Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roller Setting Natural Hair-What I Have Learned

Roller setting any hair type is a tricky business.  Still, you can achieve smooth results using rollers on natural hair.  Once you get the technique down you can get salon quality hair at home.  

Here are some things I've learned about roller setting my natural hair.

1. Taking the hair down while it's still damp (not completely dry) will result in frizz.  
I have done this so many times so I know this to be true.  Sometimes the frizziness actually adds to the style though if your going for a bigger look.  However if it's sleek and smooth you want, you gotta leave the rollers in until completely dry.
2. For bouncy hair use as little product as possible. 
I use a good leave in, maybe a dime size of heat protectant and then just water to re-wet each section when I want a soft, bouncy set.  Setting lotion is also an option if I want more hold and is usually not too heavy.
3. Using oils may extend the drying time
I learned this one the hard way one night after rolling my hair while it still had some oils in it from my deep conditioning treatment.  I sat under the dryer for 2 hours and it still wasn't dry!  I ended up having to sleep on the rollers until morning...ouch!
5. Use a good leave-in conditioner
Since natural hair has so much texture I've found that smoothing each section with the rat tail comb or Denman Brush is much easier when I apply a good leave-in.  My favorites are Garnier Fructis and Kinky Curly Knot Today because they give lots of slip.
6. Stick with rollers that are the right size for your hair length
Using rollers that are too large for your length can make rolling the hair more awkward.  
7. Don't put too much hair on the roller.
If the parted section is wider than the roller, the hair may slip off of the roller from the sides leaving some puffy strands.  Also, putting too much hair on to one roller can result in longer drying times and semi-smooth results.
8. Ponytail Roller set = smooth roots
If I'm going for a curly look I don't even worry about the roots.  It's when I want a more straight look where the smoother roots come in handy.  You can always whip out the flat iron for this but using ponytail holders to smooth the roots works too.  There are plenty of discussions online and YouTube videos on this technique. 

My hair after a Ponytail Roller Set and Silk Wrap

Ponytail Roller Set on Natural Hair

Recently, I have tried my hand at roller setting my hair again and I absolutely love it.  This was a staple style for me when I was transitioning because it was a way to blend my roots with the straight ends.  I'm not a huge fan of sitting under the dryer though so I stopped doing it so often and only pulled the rollers out for special occasions.  Since I've been reviewing the whole flat iron thing I realized that using direct heat on my hair is actually doing more harm than good.  I can get smooth results with the rollers and save my hair the damage from straightening with heat.  
There was still one thing though.  Whenever I did a roller set it took forever in a day to get all of the rollers in and I would end up with puffy roots.  Well, there's a little cheat called the, "Ponytail Roller Set," where you use ponytail sections to smooth the roots.  I still sectioned my hair with the mohawk down the middle and two side sections.  So there were 4 ponytails down the middle and 3 on either side.  I used mini Ouchless bands which worked well because they slid out pretty easily.  Then I only had to use two large rollers per ponytail.  I was so happy that it took a lot less time to get all of the rollers in and even more so that I could actually comb through my roots.  That night I even did my very first successful Saran Wrap/Silk Wrap.  This is when you wrap the hair after the roller set to smooth it for a more straight look.  My results were so nice that I've decided, from now on, I'm going to use my rollers when I want to wear it straight.  I'm okay with using the flat iron on my roots every once in awhile but there really is no need to put that kind of stress on my ends each time.  Here are some pics of how it turned out.

Top View

Back and Side

Roots turned out smooth

The setting lotion I used

Results from the Saran Wrap/Silk Wrap


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Knitting Season

Almost finished knitting up my scarf
During the warmer months I don't tend to think very much about knitting.  For me, I always reach for my yarn when the first sign of fall hits.  As always, I have a long list of projects on my brain especially this close to Christmas.  Let's face it though, my dream of knitting everyone in the family a hat and scarf set is probably not gonna happen at this point.

