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Postpartum shedding

This is by far one of the biggest shockers that I got after having my baby. Besides having to deal with the struggles of sleepless nights, the fact that breast milk does not always come automatically and the endless buzz of advise from all sides of society including the security guard at the gate, I was definitely not prepared to see chunks of my hair in the drain of my shower!

I had my baby in March of 2017, and the first time I noticed that the postpartum shedding had begun, was 2 months after baby arrived. I installed crochet braids, and upon taking them out, ALL my edges followed... This was the first mistake I made.

Here is a photo of how my edges looked like...

I had never not had a hairline/ edges in my life, so getting used to seeing myself without edges was quite something, to say the least. I quickly took out my laptop and started reading about postpartum shedding in more detail. This is when I realised that there were some things I could do to reduce the shedding and breakage, but the shedding was here to stay until my hormones got more balanced.

So I prepared this post for all the mamas who are struggling with postpartum shedding, or the soon to be moms who want to know how to prevent it. The sad news is, you cannot prevent it! Postpartum shedding occurs as a result of hormone changes after birth.

During pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels are much higher than normal, and this is necessary to sustain your pregnancy. As a result, your hair might grow thicker or faster than you are usually used to. For me, I did not experience any crazy hair growth, so this will not always happen.

Once you have delivered your baby, your estrogen and progesterone levels will go back to normal, and so will your hair growth patterns. HOWEVER, your hair will also go into its "resting phase", which happens after the extended "growth phase" that you might have experienced during pregnancy.

The resting phase of hair is also associated with shedding, and this is when postpartum shedding kicks in.

Here are a few things that you can do to reduce the amount of shedding that you will experience:

(1) Continue taking your prenatal vitamins/ folic acid.
(2) Eat healthily. You really do not need to take a whole lot of carbs and starch to be able to produce breast milk. Try your best to have a balanced diet, it will go a long way in keeping your hair and your scalp healthy.
(3) DO NOT install any protective hairstyles that will pull on your hair. Styles like crochet braids, single braids, will only increase the chances of your hair falling out once you remove the styles. Your hair follicles are already in a sensitive phase, and pulling on them will not make things any better - it will most likely increase the rate at which you lose hair.
(4) Try gentle protective styles such as wigs or buns.
(5) Keep up with your wash days, so that you can keep your scalp clean and healthy. It might be terrifying to see all that hair in the drain, but you will be doing your hair a favour by taking care of what is left on your head
(6) See a specialist like a trichologist, if the hair loss does not ease off after 12 months of having your baby. If you have a known hormone condition such as PCOS, see your OBGYN and discuss on possible treatment to help balance out your hormones. The hair loss is really just a result of your hormone changes, and if your shedding is not reducing, most likely your hormones are not at the right/ balanced levels.
(7) Avoid using heat on your hair, such as blow dryers and flat irons.
(8) Try using tea rinses and coffee rinses once a month on your wash days.
(9) Relax, enjoy the moments with your baby and know that this is only a phase which will pass. The amount of hair loss that you will experience is far outweighed by the experience and journey of motherhood :-)

If you have gone through postpartum shedding and you have any other tips to share, please leave them in the comments section :-)

Relaxer Day: Full Relaxer Video

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen the clips of my recent relaxer results. This time I went to a salon, after realising that the box relaxers (no-lye) that I used over the past 2 years did more damage than good and dried out my hair. I felt that I needed a professional to handle my hair, and I looked for one who was willing to listen to how I wanted my hair done.

These are the steps that the stylist took to get my hair relaxed:

1) Applied Mizani Protective Pre-Treatement
2) Followed with Butter Blend butter base
3) Applied the relaxer for 17 minutes
4) Did a corrective relaxer application on my previously relaxed hair that was under-processed. This took another 13 minutes
5) Rinsed my hair with Mizani phormulating shampoo
6) Olaplex treatment
7) Blow dried and flat ironed and tadaaaa!

Finally, I have just uploaded my first Youtube video, on the entire process above. If you are wondering how to relax your hair in the right way, have a look at this video for additional tips that you can apply or show your stylist.

I am really excited about starting this part of my blog on Youtube. I am hoping to be consistent with at least 2 videos a month - starting slowly but consistently.

