Growth and Retention on Natural Hair Using Lace Wigs

Hello again from Lacefora.com,
Want to give you an update on how my healthy hair growth journey is coming along thus far.  I have been double protective styling for the past year and a half using full lace and lacefront wigs while my natural hair is flat twisted underneath the wig.  My goal for 2011 is to get to full BSL by December 31st, I wasn't quite there when I last checked in September 2011, but I am not far away either.


I purchased a lacefront 14" Indian Remy yaki unit back in August and I have been wearing that in big curls that I curl with a 1 1/2" curling iron and then pin curl it to maintain the look throughout the week.  I have been alternating between the Ozone Aplus Brandy wig and the yaki unit up until now, but I recently purchased an It's A Wig Synthetic Braided Lacefront wig that I will be experimenting with for the next month or so.












Besides my major setback in September where I accidentally fried off a 1 1/2" section of hair that I was flat ironing for my length check which was devastating to say the least, I would have to say that I am definitely seeing length retention and growth using lace wigs as my protective style over my protective/low manipulation style for my natural hair.  I am joining a No Heat Challenge for 2012 on LHCF that won't allow me to put any heat to my hair for the whole year, so I will not be focusing on length for next year, I will just be focusing on the health of my hair strands. 
My natural hair care regimen is still pretty simple, it consists of pre-pooing overnight before every wash which is every 1-2 weeks with sulfate free organic shampoo followed by either Suave Humectant conditioner or Giovanni Deeper Moisture Conditioner.  I towel dry in a turbie twist, then spray my hair with Aphogee Keratin and Green Tea Reconstructer and Essential Oils Lavendar Detangling Leave in spray.  With my hair damp from the leave in sprays I then part my hair into 4 sections and apply Mixed Silk Leave in conditioner followed by either grape seed oil or avocado oil for sealing.  Once the hair has been moisturized and sealed I flat twist my hair into about 8-12 twists then pin all the ends up with bobby pins.  This allows my hair to be as flat as possible underneath the lace wig for a more natural look.

You can now purchase a full lace or lacefront wig here on Lacefora.com for very competitive prices to other sites on the net.  Click Here to view selections that will give you a diva makeover while you give your natural hair a rest from daily styling and manipulation.

Guest Post from Costumewigs.com

Hello Lacefora.com readers,
I was contacted by costumewigs.com who wanted to write a guest article for my readers, in which I was more than happy to accept.  Read below to find out about wig care and hair protection, as well as a great place to go for your costume wig purchases.

Hair Extensions – Know Your Choices!

If you crave for that elegant look of a chic professional, hair extensions are your best bet. However, before you proceed with your choice of costume wigs or human hair extensions, you must know all the choices that you have open before you make a purchase.

There are two kinds of hair extensions – synthetic and human hair extensions. Both of them are good but human hair extensions are more expensive as they give a more natural look. If you want to pull of a natural look due to any hair loss disorders, human hair wigs are undoubtedly your best choice. Those looking to break free from the everyday monotony of their hair styles in general, may opt for synthetic wigs.

Length of Hair extensions

With hair extensions you can get any length of hair you wish. However, 28-30 inches are the preferred maximum length for your head because it is under too much pressure with longer hair. If you have average height, then 18 inch long hair will suit you and you can extend it up to 22 inches too.

Brands

There are many well-known companies like EasiHair, PutonPieces and Raquel Welch that manufacture human hair extensions, to name a few. For hair extensions, it is always a good decision to trust well-known brands.

Types of Hair Extensions

The kind of hair extension you choose depends upon how long you want to use it. There are permanent and clip in hair extensions. Permanent hair extensions are attached to your hair by a professional and are much more expensive than clip in extensions. They last longer and look real. Clip in extensions, on the other hand, do not require a professional touch. You can attach them at home by following a few instructions. You can remove them whenever you feel like wearing your natural hair.

How are hair extensions attached?

When extensions are attached by a professional, individual strands are attached to real hair or wefts are sewn into your hair. However, the procedure that is usually followed is of attaching individual strands of extension to individual strands of real hair. This is done by a professional. It is much more difficult to have permanent extensions removed. Many people prefer wefting as it can simply be sewn or braided into real hair. However, as your hair grows, the wefts have to be removed and re-attached. This can make this process expensive.