My Crocheted Beret
Completed last year
For right now, I'm finishing up a replacement scarf for myself with a neat little yarn I picked up at an estate sale a couple of years ago.  Once that's done, I'm moving onto knitting Harry Potter themed scarves* for my kids.  The twins are in first grade so I can get away with knitting something a little shorter in length but I'm sure my oldest would like his full scale.  His will be in the colors of Slytherin house.  I guess my Griffindor scarf will have to wait until after the holidays because I'll be really busy until then.

This leaves me with very little time to knit or crochet up a nice beanie for when my hair is still in braids on cold mornings.  Whenever I do a braid out my hair is sometimes not completely dry until the afternoon.  For this reason I just keep it braided up while I take the kids to school.  For now, I'm using the beret I crocheted last year but I want to change it up a bit.  Also, it would be nice if I could just wear french braids as a protective style under a cute beanie a few days each week until I reach my goal length.  I'm really pushing for APL (still!) by New Year's but I've got to start wearing my hair up more.

Up Close
Luckily, I just found out about a good deal on crocheted beanies at from (natural hair blog by Kinky Curly Queen of YouTube fame).  She mentioned that some hats on the site were priced as low as $5.50 so I'm gonna jump on it before they're gone.  As far as crafting goes, it looks like it'll be a cup of tea, a movie and some knitting needles every night until the holidays if I want to get those scarves in.  Happy Crafting!

* CLICK HERE If you want to find out more on How to Knit a Harry Potter Scarf

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Henna and Indigo Results

I finally got around to ordering my indigo so that I could cover my burgundy hair color with something a little more modest.  I'm sure the bright red henna'd hair I had before is appealing to some but it was not my cup of tea.  I wasn't quite ready for the lengthy two step process where you henna first, rinse out and then apply indigo for a jet black result.  Instead, I mixed one package of Godrej Nupur Henna (50g) with 100 grams indigo.  I ordered the indigo powder from which is the same online store where I get my raw unrefined shea butter.
I kept the henna mix pretty simple as always and just mixed it with a mug of strong green tea to help the dye release.  I added enough water to give the mixture a smooth, almost pancake batter consistency and let it sit overnight.  The next day, when I was ready to apply it, I mixed the indigo into a paste with just plain water and added it to the henna.  I don't add oils anymore because I read that it can slow the dyeing process.  I applied the "Hendigo" to my hair like a clay mask and covered with plastic wrap.  Then I waited for four hours before rinsing and then co-washing several times to get it all out of my hair.

The application took very well to the majority of my hair but left my grey strands with just a tinge of color.  I'm planning on doing another application to the roots and grey hairs sometime this week 'cause I don't need everybody knowin' how old I'm getting.  If my greys are still too obvious afterward I may reconsider dyeing my hair all black with the two step process.

My stubborn grey strands are still noticeable 
I like the reddish brown tone in the sun

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In

New version vs. the old
Now has Argan Oil
Early on in my Hair Journey, I heard a lot about this product in the online Natural Community.  I decided to try the leave-in conditioner by Garnier Fructis because I liked the fact that it had a creamy consistency.  The spray formulas I used before just did not seem to work as well on my natural hair.  For a long time this product was my go-to leave-in on days when I did a roller set or straightened my hair because it gave my hair a lot of slip.  A few months after doing the BC, I started learning about silicones and how they can cause build-up that is only washed away by using a shampoo with sulfates in it.  At the time, I was trying my best to stay away from sulfates so I decided to stop using this product but still kept it in my product bin.  You know the one I'm talkin' about. . . that bin that holds all of those un-used products until you get around to using them again or trading with someone else.

Later, I went back to the product (saved from the bin!) after I found more information on silicones and how some are heavier than others.  The only silicone in this product is amodimethicone which is a light silicone that is actually considered (by some) water soluble because of the way it reacts with water.  Since I now like to use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of build-up occasionally, I know that this ingredient is not going to cause any problems for me.

