicken.) Remember-- You cannot wash out a relaxer-any disulfide bonds broken by your relaxer are broken forever. But hydrogen bonds in the hair, however, can be reformed. These are the bonds we rely on for our "sets" and are affected by wetting and drying the hair. Texlaxing the hair disturbs fewer hair bonds all around.
Texlaxing is not for everyone. Before texlaxing your hair, decide on the level of texture you wish to maintain. Allowing too much texture to remain when you are used to dealing with much straighter hair can cause manageability problems which can lead to breakage. On the other hand, fully processing the relaxer defeats the purpose of texlaxing. A happy medium should be sought.
Some individuals also experience uneven textures, dryness, and shedding when they texlax their hair. Each person is different, and will have a different experience with this procedure. For a vast majority however, including myself, texlaxing is one of the best things they've ever done for their hair.
* In my experience, the two best relaxers to use for texlaxing are Mizani and ORS.  Details on the two types of relaxers I have used can be found in the links below.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Subscription Boxes

I am still on this crazy hair journey (I fear that I may have some setbacks fairly soon), but my new obsession is subscription boxes. I want them all!

I have been subscribing to POPSUGAR 's MUST HAVE monthly subscription boxes since December 2012 and have recently subscribed to CURLKIT. 

I have even decided to create a personalized box for my husband each month. :-)

Going forward, I will be revealing what I have received in my subscription boxes each month. The items I want, I will keep and the items I don't want, I will gift, trade, auction or sell off. I have a few items from months past that I still need to get rid of, which I plan to post on eBay at some point soon. 

Descriptions of each subscription box is listed below:

Monthly - $35
  • Hand-selected items in beauty, fashion, home, fitness, and food
  • Full-size products and premium items

Monthly - $20
Each month, CurlKit sends out a selection of 6-9 samples that their team of online experts, researches and even tries themselves. In each CurlKit you'll receive everything from pomades and conditioners to natural hair tools, from well-known brands as well as emerging gems.

I have many more boxes that I want to subscribe to, but I've decided to limit myself to two for now. Maybe I'll increase the amount in the future or replace one with another. My ultimate preference is to have a subscription box crew who all subscribes to different boxes. This way, we can all make our reveal each month and trade items that may be useful for some, but not useful for others. So basically, we could have a subscription box item swap each month. 

EVENTS: Africans In India Exhibit at The Shomburg Center in Harlem

Africans In India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers

Now through Thursday, July 18, 2013

Program Locations:

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Latimer/Edison Gallery (Map and directions)
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
10:00 AM -
6:00 PM
Partially accessible to wheelchairs


Over the centuries, East Africans have greatly distinguished themselves in India as generals, commanders, admirals, architects, prime ministers, and rulers. They have written a story unparalleled in the rest of the world: that of enslaved Africans attaining the pinnacle of military and political authority.

Known as Habshis (Abyssinians) and Sidis, they have left an impressive historical and architectural legacy that attest to their determination, skills, and intellectual, cultural, military and political savvy.

This exhibition, the first of its kind, retraces—in over 100 photographic reproductions of paintings and contemporary photographs—the lives and achievements of a few of the many talented and prominent Sidis of yesterday.

Curated by Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf and Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins.

For more information on Africans in India, visit the online exhibition The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World.