Friday, 3 July 2015

The Benefits of Protective Styling

Although many, if not most of us have been doing it for years, protective styling is being punted as a new phenomenon.

What is it?

Simply put: protective styling is putting your hair into a style that protects it, especially the weaker and older ends, from the elements and from excess manipulation.

Even though I've been doing it for years, some of my readers were still shocked that I had a weave put in a couple weeks ago. I often get asked: Why do you put your hair in a weave when it looks nice on its own? Your hair is longer than mine, you don't need a weave. Well, no I don't need one but unless you have a genetic or dermatological condition, hair breakage is the main reason for not seeing hair growth. If you'd like to retain your length, a healthy protective styling routine can do wonders to help you reach your goal.

Here are my five reasons to protective style:

1. Weather

Our hair doesn't respond well to extreme weather conditions. Whether it's too hot or very cold, the weather and climate of a place can wreak havoc on your hair. Winter is the main reason why I always put my hair away. And this isn't exclusive to women with natural hair. Even before I went natural, I would rock a weave or braids in the colder months of the year and let my hair out during summer. Excessively cold and hot air dries our hair, which is the most common cause of breakage. By putting your hair away or protecting the ends, you're protecting it from the harsh elements, therefore helping to retain length.

2. Manipulation

Many of us don't fare well when we constantly style or manipulate our hair everyday. If you're like me and like to change it up often, by all means do so. Just know that it's not the best way to reach a length goal. By putting your hair into a protective style, even if it's a mini one that lasts a week, you're lessening the amount of hair breakage that comes from over styling. Less breakage = more length retention.

3. Laziness or lack of time

To have healthy, long hair, you need to put in the time. It's all good and well to have great products but if you're always rushing to wash, detangle or even set your hair for bed, you're setting yourself up for disappointment in your journey. For some people, wash day takes them hours but that's too long for others. Setting your hair for bed doesn't need to take you ages but if you can't or you're not willing to put in the 10/20/30 minutes it takes to prep your hair for the next day and if your hair is like anything like mine, it'll get tangled and matted. That's a no-no for healthy hair. When I've known that I'll be having a busy period and I won't be able to dedicate the time to maintain my own hair, I get a style installed. That way I can go about what's keeping me so busy with peace of mind because I know it's safely tucked away.

4. Boredom

Let's face it, as women, we like to change things up every once in awhile. And there are many styles we simply can't do with our own hair. So instead of changing our own hair every two or three months, we can put some extensions in to "fake" it. We're lucky that our choices are so varied. Tired of your short hair? Get a long weave. Bored of your straight, long hair? Get a funky braided updo. The options are endless, all while not damaging your own hair.

5. Friction

If you're already past the TWA stage and your hair is neck-length, the friction that comes from your hair grazing your clothes, especially scarves etc. can cause it to break. I love my natural hair, but sometimes I need to protect it from itself. That's why I often do updos of some sort so that my ends aren't grazing my neck or my snood. The couple of times I've had my free fro while wearing a snood, the amount of curlies that were caught in that thing is scary. 

My protective style of choice? More so than not, I opt for the weave. I love braids and cornrows but the past couple of years, a weave has been my go to choice mainly because of the time it takes to install and to remove. 

Proceed with Caution: The worst thing you can do when you've installed a protective style is forget about your hair. Just because it's "away" doesn't mean it's not there anymore. It still needs maintenance to thrive. So, wash and condition it regularly, and give it a gulp of water often. Also, make sure if you're using any kind of extensions, that they're not installed so tightly. I know many of us grew up thinking the tighter the weave or braids the longer the style would last. But this habit is very dangerous as it can lead to traction alopecia (hair loss due to tension). It's actually not going to prolong your style but rather damage your own hair hence the vicious cycle of putting a weave or wig on to cover the hair loss.

