length retention

August 2017 NATURAL HAIR CHALLENGE: Protect Ya Ends!

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I believe in protecting your ends to retain length. Usually I seal my hair with some type of oil, but today I thought of something different: What if I sealed my ends with a silicone serum (heat protectant)? Previously I had been skeptical to try this because I feared silicone build-up, but my cleansing conditioner (DevaCurl Decadence No Poo) removes silicones just fine!

So for the next month, I am going to use a silicone serum when I style my wash and go on my ends. Currently, I am using Form Beauty Protect because the ingredients – argan oil is the fourth ingredient (after a ton of cones of course). What am I looking for? Any noticeable differences in hair appearance and thickness – thicker ends perhaps, or a decrease in single strand knots and split ends. Check out this video for more information:

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Why I Started Taking Viviscal Again After Trying Other Hair Vitamins

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I began taking Viviscal in July 2011 and recorded much of my journey on my YouTube channel. It quickly became my favorite vitamin after trying several different formulas, such as MaxiHair and the now defunct Nioxin vitamins (I took Nioxin until it was no longer available, but before Viviscal, it was my favorite), and with good reason. When I did my length check videos, I always saw great progress with my hair and also had little shedding (pic below shows my length at 2 years and 4 months natural, I was using Viviscal at the time) I had my monthly supply on auto-order on Amazon, and heck, I was even in their infomercial, which was pretty cool.

But then, they changed the formula and some of the verbiage on the packaging, and it became more difficult to determine if I was getting authentic product. There were two different types of packaging I had seen across the web with different ingredients, and I even heard of unauthorized sellers distributing fake product. The final nail in the coffin was when the vendor I ordered from on Amazon stopped selling it, and I couldn’t find a trustworthy site for a good deal. I bid Viviscal goodbye and set out to find a vitamin I was happy with that I could buy on the ground and the ingredients wouldn’t keep changing.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe that hair vitamins make your hair grow 50 inches a year and I don’t think they are necessary for a healthy hair journey. First and foremost, I think that we should focus on internal nutrition and wellness, which support healthy hair, skin, and nails. But I do think they are nice to have since we aren’t able to really measure how much vitamin B we’re getting daily through the food we eat. Furthermore, I do notice decreased shedding when I take certain vitamins regardless of my diet and how often I’m detangling, which is reassuring to see in the shower.

Viviscal Length Check

Anyway, back to the story. I tried a couple of other vitamins, including ManeChoice (which caused me to break out something awful) and Nature’s Bounty Extra Strength Hair, Skin, and Nails, which was pretty good but was often sold out at CVS because it’s on sale all the time. But without even realizing it, all of these vitamins were missing something that is incredibly important to hair and also my personal health – iron. I’ve been anemic since as long as I can remember, and although I periodically took iron with my hair vitamin, I felt like I was taking so many pills and taking iron alone (and on an empty stomach) made me feel ill. Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I bought iron pills because they get on my nerves.

Viviscal contains 10mg (56% of the recommended daily value) per pill, and the initial recommended dosage is two pills a day. I went to Ulta and re-examined the ingredients, saw that, and thought, “Fine. Might as well!” One of the other benefits I get from taking Viviscal is that it doesn’t make me sick at all; I can take it in the morning on an empty stomach and not have to worry about feeling nauseated later in the day or having heartburn from too much iron. As an added bonus, I was probably a week and a half into taking Viviscal again (note, I was still taking biotin and hadn’t gone that long without taking any kind of vitamin), I detangled my hair after having it in a bun for around five days, which can often equal tangle city, and I shed a lot less hair – it was even noticeable with each section that I did. Win!

So, just like that, Viviscal is back in my regimen, and hair was only a small part of the equation. I hope they don’t change the ingredients again…

Have you ever had a favorite in your regimen that you went back to after trying other things?

**This article also appears on Black Girl with Long Hair.

**Disclaimer: This content is not sponsored and Viviscal did not provide me with any compensation or free products for writing this article.

Bunning Without Breakage: The 5 Rules of Bunning Natural Hair

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Although there has been debate surrounding bunning as a protective style, you might be into buns for reasons other than  length retention. For instance, you might hate wet hair during winter and want confirmed multi-day hair or you might just like how buns look. Whatever your reasons for indulging, there are some tips can help ensure that you do not hinder your hair journey with bunning. Check ‘em out:

1. Don’t bun tangled hair

It can be very tempting to resort to a bun when your hairstyle is on its last leg, but remember that bunning tends to hold your hair in place (including tangles). Would you want tangled hair, sitting packed together for two weeks? I highly doubt it. Even if you only finger detangle, at least try to make sure there aren’t any serious knots in your mane before styling it into a bun. Your hair will thank you when you take the bun down.

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2. Avoid hair ties that can cause dryness

Sure, I could tell you to search for satin scrunchies and hair ties, but why even bother with a tie at all? I recommend using hair sticks when styling classic donut buns. They hold your hair securely without straining your edges, and you don’t have to worry about harsher materials sitting on your ends for days. If you want a high messy bun, make sure you oil your ends (I prefer thicker butters for this, like shea butter or cocoa butter) for protection and reduce friction between your hair and the hair tie. Product Suggestions: Simply Divine Botanicals How Now Brown Cacao,Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade, Bekura Beauty Java Bean and Honey Hair Balm.

3. Make sure you’re still moisturizing your hair while you’re bunning

Before oiling your ends, it’s important that you also keep your hair moisturized while you’re bunning. I moisturize my hair at least every other day while bunning and sometimes daily if it’s really dry outside. Make sure the consistency of your moisturizer is correct — I’ve found that moisturizers with creamier lotion-like consistencies, such as SDOT Beauty’s CurlFriend Smoothie Leave-In, Oyin Hair Dew, or Beija-Flor Naturals Creme Brulee, tend to settle into dry hair better than a conditioner or moisturizer with a wetter consistency, like Curl Junkie Curl Rehab orDarcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed conditioner (I still use these as leave-ins on wet hair, just not dry). Split your dry hair into four sections and apply enough moisturizer to soften hair, but do not oversaturate.

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4. Switch bun positions

To reduce pressure on your edges, switch your bun back and forth between high and low every few days. I usually wear a low “librarian-type” bun for a few day, then switch to a giant high bun. Always apply moisturizer of some kind to make your hair more pliable while you’re manipulating it and keep styles as loose as possible.

5. Refresh your bun without applying more product

It can be difficult to keep your bun looking fresh, especially when it’s humid or rainy/snowy outside. But instead of layering additional gels over what’s already in your hair, try reactivating your products. If my bun starts to look messy, I let the water run over my hair while it’s still in my bun for a couple of seconds in the shower – this reactivates my gel enough to smooth my hair nicely without wetting my hair so much that it’s fragile in a stretched state. Once out of the shower, smooth the damp hair back into your bun and tie it down with a headscarf for about 20 minutes. Shine and sleekness renewed! You can also use a natural sea salt spray on your scalp to absorb excess oil and minimize itchiness.

What are your favorite techniques for maintaining your bun?

*This article also appears on Black Girl with Long Hair.