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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Natural Hair Update (1 YEAR!) and My First Flat-Iron Experience- THUMBS UP!

It's been a full year since I cut off my locs and I decided to flat iron my hair for the occasion. Okay, no I'm lying, it was only while I was doing it that I came to that revelation. But what good timing! I must say, it has grown a lot in the year. The initial cut, the front of my hair was longer than the rest, so I kind of had a bang. 
Fresh from the hairdresser after taking out my locs. A coil-out.

Twist-out with a pompadour effect
A wash-n-go
Flat twist-out.
Since maybe last September, I've been gradually evening it out to make my hair all one length.  I would trim pretty much every time I washed it while protective styling.
This is what it looked like in Trinidad in February and in NYC in March:
Hair is taking a more rounded shape. Check out my tan lines! :)
I have wanted to flat iron my hair for a while and started buying certain hair products and even a flat iron since last summer, but then I decided to just leave it and have fun. Then I started protective styling in September, so the idea went on the back-burner. Now that it's Spring and the dew-point is low, I decided to give it a whirl. Plus, 1/2 a year of wigging it was enough.

My hair was already in about five cornrows going back since that was my normal wig wearing mode. So I just undid one by one, dampened my hair with water from a spray bottle, then applied:
- mark Salon Straight Smoothing Balm with Invigorating Orange ($6). This stuff smells so good! It's also a pretty light consistency and not heavy at all. I put enough so that it spread evenly along the section of hair I was working with. It has silicones in it, but I think that's needed when applying heat. Unfortunately when I was going to link it here for you, I realized it's no longer on the website for sale! How disappointing! Here is the line though, mark Salon Straight. Looks like they may be phasing it out, I have to look into that. Great, now I have to find a replacement when this is done now. Maybe I will try Carol's Daughter's heat line, though a little pricey.
- next was Aussie's Heat Protecting Shine Spray ($4). I spritzed it along the hair shaft and combed from end to root.

The last row!
I then blow dried the piece of hair to loosen my curl before flat ironing. I only had it on the medium setting because I didn't want to over-do the heat in my hair since I would be flat ironing after. My blow dryer cannot add a comb attachment unfortunately, so I have to work with an actual wide-tooth comb, then a Goody brush with white plastic teeth, similar to the infamous Denman with the rubber base.

This is the same piece blow dried
Once it was to my liking, I then re-applied both products, but then added some Oyin Burnt Sugar Humectant Pomade ($12, but I have a trial size). I'm only realizing the "humectant" part of the description now as I'm typing this. Perfect! I wanted to use a grease based product because adding something with water would only defeat the purpose of just blow drying it. The humectant properties act as a combat against humidity, which is a plus for natural hair that is flat-ironed. I combed once again, then used my Remington S5500 Anti-Static 1-inch Ceramic Hair Straightener that I bought from Amazon last summer for $18.26 :D It has a very helpful digital display with the temperature which is great because you can clearly see how much heat you're applying. I had the setting to what it was when I turned it on, which is probably the default, 370 degrees. I ran it across the hair shaft about 3 times, slightly bending each time. I remember back in the day those Gold n Hot flat irons, you were pretty much frying your hair with no idea how hot the plates got! And I used to do it without thinking twice on relaxed hair (which is already fried), and now with natural hair, I was so nervous and mindful about heat damage...go figure! 

My straightening trio :D
The end-result was great, not greasy like I was kind of afraid of. I also managed to achieve my desired result without pricey products and tools. I'm always one to try "cheap" before splurging. I actually wasn't expecting my hair to come out so straight! Which I guess was messing with me psychologically because I then wanted to add some body, my hair is naturally thin and it's more noticeable when straight, so I decided to bantu knot it, which is something I do when doing regular twist-outs anyway. It also helps to keep your hair neat and out of the way while sleeping. I had to keep them secure with hair pins this time though since my hair was so straight. I tied on my hair net to keep it in place, then my satin bonnet to keep my hair from rubbing on my pillow case.

All done, before Bantu Knots


In the morning I undid each knot to find the cutest curl! 
A little Shirley Temple and such a change from my big hair of wigs, but it was cute! Then I was like, "It doesn't even look like I straightened it, why did I knot it!?" But I didn't have much time to fuss around with it, so I separated them a little, pinned back one side and was out the door. It held up well all day, the dew point was only about 30. This is the perfect time to try out these kinds of hairstyles, when the dew point is below 50. In the summer, the dew points go up and your hair curls up, which is great if that's what you want :D It's supposed to rain tomorrow, pray for me :|

In the a.m after separating the curls and pinning one side

At the end of the day, it dropped and filled out a little. Plus I played with it during the day.
Tonight I won't do the bantu knots and the rest of the week I'm going to keep fluffing and letting it do its own thing. If it gets limp, I'm going to knot it again, maybe not as tight. I'll try to put up a pic everyday. 

I don't think straightening is something I'll be doing often as I've heard of ladies losing their curl pattern because of straightening too much. Uhh, no thanks! ;)

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