Now, on to the product review.  Like I said earlier, the product has a light, creamy consistency.  It has a citrus scent with apricot which is pleasant and not overpowering.  Garnier Fructis recently introduced a new formula that includes Argan Oil which is a plus.  I would say the new and old forumulas have the same scent but the new one does seem to be a tad richer in consistency.  I tend to lean towards products that are affordable and easily accessible so this one fits the bill on both counts.  You can find it at Target, Walmart, Grocery and Drug Stores for about $5.00 USD.  This is one of those products where a little goes a long way.  I use it on wet hair as a moisturizer and then I seal it in with my Olive Oil/Coconut Oil mix before stretching my hair with braids or a bun.
Claims to give lasting smoothness and
frizz control

To apply it, I part my hair down the middle (front to back) and apply about a quarter size amount (sometimes more) to each side.  The product tends to last me a long time this way.  I like to use it when I blow dry my hair with the comb attachment because it has a lot of slip.  Using this also makes a big difference for those times when I want to pull my hair into a bun using my denman brush. . . believe me!  Please note that it does not play nice with Eco Styler or IC Fantasia gels (white flake reaction alert!).  For this reason, I use my Suave Naturals in Coconut flavor when I do wash n go's with gel.

The product claims that it can provide, "Intense smoothing for long-lasting frizz control & shine".  In my experience, I believe that it does give my hair a lot more manageability than when I style with another product.   I'm always surprised at how easy it is to smooth the product through my hair.  This is helpful when I'm trying to avoid frizzy hair because I don't have to manipulate my strands very much to apply it.  Overall, I think it is a great product for natural hair because it adds moisture to the hair while also making the hair more pliable.  It gets a two thumbs up and is a staple that I will not do without.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What My Hair Has Been Up To

I know I haven't been posting very much lately but I wanted to share some of the styles that I have been rockin' the last few weeks.  I have actually been wearing my hair straight a little more which I think is coming to an end this week.  At least until I can get my hands on a flat iron that has a heat dial so I can adjust the temperature setting.  My FHI Technique G2 straightens really well but only has one setting...400+ degrees!  I know that a lot of you are thinking why use heat in the first place?  I know, it can be damaging but, I'm one of those Naturals who likes to use it occasionally.  Anywhoo, enough of the straight talk and on to the pics. . . Enjoy!

Corkscrew Braid Out
at the Denver Art Museum

Flat Twist Up Do
My current favorite during the week
to keep my hair protected

Corkscrew Braid Out
with Satin Scarf Headband
with Eco Styler Gel on my edges
Corkscrew Braid Out
Back View

Straight Hair in August just
before Trim

Wash n' Go at City Park

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Biking with Natural Hair

My Bike Helmet
with Flat Twists Underneath
My family and I love going on outdoor adventures.  This summer we have been doing a lot more bike riding together.  I always make sure that the kids wear their helmets but I haven't really been into wearing mine. 

That was until I noticed nearly every other adult on the bike path wearing theirs.  At the very least they had on a cap for sun protection.  So I decided it was time to get out the old bike helmet.  Never mind the fact that it makes me look like Kazoo from the Flintstones.  Safety first, right?  The only thing I had to figure out though was what to do with my thick, curly hair underneath. 

When I go for a bike ride in the morning, the solution is pretty simple.  My hair is usually in twists or braids from the night before so I just wait until after the bike ride to take my hair down.  This means shuttling the kids to school while wearing a satin scarf on my head but hey, I know I'll be cute later on in the day, so that's alright.  I don't even bother removing the scarf because it protects my hair while under the helmet.  Another option is after a braid out when my hair is more flexible, I can get my hair to "lay down" under the helmet without too much of a fight using bobby pins. 

Flat Twists under Helmet
Back View
 Other times though when my hair is up in a bun or puff, the helmet doesn't really work.  Still, in Colorado you really can't get away without some type of sun protection.  The high elevation here can make for some serious sun exposure so I still like to wear a visor and leave my hair up on top of my head like in the pic below. 

