Oh boy, I never mean to be away for so long. But sometimes it comes down to coming up with new content for the blog or doing my hair. And lately I’ve been focusing on keeping up with my weekly hair regimen. Last we spoke, I was dipping my toe into Ayurvedic hair care and I’m still dabbling. This past month, I’ve tried several new things (see below). At 18 weeks post relaxer it was time to hide my hair in box braids, which I did. And I’m thankful to be done with those labor intensive detangling sessions, for now. The plan is for these braids to carry me through to the end of this stretch. And now that I’ve got a little extra free time on my hands, let me tell you what I’ve been up to.
I’ve been keeping up with my weekly Amla-Brahmi Gloss. I’ve realized that it’s essential to make sure that you have a lot of conditioner, otherwise the mixture gets crumbly. It sounds like an odd description for a mostly liquid solution because I’m only adding to 2 teaspoons of the Ayurvedic powders. But it’s almost as if the gloss falls from my hair if there’s not enough conditioner. I made that mistake one week and had to add some additional conditioner over top of my hair to get it to act right. My final formula is:  1 tsp of Amla powder,  1 tsp Brahmi powder,  1/4 cup of aloe vera juice or gel and  3/4 – 1 cup of my favorite conditioner.
Herbs I’ve been experimenting with
Now that I am back to air drying my hair, I’m also back to my seemingly never-ending search for a leave-in conditioner and/or moisturizer that works well with my air dried hair. At one point I thought my search was over when I found Elasta Qp Olive Oil and Mango Butter leave-in conditioner. But lately even that one hasn’t quite been what I’ve needed. So, I’ve been sticking with water and oil. But of course that’s great for moisturizing but not enough for slip for detangling, softness, etc. And from there I’ve started creating my own mix to moisturize my hair.
Moisturizing Herbal Moisturizers
I bought a bunch of herbs to experiment with. Each one adds one or more benefits to the hair. So far I’ve made two different mixes. My first mix was: 3T fenugreek seeds, 2T hibiscus flower, 1T licorice root, and 2T marshmallow root. I infused the fenugreek seeds, licorice root and marshmallow root in 1 cup of water (boiled for 30 minutes). Then I turned off the heat and added the hibiscus flower and 1/2 cup water, which was steeping in the water overnight. After the combined mixture cooled, I strained out the herbs and put half of the herb infused water in the freezer. To the rest I added 1/4 cup aloe vera gel and 10 drops of rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil.
I enjoyed this mix because: it was moisturizing; it made my hair soft; it gave my hair strength (maybe a little more than I needed); and it provided slip for detangling. The only drawback was the smell. Once the fenugreek seeds infused into the water, it smelled like maple syrup. It overwhelmed me that entire week. And I knew I would have to slow down my use of it after my daughter told me I smelled like oatmeal (her fave is Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar), lol.
The following week, I omitted the fenugreek seeds altogether and used hibiscus flower, licorice root, marshmallow root, and horsetail. While this mix smelled 100 times better, it wasn’t as softening or slippery as the first mix. Plus without the fenugreek seeds, I am missing the purported hair growth benefits that come from using fenugreek seeds. I have read that roasting the seeds prior to infusing does limit the smell, so I may (or may not) try that at some point. But needless to say, I’m still in the experimental phase of this endeavor, and I will keep you posted on any future mixes.
Whipped Shea Butter for my Daughter.
Lastly, I’ve been dabbling in whipped shea butter. This one was for the benefit of my daughter’s hair. But since I’m sharing all my little homemade mixes, why not share this little gem? Prior to using this whipped shea butter to braid my daughter’s hair, I was using  water,  African Hot Six Oil,  Curly Kids Curly Creme Conditioner and then  Elasta QP Feels Like Silk Liquid Styling Gel (LOCG: Liquid, Oil, Cream, Gel). But after reading all of that I’m sure you could imagine that it’s a lot. Especially since I apply those products (in that same order) to each braid prior to braiding her hair every week.
After reading about the benefits of shea butter on LHCF, I decided to give it a try. I bought raw, organic, unrefined shea butter then whipped it with coconut oil and avocado oil. (Please forgive me I don’t have my hair journal with me, so I don’t remember the exact measurements. But I’m sure I will post about this mix again in the future).
I have been using this homemade whipped shea butter for the last three weeks on her hair and it has been a game changer. Her LOCG method for each braid has become water, whipped shea butter, gel (LCG), which only eliminates one step. But it drastically improved the softness of her hair, it smoothes her hair for neater looking braids and when taking down her braids the shed hairs come out so easily just using my fingers. It’s been so good that I think we are officially hooked on whipped shea butter. I even used her mix on my hair prior to braiding my hair in box braids this time.
I’m definitely getting more excited about hair again as I find all these new little mixes to experiment with. And although my blog updates aren’t as frequent as you (or I) would prefer just know that I’m still over here working towards my hair goals. And I will to continue to update the blog on my hair progress and discoveries.