26 Jan

Wash Day Chronicles: Week 4

This is week 4 of 52 wash days chronicling what I’ll be doing to gain length on my fine natural hair (I was working toward achieving  waist length this year but some things have changed. Keep reading :-). Subscribe to this blog to be notified when future posts are published.

two strand twists
Pre-Poo: Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil + Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner

Cleanser: Taproot Organics Charcoal and Tea Tree Shampoo Bar (liquified)

Deep Conditioner: Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal Conditioner + 1 lemon

Rinse Out Conditioner: None

Leave In Conditioner: Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10 in 1 Renewal Conditioner

Sealant: Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter with added Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Styler: Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter (not pictured)

Tools: Fingers, Hot Head Deep Conditioning Cap, Plastic Cap, Hair clips for sectioning, Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer,

Wash Day Procedure

hair care products for natural hair

  1. Worked in sections starting with Steaming. Steamed hair to help open the cuticles to receive the products better.
  2. Pre-pood steamed section of  hair by smoothing the coconut oil down the length of hair. No detangling.
  3. On same section, smoothed the GPB down the length, really working it into the hair.
  4. Repeated for each section and loosely bantu knotted the section when down. Then, put on a plastic cap for 3 hours.
  5. Shampoo’d hair one section at a time with liquified shampoo bar
  6. Applied juice from a lemon mixed into the conditioner (this helps with removing build up caused by hard water – per the #CurlyGirlMethod handbook.
  7. Sat with conditioner/lemon mix with plastic cap & Hot Head for 10 minutes.
  8. Hopped back in shower and rinsed hair section by section.
  9. Combined sections into 2 and applied leave in followed by hair butter.
  10. Clipped the two sections to allow them to air dry by 50%
  11. Twisted hair in small sections using the almond jai butter

Focus & Thoughts

This week’s wash day micro focus was to clarify hair and return to protective styling.

steaming natural hair fine natural curls

drying fine hair
As you can see, my hair is drastically shorter than it was since I started chronicling my wash days. I mentioned in my last wash day chronicle that I cut off 6-7 inches of hair while removing deep layers I no longer liked and didn’t fair well with my twist styles.

My cut isn’t bad as I thought. I just have to get used to feeling the wind on my neck! I guess I’m sort of getting used to it but I do miss my hair. My ends feel fabulous though. However, I’m still on my journey to waist length. It will just take a little longer :-) My hair is in a bob shape now with the front being longer than the back. Some pieces may look longer but that’s just the lack of uniformity of my curl pattern. the front of my hair is a much looser curl .

I give today’s wash day a 4.5/5. I decided to twist using the Camille Rose Almond Jai Butter at the last minute because the Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter was not sufficient alone.

One thing about having shorter hair, wash day was cut down by at least an hour! LOL!  and the method of smoothing the oil deeply into the hair followed by smoothing the conditioner deeply in (vs. combining them) was very effective. Detangling was easy breezy.

Last off, I can now enjoy my small twists as a protective style that didn’t turn out quite right last week :-) I think they look great now though.

twists on short to medium hair twists protective style


22 Jan

Guest Post: Protect Your Skin’s Health with SmartPhone Apps


Make 2015 the year your resolve to make your skin healthy AND beautiful. Because you’ll wear your skin every day for the rest of your life, it’s important to protect it and ensure you’re doing all you can to have the best skin possible. Start the year right with a new skin care regime and few new tips to keep yourself healthy 365 days a year.

Skin cancer, or melanoma, is a serious concern for anyone who spends time in the sun. And although the presence of this disease is more prominent than ever, the general public’s knowledge on its causes and prevention are still largely inadequate.

There are a number of myths and common misconceptions, one of the most popular being that individuals of color are less likely or even immune to the disease. Bob Marley is perhaps one of the best examples to dispel this notion, as the singer suffered from melanoma for four years before passing away in 1981.

Everyone, including women of color, should strive to maintain a healthy skin care routine. This of course includes moisturizing and washing, but it also means protecting via sunscreen, even in the colder months, as the sun’s UV rays never take a break despite a drop in temperature. It is also important to check for any irregularities, such as changes in pre-existing moles, the emergence of new ones, and any changes in the coloring of the skin.

Today, technology can also help you evaluate moles and other skin changes – even providing a “diagnosis” of whether or not the changes is cancerous. And for the most part, apps that facilitate better communication between doctors and patients are a good thing.

According to industry blog HealthITjobs.com, however, health-oriented mobile apps deal with personal data in ways that aren’t necessarily secure or HIPPA-compliant, so patients should be cautious about how they use them. And while not to be used in replacement of actual medical expertise, these apps do provide an excellent education in skin cancer prevention. Read on to learn more about three specific apps being used as melanoma screeners:

Dr. Mole

drmole appDoctor Mole is an application by RevoSoft that is designed to check moles for irregularities that could be indicative of skin cancer. After taking a photo on your smartphone, the app will offer real time analysis of asymmetry, border, diameter, color, and evolution. The detailed mole analysis feature provides a more in depth look at the warning signs of melanoma, and lets users know more specific telltale signs they should look for in the future. All data is secure on your phone, and you can even set up reminders to check the development of any moles you’re concerned about.


dermoscreenDermoScreen is an inexpensive app that allows for a quick and effective melanoma screening. DermoScreen is a helpful application for many people who don’t have immediate access to a medical specialist but are concerned about potential skin cancer. After a photo of a mole has been taken, it is then run through embedded software and shortly thereafter produces a result. The software has been in development since 2005, and was made with people in developing countries or those who do not have affordable, easy medical access in mind. When tested, it’s produced results with an 85% accuracy rating.



