Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Struggle Bus Natural- Big ole Update

Let’s talk about my hair.

So this is gonna be a lowkey hair growth update and some observations because I blew out my hair and have been wearing it out.

I’ve been natural for I dunno how long. I had a few times where I went back to relax my hair a bit.

Last weekend I gave myself a blow out because I got bored with my wig and am in the home stretch of my move and didn’t want to really be messing with my hair.

For a while I’ve been kind of struggling thinking my hair was thin. Now that I’ve figured out more how to care for my hair I dunno. I think that too many years of following other naturals who don’t have the same texture as me or my head of hair was rearing up.

I don’t have the big magnificent hair that we see as the marker of Black beauty. I just don’t. It is big. It is not orderly and my fro does this when I don’t mess with it:

That is how my hair looks completely nude. No product. Freshly washed and just let to do what she wanna do. I have a deep natural part in my hair that literally goes from my forehead to almost the crown of my head. I have always had it. The texture of my hair along the part is looser and grows almost kinky straight.

I also thought my edges were thinning. I do have one slightly baldy spot in my edges on the left that happens when I am too stressed out. It just does. This move has maxed my stressed levels so my lil freakout spot is filling back in but was clean bald for a minute. Also the softest bit of skin ever on my whole body for a bit.

I looked at some older photos that I can’t find now and y’all, that’s just how my edges are.

My fellow struggle bus naturals. Hey, you. Come here. If your hair isn’t the fluffiest most plum n juicy curls it is okay. Your hair is great. My hair is great OKAY.

Okay.

SO I gave myself a BOMB blowout. I prepood with coconut oil. A word about coconut oil. I know it has fallen out of fashion. Personally my hair is not on the straight protein bandwagon and doing an overnight coconut oil prepoo once or twice a month makes a huge difference for me. If I use coconut oil a bit sparingly, it works way better. Pro tip.

Then I double cleansed. I used the Shea Moisture (yeah I know we’ll get to it) Raw Shea butter shampoo. (YES amazon affiliatelinks cause Auntie needs coins). So a while back Shea Moisture decided to cash out and go “multi culteral” and in their ads, really ignored the Black women mainly who shot that brand into the stratosphere. They did apologize but I am still not really into them. I also know that some of their products have changed a lot so they are more friendly to White folks and that just makes me angry. I had some of the JBCO lines and compared bottles on the same products and it was very disappointing. THey also called some Black bloggers liars for pointing it out. So I don’t really fucks with them that much.

I had it around and used it.

I followed up with a sulfate shampoo. Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Fortifying Shampoo. Y’all, I have so many Garnier products they are really going in. I LOVE their stuff and it is so inexpensive and easy to find. When I know I’m going to use heat I always use a shampoo that is either anti breakage or fortifying or smoothing. Straightening wash day is about keeping my hair strong and moist.

I followed up with my black tea rinse. I use a jug basically and hot tap water. I drop 4-6 bags of plain black tea in there the night before (I like it strong, if you don’t drink tea or coffee do it an hour before you wash) and then before I wash I dig out the tea bags and drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint. Over the years I’ve tried many anti breakage and anti shedding remedies and always come back to black tea. You can also do it in a spray bottle as part of your leave in or do it like I do. After rinsing out all my shampoo I saturate my hair with the tea and massage it into my scalp. Then I added my deep conditioner on top.

I always mix my deep conditioners. I have yet to find one single formula that does it all. This particular mix I wanted some strength and a lot of moisture and less oil than I use when I am not heat styling. I had some trial packets of the Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Mask Honey Treasures so I used some of those. A few sploots of Pantene Pro-V Anti-Breakage Conditioner that I picked up at Grocery outlet a while back. Interestingly, the black folks line from Pantene irritates the shit out of my scalp. I filled it out with some random other moisturizing conditioners. And of course I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and just the smallest dollop of castor oil. I sat under my bonnet dryer for fifteen minutes, had a hot flash and went and took a nap.

I have a handheld dryer with this giant weird comb/brush/roller attachment thing. It is really old and they don’t make it anymore. But basically it has a finer tooth comb bit, then the air comes out of the larger tooth bit and on the back are these little velvety roller things. Once I figured out how to use that with the tension method voila. For heat protection I used Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Blow Dry Anti-Frizz Cream. Y’all that shit is so good.

This was my result, no other product. Just before I cut about 2 inches off.

hairs

[image description: The author, brown skinned person with kinky blown out hair. Wearing glasses and a lip ring]

Y’all look at my hair.

Is it the thickest? No. But it is so beautiful and I’m so happy with my progress. My roots weren’t super straight which is fine. Yes, all my hair photos I’m bare ass because I don’t wear clothes when I do my hair.

