Wash. Day.

About eight months ago, I had to switch up my wash day routine. At that time, I had my routine down to a science, I could wash, condition and twist up my hair in about half a day, which for a natural is pretty good. But that was all about to change. I had noticed for the past year or so, that I had a lot of drandruff. No matter how often I washed or conditioned my hair and no matter the shampoo used – my scalp would be covered in flakes. It was embarrassing and made styling my hair complicated.

I had tried to go back to basicsΒ and thought it was working but a mere two months later,Β I found myself picking the flakes that would surface around my edges. I was also destroying my follicles in the process. My issue had also spread to my forehead as well. I had dry patches on my forehead that resembled acne. It got so bad my boyfriend even noticed. I decided that I would need to visit a dermatologist.

Dr. Angela Kyei, is my dermatologist and immediately knew what was causing my hair issue. She walked into the room and diagnosed me as well as complimented my hair (my twist out was popping!!). She explained that I basically have eczema of the scalp, which is funny as I eczema and will need to switch up my regime. Again.Β It had spread to my forehead.

First, she put me on a medicated shampoo that I am to use only on my scalp. She was very clear that the shampoo would in fact dry out my hair so I should only use the shampoo on my scalp. Interesting. How exactly, should I just shampoo my scalp – I had been taught to shampoo my hair not just my scalp. I was directed to place just the shampoo on my scalp and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes OUTSIDE OF THE SHOWER. That’s right. I know shampoo my hair in 4 painfully parted sections in front of my vanity and then promptly sit on my couch for about an hour because there’s a different world marathon or girlfriends and I get sucked into the TV.

After my shampoo sets, I rinse it out and try my hardness not to get in on my hair which will dry out because medicated shampoo is dry AF. Once, I get it washed out, I use a conditioner given to me by my dermatologist. It’s Head and Shoulders Co-Wash. Yes, that’s right. I know it’s pure blasphemy but I use Head and Shoulders Co-Wash and my HAIR LOVES it.

I condition my hair (not my scalp – that’s important) and rinse it out. After I rinse it out, I come back to the couch because black TV excellence marathon (DUH) and grease my scalp with Kenalog. Yup. I start my twist out by placing Kenalog (which I also use for the eczema on my left leg) on my parted my hair. I’m supposed to do this 3x per week but I’m a lazy natural so I probably do it about once a month. Then I twist my hair up with my signature whipped shea butter.

New Routine:

  • Shampoo my scalp with medicated shampoo and let set for 15 – 20 minutes (sometimes longer)
  • Rinse the shampoo from my scalp
  • Deep condition with Head and Shoulders Co-Wash (sometimes I use Knot Today by Kinky Curly)
  • “Grease” scalp with kenalog when parting my hair for twist
  • Detangle & twist my hair with a combination of the LOC (Liquid, Oil and Cream) method using my homemade whipped shea butter.

So yeah….my new regime is very long and tedious but I don’t have to worry about showing my scalp because it’s clean and finally flake free.

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Hello. Again.

It has been too long. And I have thoroughly missed writing and sharing my life and new experience living in Cleveland. I’ve been inspired by watching others writing and sharing their stories. I was thinking to myself, I should write more and put together a platform, when it hit me – that I already have a place to share my stories and thoughts. So Nappy Sweaty and Broke is back in action. I’ll mostly be covering natural hair topics, working out, and money problems – cause three years later and I’m still nappy sweaty and broke.

Homemade Conditioner

When I landed in Australia I didn’t realize it would be so hard to get the natural hair products that I could easily pick up in the US at Target or the local beauty store in Harlem. Honestly, I didn’t expect the locally run Korean beauty shop to be in Melbourne but Melbs has a Target and Melbs also has people with curly hair (albeit white people but curly hair is curly hair) yet I couldn’t find my favorite conditioner and shampoo (Kinky Curly Come Clean and Knot Today) for my life which lead me to making my own products.

