Winterizing My Hair


It's too cold outside

December is way too cold for wash-n-go hairstyles.  However, as many African American women know, if you don’t keep your hair very well moisturized, your hair will become dry and brittle.  So, what do you do to maintain your naturally curly hair without walking around with miniature icicles hanging from your head?

Well, this is the next stop on my journey to find my perfect hair care routine for my curly hair.  So far, I’ve tried the overnight two-strand twist out, baggying, and product overload.  Unfortunately, my hair is just not satisfied.  The curls won’t spring back into action.

In a previous post, I mentioned possibly going back to the weave (at least for the duration of the winter months).  I went to the local beauty supply store and looked at some hair.  The quality and selection has greatly improved since the last time I went in.  It was so tempting to buy a bag of European Deep Wave 14 in hair in 1B.  I got goosebumps thinking about having my own hair safely braided to my scalp while this other hair took the abuse of everyday manipulations.  As the saleswoman was about to ring it up, a part of me said “Don’t give up yet.”  Maybe there’s a something else out there. I changed my mind and walked away from the weave.

But, seriously, what do I do now?  The natural products are not helping me achieve any hairstyles that I can rely on to go to work everyday.  The hair is unable to curl correctly.  I’m left with patches of straight, kinky, frizzy, jherri curl string hair.

new curls with scooby

Finally, I decided on a compromise.  I went to my professional hair stylist and had a gentle Wave Nouveau put on the roots to get some curl definition.  I also cut the ends to make a more uniform halo effect.

Currently, I co-wash with  Pantene Pro-V Relaxed and Natural for Women of Color Conditioner, Dry to Moisturized .  I find that my hair comes out pretty soft and detangled when I use this product.  I follow this with a leave-in conditioner (Infusium 23 or your favorite will work).  A moderate amount of  Soft Sheen Care Free Curl Gold Instant Activator 16 oz comes next to help the curls bounce back into place.  I let this stand for a few minutes before finishing off with a natural oil sealant (such as coconut oil or Extra-Virgin Olive Oil).

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Keratin Hair Straightening

Riss Hair before Keratin

Riss Frizz Hair Before Keratin

All I want for Christmas is my hair straightened!  As you can see from this picture, my hair does not have a distinct curl pattern — it is all over the place — curly meets straight meets kinky meets spirals meets z-pattern — all topped with FRIZZ. 

You’ve seen my hair care routine in previous videos, it takes a lot of effort to get my hair ready to go out in public.  Between conditioning, blow-drying, straightening with a flat-iron, and styling with loads of products, I’m running out of time, patience and resources.

Japanese Hair Straightening
In the past, I’ve asked my mom for the Japanese Hair Straightening.  It is a process that permanently straightens your hair (well, permanent in that it lasts for about 4 – 6 months).  The stylist applies chemicals to your hair to breakdown the texture, shampoos, blow-dries, and flat-irons your hair over and over again until your hair is completely straight.  It usually takes a whole day to complete the process.  When you’re finished, you can’t let any moisture get near your head — including sweat, rain, or shower.

My mom was not very enthusiastic about the cost — anywhere from $300 to $1,500.  She’s also really into the naturally curly hair thing, so the idea that my hair wouldn’t be able to curl on its own didn’t sit well with her.  Needless to say, I didn’t get the Japanese Hair Straightening.

Celebrity Brazilian Blowout

Celebrity Brazilian Blowout

Brazilian Blowout
This year, I heard about the Brazilian Blowout.  It was all the rage in style magazines and the internet.  Super-models and celebrities were in love with the results, because you could just wash and go without spending hours blow-drying and flat-ironing your hair.

With the Brazilian Blowout, the stylist washes your hair with a clarifying shampoo, applies the solution, blow-dries and flat-irons your hair to seal in the product, rinses it out, puts a conditioning mask and blow-dries the hair.  You can’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours — this allows the product to reach its maximum effectiveness.  The results last about 3 months.  The treatment washes out gradually over time and returns the hair to its original state.