My next project post move will be to make more of my hair growth/scalp stimulation/healing oil. And this summer I might start whipping my own shea butter. AND this summer, I’m tackling some styles so stay tuned for that.

That’s all babes.

Struggle Bus Naturals Post- Curl pattern or nah?

Hello my fellow Struggle Bus Naturals.

So hey…..hey boo.

A few weeks ago yours truly had a wee bit of a hair meltdown. We all have them. Whether it is a setback an oops etc. My last one you can read about here, my not about that braid life hella fail. 

Ahem.

SO what had happened was I feel victim to following too many other naturals. I know. Y’all. I know.

So with my hair getting longer and it being healthy as hell and beautiful I’ve been wanting to do some styles between wigs. I’ve looked at braid out, twist out, wash n go tutorials galore and had come to the conclusion that somehow I had damaged my hair and broken my curl pattern.

I have been misunderstanding my curls.

This is what my hair looks like  freshly washed and deep conditioned.

wethair

[image description: brown faced author, with half of their face visible and a look at crinkly black hair]

Okay so that is just what she is. My hair has a mix of just kinky hair and wee tiny coily curls. The ends of my hair will do lil ringlets when clumped but, when left alone this is what happens. Now here is where I shouldn’t have believed my eyes. When my hair was shorter and also virgin, my hair had a bit more round type curls. But only when wet. As my hair has gotten healthier it has gotten thicker and my actual texture is very much a mix of 4c/zish.

A lot of the natural hair folks I was watching, have looser curls. I do follow around a good number of type 4 folks but, I did not parse that most of them are wearing/doing styles with their hair stretched.

DING DING stretched.

Stretched.

Whoa.

So the meltdown was in my air dried hair having no coils or juicy curls. Not manipulated my hair when dry is crinkly and kinky. Beautiful. Full and bouncy. Leonine.

I don’t have a good pic but take my word for it.

Y’all, shit got real. I was moisturizing and shit and was teary. I thought I needed to big chop again and I worked SO HARD to nip away damage from an intense color I had, I spend so much time loving my fro and y’all….

Luckily I learned from the last time I did that shit and I did not. I did my LOC method, braided and did some research.

Turns out, my hair is fine.

I also figured out that my hair is medium porosity.

What I’ve figured out is that my method of just really paying attention to how my hair feels keeps it in the best condition. The one thing I think I’ve been doing not quite right is not detangling well enough. With my medium porosity hair that is slightly protein sensitive, it stays well hydrated if I do the FULL LOC method on wash day then mid week or so I spritz my hair with my Oyin Juices and Berries leave in. If I need to detangle I use a more intense leave in.

I need slip because my kinks like to cuddle and that has led to me having some epic knots and y’all, I had a period of only finger detangling and that is not the business. That was also part of the problem with my fail braids. I hadn’t detangled with tools and it was a mess.

So lately on wash day if I’m doing the full prepoo, shampoo (double cleanse) and deep condition I will start the detaingling while I do my prepoo. That is when I finger detangle. This seems really extra but when you’re already prone to terrible migraines AND you are absurdly tender headed, it works. One problem with being really tender headed is that my scalp starts to get sore and I don’t want to detangle anymore. So I stopped doing it all in one go.

After that, I do a bit more while cleansing. With my fingers. Then after I DC I detangle the most under my shower. Any knots remaining I use a denman and I twist or braid each section, and I use a bit of tension to stretch my roots.

Since I’ve been doing that my shedding is way down. OH also because I’ve been tea rinsing but I’ll talk more about that later.

My breakage is also super down.

SO the lesson here my fellow struggle bus loves is as always, sometimes you cannot take the word of anybody except your own.

Now my loves. Next Struggle Bus post will likely be a lil length check after my next trim and straighten. I’m HYPE to straighten my hair I haven’t done so in like two years.

Until then I love y’all!!

2017 for the Struggle Bus Natural.

About the last one for the year y’alls.

I’m gonna look at hair stuff.

SOoooo y’all.

I had intended to make this big dramatic post, patting myself on the back and twerking in joy because I found a braid extension that doesn’t involve cornrows and that I can do. If you are interested see here. If you want to learn how to do cornrowless crochet braids of any type, seriously sub to Jazz Nicole and learn. Her videos are easy to follow and even I COULD DO IT.

So I practiced. And Sunday I got started.

