Where Have You Been, Aceey?

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It's me! Aceey!

So it’s been a very long time since my last post and I would like to apologize! I must tell you though, I have not been sitting on my bum doing nothing! Here’s the scoop on what’s been going on these past few months!

I was in a lawsuit! Not pretty! So happy that it is finally over because it took so much of my time (and money).

I dislocated my jaw! I had no idea that was even possible. I have been recovering from this since July and sometimes it still hurts to open my mouth wide. As a singer, this is a horrid punishment. 😦

I moved to a new studio loft, which I LOVE and adore! I’ve also been acting like a tourist in my hometown, just taking walks and enjoying life…

Across the street from where I live

Lake

Arab-American Festival jewelry

I’ve been working on getting my hair longer. I started wearing wigs and weaves to change up my style a little!

I went to Japan for my 30th birthday! AMAZING! This was my second time visiting my brother and I had so much fun that I didn’t want to leave. I CRIED at the airport because of the incredible times we shared!

Golden Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

I’ve been actively working on my professional career as a career coach. I’ve been at it for over five years but there are so many new things to learn. I will be introducing more tips– new and old– in my next posts.

I’ve been cooking… DUH! 🙂 Everyone knows how much I love to cook and here are just 2 pics that you have  been missing out on.

Jambalaya for my co-workers

Shabiyey, custard filled phyllo dough pastries from Lebanon

Batata hara - garlic and cilantro potatoes

Atayef! Custard in wheat+yeast pancakes

My ingredients for Pho

Pho and Jasmine tea

enjoying some good coffee in my demitasse.

So stay tuned for more yapping and fun times! I assure you that I won’t leave you hanging again!

Love,

Aceey Emme (Pronounced “A. C. M.”)

More Fun Natural Hair Treatments – Part Two

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Just to piggy-back on my last blog post: This post is dedicated to newest hair buddy, Cokie, whom I’ve known for a long time! I had no idea Cokie was a “hair person” until she began posting about her and her daughters’ natural hair journey on Facebook! I am honored to be her hair buddy and can’t wait to have a “Hair Party” with her and the gang!

Everyone knows that I am ride or die relaxed girl —this means that I apply a chemical product to my new growth every four months to straighten it. However, I use a TON of natural products, food items, herbs and mixtures to my hair. It’s cheap, it’s effective, and my hair is gorgeous! I have done so many fun hair treatments but I’d like to share just 2 of some that are not widely discussed!

Treatment: Coconut oil infused with curry leaves or amla berries.

What does it do?: This is an age-old Indian remedy! Promotes circulation, fights premature gray hairs, penetrates and moisturizes hair strands.

How do you do it?: This is so easy to do! All you do is get your coconut oil hot and then add your herbs/berries to it. After infusing, draining, and cooling, apply to your hair and scalp for massage. After massaging your hair for about 15 minutes, wash your hair as usual.

Where do you get it?: You can get real, virgin coconut oil for a cheap price at any Asian market. Amla powder/berries and curry leaves can also be purchased there.

Watch this informative video on how to infuse the oil:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCRIavD2C5s

There are many other commercial oils infused with herbs but they do have preservatives in them for shelf-life purposes. I have found them to be almost as effective as the oils I infuse at home.

Parachute coconut oil – oil from sun-roasted coconuts is awesome for the hair. It has a bit of a burnt coconut smell but it actually grew on me, lol!

Dabur Vatika Oil – mixture of coconut oil, amla, henna and other goodies to promote hair growth, sheen, luster, and health. This is one of my favorite ready-made oils to purchase!

Don’t forget that coconut oil is solid under 76 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to sit the bottle in the bathroom with you while showering to get it to melt and pour from the coconut oil bottles. There are many other commercial oils that people find effective, however all the other Dabur brand oils from India are too stinky for me! Haha!

Treatment: Marshmallow Root Powder

What does it do?: Marshmallow root rinses make your hair naturally have “slip,” meaning that it provides detangling properties to the hair after washing.

How do you do it?: Marshmallow root powder can be seeped in water to make a tea. A special note on seeping: It’s important to not boil teas/mixtures. We seep them to not boil out the active natural ingredients which help the hair.

Where do you get it?: Natural food stores, international markets. It’s usually in the bulk herb section.