Liquid Keratin

Liquid Keratin

Of course, as with any miracle hair treatment, there comes a HUGE price tag.  The salons in our area start at $350 for the basic process.  (Side note: I SERIOUSLY need to get a job)

Liquid Keratin
Although money is tight right now, my mom still surprised me with a do-it-yourself “Brazilian Blowout” at-home kit — Liquid Keratin 30 Day Straight Smooth Strong & Long Treatment Starter Kit,, Bold for Dark Hair 1 ea.  I couldn’t wait to try it!

riss hair

Riss Hair Straightened

Once it’s all done, you can do almost anything you want with your hair.  I like the fact that I can take a shower in the morning, wash my hair, and let it air dry.  I end up with soft frizz-free waves.  If I want a little more glam, I can blow dry for a few minutes and be done.  No more hours wasted!

Since this is my first time using the Liquid Keratin Treatment, I have to wait and see what the long-term results will be.  I will keep you posted on my progress. Continue reading

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Chi Hair Straightener

Shali hair straightened with Chi

Shali Hair Straightened with CHI

In all of my years of styling my black hair, I have used several flat irons to straighten and curl my strands.  Of those, I have found the Chi hair straightener to be the best product available on the market.  Priced around $95 – $105, the CHI flat iron is a relatively inexpensive hair styling appliance.

The Chi straightener can take even the most unruly coarse kinky hair and transform it into beautiful flowing straight strands of hair without a lot of time and effort.  One thing that I particularly like about the Chi is that it does not burn your hair like its metal competitors do.  The ceramic heating plates heat up to approximately 350° to 400°F.  To prevent you from scorching your hair, it is recommended that you use a thermal heating protectant such as the Chi line of hair products.

The Chi hair straightener allows you to not only straighten your hair, but it also enables you to curl, flip and style your hair in many different fashions.  The tangle free cord provides the ergonomic flexibility that you crave in a hairstyling iron.  The heating elements reach a temperature of 392° in a flash.

For maximum thermal protection of my hair, I use the CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray – 8.5 oz..  It is designed to work with all of the Chi irons.  It leaves my hair with a beautiful shine without the sticky residue that you get with some of the other thermal protectants.

Slim Chi

Slim Chi 1/2"

If you have short hair, the CHI Air Expert Slim Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron, Onyx Black, 1/2 Inch is a perfect one for you.  With its half-inch plates, you can get close to the scalp without burning yourself.  The slim Chi will help you achieve beautiful curls or wonderful flip depending on your mood.

When you use the Chi hair straighteners on a daily basis, it is recommended that you keep your hair very well-conditioned.  Occasionally, you may want to use the CHI Deep Brilliance Reconstruct Deep Protein Reconstructor, 6 OZ that is enriched with silk and milk proteins, amino acids, natural essential oils, botanicals, herbs, and vitamins.  It is designed especially for chemically treated and damaged hair.  It provides the much needed moisture to help revitalize and strengthen your hair.

For those who want all natural organic hair products, try the CHI Olive Nutrient Therapy Line.  It is designed to promote hair health through a natural balance of nutrients and essential oils.  The shampoo is sulfate and paraben free.  It gently cleanses your hair while moisturizing and protecting your hair.  Follow this with the conditioner that will leave your hair tangle-free with lots of body and shine.

The Chi hair straightener is a high quality — yet inexpensive — hair styling appliance.

For more CHI related products, please feel free to check out the following: Continue reading

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Hair Extensions: A Teenage Weave Story

Hair Extensions Image

Rhiallee with Hair Extensions

Since this is my senior year of high school, I decided to get hair extensions a.k.a. a weave just to shake things up a little bit.  Although some people believe that hair extensions are evil by nature because of the countless images of bad weaves that we all have stored in our minds, I still chose to try it out for myself.  I just don’t like to be constrained by what others think is fashionably acceptable.

I did a lot of research to find the right hair and method of applying a weave that would best fit me.  It was not hard to figure out that the sewn-on weave was preferable to the glued-on/bonded or clip-on versions — the last thing that I wanted was to have a piece of hair fall from my head while walking between classes.  One small word of caution — the braids were so tight that I had to take Tylenol for a couple of days to help ease the pain.

Choosing the right hair, on the other hand, seemed close to impossible.  I didn’t know there were so many brands, styles, quality, and lengths to choose from — you can get synthetic or human, straight or curly, short or long, pure human or blended, etc.