First thing what had happened was-

I had some MAJOR knots down at my goddamn scalp. I could feel them. Getting them out was traumatic. Because I’ve been mainly finger and wide tooth comb detangling, I’ve avoided a lot of breakage buuuuuuuuuuuuut them little evil ass gremlin knots slipped through the big comb and I damn well know that gliding my fingers from scalp to ends is a no go. SO that was, fucking terrible.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Because I don’t heat style more than maybe once a year, I had to fight them knots. I was very gentle but about a quarter of the way through, my scalp started to hurt really badly. Just, sore and bruised so I stopped and resumed on Monday. When I was almost in tears because my whole goddamn head was hurting like I got hit, I should have stopped but………..I did not.

Listen to your Auntie babes.

If your body is saying. HEY NO PLS WHAT THE FUCK STOP NO FUCK U BITCH! Listen.

However, after a few maybe scissor happy trims my hair is doing very well. It is juicy moist, soft. Everything I want and I’m retaining length. That is huge for me because I’m going for booty length hair and I can’t be losing my inches to bullshit.

 

 

The evolution of oh noness. First pic, doing the first section. Holding my hair out I was feeling myself. Second photo, me feeling myself HUGELY. My pretty little braids were soft and shiny. Swingy. Third photo, hours later this is the sweaty face of defeat. That was the point I decided to just give up.

So defeat.

But! Good news.

I have added a new layer of understanding about my hair.

I need a hard all the way down to the scalp, tiny ass comb detangling at least once a month.

My current routine is working out very nicely. Here’s how I get down.

I am hardcore protective styling. I’m wearing wigs.

Doing the LOC method regularly works for me. My hair still loves a heavy ass butter/oil PAPOW combo. When I’m on my game, I only really need to moisturize after washing, then two days later. Then again on wash day.

Now let’s talk about some products I like.

For moisturizing. For a non handmade cream I like some few brands.

Asiam Double Butter Cream. Not bad. It is nicely moisturizing, has good stuff in it and is pretty easy to find.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. WITH a caveat. Cantu products are VERY proteiny. Use with caution especially if your hair is protein sensitive. That said, it is a great one to use if your hair is feeling a little weak. Not a lot, a little goes a long way.

Really for me if something has a good base of shea butter AND has oils, it’s gonna be great.

Oils:

Commercially blended oils.

This one does have a silicone but it’s not a biggie for me. My hair isn’t mad about cones. Hot 6 oil. I love to use it as a base for other stuff.

I like to mix in:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Always a fave of mine. My scalp LOVES this shit and when I have an itchy spot it does it for me.

I will also drop in a little bit of peppermint or tea tree oil.

For commercial oils, what you want is to make sure they don’t have mineral oil and if you’re sensitive to silicones skip it.

Oils from the grocery store.

Coconut oil. Y’all do not get fooled into paying vast amounts. Go to a hood grocery, buy a jar of coconut oil. I know it isn’t the big thing anymore but my hair loves it.

Other kitchen oils: olive oil is amazing. For me I like my oils a bit heavier but olive is great and no it doesn’t have to be the fanciest most extra virgin olive ever. Plain ole olive oil, just check the label to make sure it is pure olive oil.

If you live where you can get to a brown folks grocery, look for palm oil.I’ve used it as a hot oil treatment and it was GREAT. Also avocado oil but it is expensive where I live so I tend not to use it.

For ultra softening get a good fatty ass oil.

Non eatin oils:

I LOVE light castor oil and buy one or two bottles a year. My brand is NOW Solutions Castor Oil. Y’all. This is so great to have on hand. I use it to boost conditioners, I use it when I have dry scaly spots on my butt. Honestly that one is my one true love. I’ve used others, jojoba etc but my hair likes it heavy.

Leave ins:

I bounce between two primarily.

My first love is the Oyin Juices n Berries. I am a ride or die og Oyin fan. They make my FAVE whipped butter.  I love the light mist and the scent of juices and berries. This is great for me. It does have glycerin in it so I alternate it with another leave in.

Creme of Nature with argan oil – Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I LOVE this product. It is a bit more of a heavy spray but gives some excellent slip. Really great. I love this one.

Plain water is great. Occasionally I like to do water mixed with a sploot of oil.

The biggest thing I’ve learned this year about my hair is that I really need to just do me. I LOVE learning about the big wide diverse world of natural hair, I just gotta remember not to try EVERY DAMN SHINY THING ON MYSELF.

Also y’all, I had some setbacks didn’t make my goal length and I am so happy. I love my hair so much.

Coming up in 2018 I’m planning on going HARD on the protective styling. What can I say, I want mermaid hair.

There will be more wig reviews, maybe some struggle bus how to basics?

I dunno.

Happy new year y’all.

Wigs, Wigs n Wigs- Balling on a budget

Inspired by a friend in need of info, I’m going to talk about having a bomb ass wig game on a budget.