Thinking back on it I’m actually quite happy that I started to make my own products – one product I need the most is a great conditioner. Natural Hair requires a lot of work and part of that is in finding the best conditioner to properly moisturize, detangle and keep my curls popping! I started making my own conditioner with the following:

  • One Egg – Benefit: protein; this help rebuild damaged tresses – so if you’re one of those girls that uses a lot of heat, coloring, etc you want some protein in your life (and most importantly in your hair) If you have protein sensitive hair obviously skip this particular ingredient. Including this ingredient will help you maintain strong hair growth.
  • Banana – Benefit: potassium & moisturizer;this particular ingredient will minimize breakage as it restores your hairs elasticity and will repair damage (read: overheated and colored) hair. Bananas also include naturals oils and have 75% water. Also Bananas smell good too but you gotta be careful to strain them properly or you will have banana in your hair (#truestory #thankgodformirrors
  • EV Olive Oil Benefit: promote scalp health and prevents dandruff. It also includes Vitamin E Oil, fatty acids, and antioxidants for hair growth. It also improves strength and elasticity
  • Coconut Oil; Benefit: fight frizz, helps with dandruffs, and a wonderful moisturizer
  • Aloe Vera Juice (this was hard to find) – reduces hair shedding, dandruff, increase hair shine and acts as a natural humectant (are important cosmetic ingredients allowing to prevent loss of moisture thereby retaining the skin’s natural moisture. Some compounds also have the ability to actively attract moisture.)
  • Rose hip Oil – helps soothe a scalp and relieves dandruff plus it helps alleviate dry hair

I liked this conditioner because I had all the ingredients in my kitchen with the exception of the Rosehip Oil and the Aloe Vera Juice. I trekked all over Melbs to find Aloe Vera Juice (which I didn’t find) but I did find the Rose hip oil which has basically changed my life. It’s amazing. I could only find Aloe Vera Drink (until I returned to the US and Trader Joe’s).

The first time I made the conditioner (sans Aloe Vera Juice) I found it to be way to runny and it actually ran down my face (and cause a major breakout on the right side of my cheek – ugh). I don’t think I measured the oils properly; I am pretty heavy handed with Olive Oil and Coconut oil and got my face totally busted for about 4 months. It was horrible. So besides the breakout my hair did feel well conditioned, my scalp wasn’t itchy or dry but I did have bananas in my hair (I needed to strain better!). I made too much conditioner so I had to throw out half because it doesn’t last very well due to the egg. I thought the idea of using this conditioner two weeks later would lead to ringworm or some type of fungus in my hair due to the egg being spoiled.

If you are protein sensitive just skip the egg part and add additional banana. While this was my favorite conditioner in Australia I started making a new one once I arrived back stateside and it has quickly become my new fav. My hair loves it, it taste amazing and it only requires four ingredients. Win Win. I’ll post more about this later!

Full Disclosure: I first discovered this conditioner via Naptural85 but made some changes – this was originally her Protein Sensitive Conditioner but I added protein (egg) and additional Oils (EVOO, Coconut Oil)

Unexpected Rapid Hair Growth = Drink lots of WATER

I am amazed and quite honestly flabbergasted by my hair growth over the past 11 months. Last June, I cut off all of my hair in anticipation of attending Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand. I figured with all the classes that I would be taking plus lectures, studying and the heat (inside the room and out) I wouldn’t have the time (which I didn’t) or the focus to really “do” my hair. So i big chopped – cut off four years of hair growth and was ready to start fresh. In all honesty, I had been dying to cut off my hair for years, I was always jealous of folks rocking little TWA’s (teeny weeny afros) but I didn’t have the guts to actually cut off my hair but last year I finally found it.

June 2014 Hair Cut: I was so happy in this pic! Just felt to free!!!

June 2014

Anyway, back to the hair growth, my hair is almost back to the growth of last spring in just 11 short months. I can’t believe it and I started thinking why exactly has it grown back so fast this time. Have I started taking better care of my hair? Has my diet changed? What’s really different this time around?

You know what the difference is? WATER.

