Monday, November 15, 2010

Long Overdue Update

I must admit again that I am a terrible blogger! Between work and Stenography school, I have very little time to do anything. Nevertheless, I thought it was time to provide another harline update.

I visited the doctor that did my procedure with every intention to ask for some type of refund, as I didn't feel like I had gotten my money's worth out of the procedure. Though I had noticed some subtle changes, I didn't feel like I got what I paid for. That is until she showed me just how bad my hairline was before. See for yourself...

Sorry! I didn't have on any makeup on either pic and was looking a little rough! Hence, the sad face. The second pic shows where the doctor marked my hairline with a sharpie indicating what she would be replacing.
And here's my present day hairline....

I guess a picture is worth 1,000 words. Truly amazing!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

THOSE ENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I SO wish I could just take the weed whacker to my hair right now!! My locs officially turned 18 months old on 6/7/10, and they are acting more like a 13-year-old child... Bratty, rebellious and unruly! Here are some pics of them before a "mini" grooming of sorts at my last retightening.

Here are some pics after my consultant cut off some of the stringy ends...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting Back to ME my 2010 had a very rocky start. One of the best relationships I had ever had ended unexpectedly and put me into a major tailspin. Though I worked diligently to keep it together, one of the most important and valuable elements of my life--physical fitness--fell by the wayside.

I went from working out at least 5 days a week to lying in bed every opportunity I got. Whereas junkfood was a treat for my "cheat day", I started eating fast food or soul food at least twice a day...often more. Thankfully, my metabolism was on my side and I only gained about 8 pounds during my siesta, but my body suffered for it--greatly.

I have always searched for holistic treatments for my Lupus, and most of the research cautions against processed foods, extra sugars and fats. Well, that counted out McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A and Bojangle's for sure! For some reason, however, I found comfort in the salt, fat and sugar. I knew I had to make a change becuase I was practicing behaviors that I had advised people I had worked with against. I now fully understood the aspects of emotional eating and the negative ramifications thereof. It was time to get back on track...

Well, my six months are officially OVER today!!! I took six months to get the man out of my system, and I am now going to get back to ME!

How can I possibly have natural hair and not be into yoga? I started last summer, and had gotten quite flexible. I can remember how it affected my life. Even though my life was still stressful, I responded to the stress much better when I was actively practicing yoga. There is something to be said about finding a quiet place and shutting off the world even for a few minutes. I have returned to making meditation a daily MUST-DO. 10 - 15 minutes can make such a major difference.


Having seen the negative consequences of not maintaining colon health daily in my line of work (I get to watch colonoscopies and upper endoscopies every day!), I am a firm believer in nourishing yourself from the inside out. I never start a new diet or exercise regimen without doing an in depth internal cleanse. I have used Colonix for years. This regimen requires a commitment, as it typically lasts at least 30 days. It is often recommended for 60 - 90 days for first timers. It can be a little bit on the pricey side as well, but I feel like it's well worth the investment. It is basically a regimen of pills and a fiber supplement in the morning followed by an herbal tea at bedtime. I like this program because it doesn't shackle you to a bathroom or give you any "uh-oh" moments. Rather, it simply puts you on a regular (no pun intended) schedule. I typically found that I was going twice a day-usually around the same time of day. It also requires at least 64 ounces of WATER a day which is a very important part of any health regimen, and it is by far the most thorough cleansing out there. The website even shows pictures of what comes out of people's bodies! Yeah.... just a little too gross for me. It's amazing what happens when you actually start with a clean slate. For more information on Colonix, visit


Once the colon is clean, the body is ready to absorb additional nutrients. With the stress and lack of nutrition of everyday life, I am a big advocate of supplementing a healthy diet with supplements. I was introduced to the Liquid Health line of products at a local health food store, and I love them. Not being a fan of swallowing a lot of pills, I find that these supplements are easier to take, and I think they have better absorption because they are already in liquid form. All of the Liquid Health products are totally organic and derive their nutrients from whole foods which are better for the body, and even better for a body with Lupus.
I use the multi vitamin, immune boost, joint formula, and hair loss formula. Since Lupus effects the immune system, joints and hair I thought Why not?
WORD OF CAUTION: They don't taste or smell the best, so what I typically do is mix all four in a tumbler (2 ounces each), pinch my nose and take it to the head. It is a good idea to have some water handy to chase it because the aftertaste will definitely stick with you. This is NOT for the faint of heart, but the benefits definitely outweigh the taste in my opinion.
Well, DUH!!! In additon to yoga, I have started regular cardio and weight training again. I am now actually looking for a DVD exercise program to take with me when I travel. My biggest challenge has always been finding a gym in some of the small towns my job takes me to. I am considering Zumba or Brazil Butt Lift, but haven't decided yet. I will post my decision and a review once I decide. In the meantime, I am starting off with 20 minutes of cardio 4 days a week and light weight training for 4 days a week just to get my body acclimated to moving again on a regular basis.
Believe it or not, this is my FAVORITE part of the entire regimen because I love to cook! There is something exciting about finding healthy alternatives to foods most people already like! In fact, I don't even like the word diet, because it indicates depriving oneself. That should NEVER be the case. I know from experience that it's really about a lifestyle change, and if you can stick with healthier food choices for at least 30 days, you won't even like the junk food anymore. There was a time that I couldn't even STAND the smell of grease, and I am looking forward to getting back there.
So I guess the tone of my blog will change a little. Not only will I be chronicling my hair journey, but my journey of self re-discovery. I am actually excited. Let's continue to grow together!