First, let’s dispell some stuff.

  1. Anything but human hair is terrible. Nah. Matter of fact, if you don’t have a lot of money, or if you don’t want to commit the time to taking care of two full heads of hair, synthetic is pretty great these days.
  2. A good wig is expensive. Nah. I have some that I paid a lot for and they suck.
  3. Your wig must always look naturally laid. Nah. Screw realness.

The thing is, while yes, it can be nice to have those baby hairs laid and to look like you grew that 31″ Brazilian water wave out of your head, that’s not realistic for a lot of us so nah.

Now before picking wigs, lets talk about some terms you’ll see. Lace front usually indicates that the lace goes from ear to ear usually. With space to change the part. Inside the wig you’ll see the lace, and then the cap where the wefts of hair are sewn.

Looking at the size of your lace in your lace front unit, where there’s lace you can make a part. If you are a brown person, you’re probably going to have to use some brown powder on the lace to match it to your skin tone.

A full lace wig, will not have that kind of lattice looking inside. The full cap is made of lace so you can part it out where ever you like.

Full lace will cost more and really is a matter of personal preference, comfort, how much cash you have.

Now, let’s talk about some basic stuff.

How do you pick a wig?

My method is pretty simple, I will cobble together key words for what I’m looking for, get to google and go. Once I find some styles I like I will jot down the name of the wig and google that specifically to compare prices.

Let’s do it together. Click here. That search is for long bob wig. Go ahead and click on the Sams Beauty link. Or click here.

Now this isn’t a full wig and not what we’re looking for, but don’t lose hope. Look on the top of that page and hover on wigs, then click on synthetic hair. SO MANY CHOICES.

Very overwhelming I know.

Let’s say, we’re looking for a medium length wavy wig. On the left, click deep wave, medium wave then scroll down and click the option for medium length.

Click on the first wig, FREETRESS EQUAL SYNTHETIC HAIR WIG INVISIBLE L PART CHASTY. If you scroll down on the page, you’ll see a lot of information, some photos and on a good search a review video or two. Now, we’ll pretend this is now the wig you gotdang want.

Google the whole name of the wig and check out your price options. Do you have Prime? Amazon can get it to you like PEW PEW PEW. Oh looky here, Hairsisters has it on sale.

We’ll pretend you bought the wig from Amazon. What else should you buy to get started?

And yes, y’all know I’m trying to save to move so every coin counts and amazon links are affiliate links.

You are gonna need some wig caps. If this is your first wig I suggest snagging a few different styles to see what suits your tastes.

This multi pack has two standard pantyhose material caps and one mesh cap. I think it would be a great part of a starter wig order. If you live somewhere hot, tend to be hot in the skull area etc, these are a great option for some extra cooling and airflow.

My personal favorite brand of caps are these. I don’t know if they are really better for your hair but I found they fit over my head and hair nice and snug and hold their shape and stretch well.

In terms of caps, your comfort is king. I prefer a thicker cap or I will wear two. I can’t cornrow so getting my wigs laid can be a challenge because I wear little struggle braids under my wigs.

You can also pick up wig caps at lots of drug stores and beauty supply stores. I usually buy 3-5 packs of them at a time.

Next thing is a little pricy but, booboo it will save your edges. A wig slip.  They are velvety bands you place over the edge of your wig cap. They are amazing. Not only will your wig be more secure, you won’t have to actually attach it to your real hair. Thus saving your edges from traction alopecia and stress.

Also if you have a head that doesn’t quite fit a wig cap right, a bit too big or small, BOOM yo wig slip got you boo. I have about five I rotate and I hand wash them.

What else? Make sure you have styling tools that are appropriate for the hair. If you buy a curly wig, don’t try to style it with a paddle brush.

Make sure you comb or brush out your wig after wearing. Wigs will often tangle up at the nape of the neck and it is just a thing that happens. Carry a wide toothed comb with you or deal.

Before wearing your wig out, play with it. Figure out what you want to do with the hairline, if you want to try wearing it in a ponytail. You know it is fun, you can play around. Or if you don’t feel like it, wear it right out of the box.

Some stuff I’d avoid.

Don’t believe the hype about only buying human hair wigs. Real talk, I personally prefer synthetic because, I just don’t have the energy to take care of a whole extra head of hair.

Your wigs aren’t bad and you aren’t gross if your wigs aren’t layed for the gods, if you don’t do baby hairs, if you don’t customize your wig. Wear it how it works for you boo.

You can buy a cheap wig and rock the fuck out of it if you wanna.

You can buy a cheap wig to practice wearing and caring for a wig.