Caring for hair extensions

You have to care for your real hair extensions so that they last longer. To care for them comb them with a soft brush. Using a lot of styling products will damage them. Therefore, keep them as natural as possible. If you are coloring them, make sure it is human hair and get it done from a good professional. And lastly, tie and braid your hair at night.

If you care for your hair extensions well, you can have gorgeous hair for longer time. Get good quality extensions and treat them gently.

In the end, no matter if you want human hair extensions to change your monotonous everyday look, to pull off a natural look due to any hair loss disorders, or to simply flaunt as a sexy nurse with your Halloween costumes this year, hair extensions add that much needed oomph to your personality that makes you all the more desirable.

My Remedy For Single Strand Knots (SSK's)


As being a natural for most of my life I have always struggled with single strand knots and tangles which are also known as SSK's.  Single strand knots can occur very quickly on natural kinky/curly hair, what happens is that the strand of curly hair coils up so much that it eventually curls around itself and forms a knot on the end of the hair strand.  If you are not extremely careful when you detangle the hair from these type of knots and tangles, you can pull the whole strand of hair out, causing unnecessary hair loss and potential breakage.

For the past several months I have been trying out different products, mostly natural, to see how I could keep my hair moisturized enough to keep it detangled while my hair is either twisted or braided underneath my wig caps. Since I practice low manipulation techniques for growing my hair, I have been going 7-10 days in a row without combing or brushing my hair.  So, I was noticing that every time I would undo my twists or braids at the end of a work week right before I shampoo, my ends would be so tightly coiled around each other that they were always knotted on the ends.  While trying to separate the hair apart on the ends of the braids/twists to unravel it, I heard popping and snapping from the hairs on the ends and I was not happy about breaking the ends of my hair.  The ends of the hair are the oldest parts on the strand, so they are the weakest part.  I was determined to stop or minimize this so it would not hamper my growth potential.

You will notice in previous posts that I have raved about several products that I have tried and really liked.  Don't get me wrong, those products do work excellent for my hair overall and have greatly contributed to the recent growth and health of my hair, but I still was plagued by SSK's.  Recently, within the last month, I purchased Silk Elements Mixed Silk leave in conditioner from Sally's Beauty Supply and have been really pleased with the results.  It has a lot of slip, which makes detangling a breeze and it definitely leaves the hair feeling moisturized and soft to the touch.  This product is very easy to work with and apply because it comes in a large, sturdy, plastic bottle with a pump.  

I have also talked about moisturizing/sealing and the products I was using at the time, but I am updating those products in this post.  Now I am using Grape Seed Oil to seal my hair with and this oil has greatly diminished the SSK's in my hair.  I am so impressed with this oil and how beneficial it can be to hair.  It is very light and you do not have to apply a lot of it to see the shine payoff in you hair.  It gives off a nice sheen without looking or feeling greasy to the touch.  You can see the gloss on my hair from the pictures. 

So now, after I have shampooed and conditioned my hair with Suave Humectant conditioner (which is the best commercial conditioner I have tried to date, talk about moisture!), and sprayed my scalp with a leave in scalp treatment.  I apply the Mixed Silk leave in conditioner in sections, then go behind that with the Grapeseed oil.  Once I have moisturized and sealed all of my hair, I either twist or braid the hair and pin all the twists together into a bun to protect the ends.  I tie the the hair down with a satin scarf and let it air dry.  This helps my hair to lay flat and not be all poofy under my wigs.

