Thinking about embracing your curls?

When I 1st started the natural hair journey ( I chemically altered my hair, not only heat damage it) I had a specific look and goal in mind.

I wanted my hair to be as kinky as possible because that is my father hair type and I absolutely love his hair.

I simply assumed my hair would turn out like my dad’s. I kept using heat because my curl was not what I wanted it to be, I became instead a naturalista with natural straight hair regularly using my flat iron with heat protection & protein treatments of course.

Some time later, along came Instagram and thanks to my friend from Curly community. The Hair Lab was born. My blog & IG account became my journal where I logged my progress and my fails always trying to figure out how to fix the mishaps. In no time I started falling in love with the flexibility my hair had to offer, gave up heat entirely and now my curls are as kinky and coily as ever with loads of volume. I adjusted my goals to what I had and it paid off.

I would not change my frizzy head of curls for anything, it still gets annoying at times the work I need to put into it and it still surprises me how different in can look depending on how I do the wash day routine, but we can get into that once we have the basics in order.

A few things I wish my fairy godmother had told me before I started!

1. Take a deep breath, you might be overwhelmed at first, but there is no need to worry we are here for you.

Do this at your own speed.

Take it slow if you need to, no judgement, no rush.

You can either transition and cut the damaged parts little by little or get a big chop and start fresh, but do it only when you are ready.

No pressure.

2. Keep it simple.

If you can’t or don’t want to buy a full set new products at 1st, do it one by one by like adding a good leave in conditioner, styling gel or cream to your routine while you finish the old products and learn to read labels.

When the journey starts the hair is rather damaged so very fancy products are not an obligation, be comfortable with your own budget.

Use less heat, or even better no heat at all, this will help prevent breakage in the demarcation line which is the point where your old damaged hair gets in contact with you new natural curlywurly-frowywavy new head of hair.

3. Take the time to observe your hair.

Is it fine, is it dense, wavy, curly, kinky?

I recommend you to not obsess about curl typing, this early on.

You will learn later as you familiarize with the curly terminology and your own hair.

If you would like to know how I started to learn about my own hair feel free to read my 1st blog post The Hair Lab Scientific Method

4. At first the chemical or heat damaged hair will be highly porous so look for deep treatment masks and products with keywords such as repair, strengthen, restore; they usually contain protein and protein is what damaged hair direly needs.

5. Chemical damage cannot be reverted, I cut my hair gradually for about a year. Heat damage can revert with proper care. I did not chop off my heat damaged hair, instead I gave it super intensive care doing what I call a “partial curl recovery” as I was unwilling to cut the hair all over again.

6. Be patient, have fun and don’t compare your beginning to the middle of others, surround yourself with good vibes only.

Embrace your curls be them wavy, curly, kinky, coily or everything in between they are yours and you will learn to love them, I promise it will happen.

The journey is challenging but it is totally worth it and your curls, waves, kins, and coils will love you back with good care.

7. Naturally curly hair is for everybody.

Whoever has it and wants to wear as it grows out of their head can wear it curly.

No matter the shape, texture or color curly hair is not a problem; it has just been misunderstood for many years.

I’m here to help you every step of the way in any way I can so don’t feel shy to email me or post your questions in the comments section.

I will do my best to help you get started!

If I could do it, anybody can!

The product junkie club Spring 2018

We decided to have yet another challenge & I write we because I got brainstorming help from one of my curl friends!

This challenge is starting to become a yearly thing for me and this time we have more curlfriends joining welcome Hispaneek

A few ideas for the challenge

  1. This is a freestyle challenge so each one of us brings a personal twist to it.
  2. There are no forbidden products, all you need to do is test your old products and if you need help deciding whether to use them or not ask the rest of the group and we might be able to help.
  3. Organize your products by categories.

The old products

  • Garbage bin: those with smells or ingredients that We hate and the very old ones, let’s say older than a year must go in the bin. *If you don’t remember when you bought a product it is best to send it to the bin. I ended up with a huge bag of this kind that was discarded.
  • The “I like you, but forgot about you” bin: Self explanatory, basically products we liked even holy grails but stopped using in favor of our excessive hair product shopping. Prioritize to finish these ones first.
  • The Swap/gift box: Here I include products that other naturals loved but that somehow did not become a favorite for me; but that have a good quality and/or overall good reviews. This serves 2 purposes: making another curly happy and if you can’t swap it give it as a present and help to reduce waste, might be your curl friend just found a Holy grail thanks to you. This can also apply to unopened products that you have failed to use due to whatever reason but you think a fellow curly can love. I have received a few nice things from fellow curlies already and it really did make me very happy.
    • This challenge is open to everybody, everywhere. It is more like a club of curly friends who shop too much.