Fuck “realness”. Seriously.

If someone really believes you went from a pixie cut to a booty length red magnificence over night, they probably also believe that if you wear blue lipstick your lips are really blue. Also, who cares? WHO CARES? Random folks opinions about whether or not your hair is “yours” don’t matter unless they are in a direct position of authority over you.

Next time we talk wigs, I’ll talk about some of the reasons to try wigs if you like.

Struggle Bus Naturals- A little update

So in the last few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of down about my hair. I was experiencing some MAJOR tangling and haven’t been able to find my schedule for taking my hair down to braid now that I’ve changed shifts.

One of the drawbacks to hardcore protective styling for me is that I am not always able to see progress or milestones. My biggest milestone lately has been that my hair is now too much to do my whole cowash/detangle in the shower unless I want to wash my ass in stone cold water.

So I was thinking maybe of doing something else? I dunno. I watch a LOT of hair channels (I should not) and was feeling inadequate. Y’all I KNOW better than to compare. I mean, my hair is what it is. It’s not gonna be as glorious as one of the super long folks I follow.

Let me say this to my fellow struggle bus naturals. Your hair is gonna do what it do. For some of us there is no amount of product or manipulation to give us picture perfect all the sameish curls. For some of us, there are no laid edges without abusing our hair. A lot of us are not walking around rocking Instagram worthy hair all day every day.

Remember y’all, let your hair be your hair.

Now, over the weekend I decided to treat my hair SUPER nice.

I prepoo’d with coconut oil and did some finger detangling. Then I clarified my hair with one quick suds with a sulfate shampoo and followed with my liquid African Black soap.

I don’t do a whole wash in the shower anymore. Instead I shampoo in four sections in my sink. I have a hose thingy like this.   I also use a hair catcher in the drain. I used to exclusively wash this way until I started cowashing more.

I detangled with a bit of extra conditioner outside of the shower and while I was doing that with one section, I freaked out a little. Y’all, I have retained INCHES. When I started this round of protective styling I trimmed my hair to just below my shoulder. I trimmed a little bit as I was combing and look at how glorious my hairs is:

hair

[image description: a photo of the author a brown person from behind. One section of their hair is down and reaches a couple of inches below their shoulders]

Y’all.

That is all retention, which has been my biggest problem previously.

So here are my big super secrets.

  1. Figure out what your hair likes. Not what your fave youtuber likes. How to figure this out? Use a product consistently. Unless your hair immediately starts doing something wild or if your scalp is itchy, stop but, you have to give your hair time.
  2. Don’t try and rush your hair. Let it do what it do.
  3. Do what works and don’t screw around overmuch.

And that’s pretty much it. What works for me, might suck for you and that’s okay because we’re not in the same body.

A few other tips before I go.

If you start taking hair, nail and skin vitamins that have a lot of MSM or Biotin, drink extra water. If you don’t your face will break out. Your face might break out anyway, but, if it isn’t terrible, just roll with it. Again, give it at least 90 days and stay hydrated.

And love your hair. Doesn’t matter what kind of hair you have. Love your TWA, love your hair.

Now, as for me. I’m going to try that Jazz Nicole method of doing some crochet twists with NO CORNROWS!! If I can do it, it’s gonna be a spring/summer of UNICORN hair and I’m super hype. I’ll take some photos of it while I’m trying it. My plaiting has gotten quite a bit better so if I can do this, it’s fixin to be lit.

That’s it for now darlings.

Next time, I dunno maybe some new quickie reviews!

Struggle Bus Naturals- Dollar Store Supplies

Hello darlings.

Let’s talk about ways to lower the cost of being natural.

Like everything else, we all know that being natural can get all in our pockets. Conditioners, trying new products etc. Let’s talk about some strategies to help lower that cost a bit. And I’ll share some pro tips on making it work.

First let’s talk supplies.

Things I think you need to have on hand, whether you’ve got a big fluffy fro or a two.

1.) Shower comb. (These are affiliate links, but always look at the dollar store/Walmart, etc. for this stuff.) When I first went natural, I bought a lot of higher priced combs from beauty supplies etc and broke every single one of them. Now I buy them in this style from the dollar store. I keep one in the shower for wash day and one by my bed for out of shower detangling. If they have any little bit of an edge on them, take a nail file and smooth them down and boom. Excellent comb.