A cool variation is marshmallow root powder mixed with Bentonite clay for a detox/cleanse. Feel free to go back to my last blog post on info on the Bentonite clay!

You can watch EmpressRi’s video on how she cleans her hair with this mixture:

Well that’s my ramble for the night! Hopefully, my next hair post will be about some of the many tea rinses that I apply to my hair and scalp for retaining growth! Happy hair growing!

(still having technical difficulties with WordPress but the show must go on!)

Keeping Hair Moisturized and Breakage Free!

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If you are experiencing dry hair that keeps breaking, this may be the post for you. I apply random treatments to my hair depending on how it feels or how I want it to look. Here are my tips and treatments, regardless of if you are natural, relaxed, or color-treated, you may benefit from these inexpensive tips!

I always pre-treat my hair before shampooing twice a week for about an hour. After applying the treatment, I like to put on a shower cap, followed by a hot, wet turban– creating a steam treatment.

Clarifying Shampoo is usually very harsh so combat it by doing either one of the following before washing:

Bentonite Clay Mask – Clarifying, Cleansing, Purifying

A few tablespoons of Bentonite Clay and water mixed together into a mud-like consistency is applied to my hair and scalp for a great detox.

Aztec Bentonite Clay has so many uses. Use as a hair, scalp, and skin detox. A $8.00 jar will last you years!

Hot Oil Treatment – Moisturizing, Soothing, Relaxing

Here are my favorite oils:
Extra virgin olive oil
Coconut oil
Silk Dreams Nourish Oil
Silk Dreams PRE

Oils

Hot Oil Treatments are great! Many oils can actually penetrate the hair shaft, bringing in moisture.

Mayonnaise Treatment – Strengthening, Moisturizing, Softening

A fourth of a cup to a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise is applied to my hair before shampooing.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise– I won’t eat it but I sure would put it in my hair!

Scalp Scrub – Detoxifying, Soothing, Cleansing

Coarse sea salt mixed with 2 drops of peppermint essential oil and enough olive oil to make a paste is massaged into the scalp for about 10-15 minutes.

Salt Scrub

Those body scrubs are not just for your skin! Try it on your scalp!

Fattening Treatment – Moisturizing and Softening

Mash one overripe avocado, then beat until it is smooth. Apply to hair and let sit for one hour.

Avocados!

Extremely fattening! Fat is good for the hair!

Regular Conditioner Treatment

Favorite conditioner is applied to dry hair before steam treatment.

Washing and Conditioning in Sections

I learned this method from http://www.growafrohairlong.com . I keep my hair sectioned in six parts while washing and conditioning in my hair, especially when I know I am going to be roller setting my hair. It’s a This shortens the roller setting time dramatically– and makes it easier.

Conair Shower Comb

Can’t live without my shower comb!

Using a Wide-toothed Shower Comb

I always use a shower comb to detangle my hair while I am rinsing conditioner out of my hair. The brand I currently use is the Conair shower comb. It’s a very inexpensive product (less than
$2.00) but it’s invaluable– don’t know what I would do without it.

Caffeine Rinse (Tea and Coffee)

Caffeine rinses dramatically reduce shedding due to the tannins in the mixtures. Just brew 1-2 cups of coffee or tea and pour over your hair and scalp after rinsing out your conditioner. This rinse serves as your leave-in conditioner. Your hair may feel a little weird while setting your hair, however, that feeling dissipates when the hair dries. You will see a DRAMATIC reduction in shedding. Since the pH of caffiene rinses are quite low (4-6) it closes the cuticle of the hair, leaving it shiny and detangled.

Bigelow Vanilla Chai

Although this tea tastes gross, it is my favorite brand to use as a caffeine rinse– and it smells heavenly!

Roller Setting Hair Upwards

Most people roller set downward, towards the nape. I have found that rolling the hair on the roller and rolling upwards straightens new growth. Also, my hair dries faster when I roll
this way! Look at my results:

Rolling hair upwards smooths new growth: I am four months post-relaxer in this picture and my curls lasted all day!

Try these tips and write me back to let me know how they are working for you! I am looking forward to some great responses!

So… THAT’S why I Don’t Go to Salons!!

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Image <<—GRRRRRRR! 

Please excuse my contrary tone. This is my first time posting while upset so I won’t go into great detail… just know that I’ve been into hair care for nine years. I apply my own lye relaxers; I apply my own color (a couple of times I had a friend, Maggie do it); I style my own hair, roller set, and flat iron.