I recently decided to wear my natural hair out so I bought some Curlformers and I tried them on my hair for the first time over the 4th of July weekend and it turned out pretty good.  I have a few pictures to show my results.  I used Eco Styler Argan Oil gel to set the hair in the Curlformers, after I had moisturized and sealed my hair as I have explained above. 
I really liked the look and results I got from the Curlformers, but I will say my curls did not really last but for that day.  My hair looks frizzy in some spots because the those curls were not totally dried, so they did not set properly.  I also think the heat and humidity in the air here in S. California contributed to the frizz factor as well, but it was still very soft and detangled from the use of the Grape Seed Oil.  When I try the curlformers again on my natural hair, I may record some of the process and post it here for you to see.
One thing I will say now about the Curlformers is that you do not want to place them as close to your scalp like many tutorials have stated because they can straight rip your hair out of your head if you are not cautious!  I also would not recommend sleeping in these Curlformers if you do feel the need to place them close to your scalp, because when you lay down and manipulate the position of the curlformers, they will pull on the hair.  I heard one of the curlformers doing this while I was sleeping, so I had to remove it right away in the middle of the night!  I think the combination of the gel drying on my roots and the curlformer pulling it with the slightest movement was causing it to pull very hard on that particular section of hair that was in the curlformer.  I immediately woke up and loosened all of the curlformers away from my scalp and I felt like a thousand pounds had been released from my scalp!  Tension is one of the worst enemies for a scalp and has caused many cases of alopecia and hair loss in women of color.
Next time I am either going to use the curlformers early in the day with enough time to air dry or I will let it air dry most of the day and use the heat of a blow dryer to dry it the rest of the way.  I will not sleep in curlformers if I can help it.  Also, to help the style last longer next time, I am either going to pincurl the hair up or pull all of the curls to the top of my head and place a loose scrunchy on them to secure them (which is referred to as the pineapple), then put on a satin bonnet before going to bed.
Please note that I am not being paid to review any of these products on this blog, these are my honest opinions.  What has worked for me, may not work for everyone else.  I welcome all comments and other opinions. 

Be sure to follow this blog for tips and products reviews related to natural DIY haircare and retaining growth through low manipulation styling using lace wigs.

Maintaining Healthy Hair Under A Lace Wig

When wearing a lace wigs or weaves, it is very important to maintain the health of your hair while protecting it with hair extensions. I have been able to see a dramatic change in the length and health of my hair due to simple hair care practices and low manipulation.  I have added a couple of new simple steps to my natural hair care regimen which have helped restore my hair's health.

1) Weekly Hot Oil Treatments: I have been using a combination of oils to my hot oil mix that consist of Coconut Oil, Emu Oil, Jojoba Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil or regular Castor oil and either Hot Six Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I combine the oils in a plastic container and heat it for 1 minute and letting it cool for about 4-5 minutes.  Then, I pour it into an applicator bottle and apply it directly to my scalp in small sections.  I massage the oil into each section of my scalp, and then I apply the oil down the rest of the hair shaft.  I run my fingers through the section of hair and work the oil into the hair really well while detangling the hair by finger combing it and separating it with my hands.  I do not use any comb during this process and I have noticed that I can detangle my hair very well without a comb.  I then twist each section of hair down to the ends of the hair.  After all of my hair from root to end has been saturated with the hot oil mix and twisted together, I pin the twists on top of my head and place 2 plastic processing caps on my head with a head scarf on top of that.  I usually leave it in overnight and shampoo it out in the morning with my usual Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo and Smooth As Silk Conditioner.



 

2) Moisturizing and Sealing: After I let my hair air dry for about 15 minutes, I have been spraying my hair and scalp with  Hope Labs Energizer Hair Follicle Stimulator leave in hair treatment.  I massage it into my scalp, with my fingertips only (no nails), then comb it through to the ends of the hair with a wide tooth comb.  After that, I Moisturize by putting Beyond the Zone Split Mender throughout my hair in medium sections, then comb it through to the ends with a Denman Brush.  Immediately after that, I Seal by applying Castor Oil on each section of the medium sections, from root to end and brush it through the hair.  Applying the Castor Oil on top of the Beyond the Zone Leave in Conditioner is the process of sealing in the moisture from the water based leave in conditioner into the strands of my hair from root to end.

When I have moisturized and sealed all of my hair I either twist my hair into about 7-8 medium sized twist or braid my hair into 2 french braids on each side of my head and pin the ends up with a bobby pin.  This is how my hair will stay for a whole week to two weeks at a time, I do not comb or brush my hair the entire time.  I re-moisturize my hair every other day by spraying it with the follicle booster then lightly apply Nature's Blessing's Hair Pomade to my edges every few days.