So there you go Natural Hair Queens and Curly there is no reason not to rock your head gear while on your bike ride.  Be safe and happy riding.
Rockin' the Bun with
My Visor

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Clairol Semi-Permanent Color Rinse Results

Applied the color rinse
in sections to damp hair
In my last post I talked about doing a Dark Brown color rinse on my hair to help tone down the burgundy red tones from using Henna.  Unfortunately, I have not had much luck with the Beautiful Collection product by Clairol.  I don't think it's the product itself but my regimen that does not work with color rinsing. 

The first thing I didn't like is that I had to apply the product all over whereas with something more permanent you're just re-touching the roots after the first application.  I just figured I would start with this to see if I liked the color on me.  The other thing is that the product rinses out easily with conditioner. 

See what had happened was. . . Prior to applying the rinse, I decided to shampoo my hair so that it was free from any build-up.  Then I applied the rinse and left it on for the suggested amount of time 25 minutes (10 minutes of that was under the dryer).  I rinsed until the water ran clear and then did a deep conditioning treatment which sent me back under the dryer.  I think this is where I went wrong.  When I rinsed the conditioner out in the shower I saw a lot of the color rinsing out with it.  I followed up with an ACV rinse to close down the cuticles of my hair strands and towel dried.  I was planning on wearing my hair straight so I let it air dry overnight and flat ironed the next day.  When I went out into the sun...STILL BURGUNDY!  I was up all night doing my hair and the color didn't even take but like I said, the deep conditioning with heat is probably what did it.  I thought that maybe the hair cuticle opened up because of the heat from the hooded dryer and the color released.
My hair color the next day...still burgundy
I figured I would try one more time a few weeks later and this time just rinse the color out, apply conditioner in the shower, detangle and leave it at that.  I mean, I know Clairol doesn't think I can shampoo, apply a color rinse and not use conditioner to get my hair back in order do they?  Well, apparently I'm the crazy one because the color (after detangling and rinsing the conditioner out with cool water) came out again! 

The product in question
Clairol Beautiful Collection
Semi Permanent Color Rinse
in Darkest Brown
Part of me keeps thinking back to when I told my mom about adding deep conditioning treatments to her routine.  The semi-permanent color rinse by Clairol is the very reason why she wouldn't (or couldn't).  She explained to me that the color kept rinsing out when she tried to deep condition so she stopped...Hmmmm.  Well, anyway I can see now that I'm going to end up going with something more permanent next go 'round.  Maybe the 2 step Henna/Indigo is the right choice for me after all.  To be continued.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Semi Permanent Color Over Henna

My Henna'd Hair in the Sun

As you can see from the title, I have finally decided that I'm going to attempt to cover my currently burgundy hair with a Semi-Permanent rinse.  When I started using henna I mixed it with Indigo in order to get a brunette effect.  I was never really successful but continued to use henna each month for the past year or so.  Although, I love the benefits from using henna, I never really intended for my hair to end up so red.  We're talkin' Rhianna type red in the sunlight at this point. 

I've been debating this for a few months now.  Originally I decided that I would just order more indigo and do a two step henna/indigo process.  This is where you apply the henna like normal and after rinsing it completely, apply the indigo for another 30 minutes to an hour and rinse.  The result is Jet black hair and it is permanent.  I know from past efforts that black hair does not look so hot against my skin tone.  Somehow it makes my face look really red and I always have trouble adjusting my makeup palette to suit the black hair color.  Because of this, the darkest I can go is a dark brown. 

