HAIR TODAY | GONE TOMORROW
56 | SURVIVOR OF DVT | 2 STROKES | BACK IN THE GYM |
& OUT ON THE DANCE FLOOR
This blog and research were borne out of my determination to restore hair loss around my edges. This was reinforced after my visit to the Afro Hair & Beauty 2018 Live show on 28th May 2018 (full blog entitled “Spring it On” published 27.05.18). I walked the length and depth
of the Business Design Centre (resting on vacant chairs whenever possible) and was intrigued to see that the age range on the quest to maintain our crowning glory not only spanned the decades but that 99% of the hair stalls were promoting “natural” hair growth and a mere 1% promoting relaxers. The stalls selling natural hair products sold out within an hour of opening and closing early with future orders placed on their books. A seminar I attended on the top floor was very informative, revealing and the “root” of my discovering my holy grail - Amla Oil.
When I first began writing this blog I admit to having tunnel vision. I became fixated on researching carrier oils and which essential oils I could add to it that would combat thinning, reluctant to grow hair at the hairline. I had no idea that I would stumble upon the versatility, not to mention the protective benefits, of wearing a wig, not to mention no sulphur shampoos and conditioner (more particularised below). After applying my Homemade Hair Repairing Concoctions (hereinafter “HHRC” for short) the wig allowed my hair to treat itself to a long overdue healing/convalescing siesta underneath.
MY SYNTHETIC WIGS: Below I share with you a link to synthetic wigs I bought for under £15 including shipping. This is the black bob which I am currently rocking in a corporate setting. The versatility of wearing it to the office and removing it for the gym (yes you heard me it goes into my locker while I am training). The compliments from my colleagues, subscribers and likes to my BFF Facebook profile photos (https://www.facebook.com/yolandsworld) have been outstanding and validates that the spray and brushes I use are definitely working.
BACK TO THE GYM
Below I touch upon my latest obsession of how after recovering from DVT (excruciating painful right leg could hardly walk) and two silent strokes in January 2018 I went back into the gym on 10 September and was on the dance floor last night (06.10.18) at the NAPTG Wear Something Black Ball (https://www.facebook.com/yolandsworld/videos/1049046231944221/). Rather than bore you with the day to day Calories burnt I have opted for Frontal and sideways shots of when I started in the gym and the same again, wearing the same gym clothes, on my one month anniversary 10 October 2018. I am impressed with the visual results because my summer break (pre-booked at the beginning of the year) fell slam-bang in the middle of my first month of training. Get a cup of your favourite drink and settle down we are going to be “hair” for a while!!!!!!
Why I used to relax my hair (weakening it) before having it tightly braided and covering my head with a weave I don’t know!!! They say “you live and learn” aged 56 I hope I have. About 4
years ago now I woke up one day and said to myself enough is enough. Two years later I discovered a hairdresser whose hands, not only as our mother’s used to say, “agreed with my hair” but who never plaited my hair so tight that I suffered the notorious 3 - 4 days’ unrelenting headache, instant facelift and/or sleepless nights. There began a beautiful friendship and my protective cycle with braids and weaves to this very day. This picture if the first hairstyle/updo my stylist ever created for me back 11 March 2016.
Initially, when my hairdresser informed me that as she plaited my hair she would take out my extensions for free I chanted whoop whoop. But when it came down to it, I opted to take out my braids myself. Mum used to say "he who feels it knows it" and no one knows better than me how sensitive my scalp is after long periods of literally doing nothing to it or touching my scalp. I hadn't given thought to the impact the high blood pressure tablets I am taking could have on my hair. My GP confirmed that the medication not only makes my blood thin and my scalp oversensitive. So in no more than an hour I gently remove my hair extensions without any pulling or tugging at the scalp and more importantly my already thin hairline. This also afforded me the opportunity to take step by step pictures of washing, dying, conditioning and moisturising my hair before my hairdresser visit tomorrow afternoon. For me, the safest and easiest way to take out my braids is with a 4mm knitting needle. I have used the same pair of knitting needles for this purpose going on 14 years. The smooth stainless steel surface and pointed edge simply glide between the plaited extensions.
AMLA OIL - The lecturer at the Afro Hair & Beauty seminar was insistent that we avoid purchasing Amla Oil from high street health shops as they all contain preservatives which could have a negative impact on your hair and reduce results. Golden Touch Pure Aromatherapy Alma Oil (no salt added) £2.65 E-Bay – my choice of brand of not only does not have any salt added but is pure and easily obtainable from E-Bay. Champions of Amla Oil claim that Amla Oil can promote hair growth and help treat dry, itchy scalp and dandruff. Besides fatty acids, amla fruit is high in vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, and also contain water, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
PRIOR TO USING AMLA OIL HHRC
Picture re-growth 21.04.18 – 13.06.18 (52 days regrowth) - The photo above is my hair taken out of extensions and prior to using HHRC. Although I have regrowth as defined by the grey roots but my hair is thin, lacklustre and my hairline at the front is sparse.