That is basically it for my current hair regimen and it is working well thus far.  I do not have to spend a lot of time on my hair in order to care for it properly under my protective style of choice.  With the Aplus Ozone wigs I wear a black color wig cap on top of my natural hair under the lace wigs.  I recently purchased a new brand of wig caps that have Organic Shea butter, Olive Oil and Vitamin E infused into them so that they can help keep the hair moisturized instead of the traditional wig cap which can often times be drying to the hair.  To reduce any chance of breakage to my edges, I avoid using the combs that come inside of the wigs at the temple area and I make sure my edges are laying down to avoid snagging of unruly edges.  I have been wearing Ozone Aplus Lacefront Wigs for about 6 months now, and I really love them.  I purchased another Brandy Lacefront wig, but in a color 1B/30, back in March that is holding up very well.  The color is great and it looks really natural with the light brown colored lace over a natural part in my real hair, which allows my scalp to show through the lace instead of a nude colored wig cap.  I slick down the edges of my hair in the front with Giovanni Wax Pomade and pull the wig cap back about 3 inches from my edges and then place the lace wig on my head, making sure the part in the lace wig matches up with the part I made in my own hair.  As you can see in the pictures on the right, it looks natural and I do not have to apply any glue or tape to achieve this look. 

I will continue to use lace wigs as my protective style of choice because it has not been harmful in any way to my natural hair, if nothing else they have accelerated my growth.  They help because I do not manipulate or comb my hair for days sometimes weeks at a time and I do not pull my hair into tight ponytails or braids.  I have learned from those costly mistakes that I made to my hair in the past and I will not repeat it.  Lace wigs may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you are looking for a simple change, then give one a try, you just might like it.  Be sure to check out the Healthy Hair Products page to purchase a lot of the products that I have used to grow and protect my hair under Lace wigs.  Most of the products on that page either qualify for free shipping or ship for less than $2.
Happy Hair Growing Lacefora.com readers.

Self Trimming Natural Straight Hair With The Split Ender

BEFORE
Trimming Ends is a big debate in the natural hair community, some feel it is essential in growing hair and others feel that their hair will grow longer if they do not trim/cut their hair.  In my opinion I feel that trimming split ends is very important in my hair growth journey.  Since I choose to wear lacefront wigs as my protective style during my hair growth journey, I need to pay special attention to my natural hair, so deep conditioning and trimming ends are very important and have played a big roll in helping me achieve growth thus far.
                                                                                                                        
I recorded a short video demonstration, on 4/5/11, of how I usually cut my hair every 3-4 months.  The longest I will go without trimming my ends is 6 months, if I go longer than that I will have to cut more inches off of the hair.  I purchased a Split Ender from Ross when I heard that they had a rare few and they were going fast!  This happens to be the first version of the Split Ender and there in now a newer version called the Split Ender Maxi, but the original make definitely does the job.  Around 2005 my sister gave me one of these Split Enders and I sold it on Ebay because I did not think that it worked at all, but on the second go around I have really found it to be very essential in my natural hair growth journey.   I only like to trim my hair when it is flat ironed straight because I can really see all of my hair.  I put some One n Only Argan Oil in my hair before I went through it with the Split Ender.

Please excuse some of my facial expressions toward the end of the video when I am cutting my hair with the hair scissors; I could not get up close to the mirror to see everything I was doing, so I was squinting.  I wanted to make sure I captured as much as possible on camera.



When I use the Split Ender I usually go over small sections of hair 2-3 times and I hold my hair at the roots as I pull down with the Split Ender, because it has small teeth on it and it will snag the hair.  As you can see in the video, after I finished going over the hair with the Split Ender my hair was the same length as before.  The Split Ender is designed so that you do not have to lose any length to achieve a head of healthy hair free of split ends, I really like that about it.  After I finished going through and actually cutting off some length (about 3/4"-1") on the ends, my hair fell in place very nicely.
AFTER

When I finally washed my hair I could tell that my hair felt softer and I had less breakage.  My curls did revert back to normal after I washed it, but I did a hot oil treatment on my hair before I washed it.  In the microwave I heated up some EVCO, Hot Six Oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil and applied it to my straightned hair.  I let that sit for an our under a plastic cap and washed it out with Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo and Conditioner.  After shampooing and conditioning, I felt a big difference in my hair after finally trimming my ends after more than 3 months and by doing a hot oil treatment.

I have already decided that the Split Ender will be a key contributor in my hair growth journey and I will continue to use the Beyond the Zone Split Mender Leave-in Conditioner.  So, now I will be adding weekly hot oil treatments and deep conditioning to my hair regimen so that I can get to my goal of bra strap length by the end of this summer.


Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional.  I am simply sharing what I have learned with others.  I realize that everyone has different hair needs, so please do what is best for you and your hair.