I’ve been to my fair share of salons but I’ve found that Dominican Salons are the best (do a Google or Youtube search and you’ll find out why). When I move to a new city, I make it a point to look for a Dominican stylist for my styling needs and for hair care products (i.e., Silicon Mix, Capilo, Nacidit, Miss Key). 

I had always heard that there was one Dominican stylist in the Phoenix area named Melania. She is mentioned on the Long Hair Care Forum and also on the Dr1.com forum. I heard she was fan-tab-ulous! For over two years I heard about it. It was about time I give her a call.

I knew she would be busy because she’s the only Dominican in town so I called her just to schedule a meeting. I SCREEN MY STYLISTS after a four-inch “trim” some stylist gave me years ago. Here’s the initial phone convo:

Ace: Hi is this Melania?

Mel: *thick Morena accent* Yes this is Melania.

Ace: I have heard that you are the best in the city from several of my internet friends. I would like to know if I can stop over one day and look at your work before setting an appointment. 

Mel: Yes, but not today.Very busy today. Booked until next week. I come in tomorrow from 6:30 am – 5:00 pm. 

Ace: No, that is no problem. When is the best day that I can watch you work from start to finish?

Mel: Saturday at 3:30. Do you want to set an appointment?

Ace: No, but I would love to see your work first at the shop on tomorrow. I’ve heard great things about you and I look forward to seeing you!

She took down my name and I was excited! She also mentioned she uses products from the Dominican Republic such as my beloved Silicon Mix. Yay! Dominican! 

I did a roller set on my hair this morning and kept it in rollers, Dominican style before driving over to the shop. The salon location was beautiful, inside an upscale salon boutique building in Glendale.

It took me some time to find her suite/room. I saw two rooms– one shampoo room and one stylist Room. Melania was the Morena who was in the styling room. She had three clients at once; one client in the styling chair. One client either under a salon hair dryer or just sitting down in a chair (I don’t remember if I saw a hood,” and one client with a spacesuit on! When I say spacesuit, I mean a soft bonnet hair dryer that wraps around the neck (too lazy to copy what one looks like). I was unsure if she was in rollers or was just getting a steam treatment.

My first thought was: Oh no! I know she is not going to try to dry my hair in that itty bitty hooded dryer (because I use big rollers) or that soft bonnet spacesuit because the hair at the crown will not get dry.

I peeked through the door and asked, “Melania?” and the Morena replied, “Yes, I am Melania.” Her hair was short, neck length and kind of choppy. Now, I have bad hair days too, don’t get me wrong. But most Dominicans I know have their hair done and it is not short or choppy. And I have a stigma… I can’t have anyone with short hair do my hair, unless they are a man. I don’t care if they keep it short on purpose. 

I introduced myself as the one who asked to sit and watch her work while she did hair, which seemed very awkward, as she had four clients in her area. I didn’t have a place to sit. I could tell she didn’t remember the conversation as she looked at me as I just landed from Mars. She gave me her card and told me that she only works by appointment. I explained again that I didn’t come to get my hair done, that I only came for information (such as pricing, the products she uses, her hours, if she had a picture portfolio). I was upset that I was unable to see any of this. 

I really wanted to see her work. Should I call for an appointment just to be able to have a seat in the salon so that I can ask her questions? No. This first impression just left me with a sour taste in my mouth and I am thankful that I know how to do my own hair. I now have her email address so maybe I can just interview her first that way. 

I’ve decided not to let her do my hair but I’d still want the info. —> END RANT!! 

 

What Your Cosmetologist Didn’t Learn in School About Your Relaxed Hair Part 1

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Aceey's Relaxed Hair

Aceey's Relaxed Hair - Yes, I was due for a color treatment too, lol.

The Relaxer Touch-Up Edition Part 1-
There is so much that I have to teach cosmetologists and students about taking care of chemically relaxed hair when I go to beauty schools. Cosmetologists are only really trained to cut, perm/relax and color hair. “We’re not in the business of helping people grow hair,” said one cosmetologist. Whether you are in school, a cosmetologist with years of experience, or just want some tips on growing healthier relaxed hair, I made this blog post just for you!