For this reason, I decided to go with Clairol's Beautiful Collection in the color Darkest Brown which has a neutral base.  It is a formula that does not contain ammonia or peroxide.  I've read over on that the Clairol line is pretty much the only one considered gentle enough for Natural hair.  I'm going this route because I figure the color result will be more predictable than trying to mix henna and indigo for the color I want.  The only thing I'm concerned about at this point is the Isopropyl Alcohol which can be drying.  I'm going to make sure and do a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment after rinsing the product and then do an ACV rinse to close down the hair cuticles.  I'll post pictures after the application and do a review.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review-The Hair Stopper

The Hair Stopper
at Walmart for about $4.50
I recently bought an item that I thought would help with the shedded hairs that collect in our bathtub. This may not be very pleasant to discuss but I still thought I would share my experience with a product called, the Hair Stopper.  My husband has long straight hair and washes it almost daily.  I like to co-wash a couple times each week and also detangle my hair while under the running water of the shower.  I won't go into detail but we were in need of something to help with the hair that kept building up in the tub.  I found the Hair Stopper at Walmart for about $4.50 USD and was really hoping that it would work for us. 

How it works is you're supposed to remove the little grate that already covers the drain in the tub.  Then insert the Hair Stopper, which says it should fit most household drains, into the drainage hole.  It ended up fitting so I figured all things were a go.  Did it work you ask?  Well, let's just say that it did stop. . . the WATER from going down the drain!  I felt like I started out taking a shower and ended up wading in bath water.  I mean what gives?!  I tried to tweak it a little but it still acted like a plug and not a catch-all.  I planned on returning it later that week, but of course, my crazy dog, Grover, thought it would make a great chew toy.  Needless to say, it's back to the drawing board on this one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How I Style My Heat Damaged Hair for a Wash n' Go

A plait in front helps to
blend the straight pieces
with the rest of my curly hair
Even though the majority of my hair is still nice and curly, the front of my hair is practically straight when I wear a wash n' go because of heat damage.  I've been doing lots of braid outs and twist outs to help add texture to that area.  I finally figured out how to blend the straight pieces in with the rest of my hair when I wear my natural curls.  I feel so silly for not figuring it out sooner but hey, better late than never.

Gel of Choice
for my Wash n' Go styles
Basically, I apply product to my hair the way I normally would for a wash n' go.  I use leave-in conditioner on wet hair (usually Suave Coconut Conditioner) and then seal with oil.  Right now I'm lovin' African Royale's Hot Six Oil, which is a Bronner Bros. product.  Then I apply Argan Oil Eco Styler Gel to my hair in medium size sections starting with the back and rake it through.  When I get to the front, heat damaged area, I still apply products in the same way.  Then I take that section and braid it up in one plait.  Sometimes I'll do a two strand twist with a roller on the end.  Since I start my wash n' go's at night, I usually pull the rest of my hair back into a puff and cover my hair with a satin bonnet.  The next day I take down the puff and spritz with my leave-in spray mixture.  Then I shake my hair out to bring the curls back to life.  Lastly, I take down the plait or twist, which is usually a bit damp but is now wavy in texture and blends in better with the rest of my hair. 

The front now blends with the rest of my hair

Wavy bangs are better than straight for this look

Back/Side View

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival 2011

I remember attending the very first Cherry Creek Arts Festival when I was in High School.  I was a budding artist and the concept was so cool to me.  Basically, it's a large scale art event situated right in the middle of the Cherry Creek North shopping district.  There is usually a lot of live music, wine & beer gardens, food and even craft stations for the little ones.  Not only is there lots of cool activities, music and artist booths, but visiting the surrounding shops can be fun too.  Now that I'm older, I enjoy heading to the festival but with the family in tow.  My kids all love to draw so I like to think that maybe the art and artists are an inspiration for them now like the festival was for me when I was younger.  It sounded like a great way to spend my birthday this week which is only 3 days after the 4th of July. 

 Here are a few pictures I took at this years' event.

