Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hair Repair Journey

As you may remember from a couple posts ago, I completely and utterly obliterated my hair's healthy status by trying to bleach out henna. For those of you who don't know, henna is a vegetable dye that is beyond permanent. It took me 4 bleach sessions to get most of it out. Then I recolored. Bad news. My hair wouldn't dry, felt spongy (like cotton candy to the person who ultimately cut inches off in a bid to get it workable) and stretched for miles (okay inches). Hair that is healthy and has the right moisture/protein balance is supposed to stretch (I believe) 20% then return to normal. My hair, I'm not kidding, stretched 5 inches. I'm not even sure my hair is 5 inches long anymore!

I have to straighten, but that was another subject on another post, so we won't rehash my woes of destroying my curls along with my hair.

My sister has two friends who are cosmetologists and I figured I would talk to them to see what I might be able to do to rehabilitate my hair and/or return my curls to a semblance of their former glory. They recommended Joico KPak Reconstructor. I had already tried it. Little to no change. Then they suggested a reconstructor in a little glass vial from a beauty supply (I looked at the ingredients and didn't see any protein, but it promised to have it). It was obviously written in a different language first and had a poor translator. I instructed readers to apply the liquid (really thin like water, but kind of chemical smelling) to the double ends (took me a while, so I'll save you the pain...they meant split ends) first and friction (rub) the liquid in, then start applying up the hair. I did and just let it dry on my hair, though I think technically you're supposed to leave on for like 20 minutes then rinse out. When I next washed my hair, it was feeling better, but still not great.

So then I turned to my beloved people from Seriously, I don't know why I bother elsewhere, though I admit the cosmetology consult was probably a good idea in theory. Too bad my hair is beyond the restorative properties of mainstream beauty lines. I posted a question on how to try and repair the hair until it grows out, stop the breakage and stop the horrendous dry time as well as the stretch factor. Wonderful people! I love you! It was suggested (I believe by RedCelticCurls) that I try the Aphogee protein treatment from Sally's.

There are a few of these treatments. There is the 2 minute protein treatment, and what I call the long-term protein treatment. I jumped. I purchased two packets of the treatment with following moisture treatment, washed my hair, conditioned, towel dried, then applied the protein treatment. The instructions tell you to use heat (I had my trusty soft bonnet dryer handy next to the computer) and warn you that your hair will dry hard. I sat with my soft bonnet on for approximately 45 minutes because I was so absorbed in what I was doing. My hair might have been dry at 30, I can't remember.

Taking the bonnet off was a challenge because my hair really was rock hard. Like someone had put epoxy glue in my hair. Usually when the hair is hard, you can work with the hair and break it up a little...not this stuff! I was afraid if I manipulated the hair, it would break off, that's how hard this stuff dried!

I'm a lazy person by nature lately, so I dinked around the house with my helmut head before heading up to shower, rinse off the helmut, etc. I got in the shower and spent a good 10 minutes working the treatment out of my hair. I used a mixture of a slight bit of shampoo and conditioner to "cleanse" the extra protein hardness out of my hair, then followed with the moisture treatment attached in the packet. I must say...I'm none too impressed with it. I would have preferred my Biolage Conditioning Balm. I washed, shaved my legs, rinsed, then rinsed out my hair. I squoze (probably not a word, but who cares?) out the excess water, put my hair up in a towel to soak up the extra water and dried off. I got dressed, took down my hair, applied some Redken Extreme Anti-Snap leave-in and combed through, then left it to air dry again.

It's still a long way from being okay, but the body seems to be coming back and hopefully in time the curls will, too. I gave up the protein for the next shower session in lieu of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner mixed with some Biolage Conditioning Balm. Again, I let it air dry because I'm not going anywhere and don't have anybody to impress. The ends are still frizzy and like cotton candy, but it's on it's way. Hopefully after a few more treatments and lots of TLC, the hair might recover a might!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I hate my doctor's medical assistant

Hate. I hate her. I loved her 2 old ones. One quit to stay at home and one got a job somewhere else. This new one is a joke. My doctor only gives me usually 1 refill on my prescriptions (except the usual birth control, anti-depressants and diabetic meds), so I have to call and have them call in a prescription to the pharmacy. This duty is to be completed within 24 hours, per their own voicemail message. My average with this new girl is roughly 1 week. I kid you not. I even plan ahead and call a week before I need anything and the timeframe keeps getting longer! hate has evolved to pure loathing and disgust. I've been sick (again) and was sick for about 2 weeks. I have my suspicion that I might have had swine flu because I worked closely with an instructor who was responsible for shutting down a high school and an elementary school when he was diagnosed. I was so sick, I couldn't even call in to let them know I wouldn't be in. If you miss Monday's, you have to have a doctor's note to come back to class. I left a message Wednesday asking for a letter from the doctor saying I was ill and can return to school. I left another message on Thursday. Didn't ever hear anything. Today, I put in another call asking for the same thing. Nothing.