MY PROCESS USING AMLA OIL HHRC
Vanity means that I always opt to dye, treat and moisturise my hair prior to installing the braids. I am now going to mix up two bottles of my Sta-Sof-Fro Permanent hair dye (with no ammonia) PAKS £1.49 let it dry, wrap it in plastic tie my head. Over the years the middle of my scalp has proved resilient to all hair dyes bar this brand and so I have to leave the dye in for the maximum time specified otherwise the dye does not work for me.
NO SULPHUR SHAMPOO – I added two generous squirts Amla Oil to my new bottle of no sulphur Crème of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo bringing the contents to just below the rim. Secured the cap and shook the Amla Oil/Crème of Nature Shampoo vigorously. I changed my shampoo to one because it has no sulphur. Before I began my research I had never given thought to sulphur (the commonplace foaming agent in hair and beauty products). I used to see the adverts on the television saying that to obtain the salon look at home you need to start with your shampoo. I thought they meant purchasing a high-end brand of shampoo not that my shampoo might contain elements like sulphur that could be damaging to my hair. The downside of sulphur in hair products is that they can also strip natural oils from the scalp and hair. That can make hair dry and brittle. And if your scalp is sensitive, sulphates can cause irritation like redness, dryness, and itching. I think we can agree that plaiting our hair with extensions causes enough itching on its own without adding any more (covered below).
LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER & LOCKING IN & HAIR MOISTURE –. Amla Oil is a thick natural oil
and perfect carrier to seal in moisture and when mixed with the anti-humectant shea butter, which is the main ingredient in the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-in Conditioner, the formula is dynamite. Mixing What I didn't know at the time was that mixing this concoction together would prove to be the perfect formula for locking in and retaining moisture in my hair. Another two generous squirts of Amla Oil was added to my no sulphur Shea Moisture Leave-in conditioner mixed together using a wooden spatula and lavishly applied, after shampooing with my no sulphur Crème of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo. I generously coated the strands so that the Amla Oil/Leave in conditioner concoction completely covered my hair from the root to the tips and then simply left my hair to air dry before my appointment this afternoon.
MOISTURISING BEFORE PLAITING & STYLING: While it is clear that Oil is good for your hair, on its own, it is NOT a moisturiser. The word moisture advocates hydration which can be obtained with water and water-based products i.e. the Aunt Jackie products. Oil is a lubricant and sealant that locks moisture in the hair. While many hair product companies advocate oil as having remarkable moisturising properties, using oil alone as your hair moisturiser will only deplete your natural oil and cause dryness over a period of time. This fact answered my question, whether or not to mix the Amla oil with my tried and tested Jackie Curl La La (defining curl custard) wherein the main ingredient is Aqua Water. Yeah.
AFTER USING HHRC REGROWTH 14:06.18 – 20.07.18 (36 DAYS REGROWTH)
RESULT OF AMLA OIL/ Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner Formula - The photo above is my hair taken out of extensions and AFTER using HHRC. - Having removed my braids I instantly noticed something was different. The Amla Oil/Leave-in Conditioner had crafted a thickness, strength and softness to my hair that I had never encountered before. – The Alma Oil mixture absorbed and held the moisture in my hair so well that when it came to parting my hair into four to dye it I didn’t need the tail of a comb or any other implement. There were no split or brittle ends, and no knots from the extension caught up in my hair and the ends of my locks separated like Moses parting the waves of the Red Sea. I knew then that at the very least my Amla Oil/Leave-in Conditioner formula would help my hair to grow while retaining moisture. The historic exasperating, arm breaking hot and bothered detangling matted hair process, or breakage when attempting to tear the hair apart causing breakage to the ends, seemed truly a thing of the past. Equally, that white dusty clump of build-up/demarcation line I would usually get at the tip of the extension/beginning of the regrowth was not evident this time around either. I can only assume that retained moisture from the Alma Oil prevented the attraction of dandruff/dust and prevented a build-up of sticky residue to my hair.
CONCLUSION: The Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner combined with the Alma Oil had softened, conditioned and penetrated the strands, infusing my hair with the moisture and nutrients needed for my hair to thrive between salon visits.