NB: I originally wrote this post for Beauty Bulletin. Check out my reviews and two cents on Beauty Bulletin. It's a great local resource for the beauty junkie ;)


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Clicks Cosmo Cover Girl Workshop

When I was invited to attend the Clicks Cosmo Cover Girl workshop, I RSVP'd 'yes' thinking it was going to be a day of presentations and demonstrations of the latest trends from Cosmopolitan and the products Clicks has to offer. Little did I know I was in for such a fabulous treat... 

The event was held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton on Saturday 27th June. The day started with a light breakfast, followed by a presentation by the Cosmo team. Leading it was editor Cathy Lund, with some wise words from beauty editor Juana Parathyras, followed by the rest of the team. It was a lively chat about the history of the Cosmo cover girl, the absolute must have LBD and some key beauty tips and tricks. A great one I shared with my Twitter followers on the day: every girl should own mascara, red lippie, sun block, heat defence spray for hair and make up remover. Amen.

We were split into two groups and moved upstairs to the main room, where the day's events were made clear to me: we were all being treated to makeovers that will end in us being the stars of our very own cover photo shoot.

Yes. I know. I mean, which girl hasn't dreamed of being on the cover of Cosmo? 

So off we all went to get pampered. There were products galore on show, from Bioderm to Toni & Guy, Black Opal and Wet n' Wild. We all took turns getting our nails, hair and makeup done - proper pampering on the cold and gloomy day Saturday was. There was even a station by Air Optix where you could get contact lenses in for the day. I'd never done it before and I was curious so I went for it. It was a pity that with all the products on show and being used on us to achieve our looks, we couldn't actually buy any of them. What a shame because I would have maxed out my credit card right there and then in the flurry of excitement. On my "keen to try" list: Black Opal lip glosses. I'm not a lip gloss girl but ooooohh, they look so yummy.

My nails were done with Wet n Wild's nail colour in Private Viewing with a touch of glitter. (I loved it so much I bought it on my way home.) They even had a mani-cam! How cute!

I opted for loose waves to give my hair some volume. Some ooompff was later added right before my shoot by the hair stylist on set. Loved him!

My entire look was so different which was great to experience.

Once hair, make up, eyes and nails were done, we waited our turn to get tips from the beautiful (and really sweet) model Joelle Kayembe. The entire day was all gearing up to us striking a cover girl pose, so you know Cosmo had to hook us up with an expert.

*drum roll please*

Eeeek! I'm finally on a magazine cover! It think it's safe for me to say that I'm retiring from blogging, lol. Some goodies we left with included Bourjois lippie, Sorbet nail polish, fragrance and of course our very own version on the July issue of Cosmo. You couldn't feel too bad about not being a special prize winner with all of these goodies.

What a fab day it was and I believe every woman left there feeling special and like a superstar. It's definitely something I'll be looking out for again next year. Until then, I'll be perfecting my cover girl pose...


Monday, 29 June 2015

#ChangeYourSkin Challenge with Kiehl's: Week 1 Update

It's been a week since I began Kiehl's and BeautyBulletin's 28 day #ChangeYourSkin challenge so I'm here to give you the first of my weekly updates. Kiehl's boldly claims that they can change your skin in just 28 days using their super serums: Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Dermatologist Solutions Clearly Corrective Dark Sport Solution and Dermatologist Solutions Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum Concentrate. I'm not going to lie, when I first read the info about these serums, especially the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, I didn't believe I'd notice a difference in as quick a time as they claimed. 

Dermatologist Solutions Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum Concentrate - R675 for 50ml
Morning & evening application

This serum claims to address tired and dull-looking skin by restoring moisture to dehydrated skin. For more details on this serum and its ingredients, click here.

First impressions: A little goes a loooong way. Just one pump worth of product is enough for my face and neck. It has a very neutral scent which I like in my beauty products. Its texture is jelly-like and looks like it might be greasy but it glides on and is absorbed quickly by my skin. I begin my three step routine with this serum.