See the video below, and enjoy :-)

The Wash Day Series: Step 4 - Deep Conditioning Part II

How do you know what your hair needs in terms of protein vs. moisturizing deep conditioner?

There are a few signs that indicate what your hair needs or lacks

1) Your hair is crunchy/ brittle and dry: This could possibly indicate that you need to add moisture to your hair

2) You hair breaks very easily: Add a deep moisturizing conditioner and follow up with moisturizing and sealing your hair daily thereafter

3) Your hair feels mushy and overly soft: You need a protein conditioner to restore balance to your hair

4) You have not deep conditioned your hair in a long time: Ideally this should not happen but if it does, you could do a pre-poo with a protein conditioner and follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.

Getting the balance between moisture and protein can take a while, but the easiest way to restore balance is through your deep conditioning sessions.

If you are yet to get the hang of it, try a month or two of weekly deep conditioning so that you can better understand your hair needs and how it reacts to different types of deep conditioners.

As a follow up to our last post, here is a guide to 10 protein conditioners that are under 10 Dollars! Yes, affordable and available locally. I have tried 3 out of 10 of these conditioners (No 1,2 and 4), and they have worked reasonably well on my hair.

Currently, I use ApHogee 2-minute Keratin Reconstructor when I need a protein boost, but my all time favourite is the Parnevu Hair Mayonnaise because it also adds some softness to my hair after using it.

What's your go-to protein deep conditioner?

Rice Water Challenge: 3 months

Hi healthy hair fam! A further update to my plan over the next 3 months:

I have experimented with a mild version of rice water over the last 2 weeks, and the results have been really good! I thought that rice water works for naturalistas only, but after seeing @itsmellabella's video on her rice water experience, as well as the convincing from my friend to try it out, I decided to give it a go!

Besides losing much less hair on wash days from shedding and breakage, my hair feels stronger and balanced. To be honest, I have not seen a length improvement, and I measured my hair before the start of the challenge. I will do a one-month check-in to see if there has been any length, like all the rave reviews that I have seen on the benefits of rice water.

Currently I am using a very mild form of rice water, as my hair is protein sensitive and I do not want to try anything that will make it overly loaded with protein. I suggest that you try a mild version of rice water before using the more potent fermented forms of rice water:

With 1/2 cup of rice, I:

1) Rinse the rice from the starch and pour out the water
2) Add 1 cup of distilled/ purified water to the washed rice and leave it to soak for 6 hours
3) Strain the rice and pour the water into a bottle
4) Add a drop of peppermint/ eucalyptus oil to avoid the ricey scent of the rice water
5) Keep refrigerated and spray onto hair until damp (NOT wet), focusing on scalp every day.
6) Keep the rice water for 7 days and make a new batch after the 7 days has passed.

I started my challenge two weeks ago, so I plan on ending it on 20th September, in line with the other hair challenge that I am participating in (see previous post).

Let me know what you think about rice water. Have you used it before? What were your results?

10 Affordable Moisturizing Conditioners Under 10 Dollars!

By now you know that I am all for moisturized hair, anytime!

One of the most effective ways of infusing moisture into your hair is through your deep conditioning sessions.

A good moisturizing deep conditioner can go a very long way in helping you to achieve your hair goals. So I did some research and put together a list of good moisturizing conditioners that are FREE of bad ingredients like sulfates, mineral oils, etc.

All of the moisturizing conditioners below can be found at local beauty cosmetic stores in Nairobi.

Here you go:

1) Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner 425g. Price: KSh 895/ USD 9. Available: Super Cosmetics

2) Aunty Jackie's fix my hair masque 426g. Price: KSh 1,055/ USD 10. Available: Jumia Online, QuickMart Lavington

3) Mosara Deep treatment Masque 500g. Price: Ksh 700/ USD 7. Available: Jumia Online

4) ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner 362ml. Price: KSh 695/ USD 7. Available: Super Cosmetics

5) Creme of Nature Intensive Conditioning Treatment 354ml. Price: KSh 920/ USD 9. Available: Super Cosmetics