I spent nine weeks in Thailand, taking 97 hot (and I do mean very very hot) bikram classes, sweating in the room, lecture room, and outside which lead to me drinking A LOT of water. I was probably drinking one to two gallons of water a day, actually it was probably more. I needed to stay hydrated to survive training and I always had my hydroflask full of water and I was chugging before, during, and after class. Everyone has always said that drinking lots of water is good for a clear skin complexion but it’s also great for maintaining healthy and happy (nappy!) hair too. Think about it? If your body is dehydrated than your hair is also dehydrated. It needs the water has much as your body does…so give your hair what it wants lots of water!

I wasn’t always just drinking plain water while at training, I also would take two (2) Emergen-C packs every day like clockwork – one after class and one during lecture (or posture clinic). Emergen-C was great for putting back in the good stuff that my body was losing from sweating so much…vitamins C, B, Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc and a whole slew of other nutrients I needed. One key nutrient for hair growth are the B complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 which are all in Emergen-C.

B Complex vitamins are essential micronutrients that assistn in optimal health and well being. B Vitamins have a minimal risk of toxicity and are water soluble whilst promoting overall health to the body. The combination of these vitamins helps promote hair growth as they assist with conditioning and strengthening hair.

B1, B2, and B3 nourishment of hair follicle cells.

B6 – dandruff prevention (as someone that is prone to drandruff this makes me very happy!)

B12 – hair loss prevention; it also helps produce red blood cells which helps to deliver oxygen to your hair follicle assisting in healthy hair.

In a nutshell B vitamins are a blessing for your hair so as Porsha would so “go get you some!”

The last thing that I think was key in helping my hair grow – I wasn’t in it all the time. I wasn’t combing, detangling, twisting, etc I was just simply washing, deep conditioning, oiling my hair on a weekly basis. That’s it. For the first time in about four years my hair routine was simply simple.

Hair After Training (no manipulation)

November 2014

First Twist Out: December 2014 – Australia

December 2014 First Twist Out

April 2015: Curls Popping – twisted hair!

April Twist Out

Hair prior to the 2nd Big Chop: This is a pic from my last trip to Maine where I decided to go to teacher training – June 2014

Hair in Maine

Hair 2015 – Super Stretched! But look at the growth! CRAZY

May 3rd

Blessed in O-HI-O

Greetings! I’ve made it back to Ohio…it’s so crazy to think I went all the way around the world to just come home. If you want to know if god has a sense of humor just make plans – someone famous wrote that and it couldn’t be more true.

When I first had the idea that I would be quitting my job, traveling the world, and teaching yoga I never in my mind thought that I would end up right where I started in Warren, Ohio. I remember having a conversation with a dear friend in her apartment about my upcoming travels and she said “this is the perfect time…your parents are healthy, you have no real commitments.” How untrue her words would be a seldom seven months later.

My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2000 – I’ll never forget the moment I found out about her cancer. There is nothing that can prepare you for realizing that at 15 1/2 your mother isn’t invincible. I was a brat that day – I believe I had said “i wish you would die” and my mother simply replied “you might get your wish – I have breast cancer.” Yup. That was a turning point in our relationship…I stopped being a brat. I can’t even remember why I was upset but no matter what the issue whatever I was feeling didn’t warrant wishing death on my mother. I remember sitting on our steps and just crying – not understanding, how does this happen and why but my mother (even though she must have been scared, frustrated and pissed since I just told her I wish she died) told me that she would be just fine and she would beat this. She did. And we’ve lived a very happy existence since them. Our relationship has improved tenfold, not just because of the cancer but because I grew up and stopped being a bratty 16 year old. You get perspective quickly when the most important person in your world gets sick.

About six weeks ago, I was speaking with my mother and she sounded a bit off. She just didn’t sound like herself and I was immediately alerted that something was wrong. I asked what was up and she said she’s tired her neck has been hurting her and they were doing a test on her lymph nodes the next day. That would be a terrifying conversation to have if I had just lived in NYC a short 50 minute flight or an 8 hour drive away…but being on the other side of the world (literally – used correctly!) it was earth shattering. Once again, my mom reassured me that things would be fine but this time she was wrong. Things weren’t fine and we quickly found out that her cancer had not only returned but it had metasized and found her bones as the perfect place to take up residence. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, I’ve had the remission dream time and time again but I was always able to wake up – call my mom and know that it hadn’t returned. I didn’t get to wake up this time.