Dermatologist Solutions Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution - R655 for 30ml
Morning & evening application

This solution is formulated to address dark spots, discolouration and hyperpigmentation. For more details on this serum, click here.

First impressions: It has a dropper applicator which combined with its strong scent scared me a bit. It smells quite potent! It felt like I was about to apply some hectic potion onto my skin. Well, my fears were squashed quickly when I applied the serum because the scent disappears as soon as it's absorbed. Key areas I'm hoping to see a change in are my neck and lips. I think this will take longer than a week.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate - R665 for 30ml
Evening application

This elixir promises to restore and repair your skin during the wee hours, leaving you with soft, hydrated and less tired looking skin in the morning. It has a bunch of essential oils that help to nurture and replenish your skin. For more details on this serum, click here.

First impressions: I love the bottle. Just had to get that out the way. Like the Dark Spot Solution, this also has a dropper applicator. And again, a little goes a long way. 2 -3 drops like the box says is enough to cover my entire face with.

Week One - Results

After just two days, I started noticing a difference in my skin. I've been waking up with the softest skin I can remember. And even when I'm physically tired, or I've had a rough night, my face isn't giving it away. It feels refreshed and ready to go. My face and lips are more hydrated, my only gripe at the moment is that my skin now gets shinier as the day goes on so I find myself blotting throughout the day, especially my nose. I'm looking forward to seeing a visible difference in my hyperpigmentation on my neck and lips. So far, I'm impressed!

Watch out for my week 2 update ;)

You can get Kiehl's from the following Edgar stores:

Johannesburg: Sandton City, Eastgate, Hyde Park, Rosebank
Pretoria: Menlyn, Brooklyn, Westville
Cape Town: V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk


Monday, 22 June 2015

#ChangeYourSkin Challenge with Kiehl's

I'm super excited to be participating in Kiehl's and Beauty Bulletin's 28 day #ChangeYourSkin challenge. Almost every woman has a wish list for her skin, so who would pass up the chance to try and improve theirs in 28 days? Not me! For the next four weeks, I'll be bearing it all and documenting my journey to better skin with skin care legends Kiehl's. Wearing no make up in my photos, just me and Kiehl's, I've accepted their challenge to see a visible difference in my skin in just 28 days. Quite a bold promise right? There are plenty of reasons for me to believe.

Kiehl's history dates back to 1851, in New York as a pharmacy. Their products are famed to contain ingredients that are naturally-derived and their word-of-mouth reputation is pretty flawless. I've heard and read nothing but exciting things about them and the efficacy of their products. They're also known for their "Try before you buy" store policy. Their price point is quite high for the average person, so the sampling has become quite key for new customers.

The three #ChangeYourSkin products I'll be putting through the wringer are:

Midnight Recovery Concentrate

This popular elixir is 99% naturally-derived and is formulated to repair and restore the skin during your beauty sleep. Your skin's optimum time to absorb ingredients for regeneration is between midnight and 4am, when there are less environmental stressors. Applied in the evening, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate is said to nurture and replenish your skin, making it feel softer, hydrated and look less tired in the morning. It contains a blend of essential oils such as Lavender (to sooth inflamed or irritated skin), Rosemary (to retain moisture and brighten skin tone), Geranium (to detoxify and enhance circulation), and Rose (to help soften skin and combat environmental damage from the day).

Dermatologist Solutions Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

Kiehl's collaborated with dermatologists to develop a range of products to address more advanced skin conditions. Dark spots, discolouration and hyperpigmentation is a big concern for many women so this solution addresses all of them. Its key ingredient is Activated C, the latest generation derivative of Vitamin C available which helps to fight against unwanted pigmentation. It also contains White Birch Extract (for discolouration correction) and Peony Extract (to enhance skin clarity).