2.) Cheapy conditioners. I keep bottles of the stuff on hand for pre poo detangling if my hair is tangly, I use it to add slip to my cowashes. Sometimes if I’ve done something to my hair and it’s dry and tangled, cheapy conditioner to the rescue. I also use some of the conditioners from Tresemme to form the base of my cowashes. My faves are: Suave Professionals Conditioner, Almond + Shea Butter, TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner, Curl HydrationGarnier Fructis Style Damage Eraser Conditioner,Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner with Pump, and my super all time fall back always does me right Suave Essentials Conditioner, Tropical Coconut. I’ll do a post about how I mix my cowashes for best cleansing and how to figure it out.

3.) OILS! I LOVE oils, oils love me but it can get expensive. If you are a coconut oil user, check discount grocery stores. I have bought/spotted giant jars of coconut oil for under 10$ at Big Lots. Check here to see if you have one close by. For oils like Castor oil here’s my trick. I use a bargain brand light castor oil as an additive to my deep conditioners, pre poos, and cowashes. I use Viva Naturals Castor Oil. The bottle lasts quite a long time. It isn’t cold pressed but I found it performs just as well as my super fancy organic blappity blap. The other brand of oils I’m fond of is the NOW brand. I have used several of them and been satisfied every time.AND you can get smaller bottles so you can try out an oil and see if it agrees with you. Like this avocado oil.

Other stuff to watch out for at the dollar store.

Shower caps, those gold foil conditioning caps, butterfly clips (essential to working with hair in sections), headbands (I like the soft cloth kind), those terry cloth turban/wrap things. Now with those I suggest using them less to dry your hair and more to contain any pre-poos or other messy conditioning stuff.

My biggest tip is to focus on creating yourself a basics stash. Your ride or die conditioners, shampoos etc. Don’t commit to the biggest most expensive thing first. Using up a product you hate is a hell of a task.

Next struggle bus naturals post, I’ll do a photo tutorial of how I mix my cowashes.

Struggle Bus Naturals- Quick and Dirty new naturals tips.

Hello my gorgeous friends.

Today I want to talk about being newly natural and confused AF.

As usual, there will be amazon affiliate links.

And as with all stuff, this is my experience. Your mileage may vary. Before we get into tips, let’s talk natural hair jargon.

Low/no poo- this is basically when you either use sulfate shampoos rarely or not at all.

Sulfates- OKAY here is a thing. A lot of natural hair related stuff will scare tactic you with the term sulfates. OMG SO DANGEROUS, DESTROYS HAIR..IT IS DISHSOAP. Nope. Sulfate only describes the stuff that makes the thing clean your hair. Or your car or your dishes. The sulfates in your shampoo are not exactly the same as what you use in your dishwasher. Sulfate shampoos are not inherently evil. Some folks have hair that can tolerate being super squeaky cleaned with suds, some don’t.

In the same vein, CHEMICALS. Okay, let’s have a real talk. Chemicals are everything, everything is chemicals. Water is a chemical. Chemicals are not to be inherently feared because they are both natural and man made. That said, anything can cause an adverse reaction and that does not automatically mean a product or ingredient is the devil. You can be allergic to water.

Pro tips about allergens: if you have a nut allergy be very careful using anything with shea butter or coconut oil. How do you know if you’re having a reaction? Redness, intense itching, hives etc. If you have those, or fear a reaction, stop using something. If it is i n your hair, try shampooing with a gentle shampoo and rinsing very very well.

Cowash- As I talked about here, this is using conditioner or a conditioner based cleanser to clean your hair.

L.O.C Method- My personal favorite method of keeping my hair well moisturized and in good condition. It stands for Leave In, Oil and Cream. We’ll talk about that a bit further down.

EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pre-poo- Treating your hair with conditioner or oil prior to washing.

DCing- Deep conditioning. Using a dedicated deep conditioner ideally under a plastic cap or bag, for 15 minutes to however long with or without extra heat.

Big Chop- Cutting off all your relaxed hair.

Transition- Going natural without a big chop.

Tip no. 1) Limit yourself as to how much advice you take in. Including mine. I got very big eyes when I first went natural and in the process wound up spending a lot of money, doing some damage to my hair and ultimately feeling really stressed that my transition to natural wasn’t going like it seemed to go in the hair blogs. So, slow your roll.

2.) Start simple. Whether you big chop or transition start easy. Establish a simple routine for yourself so you have a baseline idea of how to take care of your hair. When I transitioned to natural here’s what I did: I found that my hair responds well to heavier butter based moisturizers. I started using whipped shea butters to moisturize my hair. I discovered that my hair doesn’t really like hard core protein. Basically, take your time and get to know your hair.

This is especially important for those who had relaxed hair for a really long time. Let me tell you a story.

When I was first fully natural I was envisioning myself with a perfectly round little afro (a TWA) just like my Mom had back in the day. I remembered her tightly coiled hair and how shiny it was and yadda yadda.