Here are some of the brands that I looked at:

Outre Velvet Remi 100% Human Hair European Body Wave

Outre Velvet Remi

The Outre Velvet Remi European Body Wave is made from 100% human hair that has been processed to insure that all cuticles face the same direction which results in a smoother and more natural feel.  It is priced around $99 — which is on the more expensive side for me (a teenager with limited income).  However, the reviews have been pretty good — you don’t experience that tangling problem that you run into with the cheaper hair ($9.99 specials).

Saga Remy Yaky Gold

Saga Remy Yaky Gold

The next one that I tried was the SAGA REMY YAKY GOLD 12.  It was less expensive than the first one — priced around $49.  What caught my eye were the product claims by the manufacturer:

  • shed-free
  • tangle-free
  • maintenance-free
  • easy to curl

It’s hard to resist a list of attributes like that one.  Plus, when I went to the local beauty supply shop in Fort Worth and asked for some “good hair,” the owner quickly pulled out a pack of Saga hair.  She said a lot of people like both the Velvet and Saga weave hair.

After hours of feeling different textures, reading lots of reviews, and consulting my stylist, I ended up with the right combination that worked for me.  I liked the ease and versatility of styling my hair without taking hours to get ready for school in the morning.  I simply borrowed my mom’s Chi flat iron to straighten my bangs.  The stylist did such a great job of integrating my own hair with the weave that many people didn’t even realize that it wasn’t all my own hair.  (Seriously???  My hair grew 14 inches overnight and you couldn’t tell???)

Anyway, whatever you decide to do with your hair and/or weave, make sure that you find what works best for you.  Don’t worry about what others will think of you.  Just make sure you get high quality hair and an expert stylist to put in the weave.  Then go out there and rock your style and ENJOY!!!

— Rhiallee

By the way, here are some other hair weaves that you may be interested in: Continue reading

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To Weave or Not to Weave? – That is the Question

I can't go out like this!

My hair!  My hair!  My hair!  What am I going to do with my hair?  It is December 23rd, it is cold outside, I have a lot of last-minute gifts to buy, and my hair looks horrible.  It is too cold to apply any of my usual styling products, because I will end up with a block of ice on my head by the time I get to the car.

I can’t put my hair up, because that would require detangling the strands which will lead to shedding and breakage.  I have been sitting here trying to figure out the best way to disguise this mess so that I can go out in public and get my last-minute errands taken care of.  This is too much of a hassle.  I need a better solution.

I am considering going back to the weave.  I have had weaves in the past.  Although they can be itchy and cumbersome at times, the good thing about a weave is that I do not need to worry about styling my hair each day.  It is literally get up and go.  On special occasions, I can use my Chi flat iron to put in some waves.

bad weave

bad weave

Unfortunately, there are good weaves and bad weaves.  It’s a chance that we have to take when we decide to have other people’s hair sewn to our own.  The controlling factors are quality of hair and expertise of the stylist.

Bad weaves — we’ve all seen them — ladies walking down the street completely oblivious to the nastiness that is on top of their heads.  You sometimes feel the need to get a pair of scissors and chop that monstrosity from their heads.

Halle Berry

Nice weave

There are also good weaves.  You know, like Tyra Banks and Halle Berry.  The weave is so well-integrated that you do not see any lumps, braids, or any other indication that the hair is not naturally their own.  This is the type of weave that I would like to have.  The bad news is that in order to get a good weave, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of money.

On average, a professional weavologist will charge you between $200 and $1000 to sew in a full head of hair.  This does not include the cost of the hair itself — which can range from $50 – $600 at your local beauty supply shop.  Keep in mind that the more you spend the better your results will be.

2 month old weave

This may sound like an enormous amount of money to spend on a hairdo.  But, think about the amount of frustration and time spent each day trying to fix your hair as compared to a one-time lump sum that will last several weeks — it’s all about perspective.  Even when it is time to have the weave tightened or replaced, you can still wrap a headband around the hairline to gain a few more weeks.  I have been known to sport a weave for three to four months at a time.  I end up saving time, money, aggravation, and my own hair.

When it comes time to take the weave out, be prepared to spend a lot of time with your arms raised above your head trying to cut out the thread that has become intertwined with your hair.  This can be a dreadful task.  If you can get someone to help you, don’t hesitate — bribe them if you have to.