My Curly Braid out

Lots of good food

Just couldn't resist the Smoked Turky Leg

Festive 4th of July bikes

My Protective Hair Styles for Summer

Side Bun
I'm really trying to be patient for APL which has been my hair length goal for a while now.  I'm still an inch away from it which is really frustrating.  I'm guessing it will take another two months before I reach it.  I've decided that in order get to where I want to be, I need to really baby my hair and keep it protected. 

It actually feels good to keep my hair off of my neck on hot days.  I try to wear my hair up in a bun or french braids whenever I can.  Sometimes I also like to throw it up into the occasional puff.  I've even been thinking about wearing some type of half wig or lace front to keep my hair completely under wraps.  That's a new concept for me though so it may be a minute before I jump on that bandwagon.  I wore it down for the 4th of July weekend but now it's back up again.

Side Bun Back view

French Braids

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Herb Garden

Lavender Flowers in our herb garden
This morning the hubby and I got up to harvest a few herbs from our garden.  Almost everything in it is edible except for a few flower bushes and ground covers.  The soil is dark and rich and most of the plants come back each year which gives us lots of herbs all summer long.  Herbs can really take off once in the ground but we also have some planted in containers.  

Fresh cut lavender ready for drying

Our lavender bushes were the main concern today because the flowers can lose essential oils as the heat sets in later in the afternoon.  We have to cut them in the morning so that they'll be at their best for later use.  Afterwards, we hang them to dry in a cool, dark place and then use the flowers and buds in crafts like lavender sachets or Lavender Vanilla Sugar. 

Potted rosemary
I try to use most of the herbs fresh when I cook during the summer and whatever is left in the fall, we cut and dry for the winter months.  My husband also uses some of the herbs to make his own fruit & herb flavored vinegars which we currently sell in our Etsy store.

Fresh cut chives
This week we're planning on cooking steaks for the first time on our new grill so the chives we cut today will go great with baked potatoes.  I'm also looking forward to using the mint in drinks this weekend or to top a creamy dessert.

CHECK OUT our Etsy store, MimisCraftPantry for Dave's Herb Flavored Vinegars.

I use this in chicken dishes
and my homemade cornbread dressing

I love that it grows continuously
throughout the summer
Potted thyme
Adds flavor to soups and sauces

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sale This Week at!

I just found out that the already reasonable shopping on is going to be even better this week with their 4th of July Sale.  Some things are still "Buy 1 Get Free," even though it says Saturday and Sunday only.  I've been browsing through the Synthetic Lace wigs on sale and there is a lot to choose from.  Other items include jewelry, cosmetics, skincare and hair products.  I got the heads up from one of my favorite YouTubers Dezi1016 in a video where she is talking about some of the things that are for sale.  There's even a clearance section.  Check it out!

Click here to see Dezi1016's video

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Denver Natural Hair Meet-Up: The Re-Cap

Me and Sabrina Perkins of
I'm winding down and letting my feet rest after all of the days' activities.  There were plenty of things to do today before the meet-up downtown but we managed to pull it off.  The great thing about all of this is that Sabrina (of and I have lots of ideas for the next event.  Getting ready for tonight was like opening up a whole new world of possibilities.  We met lots of great contacts and found support from places we didn't know were there. 

The Rio Grande Mexican Grille served up some excellent strawberry margaritas and mexican dishes.   Thanks to the friendly staff who were also very accomodating, we had an enjoyable evening.  A big thanks to everyone who came out to our first event.  It was really great to get a chance to speak with everyone and share our tips and experiences.

Rio Grande Mexican Grille
in Downtown Denver

Hair talk and good food

Me with Shanae Smith and Ayanna Blueford
Loved talking with you ladies


Goodie bags with free samples
Thanks to all of the businesses that offered items for our gift bags including:  
Kinky Curly
Sephora Shops at Cherry Creek Mall and Northlands

Giveaway Prizes
(Carol's Daughter & Ojon Samples) More Than Curly Salon in Aurora (Ouidad Samples)

We look forward to doing it all again in the future so be sure to email either Sabrina or myself if you would like to receive info on upcoming events.


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