1. Tools of the trade are very important!
Here are some tools and products that I don’t see to many cosmetolgists use when relaxing:

  • Additional oil to add to the relaxer.
  • Conditioner to be applied to the previously relaxed hair. Relaxer Base (to protect scalp, hairline and ears).
  • Plastic Clips (for sectioned hair).
  • Neck wraps and plastic capes for client and for the  shampoo bowl.
Shampoo Funnel

The shampoo funnel is perfect for protecting your clients hair, especially if they are disabled and unable to lean back into the shower bowl. I recommend it for all clients!

2. What the client and cosmetologist should do before and during the chemical relaxing process.
Protecting the previously relaxed hair- Most cosmetologists will not add oil to your relaxer, nor will they usually protect your previously relaxed hair with conditioner or oil.

If you are not relaxing your own hair, it will be your responsibility to base your own scalp the night before your relaxer and applying an oil or conditioner to your previously relaxed hair to prevent overlapping.

Do not part your hair with a sharp tipped edge (i.e., rattail comb) as this may irritate scalp and cause burning. Avoid caffeine before your relaxer process (may cause scalp irritation). I recommend not washing the hair at least 72 hours before a chemical process.

I always recommend adding 1 tablespoon of oil to the relaxer cream before applying to the hair (not necessary if you are using Linange Shea Butter Relaxer). This slows down the relaxing process but also helps condition the hair while it is straightening.

Many cosmetologists are trained to comb through the relaxer with a rat-tail comb all the way to the ends of the hair or pass the the new growth. I am strongly against this, as the chemicals in relaxers are strong enough to straighten hair with just using fingertips. A lot of people have fine or thin hair and may not even need that step I just mentioned.

Relaxer timing is very important. I have very resistant hair and it takes me about 23 minutes for my hair to be relaxed straight. Of course, if you are using a relaxer brand for the first time your cosmetologist should perform a strand test on a small section of your hair before applying the chemical to the full head of new growth. The hair should never be relaxed bone straight.

3. Neutralizing Conditioners, Rinsing, and Neutralizing Shampoos Rinsing once with Neutralizing Shampoo after processing the hair is not enough. I highly recommend using a neutralizing conditioner first before applying shampoo. The conditioner lowers the pH of the hair and keeps it soft before adding the harsh shampoo.

Most shampoos and conditioners have high pH. Chemical relaxers are very basic (pH of most relaxers is 10-14). This raises the pH, causing the hair shaft to swell and be very fragile. A neutralizing conditioner lowers the pH of hair, closing the cuticles so that the hair can be soft, supple, and ready to take on washing and styling.

If you don’t have a neutralizing conditioner, using a reconstructor is highly recommended before applying the neutralizing shampoo. This builds back the protein lost from straightening from using a relaxer. This process also closes the cuticle, creating softer, stronger hair.

After using the neutralizing shampoo, always deep condition with a conditioner that has a good balance of protein and moisture. I see a lot of cosmetologists skimp on this step or charge more for deep conditioning. I’m one of those people that want a deep conditioner with every shampoo and set and think that it should be included in the price, lol.

4. The Leave-in Conditioner One stylist tried to set my hair on rollers without even using a leave-in conditioner! This is an important step to not miss, especially since most people heat style their hair after having a chemical process. Make sure your stylist is using a moisturizing leave-in conditioner on your hair. Note to the clients: I highly recommend washing your own hair with neutralizing shampoo or neutralizing conditioner the day after a cosmetologist gives you a relaxer. This minimizes the chances of chemical damage.

A Note About Chemical Burns: a relaxer should not burn your scalp at all, or be on your scalp! If you are victim of a chemical burn after a relaxer process, be sure to not pick at the scab. Apply a local anti-biotic such as Neosporin to the scalp daily. Another recommendation is to apply petroleum jelly mixed with one drop of tea tree oil on the burn daily, or Camphor Phenique. Not taking care of the scalp after a relaxing process may cause permanent scarring and possible bald spots. Here’s my complete relaxing regimen:

Aceey relaxes every three months.

Running my fingers through my hair.

Aceey’s Relaxing Day Regimen – Every Three Months

1. The night before, I base scalp with grease or oil.

2. Relaxing day: Section hair in four parts and cover ears, hairline, and nape with a petroleum base.

3. Coat previously relaxed hair with conditioner, being sure to not apply to the new growth. My favorite conditioner for this step is La Bomba Conditioner but any thick conditioner will do. (This step can also be done with your favorite oil: Coconut, Olive, Grapeseed)

4. Apply Linange Shea Butter Relaxer to the new growth only, smoothing each section with fingertips. I do not comb through the relaxer through the new growth.