Dermatologist Solutions Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum Concentrate

Another formula developed with dermatologists, the serum addresses tired and dull-looking skin. As we get older, our skin's moisture becomes imbalanced and can cause Age-Related Dehydration. This serum helps correct the signs of ageing by restoring moisture to dehydrated skin. The main ingredient in this formula is plant-based glycerin. You know I love glycerin for my hair so I was very excited to read that it's the key ingredient in this serum. Glycerin is a humectant and absorbs water from the environment into the skin. It's natural and compatible with skin, helping with your skin's elasticity.

My starting point

Here's my before photo, my starting point in this challenge and what I'll be comparing my weekly progress to.

My problem areas

I have dark spots and some discolouration on my neck and jaw area which has bothered me for years. And my lips are also discoloured with dark marks. I know discolouration is a common problem for many Black women so I'm looking forward to seeing a difference here and sharing it with you.

My T-zone is also an issue when it comes to staying hydrated. You all know how much the Joburg dries out not just my hair but my skin too. I'm always on the hunt for products that keep it moisturised all day, so I'm curious to see how much more hydrated my skin will be in this challenge.

Now you've seen me as bare as my blog allows (!) I'll be updating you weekly with my progress. Here goes!

Want to also try the #ChangeYourSkin challenge? Until June 24th, you can grab two serums at any Kiehl's store nationwide and get the third free!


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Winter Weave 2015

Winter is officially here and I couldn't wait any longer to put Fro in hibernation. The last time I had a protective style in was in March for my honeymoon, so it's been awhile. My initial plan was to give it a month's break before putting in another style but I was having fun with Fro and trying out products so it stretched to almost 3 months. Not good, considering I'm usually on point with my protective styling schedule. But last weekend I finally got my hair sorted:

As you know, it's always a loooong conversation I have with myself when I decide to do a protective style. I never usually know until a few days before what I want to do. I even contemplated asking you all for your opinion on what to do next but didn't because I wasn't even sure on the options. At that point I just knew I wanted a weave. You know me, the time it takes to braid always deters me to actually do it. And I wanted to enjoy my weekend so wasn't willing to give up more than 3 hours for hair installation. Well this time, I broke my own record and only decided when my stylist arrived and she helped me choose. Let me explain: I'm sure I'm not the only woman who re-uses her weaves. But I may be one of few who has a whole hair "bucket" that's filled with extensions - braid hair, weave hair, phony ponies. It's the extension equivalent of my products container. (For those who missed it, it's on my Instagram and Facebook).

So I booked my appointment with my stylist about ten days before. And didn't bother going to the shops to spend more money on new hair when I knew I already had something in the bucket. Then Friday hit me and I thought - I actually don't think I have anything in the bucket. By then it was kinda too late. I went to Dischem to try find a wavvy weave (that's what I had decided on) only to not find anything I liked amongst the few options that were there.

Saturday morning is when I finally had a thorough look in my bucket and chose a questionable set of Afro Kinky extensions that I got from TZ which I thought would do the job. Only for my dear stylist to arrive and tell me they wouldn't be enough for a weave. Sigh. So I brought down my entire bucket and we spent about half an hour going through my options. And at that point the most viable was my straight weave which she was reluctant to use because my natural hair would poke out of the single braids in front and wouldn't blend in nicely with the straight weave (unless I straightened it which can get damaged). I'm also picky about weave closures, that's why I always have single braids plaited in the front instead of a cover up type of closure. I needed her to cover up my own hair completely but without the funny closure. I reminded her of how she did my Marley Weave last year and begged her to make a plan. And so she did...

She did my weave as usual - with horizontal tracks all the way through so I can easily access my scalp for maintenance. Then in the front T-section she braided small cornrows using braid hair and tucked their ends under. Then she sewed on single braids she made from the weave hair onto the cornrows. So almost like crochet braids...but not exactly.

I love it. Love the difference, and love how she made the straight hair work. It's definitely a technique I'll be asking her to stick to. I'm still on the hunt for the real afro kinky in South Africa though...

What are you rocking for winter?

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