AFTERCARE ITCHING SCALP DUE TO BRAIDS – Most of us dread that ferocious itch or allergic
reaction to the coating sprayed on synthetic hair like Kanekalon. I detail below the benefits of and why I added Peppermint and Rosemary oil (prescribed ratios on the back of essential oil) as a boost to my Jamaican Mango & Lime (Maximum Relief) No More Itch Gro spray to use during appointments and to see if I could further enhance this product and eliminate that serious itching I get whenever my hair is braided and first installed, once and for all.
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL - The cooling and soothing properties of peppermint essential oil, for me personally who likes to braid her hair, wear a wig and wants one day to master making her own weaves make it one of the best essential oils for itchy scalp issues. It contains menthol which has numbing and cooling properties that will calm & numb the itch and any pain caused by scratching. Peppermint essential oil is especially good for soothing dry, itchy and flaky scalps affected by dandruff.
ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL - This oil is given pride of place because it is probably the most well known and widely used. The anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary essential oil will help reduce any redness or inflammation on the scalp. It also contains anti-fungal properties that will protect the scalp from any bacteria or fungi. Rosemary essential oil will also increase circulation on the scalp and soothe itchiness.
NIGHT SCARVES – This was another subject touched on by the lecturer at the hair seminar. The lecturer applied oil to a stocking cap and a silk scarf and demonstrated that stocking caps suck the moisture out of your hair whereas covering your hair at night with a satin bonnet or scarf retains moisture while you sleep. Silk is an animal protein fibre, while satin is a fibre weave. There are differences between the two, but either one will prevent moisture loss overnight, along with normal snags and split ends from friction.
AMLA OIL FOR SKIN - Amla Oil is rich in antioxidants which protect from free radicals. Rub the oil on your skin or add to your hand lotion. This is now my daily moisturiser under my makeup after cleansing.
WIGS - I bought these two wigs from Dresslily.com. The black bob I have been rocking at work since my return to the office from holiday on 1 October 2018. I am working my way up to wearing the blond one. I have curled and styled it but at the time of writing it is still too far a leap for me confidently take at present. . The “Graceful Brown Blonde Ombre Medium Synthetic Nobby Centre Parting Wavy Women's Wig” cost me just over £12.00. The “Black Deep Side Upward Part Straight Short Inverted Bob Synthetic Wig” cost me the same.
THE GYM - This was my record calories burnt after a little black dress I ordered arrived at the office and I tried it on. The weather had turned cold and I had no intention of taking everything off and catch my death of cold. I went into the shower room with my "Very" pink and white bag
expecting no more than the mere fact that if the dress looked good on over my top and trousers it will look great on the night. Besides, there was no rush this Teal and Black combo is not needed to adorn my body until 3rd November for a date that emanated out of posting my Wear Something Black photos on 6th October 2018. First off I noticed the quality and weight of the dress and knew instantly it was going to hang properly. I only paid £38.50 for the dress. The comfort factor kicked in the moment I slipped my hands through the straps and sleeves. When I pulled it down over my trousers and button down shirt I could not believe my eyes and was all the motivation I needed to burn my highest calorific total yet! "I got curves" I gasped "I actually have curves". Now I am feeling a little over optimistic and thinking well if it looks this good now and not needed until early November should I downsize!!! Mmmm decisions, decisions.
CONCLUSION: I hope the above is helpful and my next blog will be a photographic diary of calories burnt on each occasion in the gym together with a comparison of my 10 September 2018 front and side shots with my 10 October 2018 frontal and side shots. Together we can decide if there is a difference. I have posted a Youtube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgNLKJsB3qc&t=22s) a kind of visual diary for my subscribers in advance of my "Recovery/Gym" blog.
In addition I will provide an update on my hairline regrowth and if I eventually pluck up the courage to rock that blond wig. As usual, speculation is rampant among us girls trying to work out who will be wearing what next Saturday (27.10.18) to Windrush 2018. Yes, I know it has been a year already. I have yet to decide on a hairstyle for next week predominantly because of the compliments I received on my hair updo last year (see picture opposite). As the theme this year is 40’s or 50’s, I have decided to wear a dress I bought for and wore to last year’s office Christmas party on 8 December 2017. Windrush 2018 will be the first time I have worn it since. In my next blog, I will post comparison photos when I wore it first on 8 December 2017 compared to next Saturday 27 October 2018. Now that I am back in the gym I am longing and hoping for nothing short of a transformation.
A big “get better soon” shout out goes to my right-hand girl Sandra who will be unable to join us this year. Be kind, see you next time XX