Linange Shea Butter Relaxer

Linange Shea Butter Relaxer is the only relaxer that gets my hair straight. It is well worth the investment!

Linange is my favorite brand of relaxer and I highly recommend it, especially for people that have resistant hair. If I don’t have this brand, I use Vitale Super or Revlon Realistic Super and mix 1 tablespoon of oil in the relaxer before applying to hair. This weakens the relaxer so that my hair gets straight but is left with volume (I hate flat hair). My hair does not like any lye relaxers.

5. After hair is processed, I rinse thoroughly and apply  Linage Neutralizing Conditioner to my hair, carefully following the directions that are listed on the bottle. Notice that I didn’t say “shampoo?” 😉 This Conditioner acts like a shampoo in that it lathers slightly but really keeps the pH of my hair down so that my hair cuticles can lay down flat. The conditioning properties of this product are amazing.

Linange Neutralizing Conditioner

This neutralizing conditioner restores the natural acid mantle to hair after professional chemical services.

If I do not have the Linage Neutralizing Conditioner, I apply a reconstructing conditioner to my hair and let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

6. Apply Neutralizing Shampoo with a color alarm and keep washing and rinsing until the suds are white.
Favorite Neutralizing Shampoos:

  • Elasta QP Stop Action Shampoo
  • Isoplus Neutralzing Shampoo

7. Apply Deep Conditioner that contains protein. Let sit for 10 minutes then rinse.
Favorite deep conditioners:

8. Apply Leave-in Conditioner and style:
Favorite leave-ins:

Usually, the next day, I wash my hair again with neutralizing shampoo and neutralizing conditioner just to be sure I got all the relaxer out, followed by a deep conditioner.

In the future I will be posting about coloring hair, my secret weapons for hair maintenance,  and other tips that are are not taught in Cosmetology School. None of these tips are secrets so please share this information freely. I am on a quest to make sure everyone has healthy hair! Be blessed! 😀

PS: Still new at this blog thing, please excuse any mistakes, lol.

Aceey’s Hair Regimen

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Remember Jesse from "Full House?" Yep, that's me!

I love my hair! The best part about healthy hair is that even if you cut it, it grows right back to the same lushness and length as before.

My hair has been featured on many hair care websites over the years and I get weave-checked on a daily, even with short hair! I didn’t always have healthy hair, though. It took me 14 months to go from damaged, chin length hair, to gorgeous hair that almost touched my waist. I keep my hair short now (armpit length) but it’s still healthy as ever! This is only a regimen page, looks like a mouthful but it really isn’t, I promise 😀 — I will post hair care tips in another blog post.

Having damaged, short hair was no fun.

My hair regimen, 1x a week:
1. Part hair in 6 sections.

2. Apply pre-shampoo treatment to each section and let sit for an hour before rinsing – I do a pre-treatment because shampoos can be so harsh, plus it provides extra conditioning.
Favorite pre-shampoo treatments:

  • Mayonnaise (you know, the stuff in a jar? Any non-salad dressing brand will do). I apply as if I am applying a relaxer. I consider this my protein treatment.
  • Oil (Grapeseed, Olive, Coconut, Dabur Vatika Coconut Hair Oil)
  • Silk Dreams PRE

3. Apply shampoo to sectioned hair, let sit for a few minutes, then rinse. Repeat if necessary.
Favorite shampoos:

4. Apply deep conditioner to each section of hair. Leave on for 10-20 minutes, then rinse.
Favorite deep conditioners:

4. Apply leave-in conditioner before roller setting. After my hair dries on the rollers, I flat iron the new growth only. I rarely apply direct heat to my ends (maybe 4 times a year, TOPS!).
Favorite leave-ins:

Daily Moisturizing/Sealing:

*Relaxing – Every three months
Linenage Shea Butter Relaxer (this is the only brand of relaxer that straightens my hair).

*Coloring – Every three months with Henna then Indigo powders. I do not use artificial dyes.
Favorite Brands:

  • Nupur
  • Karishma
  • Indigo from Ayurnatural Beauty
  • Jamila
  • Mumtaz

Aww, I miss having long hair.