What I have…is not that on my head. My natural hair is incredibly variously textured. From 4/a/b in spots to almost straight in a few sections. I thought it was damaged so I spent the first few years being natural cutting a lot off of my hair. Then I realized that’s just my hair.

Other things to get to know about your hair when you’re starting out. I wish I’d known about porosity.  Once you figure out what kind of porosity you’re working with, learning what products work for you will be easier.

3.) If you don’t know how, try learning how to cornrow. I personally can’t. I’ve tried and tried and can’t do it. But, I do believe it’s a great skill to have.

4.) Start out with good habits. Don’t detangle on dry hair. Soak it in conditioner or oil or get it wet. Work in sections. Even if your hair is very short, learn to work in sections. Learn to shampoo properly. Concentrate shampoo on your scalp and let the run off cleanse your hair. As a general rule, if you shampoo spend twice the time rinsing than you do sudsing. Don’t use your nails on your scalp use the pads of your fingers.

5.) Figure out a good method to trim your hair. Alternately decide if you want a pro to do it. I use the search and destroy method most often.

Those are my tips for those just starting. Let’s talk some details.

I’ll tell you about my routine with my hair.

I’m a protective styler. Mainly because I’m bad at styling but also because I’m trying to retain every bit of growth I get. My go to protective styles are buns and wigs.

Under my wig, my hair is braided into smallish braids. Not cornrows. I take them down every two weeks to cleanse. One week I will cowash another I will use shampoo. I always pre-treat my hair with coconut oil. After I do that, I wash and deep condition. I fully detangle my hair in the shower and put it into 4 big twists. I let that air dry a bit then I use the LOC method and rebraid my hair.

Every other month or so I deep clean my hair or clarify it. Pro-tip, if your hair isn’t taking moisture like it usually does, try doing this to strip all residue from your scalp and hair.

I will use the OGX Tea Tree and peppermint shampoo first. After I rinse that out, I use the Shea Moisture raw shea moisture retention shampoo. That combo does both my hair and scalp good.

I follow up clarifying with an intense deep conditioner. My favorites are the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner but only in the packets. The bottle doesn’t seem to work as well for me. I’m also a big fan of the SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque. The Shea Moisture products tend to be very very heavily scented so be aware of that. I also love the Dark and Lovely AU Naturale Moisture L O C Deep Conditioning Delight.

Once my hair has air dried a bit I start with my LOC method. I have used Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin. I added a bit of light castor oil and it worked very nicely for me. For more slip, I highly recommend My DNA Leave-in Conditioner and Detangler. I used two bottles of this and it worked very nicely both times.

For oil you can use plain oils, probably not castor oil because of how heavy it is. But EVOO, coconut or whatever. I have a super secret about oils. I use commercial oils that have stuff I like in them. Check for hair loving herbs and stuff. My faves are, African Royale Hot Six Hair OilDoo Gro Mega Thick Growth Oil (I don’t know if this accelerates growth but I do love this formula).

For my cream layer I alternate between the Shea Moisture Strengthen Grow & Restore Loc & Braid Butter and a handmade whipped shea butter I picked up on etsy.

Usually because I always sleep with my hair wrapped I generally do this without unbraiding my hair twice a week.

Voila. A quick start guide.

Our next struggle bus naturals beginner thing, we’re going to talk about what to do with products you don’t particularly care for. We’ll talk about dollar store treasures. And talk about keeping your hair care budget manageable.

OH and last tip, stay hydrated. Being well hydrated is just all round good for you!

Struggle Bus Naturals- CoWashing What?

Hello my fellow struggle bus naturals.

Today let’s talk about cowashing.

For those who don’t know cowashing is using a conditioning formula to cleanse your hair. There are a ton on the market and I’d like to talk about how I figured out making it work for me.

When I first went natural cowashing was really just getting on the map in natural hair care. (These will all be amazon affiliate links) I purchased a bottle of Wen conditioning cleanser. .

First thing is that stuff smells amazing. Second up, I have stuff I need to work around.

  1. My scalp can get kind of crapped up. Off and on my scalp gets dry and flaky or just kind of gunky. It always has.
  2. My hair even at that point when it was about 5 inches shorter, is very dense. I need a lot of product to coat all my strands.
  3. That shit is expensive.
  4. My hot water heater is not mighty enough to do ALL my wash in shower.

Now, while the Wen was nice, my hair didn’t feel conditioned enough to me and my scalp still felt a bit dirty.

The brands I liked better were:

The As I Am cowash is really nice. It smells nice, it has a good amount of slip, it left my hair feeling quite nice. However it is in a freaking jar…A JAR. So the first one I got I wound up spilling half of it because my hands were slippery and it went whoopsie. Also again, I ran out of hot water. That said, if your hair isn’t super dry or very dirty this works really nicely and it’s affordable if you’re not using a lot.

