Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trader Joe's Castille Soap Discontinued!

There's some controversy about the use of castille soap as a shampoo. For example, popular YouTuber Kim , of KimmayTube tested the ph of Bronner's Castille Soap and found it to be much higher than the recommended range for hair (between 4 and 5). You can watch her explain her findings.

She also did an informative series fraught with good visuals on understanding the effects of ph on hair.

That said, I've been using diluted castille soap successfully for YEARS, but I've never tried Bronner's Castille Soap.
I had a bottle of Trader Joe's Castille Soap.

Turns out Trader Joe's formula includes Aloe Vera --which has an acidic ph---probably bringing down the overall ph of the product--perhaps balancing it for hair. The manufacturer recommends it's use as a shampoo right on the bottle's label.

I did not get a chance to personally test the ph of my bottle, because by the time I noticed Aloe as an ingredient of my castille soap, the bottle was empty and I was on my way to Trader Joe's to buy a new one. I was very disappointed to learn they are no longer selling their brand and promoting Bronner's Castille Soap instead. My bottle lasted for years--a little bit diluted yielded a rich sudsy solution. I'm sorry to see the product go. The representative had no information about why they had stopped selling it.

I can't recommend Bronner's, because I've never tried it--but I've read that some people report success using it diluted as well. You may want to test it for yourself and see how you like it. Test the ph for yourself, and if it's not in a safe range for hair, I'd leave it alone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aloe Vera Acidifying Mix for Detangling!



I took down HMGs re-twisted style for these big cornrow twists. I thought a lot of shed hair was trapped in her twists and wanted to remove them to avoid matting. I tried a new mix because she'd just washed her twists and I wanted to style her hair without having to wash it again.

I've been studying the effects of acidifying the hair shaft to a ph between 4 and 5. This causes the shingles on the hair shaft to lie down, creating a smooth surface for the strands to glide past each other. Open shingles snag and catch as the strands make contact. Detangling conditioners are designed to impact the hair shaft in a similar fashion, whether by chemically altering the behavior of the shingles or coating the strands to create a smooth surface. I like the idea of using aloe vera juice because of it's acidic ph and moisturizing properties. I've read testimonies that it leaves nappy hair soft and supple.

I didn't really measure, because I only had about a little more than a tablespoon of aloe vera left to work with--my husband drinks it as a supplement. I added it to about 8 oz of plain water. I had no ph strips to test whether the aloe I added to the water brought it to a range between 4 and 5, but I forged ahead anyway. If you try this, you may want to pick up some strips from your drug store and test the mix for yourself--they are very easy to read.

Oh my goodness!!!!!!! Here's our experience:

HMG took down her twists herself and I sat down to detangle her hair. Shed hair were wrapped around the loose sections of hair. I took my time trying to gently pull some of the shed hairs from her DRY hair first working from the ends. In some places I had to apply the end of my rat tail comb to gently pry the shed hair off. I should have spritz her hair with my aloe mixture from the beginning. I was VERY pleased with how easy it became to detangle her hair once I started spraying. My Denman was slipping through her hair in no time.

The aloe is odorless and left no residue on her hair. This morning her hair is soft and full of sheen. I am excited to try this on the other girls and report back our experiences.

I refrigerated what was left of my aloe mix--there are no preservatives in the aloe juice which is kept refrigerated.

I'm excited about the new big corn row twisted style we put in. HMG braided the twists before going to bed which gave them a curly crinkly look she really likes. She will also try to set them with her pipe cleaner curls for a different look. They also look great hanging down straight. I made the twists big, which should be easy for HMG, should she want to freshen them up herself in a week. It should go much more quickly for her. We got through detangling her hair and putting in this style in the time it took her to watch a regular feature length movie.

Monday, August 16, 2010

HMG Re-twists Like a Pro!

Here's an update on the video Am I am rushing my daughter to do her own hair too fast?

On the ride home from a trip to visit relatives, HMG shared her frustration living with fuzzy twists. I pointed out to her that if she re-twists herself, she can keep her twists as fresh as she likes. She's been practicing her twist technique on her nappy American Girl doll. I encouraged her to try re-twisting one of her twists as we sat talking on the drive. Her first attempt was too loose BUT after a few simple suggestions she refashioned the twist perfectly. We had no water and no products. I pointed out that we generally want to use both and finger detangle to remove shed hair. We had at least 3 hours left of our journey home and HMG managed to re-twist her entire head before we arrived.

She complained about how long it took, but now she knows she can re-twist her own hair whenever she likes. This is the first step to independence--I couldn't be happier for her. I will continue to put in her fresh set of twists until she is comfortable with doing the entire process herself.

Pipe Cleaner Curls
A week after re-twisting her hair AND swimming, HMG was complaining about the fuzz again. I handed her a set of pipe cleaner rods the younger Mocha Girls and I had fashioned. This morning she came into my office wanting to know how long she can expect her curls to last. She LOVED the way they refreshed her twists. Now she's got TWO tools in her arsenal for stretching the life of her twists in a way she enjoys.

I am so happy with HMG's progress. I think my hair story would have been so much easier if I could have made peace with my nappy hair at age 11.

Why did God give us this hair?


Someone FULL of years asked me this in such a mournful way. The following scripture made me think of her:

Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
"He did not make me"?
Or shall the thing formed say of him
who formed it,
"He has no understanding?"

Isaiah 29:16

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pipe Cleaner Curls?




I been watching videos about pipe cleaner curls all over You Tube. Check out Chescaloc's tutorial.

Why not try these on braids/twists? Same concept as perm rods/ flexible rods at a fraction of the cost. They are much more comfortable to sleep on. While testing them first on myself, I barely felt them. As an extra safety measure, I folded the sharp ends over.

MG2 has twists and MG3 has braids. The pipe cleaners yield tight curls and ringlets. I don't recommend trying these on loose hair--the strands may get caught in the twisted pattern of the pipe cleaners.

I purchased my pipe cleaners for a little over $1 at Walmart and made sets for us all.

The results:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Twisted bangs and a Bun!

I've been hunting for a style gentle on MG3's edges. Generally, her edges slide right out of her style and feel brittle. I love this twisted bangs and bun combination.

I used Fantasia IC gel to twist and a small amount to smooth her bun. Her bun fuzzes up quickly but it works well with the twists.