      Our hasthtag #productjunkieclub2018

      Our Ethos: shop smarter & more consciously

      Our Goal: reduce waste and in the process save money or invest our money only in good products suited to our hair type.

      A few ideas to get you started to clear out the old to make room for the new

      1. Group products by brand and use them together on the same wash day according to your hair needs & routines (try the same wash day at least 2 times in a row, if you like it continue the same routine until finishing the products or if you need or want a change).
      2. Repurchase of Holy Grails is allowed, so don’t worry you can keep your curls happy.
      3. Have a budget idea: setting up a budget is up to you, but using the base of another challenge I participated in (& failed miserably at) aim for $30, £30, €30 a week or the equivalent in your local currency, or whatever sum you can afford for hair care products. This is just a guideline.
      4. Buying products to complete existing hair lines is ideal. You can also choose to not buy anything so the budget goes from 0-30 depending on your intent. My personal intent is to reduce waste, so it makes sense for me to purchase less items and aim for zero expense, obviously this did not happen but for a few short months; once my holy grails ran out I repurchased mercilessly but lifestyle changes do take time!
      5. Don’t give up!

      Shopping (saving) ideas

      1. Take advantage of seasonal sales for your favorite products.
      2. Enter giveaways.
      3. Get a subscription box, I joined one for £20 pounds plus shipping & I got at least 5 full sized products in each box to try at an accesible price. I have still have yet to try many of them, but the ones I have tried so far have been very good and at a fraction of their retail price.
      4. 2 empties allow you to purchase one completely new product you have not tried before and empty holy grails can always be replaced as they empty so your curls are always on point.
      5. Look for eco friendly packaging when possible to reduce waste too.

      If you want more info about these shopping hacks let me know in the comments section, or on my instagram.

      Happy, conscious shopping!

      P.S. This is not a competition, but a collective effort to improve our consumer habits as a curly community.

      Share your findings positive or negative but always saying something nice, if you follow me on IG The Hair Lab you know I am all about positive vibes so just be kind when sharing the fails, be kind to yourself & others in this curly hair adventure.

      Other curly girls who have joined me since the beginning in this effort to shop more responsibly are

      Curlymamaxx
      Curlysue291

      Feel free to follow their accounts for inspo & great tips.

      We have had our ups & downs but little by little we are getting there.

      May the odds be ever in your favor” may The Hunger Product Junkie Games begin.

      May the force be with you

      Hi my name is Lelia and I am a product junkie.

      Relaxing at night unplugged(ish)

      Disclaimer: I scheduled this post for 7:00am, it is near 11:00pm now and I figured I do want and need to sleep a little longer, so no early morning workout and no blog post in real time.

      Yesterday’s post was full of typos and mistakes that I haven’t fully corrected yet. I was tired when I wrote it upon waking up. I kept it short and shared a photo of products I like and this started a small conversation in the comments section that I enjoyed…all this to say I used a Shampoo because I remembered it and yes I am also very sleepy right now, yikes! 7:30 am update, I was so tired last night that it got scheduled for 1:00am instead of 7:00, surely I must have been very tired indeed.

      … 10:36pm

      Tonight I kept it simple no Instagram, just a wash night for me with no worries about the outcome.

      I found myself enjoying a very relaxing time, I felt all my day tiredness just melt away as I cleansed my hair with no selfie or intastory present in my mind. No prepoo, no deep condition. No extras, minimal effort maximum relaxation.

      I added a few drops of essential oils just for fun, inspired by my fave Conditioner, to the Low Shampoo of the Boucleme line I posted yesterday, mixed them in a bowl and diluted with a little water to make washing easier and it felt really nice.

      I followed with Giovanni tea tree triple treat rinsed it out and then reapplied as a leave in because it is so light weight that it can be used like that. I followed with Mielle organics gel, it is almost empty and while it’s not the absolute best in performance, however very good, just is the wonderful happy smell that makes me pick it up even if I have “better” choices.