The next thing I tried was straight up V05 Moisture Milk. While I do love that product for detangling it did not work on it’s own for a cowash for me. Also, do not buy it from Amazon go to the dollar store.

So I figured out a few things.

My hair thrives on low poo but not no poo. Cowashing is pretty great but I had to get a formula together.

Here is how it goes down for me.

I take a plastic bowl and spoon (usually empty butter containers or whatever) and gather my conditioners.

Yes, plural.

I usually buy conditioners by the liter. First, you want a base conditioner. Use one that’s got some heft and thickness here are the ones I like.

Aussie Moist  is my jam. It has a great amount of slip, is very moisturizing by itself and has a nice bit of body to the formula.

Tresemme Naturals Flawless curls hydrating conditioner. This is another classic for me. It’s not as moisturizing as the Aussie but it’s pretty great. The other great thing is often at drug stores it is on sale for the giant size. I also like this formula and this one as well for my base.

For my base I like it to be about a quarter of my overall mix.

Next up, you’ll want to add something for that extra slip. Aside from the mentioned V05 I will use, Suave Naturals line. My fave is coconut. This is another one I say do not buy this shit from Amazon it’s like a dollar everywhere else. The Organix line is also pretty great. I’ll add some of the Argan oil one for my slip. Basically you want something that’ll help ease your detangling.

Next I add a few squirts of something with some protein. Generically speaking, look for stuff that says anti breakage. I religiously use Garnier Damage eraser. My hair is protein sensitive and I’ve found that using a bit of this in my mix regularly has made a nice difference.

Now you can skip to my cleansing element here or if you are protective styling you can do this.

My hair LOVES friggin oils. I am protective styling so I add oils to my cowash. My number ONE oil to add to anything is light castor oil. It’s light as in color. This one (the bottle is UV protected) I’ve gone through four bottles and it’s lovely. I like a good heavy oil. You can also experiment with lighter oils like EVOO, Jojoba etc.

The other things I add are a few drops of tea tree oil for my scalp. Also a word of caution. Check with your doctor if you’re pregnant before you try essential oils. And, less is more. If you’re using the tingly oils (peppermint, tea tree, rosemary) start with only a few drops. They can all irritate skin and you need to be careful.

The other thing I add (that I hate) is a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. I don’t know why, but it just makes a huge difference in detangling, my hair feels smoother and better moisturized when I’m done. It’s gross and will give your mix a slightly chunky feel, but it works for me.

Now for my super secret.

I add gentle shampoo. Not a whole lot. Only a little bit.

My favorites are: Moisture Retention from Shea Moisture. If my scalp feels itchy, I use the Organix Tea Tree shampoo.

Sometimes I use my liquid African Black soap or even baby shampoo (only a TINY bit of that).

I recommend only adding a small amount of your cleanser to begin with. See how you like it.

I know it sounds like a lot, but, once I figured out how to eyeball the ratios of stuff my hair likes it only takes me about five minutes to mix it up. I priced it out and even with the extra stuff I use, it’s far more economical to use and I’m able to asses what my hair needs batch to batch because I make it right before I use it.

Now the how.

I don’t wet my hair first. I always pre-treat my hair with coconut oil whether I’m cowashing or shampooing. My hair responds super well to coconut oil so it is a staple.

When I get ready to cowash my hair is already sectioned and partially detangled. I saturate each section heavily and focus extra product on my ends. Then I hop into the shower and start with lukewarm water. I get each section wet, use the pads of my fingers on my scalp and once I get a bit of a lather, then I start detangling with my shower comb.

How do you know if you like your mix?

Before you moisturize your hair, let it air dry for a bit when you’re done washing. How does your hair feel? Is it soft? Fluffy? Does your scalp feel dirty? If you’re forgetful jot down your feels and work out what you need more of.

When I need extra moisture I will add a few squirts of the Shea Moisture manuka honey conditioner.

So that’s the secret, or my secret, at least.

Like most things with my natural hair, a lot of the blogs and stuff can only tell you so much. I’ve found that gentle experimentation and sticking with what my hair responds well to has been key.

And to end, a photo of my shrunken up super moist hair post cowash:

shrunkenhair

[image description] Photos of a brown skinned Black person. Their hair is curly. 

This was also just after a pretty intense trim. I had to get rid of some super raggedy ends. Next time I’ll talk about why I love protective styling so much and how I got to the point of figuring out how to get and keep my hair healthy and move towards focusing on length retention.