6) Saru Organics Hair Growth Masque 200g. Price: Ksh 600/ USD 6. Available: Jumia Online

7) Creme of Nature Moisturizing Dry Defense Conditioner 355ml. Price: Ksh 1,165/ USD 11. Available: Super Cosmetics

8) Sheba Deep Conditioner 200g. Price: KSh 800/ USD 8. Available: Sheth Naturals (Instagram)

9) Elasta QP DPR Deep Penetrating Remoisturizing Conditioner 426g.  Price: KSh 895/ USD 9. Available: Super Cosmetics

10) Cantu Deep Treatment Masque 340g. Price: KSh 999/ USD 10. Available: Craving Yellow (Instagram)

The Wash Day Series: Step 4 - Deep Conditioning Pt I

The essence of a successful wash day is in the deep conditioning (DC) step.

There are a few things that definitely make or break my deep conditioning sessions, and I have learnt to ensure that I follow these general principles:

1) Choose between a protein or a moisturising DCs: My choice usually depends on how my hair feels. Generally, I have dry hair and therefore use moisturising DCs far more often that I use protein DCs.

However, I still make sure that I use a protein DC on my hair at least once a month, and then follow up with a moisturizing DC. This keeps my hair moisturized (from moisturizing DCs) and strong enough to keep breakage at minimum levels (from protein DCs)

2) Use heat, ALWAYS: I cannot remember the last time I deep conditioned my hair without heat.

Deep conditioning with heat opens up your hair cuticles, so that your hair can receive all the good stuff and nutrients that are in the deep conditioner.

3) Deep condition for at least 20 minutes: If the instructions of your conditioner indicate that you only need 3-5 minutes to condition your hair, then it is probably not a deep conditioner. All the good deep conditioners that I have used recently, indicate that you need to keep the conditioner in for at least 15 minutes, with a recommendation that it can be used with heat or a conditioning cap.

4) Add oil to conditioner for an extra boost: I try to add at least one teaspoon of an oil of my choice, to give my conditioner an extra boost. This also helps in fortifying your hair with the additional nutrients that it needs to strive. And with the added heat, your hair absorbs the nutrients from the oil much easier than it would, without heat.

5) Use one conditioner at a time: Initially in my hair journey, I mixed conditioners almost all the time. The problem with this was that I never knew what worked and what did not work. It is only when I stoppped mixing conditioners that I figured out which deep conditioners actually kept my hair soft and moisturized.

6) Always check the ingredients before buying a deep conditioner: I cannot stress the importance of this step. This is also why I spend at least 30 minutes at a beauty cosmetic store whenever I visit one.

There are general ingredients that you should avoid that make a DC less effective and potentially harmful to the health of your hair and scalp. Some of these ingredients include mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, etc.

Also, as a general rule of thumb, the first ingredient for any good deep conditioner should be Aqua/ Water. This indicates that the deep conditioner will penetrate your hair strands much easier than a deep conditioner that does not have water as its first ingredient.

7) Apply your DC to your cleansed hair in sections: Focussing on the length of your hair is key, because this is the hair that needs the deep conditioner the most. On most days, I apply my DC using a spatula, sectioning my hair as I go. This ensures that the conditioner is applied evenly to all of my hair. I apply extra conditioner to the ends of my hair, which are the oldest and dryest parts of my hair.

Here are a few good moisturizing conditioners, that are below KSh 1,000/ USD 10 in local stores!

Hair Update: 2 Weeks Post Relaxer

Hi there

I have been working on my regimen for the next 10-13 weeks, as I wait for my next relaxer day.

I plan on having a very minimalistic routine, just to give my hair a break from continuous manipulation.

My goal over the next 6 months of the year is to retain at least 3 inches and get to armpit length. Currently I am at Shoulder length, but I am going to baby my ends to
So here we go:

1) Wash and Deep Condition every 1-2 weeks
2) Dust my ends every 6-8 weeks
3) Protective style most of the time with wigs or halo braids/ twists
4) NO Heat, except for blow dry every month to keep my new growth stretched
5) Join a hair growth challenge
6) Take a healthy hear vitamin daily
7) Cover my hair at night with my satin bonnet

What are your hair goals for the remaining part of the year?
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