SkinVision is a melanoma detection app with the intention of helping people catch any skin anomalies early on and prevent the development of skin cancer. Described on the application’s website as “your lifetime skin companion”, SkinVision doesn’t just provide analysis and then subsequent reminders or recommendations to seek the counsel of a physician, but also provides information on UV-exposure, and stresses the importance of taking preventative measures from the sun’s rays.

While these apps are excellent resources in learning more about melanoma, as well as receiving a free analysis of any concerning moles skin abnormalities, they do not take the place of an actual diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional. If you believe that you or someone you love is at risk for skin cancer, it is critical to make an appointment with a licensed physician as soon as possible.

Learning about the risks of melanoma, as well as maintaining a vigilant skin regimen that includes professional checkups, is one way to actively decrease your risk of developing melanoma.

About the Author:

Beth Kelly is a blogger based in Chicago, IL. She’s become passionate about healthcare and technology issues, and how the two can intersect to make life easier for everyone. In her free time she avid gardener, freelance photographer and lover of silent films. Find her on Twitter @bkelly_88

20 Jan

Wash Day Chronicles: WEEK 3

wash day hair products

This is week 3 of 52 wash days chronicling what I’ll be doing to take my bra-strap/arm pit length fine natural hair to waist length. Subscribe to this blog to be notified when future posts are published. (I normally post on Mondays but someone I forgot to publish this one!)

Pre-Poo: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Conditioner & Vatika  Coconut Oil
Cleanser: Taproot Organics Charcoal and Tea Tree Shampoo Bar
Deep Conditioner: DIY Goat’s Milk (Protein) + 21st Century Natural Deep Conditioner
Rinse Out Conditioner: Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Conditioner (diluted)
Leave In Conditioner: Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In / Henna-Amla-Shikakai Spray
Sealant: SDotBeauty GlossBoss High Shine Pomade
Styler: None
Tools: Fingers, Hot Head Deep Conditioning Cap, Plastic Cap, Hair clips for sectioning, bobby pins (to hold pre-poo’d hair), Blow dryer, Soft bonnet blow dryer attachment

Wash Day Procedure

deep conditioned hair

deep conditioning under soft bonnet dryer


henna tea

  1. Pre-pood hair by smoothing conditioner/oil mix down length of hair. No detangling. Just smoothed throughout hair and put in 6 twists pinned up and tied down with a satin scarf. Slept on a satin pillowcase
  2. Got up and went to the gym (Pilates & Cardio)
  3. Returned home and washed hair in the shower using melted down shampoo bar, section by section  bantu knotting each section loosely after cleansing.
  4. Applied protein conditioner to each section and sat with plastic cap under soft bonnet attached to handheld hair dryer for 15 minutes on warm.
  5. Hopped back in the shower and rinsed all of protein out of hair and applied deep conditioner section by section re-bantu knotting.
  6. Put plastic cap back on and used Hot Head Thermal Conditioning Cap for 15 minutes
  7. Allowed hair to cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Hopped back in shower and rinsed hair section by section with the diluted AO (I only had a small amount left and needed to stretch it).
  9. Twisted rinsed sections loosely.
  10. Spritzed hair by section with henna/shikakai/amla spray
  11. Applied leave in conditioner by section
  12. Sealed hair with gloss by section
  13. Began twisting in sections (breaking each section into smaller sections for my protective style…..small twists.

small twists on fine hair

Focus & Thoughts

This week’s wash day micro focus was to continue to protein treat and moisture balance my hair.

With respect to washing, I tried something different that I saw another Youtube do with her shampoo bar. (I’m blanking on her name right now). I melted down the shampoo bar in water to make it a creamy mixture. it’s easier to apply this way. Using the shampoo bar directly on my hair left pieces of hair on the bar that were difficult to remove. These could be shed hairs but then again rubbing the shampoo bar on my hair and scalp may have caused breakage so the option of diluting it down to a cream is genius.

Concerning my strengthening I have a DIY strengthening spray recipe using ayurvedic herbs (henna, shikakai and alma) that I got from Curly Proverbz on Youtube. I mention it in this post. Using this spray several times per weeks helps keep my fine hair strong. it can be a little drying which is why I used it beneath my leave in conditioner and sealant.

Since I have fine hair, I use a lot of protein in my regimen. I’m just careful to balance it with moisture.

Also, I’ve been protective styling for months but took a few days off from traditional protective styling to focus on wash and go’s while I was getting my hair acclimated to the Curly Girl Method. It’s time to do a little more protective styling now that the cold is really kicking up.

As you can see, my protective style this time around is small twists. It took me about 4 hours to do these. I didn’t make these too small because again, my hair is fine and detangling will be damaging if I make them too small. Remember, the goal is to get to waist length :-)

I give today’s Wash Day a 2.5/5. The products weren’t the issue. The condition of my hair was. The twists you see looked awful. Notice the frizzy ends. On top of that, the twists were all different lengths. It’s the deep layers.

twists on fine natural hair

UPDATE: The next morning after twisting my hair (a 6 hour process), I took it all out. I removed the twists and I hacked 6-7 inches of my hair off. I didn’t intend to cut but 3 inches but the short story is I should have let a professional do this.

Stay tuned for next wash day where I will reveal my new length. Let’s just say I have cutters remorse and my goal of waist length natural hair has taken a serious curve ball. I can’t see it happening by year end now. I just set myself back by at least a year and a half :-( Back to square one…