      I wanted to air dry, but this rarely works for me. Ended with a flat top and decided to diffuse some and finish drying overnight with my hair on a high bun wrapped in a satin scarf.

      I still wanted to document this new wash day and since I needed a blog post for tomorrow I did it today and used the tools that WordPress gives us to make life easier.

      These 3 essential oils are always in my aroma diffuser, it was funny to feel myself life a human diffuser when I was using the hair dryer.

      Do you like essential oils and if so how do you use them?

      No Heat Challenge Lite: 2017 Update

      Lite: “A simpler version, or subset, of something (especially software), in which complexity is forgone for the sake of easier application (or modified application); for example: Nintendo DS lite” Wikipedia.

      I have a “problem” I am a flat iron & heat tools junkie and that is unlikely to change, unless I make an effort, but change is difficult;  so I propose a Lite Heat Free Challenge for the impatient Curly Girl. Care to join me? Then, read on!

      The longest I had managed to be relatively heat free, before doing this challenge was 5 months now I can say I have been almost heat free for almost an entire year.

      If you are struggling to give up heat cold turkey maybe the #noheatlitechallenge is for you

      This is how I did it and maybe it can help as a guideline to create your own challenge.

      No Heat Lite Club: The idea is to have a small community of curlies who still use heat because we are still in the heat transition phase or because we like it, while still allowing for some freedom once the need for heat becomes too much.

      Rules of the Lite Club

      First rule of Lite Club: rules are relative, more than rules we have guidelines.

      Second Rule: The flat iron is forbidden, this one is the only guideline that must always be followed.

      Third Rule: If you get bored, feel tempted or need help finding styling ideas always ask for help, the club will always be there for you.

      Rule four: Have fun, try new things & share what works for you.

      The Guidelines

      1. No flat iron during the entirety of the challenge. using it even once resets the “heat free calendar”
      2. Avoid the blow dryer except for diffusing.
      3. Diffusing allowances: Ideally always dry hair on cool, but low heat is allowed no more than once a week. Medium heat should not happen, but if it must then only once per month or it means reset of the “heat free calendar”.
      4. Start the “Heat Free Calendar” with a Complete Wash day Including all your important steps like pre poo, shampoo, deep conditioning and your preferred heat free styling method, mine is the wash and go.
      5. If your own a hooded dryer then try it out on the lowest possible setting, no more than once a week, if you don’t own one like me maybe we can find a good one together.
      6. Hot Rollers are allowed but only once a month and the drying and stretching should be done heat free. Blow drying + hot rollers also resets the calendar so choose this option wisely.
      7. Flexirods, perm rods, magnetic & foam rollers are your friends.
      8. Always protect your hair at night.
      9. Do a Wash Day only when you have time, for example on your days off ideally when you don´t need to leave the house. If you don’t have time try and refresh only or “put it in a bun” or “wrap it up”.
      10. Have Fun and try your best. We promise we wont judge!

      Here are some style inspos for the Heat Free Challenge Lite:

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      Style with Hot Rollers 

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      Wash & Go

      alliphoneblack 1976

      Curly updo with bangs

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      Half up curly do 

      Twistcantu

      Twist out

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      Flexi Rods

       

      My last flat iron: Sept 26 2016

      Challenge Start date: Nov 27 2016

      Challenge Duration: 6 months.

       

       

      0b22dd47-1614-425f-9df7-321f8852112c

      4/16  vs. 27/11/16  wash & go

      Let’s see if this Heat tools Junkie can survive six month without the Flat iron, join me and we can motivate and teach each other new tricks to stray true to the Curly life!…I can tell you now that I did survive 6 months & beyond without flat ironing my hair and I think my curks have improved quite a lot since the beginning of the curl journey, with it’s most dramatic transformation happening after I gave up direct heat.

      Today is September 1st 2017 and I have not used a flat iron since September 2016, the 1st few months of the challenge were difficult because old habits die hard, but I found a very supportive group of curl friends to do it with. I followed the “flexible rules” for the 6 months of the challenge, in July I reintroduced medium heat because I needed to dry my hair faster and because I started playing with my texture to create big hair routines and it does not seem to be a problem for my curls, I will post in the future how I dry my hair using a diffuser but in the meantime you can follow my progress on instagram here on The Hair Lab and feel free to use the hashtag #noheatlitechallenge so I can follow your curly hair journey too!