Another Hairline Update

At almost 6 months post proceudre, I can finally see major progress. My hairline is actually getting thicker and will be long enough to lock soon. There are still patches that haven't come in yet, but I can see some peach fuzz. Average time for noticeable results is about 9 months, so I am looking forward to the next few months...


The Babies Are Growing!

I think the biggest challenge I have had to face since my procedure is the donor site which was completely shaved. I basically have to deal with practically mature locks and brand new locks on the same head of hair, and it can be rather frustrating. In addition to my 4-week retightening schedule, I am on a 2-week maintenance schedule for the locks at my donor site because they usually come completely aloose in that time frame. My consultant has tried everything from combining the new growth with existing locks to starting fresh ones. For now, we are going to stick with starting new ones and trying to maintain them until they lock.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Styling

As I stated earlier, my locs are definitely in their teenage stage, and they are doing what THEY want to do which makes styling a pain. My usual braid out used to last at least two weeks (especially if I used setting lotion), but now it looks bad after a few days. One of the reasons I decided to lock was because I typically don't like to fuss with my hair. Unfortunately, lately I find that I have to re-braid my hair in order to get it to look decent. Sometimes I will pin it up and leave it for a week, but sometimes I don't even feel like doing that.

Lately, the only way I can seem to cover up the overall chaos of my rebellious locks is to mask it with a braid out. I am sure there are other ways to get the "wavy" look, but here's what I do:
I normally like to start with freshly washed hair. Even though it's been nearly 18 months, I had to learn the hard way NOT to wash without braiding and banding. So, I will braid and band, wash once with the Sisterlocks Starter Shampoo then follow that with the Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo. I am still trying to control dandruff, so I will usually lather my hair really well then let it sit on my scalp while I finish my shower. I will then rinse and towel blot my hair (I use black towels in case lint wants to hang around).

I then spritz my hair with a mixture of Distilled Water and LottaBody Setting Lotion. I use the professional formula since it tends to hold better. I dilute it because it tends to leave a sticky residue on the locks and cause the hair to smell after a few days. This could be due to my workout schedule. My hair sweats terribly.

I use a travel hairspray bottle instead of the hairdresser squirt bottle. The travel hairspray bottle provides more even coverage of the hair and doesn't leave the hair soaking wet which can cause drying issues:

To clarify, I don't spritz the hair all at one time. Rather as I section it off, I spray each individual section. I then braid it in individual braids and tuck the ends under and secure them with an ouchless ponytail holder.

I have tried several options for securing the ends of my braid out, and this one tends to work best for me. I sleep pretty wildly, so perm rods were uncomfortable (though they provided the most uniform curl), and the flexi rods were bulky, and I would actually wake up and had lost some. I have yet to try soft spikes, but I have read other blogs and lots of sisters swear by them. I find that the ponytail holders are convenient and easily portable in case I have to re-style while I am traveling, and they are cheap.

Here is what my hair looks like once I have completed setting it:

Then comes the fun part! As my hair has started to lock and gotten thicker, I find that I have to sit under the dryer for a couple of hours before going to bed. Otherwise my hair will still be wet in the morning when I take it down. I have also noticed that drying it cuts back on the frizzies, so I tend to set my hair on Sunday nights, so I will be cute for the work week. My dryer of choice: The Gold N' Hot Soft Bonnet Dryer. They make a bonnet that attaches to a blow dryer, but I never had much luck with that one. It never quite fits on the dryer nozzlew properly, and it shorts out the blow dryer. The Bonnet Dryer is very portable, easy to set up, and it doesn't totally fry you. You look like something off a Sci-Fy thriller for a couple of hours, but it does the trick. I have even taken this dryer on trips with me. If you pad it nicely, and have a decent sized bag, you can usually get it through airport security without ruffling too many feathers.

After my mini-drying session, I put on a satin bonnet and turn in for the night. The next morning, I will carefully take down the braided sections and spritz them with one of my various "maintenance sprays" which usually consists of rose water mixed with some EO's (lavender, rosemary, tea tree, peppermint, etc....). I then massage my scalp in an effort to cover up the parts from the wet set. I then run my fingers through my hair to make the set as uniform as possible and "decorate" it as desired. Of course, with all of my hairline issues, I typically top off the style with one of my MANY satin headbands. I tend not to like the style as much the first couple of days, as the curls are really tight, but they relax over time and look better. At night, I put my hair into two loose ponytails and cover with a satin bonnet, and the next morning I finger comb and head out the door. When my hair wants to cooperate, this style can last from 7 - 10 days. Lately it hasn't, but that's just because my hair is being difficult.

Anywho... here is a pic of the finished product:

The Battle Continues

In my quest to get my hairline back, it appears that I have completely traumatized my scalp, and I am suffering from TERRIBLE dandruff still. After scouring the internet for natural remedies, I have most recently stumbled across the "wonder combo": Aloe Vera Gel and Tea Tree Oil. This is a tricky combination as too much Tea Tree oil can have a drying effect which can make the dandruff worse, and with my relaxed curl pattern, I still have quite a bit of hair that has not even THOUGHT about locking. Thus, I have to use a light hand when applying the Aloe Vera Gel. It's been reported that Aloe Vera Gel can aid in growth as well, so it's worth a shot.... I will keep you posted on what happens.

I also found a new best friend as I was shopping for herbal dandruff remedies: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat and Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Shampoo. Each have become staples in my hair care regimen. The Tea Tree Shampoo helps soothe my itchy, flaky, healing scalp and the 50/50 gives me the clarifying properties I need with just enough moisture. It doesn't cause my locks to unravel. All of their products are natural (no dyes, perfumes, additives, chemicals or preservatives), and they last a long time. They can be a little pricey (around $8.00 a bottle), but it is well worth it. I am actually looking forward to trying some of their other products for the skin.