Anywho here are the before (September 6th) and after (September 9th) pics:
I noticed that my ends felt really nice after the trim, so I started to worry that I was letting my hair be damaged just to gain length (damage is known to travel up the strand). But then, a week after my trim the ends started feeling rough again, so I FINALLY decided to try oiling them (like everyone on LHC does and I never have). I added a bit of coconut oil to my ends after washing it, while the hair was still wet because adding coconut oil to dry hair tends to make it look stringy. And I have to tell you my ends feel awesome! I am glad I thought of this before I fell into some trimming dependency. Can you imagine trimming every week to keep the ends super fresh? That would make me lose length in stead of gaining.
My scalp has been flaky lately so I keep trying to find something easy to help me with that. The latest thing I've been using is Vitamin E oil, in the ingredients it says it has Safflower oil as the first ingredient. This is the actual product I have (but I bought mine at Rite Aid): De La Cruz . I massage it into my scalp and leave it on for an hour before adding the Neelibhringadi oil. It is really making my scalp feel better, it sheds less while washing, I see no more flakes, it doesn't feel itchy as fast and it feels better after using henna (I'm having henna issues, more on that toward the end of this entry). I'm quite found of it. I love that it says it is a "valuable aid for dry skin, scars and stretch marks and helps provide soothing relief after sun and wind exposure" because that tells me it is healing my skin, something I really want.
I FINALLY started Castor Oil before washing to gain my thickness back. What sucks is that my hair used to be very thick when I was younger, but over time I lost thickness to stress sheds (when my father died, when I moved from Europe to USA etc.), hormonal sheds (birth control pills) and damage to my follicles (lots and lots of chemical dyes and daily SLS washing, sometimes twice a day). My point is that I have the right genes for thick hair I just lost a lot of it over time and it never grew back. I am hoping to gain it back with Castor oil, after all it did make me gain .5 inches since January (it takes a while for the new hairs to be long enough to reach the ponytail).
I was worried that Castor oil would make my hair stop growing, like it did in January but I found a way around it! Back then I would mix the Castor oil with my Neelibhringadi oil and use them together, at the same time. Now I use Neelibhringadi oil, leave it on for at least one hour, then add the Castor oil (mixed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 70% olive oil - 30% castor oil) and leave that on for only one hour (anything more than that and it makes me shed too much, I believe Castor oil suffocates my hair follicles because it is a thick, sticky oil). So now my hair is still growing fast and I am also using the Castor oil. This rocks because it means I won't avoid using it since I won't fear my hair not growing.
My Conditioner Only washes have been leaving my hair a bit oily and overly stretchy. Last time this happened I used a protein treatment, but NEVER AGAIN. That ruined my hair, lesson learned. If anything I will clarify my hair soon, or just do a shampoo bar wash to remove all the extra oil. Despite this oil overload my hair is still showing those weird flyaway hairs all over the place. I am now using conditioners without humectants and my hair is still acting up. The only part that is not like that is the ends part. I guess that means the only way to fix it is to oil my hair while it is wet, because oiling it while dry did not fix it. More on this later.
I also wanted to add that I have started to massage my scalp while it is below the heart line, as per George Michael's instructions and my hair is growing twice as fast. Maybe I'm crazy and bad at measuring, but I swear my hair is growing twice as fast as before. Whether I'm bad at measuring or going through a growth spurt or it's really working I don't care, this is not a lot of extra effort and I am adding it to my regular routine, I already did daily scalp massages, now I just do them a bit differently.
In other news I am addicted to coloring. I am now 100% sure of it. I keep going back and forth between henna and my natural hair color in my head. Not to mention about twice a year I use black Manic Panic. I am fully avoiding using indigo to give my hair a brown color despite regularly wanting my natural hair color back, because I am just not ready to go around with my natural hair color. I have tried to grow my hair out since 2006 when I shaved my head so that I start with my natural hair color and to avoid having that awful chemical dye burnt, dry, dull hair. I lasted a month before coloring it. The second time around in 2009 I managed to go a year and a half without coloring, just to give into henna.
Now I can't bring myself to remove the henna nor add indigo to bring it close to my natural hair color. Why? I can't. I honestly can't. I want my hair red, I want it not to be my natural hair color. What's horrible is that I could make it red with Manic Panic if it was my natural hair color, but I have white hair. At age 27 I am NOT ready to have white hair, that is premature graying and I'm not ok with it. I would use henna+indigo to get brown hair, just to cover the white, but indigo is fickle and I don't want to end up with permanent black hair or something like that. So henna, plain, old, just henna is my best bet, this is why I am sticking with it. I so wished to have my natural hair color once more while it is still that brown color and not white, but honestly it's too late for me. I give up. I need to stop torturing myself over this and just let my hair be. Lol. After writing all this I wish my hair was my natural hair color. I have a problem, seriously.
Other than all that color drama, I am having what seems to be an allergic reaction to the new henna I've been using. Shocking, since I've been using henna for 2 years and this never happened before. The reaction started around June. At first I thought it may be the fenugreek I added to it, but this last time I didn't mix my henna with anything but water and my scalp still burned. Not to mention it feels like it's been sunburned afterwards for weeks. It's very disconcerting. So I started a private conversation with the seller on facebook trying to figure out what is happening. After eliminating a few possibilities, she suggested that I may have developed an allergy to henna, which apparently can happen. So I did a patch test on the inside of my wrist (pic at the end of this) and got no reaction. So it is definitely my scalp that hates the henna. Now I want to use my old henna next time, to see if it's this new henna (which apparently has a lot of resin) that my scalp hates or it is my scalp that is irritated. I will update on this after I henna my hair next. My true worry is that this is not BAQ (pure) henna and that's why I am having trouble with it. I would seriously cry if that was the case.
I was suppose to write an entry on the Curly Girl book but it was a bit disappointing (no new information, just stuff I already read online a billion times) and the entry will be long because I plan to make it a "how to care for curly/wavy hair" entry. As soon as I feel up to it I shall write it up.
Until then I hope all of you reading this are having wonderful hair days. :)