I think I'm going to have to throw a fit. It seems like that's the only time I can get a response from her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bit the Bullet

I finally bit the bullet and had the hair cut. A comb wouldn't go through it, I couldn't straighten it, I couldn't wear it was a mess. So I made an appointment. It was so bad, the instructor had to end up cutting it. She called the ends "cotton candy." Nice. Makes me feel nice. The back is cut into an a-line with the nape being about 1/2" long and the front just touches my chin, when straightened. It's gonna be a fun few months, since the instructor told me this was going to be a hard haircut for me because of the curl. Great. Fantastic. At least the color looks okay now. The ends were the part making it all look bad. I think. We'll see.

In other good news, tomorrow is the last day of class this week and I don't get to deal with insane people! I had a real quack tonight and ended up in a hair color war with the mentor I was assigned to because we were both trying to color the same head of hair. NOT EASY! I'm kinda smudged. She's worse. I'm sure it was horrible for her, she has OCD in the way she does things and I do them the way I've been taught. Hard mix. I learned a lot, though!

Tomorrow, I think I'm working on a mannequin and learning how to do weaves. Hello iPod!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Bad...

Very, very, very, very, very bad. The color is splotchy and my curls are non-existent. I can't straighten because I have a very choppy hair cut. My curls resemble a bad 80's era perm that 1/2 fell out. Yeah, it's bad. I really was in tears today.

Here I am, trying to go back to school, where you need to look good all the time and here I am looking like a bag lady who let an infant style her hair!. I decided I had nothing to lose after coloring so many times that I poured liquid protein on my hair to try and make the color uptake more uniform, then reapplied the color mixture with a little difference in mixing and I left it off my roots. I am now the proud owner of spongy, damaged, non-curling hair that has a wonderful shade of green caste to it, even though I used NO products that stated ash in them.

The good news is that I brainstormed with my first instructor at class and she made a suggestion that will fix the green caste, and help improve the condition of my hair! Hallelujah! She also said she could cut my hair, trying to salvage something of a style out of it from the damage, but she can't do anything until after memorial day. Three weeks with this hair? Can I do it?!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Say goodbye to my hennahead!

That's right. I am no longer a hennahead. One day, I got a bug in my ear in was just tired of my red hair and wanted my natural hair color back. What a process. I knew the henna was going to be hard to remove, but I didn't know the odyssey I was in for!

I made my way over to the local beauty supply store and talked to one of the sales people. She advised me that since they didn't have a vegetable stripper in stock (the easiest way to strip the henna), she recommended mixing bleach with equal amounts of developer and shampoo. I did it. It was okay. My head was a little tender, but I ended up with white roots and flourescent orange ends. I made my way back up to the beauty supply store and purchased a tub of lightener/bleach and made my way back home to do it again. This time I tried not to let it touch my scalp, but it did. I left it in as long as I could and rinsed it out. The roots were very white and my ends were now flourescent orange!

Enter's sister: I asked her to come help me bleach my ends so the color would take. I put in bleach + 40 volume developer. For those of you who don't know...40 volume developer is the big guns. She applied it, we let it sit and I rinsed it out. The ends were now an orange creamsicle color. I decided I had fried my hair enough (and my scalp) that I just needed to get the color on so I could go back to classes on Monday (Remember, I had to take a hiatus for medical issues).

Since I had to bleach my hair so much to get as much henna out as I could, I had to repigment my hair before putting on my color. Basically, it's restoring the natural bleaching process (i.e. when you bleach your hair goes from red to orange to yellow, so I had to go from yellow-orange to red to dark blonde). We applied the repigment. My scalp was objecting to more developer on my head, but I cowboyed up. After processing for 10 minutes, they (my mom was now involved because my sister decided she wanted to be blonde again from being a dark blonde. The day before, I had bleached from her demarcation line to the ends. The next day, I had put some bleach on her roots and put a stronger bleach on her ends before we got to my hair) had to wipe off the color. They were trying so hard to be gentle but it was basically torture. My scalp hurt so bad and my head was so tender that no matter what they did, it hurt. I was pretty much in tears when they decided they'd cleaned it enough. Then they had to put the actual color on. My mom on one side, my sister on the other. By then end of that ordeal, I was shaking and my lower lip was trembling and I was just about in tears. Blissfully, it ended.

After my processing time, I rinsed, shampooed and conditioned with a really rich conditioner. The roots are very dark. Presumably from their inability to get all the repigment color effectively off my scalp. The ends look pretty good. I won't know for sure until some of it washes out, but dang. I'm not sure it was worth this torture! I have little sores all over my head! Once I get a chance to take a picture, I promise I'll post.

So now I'm finally back to my natural color...sorta. It looks good and my poor hair needs a couple good protein and moisture treatments. When my hair was wet after rinsing it out, I did the stretch strand test. I'm not hair stretched 3 inches, then bounced back to it's original length (I think). Sad to go from such healthy hair to damaged. It could be worse, but it's still a shock!