I spoke with her doctor on Saturday March 21st and a week later I was back in the states. That last week in Melbourne was unreal. I didn’t do much besides practice, teach and start packing my clothes. I had friends coming to visit in July and we had talked just earlier that week about booking rooms and flights but something in my gut had told me to hold off. I made calls to my studio owners on Saturday letting them know that I wouldn’t be able to teach after the 28th and I’ll be sending my final invoices. I wanted to give myself a week because I wasn’t sure about flights back to the states that quickly and I needed time to find someone to take over my apartment, buy my furniture, close my bank account, etc. Looking back, it’s funny to see how quickly I was able to do everything – within 24 hours my roommates had found someone to take over my part of the lease and buy my furniture and the studio owners were more than gracious about my leaving so abruptly. It reminded me of when I left NYC – everything just fell into place which made me feel like I was doing what I should be doing. By Tuesday, I was ready to go but my flight wasn’t until Saturday…again I thought there is something more than just my mom’s cancer sending me home. I’m meant to be here at this point in my life.

During this time, my very good friend Brian created a gofundme page to pay for my ticket back to the states and other travel expenses. I am beyond grateful for the 44 folks that graciously donated so that I could get a flight back to the states and not have that financial burden. As I saw the donations coming in and the sweet messages from college friends, sorority sisters, friends of friends, co-workers, and the anonymous I felt incredibly loved. If you know me, you know that I’ve been looking for love for a long time and finding it in my friends and family that have rallied around me in this time of need is unbelievable. For the first time in a very long time I realized that I am loved. And I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you so very much.

I started reaching out to yoga studio’s in the area because I would need a job…I had previously reached out to the studio in Cleveland about teaching in December 2015 but they were full up on teachers so I figured nothing would have changed since my last email in February. Boy was I pleasantly surprised – one of the teachers wanted to cut back on classes and that had availability for me. I couldn’t believe it- again it was so clear that I was supposed to be home.

Spending this time with my mother and grandmother has been wonderful and terrifying. My mother cancer is at stage four and that won’t change but luckily she has a great oncologist who has put together a wonderful treatment plan for her. At first we were so worried that we were looking at months, maybe a year at best but we’ve got YEARS on YEARS on YEARS! I know that my mother (and myself as well) is very lucky. Stage four cancer doesn’t always have such a happy diagnosis and for that I feel very blessed.

I do believe that blessed is the new humble. πŸ˜‰

Let’s talk hair.

Since finishing training and landing in Australia I’ve had the time to finally start playing in hair again and I am loving it! One of the biggest reason I chopped off my hair was because I knew that during training I wouldn’t have the time to focus on it. Training is so busy already that I wouldn’t be able to spare the time to properly detangle, twist, and style it properly (plus how would I make my own hair gel in my hotel room) so I chopped it all off. A decision I don’t regret at all. My hair has never grown this fast even the first time I big chopped – it could be because this time I know what I’m doing with my hair (thank you naptural85 for all your tips and haircare regimens). My hair feels healthier and thicker than ever. I’m able to twist it up and rock a little TWA (teeny weeny afro). Here are some photos from my first twist out:

First Twist Out:

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The Twist – This was on NYE

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Day Two Twist Out

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Day One Twist Out – I used a bit of gel to get a hold. I can’t find flaxseeds so I haven’t been able to make my own hair gel as of yet.

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It’s hard to find certain conditioners and shampoos (I’m a big fan of Kinky Curly Products) but it is so expensive to get them down in Australia. I checked a website and the price for the shampoo/conditioner set was $61 AUD which is about $55 USD. Normally, I can get my shampoo and conditioner for about $22 at Target or Duane Reade – so since, I’m not made of money I’ve decided to start making my own shampoo and conditioner. I ran out of conditioner a few weeks ago and I’ve just been conditioning with EVOO (yes you read that correctly) but now that I finally have sheabutter and coconut oil – I’m going to make my own conditioner (I’ve still got a bit of shampoo left!).

I’ll post more photos of my conditioner expert once I’ve made it this week.