      PS. This is the picture of my last wash day! Would you like a full updated wash day routine & to know which products I used? Let me know in the comments 🙂

       

      InstaCompare? No thanks. Friendship please.

      iDisclamer: The only science involved in this post came from the developers of apple that created this iPad and of the creators of the internet, the rest is just my opinion not as an MD or a scientist but as a “Curly Girl”, reader discretion advised.

      IMG_9964

      Weird disclaimer is it not? Still, I am trying to make a point and I will get there.

      I officially joined the Natural Hair Community in March 2016, with my 1st Curly Community fan page post, and my 1st hair instagram account, later on in april the Hair Lab was born.

      IMG_9989

      I never saw another curly girl IG, or blog or web page until last year after I had cut off all my chemically straightened hair. Why? My 1st contact did not cause a good impression and I left. In 2013 or so I googled about curly hair and the first impression was mostly of a competitive, divided, toxic & overall negative environment, my sources where limited to the USA; but that was my turning point of thinking OK I know medicine, I have the books the journals let’s do this on my own terms, I do not need that negativity in my life. You know what? it was great; it gave me time to understand the anger and decide that to each their own and that there are so many different subsets of Natural Hair Communities not only one.

      I never googled about hair outside of google scholar since then until 2016. I did my transition alone and yes I made many mistakes and no I do not know how to braid my hair, yet.

      ipad3 061

      Finger curling pre hair blog vs post hair blog lol 

      Find your Element

      I clearly did not belong in the community of the 1st encounter I had, I now understand where they come from though and I empathize with some, but it was not my element as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, now I Have found my hair element the part of the community that helps me grow.

      I belong here in what I call the “curly community”, the name is irrelevant but I avoid using certain terms to avoid controversy. I may or may not write about it in the future; but for now about my lovely curly community.

      Our community is inspirational, professional in our own individual way it includes hairdressers, students, doctors, restaurateurs, journalists, photographers, models, engineers, moms you name the profession and we can find it, off course bloggers and vlogers too. In this group “our clique” we are responsible in the way we share our journey, we promote self-love and growth instead of comparison charts and above all we strive to be positive, humble and real.

      We always cheer for each other no matter if it is something big or small, we genuinely wish the others success, we do not compete we grow together.

      Today I can say This hair journey has given me more than hydrated locks, it has given me women and friends I admire from afar and who are great role models for the younger girls out there looking for powerful, positive female role models.

      We do not compare each other, we support each other and learn together, we are friends.

      Thank you for your friendship my (curl) friends.

      Type 4 Hair, no such thing as types!

      I am currently reading an acedemic thesis on the hierachies among the natural hair movement and how the classification creator André Walker might have been a bit biassed, if not discriminatory towards 4b/c hair.

      I never found useful that classification having multiple textures, low porosity, high density and a mix of fine and course hair. Those other attibutes influenced my hair health and product choice more than knowing my curl pattern. I know curl typing is the signature marketing tool for texture media (and while I love their portal naturally curly, their choice of hair typing not so much). I dont think it is completely useless, but I agree with the original post in that  it’s a method that yields itself for usage as a discrimination tool (unintended probably). I read post by girls wishing their texture was like someone else’s and the point is self esteem, not trying to “train our curls” to be more “perfect”, you have the perfect curl love it and embrace it as it is!

      Keep it healthy and hydrated and it will be the best curl it can be!

      Have a happy curly day!

      The Hair Lab Doctor

      naturallycomplete

      I didn’t know that I had a “type” of hair other than Black hair. I heard about the term Type 4 a/b hair in the summertime this year and was still largely clueless as to what my hair type is…since as its getting longer, it is changing from a 4b to…who knows? I don’t think it really matters if someone has nice “3b” hair or someone has coarse “4c” hair. I have seen YouTubers with THE most gorgeous, amazing hair ever and their hair is like a 4b, but I have seen women with 3c hair that grows effortlessly within months.

      Especially within the NHM (Natural Hair Movement)…finding a system to separate hair types sounds silly and pompous. It generally has an underlying meaning that the closer you get to the European type (Type 2) then the nicer your hair is…or the more success you have being natural. But it’s…

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