When you finish taking out the weave from your hair and washing out the accumulated residue, you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of new growth you have amassed.  This should be just in time for you to wear your natural hair curly during the summer months.

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Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Hair Care Review

Looking for great moisturizing products for your naturally curly hair?  The Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl line is worth a try.  I absolutely LOVE using them.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I stumbled upon the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie when Target was out of Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding.  I was skeptical about how the $9.99 hair dressing would compare to the more expensive and well-known curly pudding.  Before I even got home, I already imagined the jar collecting dust on the shelf next to the countless other potions and lotions I had tried in the past.

From the moment I cracked open the lid and smelled Continue reading

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Bad Hair Day Leads to Curly Hair Care Routine

Have you ever awakened in a cold sweat, glanced at the clock, and exclaimed, “They’re going to FIRE me today!?!”  To make matters worse, you have absolutely no clue what you’re going to wear to work and your hair looks like a steel wool pad — AFTER it was used to clean up Thanksgiving Day’s pots and pans.

Bad Hair Day 1

Bad Hair Day 1

Well, this is exactly how my day started.  The alarm went off at 6:00 as usual.  Somehow, I managed  to turn it off and go back to sleep.  About an hour later, I opened my eyes and shrieked, “Oh Snap!”

Let me back up a bit…

Bad Hair Day 2

can't get my fingers through my hair

Last night, my hair was a matted mess.  I needed to moisturize my hair and figure out a way to get my curl pattern to show.  I decided to apply a good amount of  Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Hold Smoothie – 12 oz..  My thought was that during the night, the excess product would rub off and I would wake up with beautiful spiral curls in the morning.

shoe that fell on my head

shoe that fell on my head

Apparently, I did not account for the cosmic forces that would come together in a conspiracy against me.  Not only did I have too much curl smoothie in my hair, but the cold temperature had caused it to congeal and turn into semi-solid clumps that closely resembled Crisco.  Also, while I was looking through the closet for something to wear, a high-heeled, metal stilleto shoe fell from a shelf and landed on my head.  Why didn’t I just stay in bed?

A quick glance at the clock reminded me that there was a meeting that was scheduled to begin in a few mintues.  I could imagine how freaked out everyone would be if I were to show up with blood-stained goop on my head.  I was out of time and out of options.  In a desperate move, I decided to rinse out as much as possible in the shower and just let my hair air dry.  With a scarf wrapped around my head to protect me from the freezing temperature outside, I high-tailed it to work.

The rest of the day was so busy that I didn’t get to look at the results until the evening.  When I finally got a chance to inspect my handiwork, I was amazed to see how nice my hair turned out.  Even the lump from the shoe incident was camouflaged by the ringlets that had formed.

In the end, things turned out ok.  I’m going to try to recreate this hairstyle (without the drama).  If it works out, I may be one step closer to finding my perfect daily hair care routine.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Second Day Hair After Knot Today Twist Out

Yesterday, I decided to try the two-strand twist out using just Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner. 

Image Twist Out 1

Day 2 Twist Out with Knot Today

Before I began the process, I made sure my hair was clean and well conditioned.  I used the Doctor Cabello Intensive Treatment as a deep conditioner. 

I first learned about this product during a trip to the Dominican Republic with my parents.  My mother is a big fan of the Dominican hair care products and talked me into trying a few (including Sedal, Rysell, and Dr. Cabello).  Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t until after I returned to the United States that I realized that I really liked the results and wanted to buy more.  After a lengthy search on the internet, I found that it is virtually impossible to find anyone who sells Rysell Leave-In conditioner in the US.  I guess I will have to wait until my next trip to the island to replenish my supply.

twist out with knot today profile

Twist Out with Knot Today

Anyway, after the deep conditioner, I rinsed my hair and applied Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner.  I sectioned my hair into small parts and brushed the strands smooth using a Denman 7-Row Styling Brush – D3.  Starting as close to the scalp as possible, I tightly twisted each section from root to tip using the two strand method.  I then wrapped each twist into bantu knots.  I ended up with approximately 10 – 12 twists.  Once that was done, it was time to air dry.

Since I wanted to make sure that I got a really good curl pattern, I decided I would let the twists stay in overnight.  I wrapped my head with a du-rag and went to bed.  The next morning, I carefully separated the twists and fluffed up my hair.  There were a few sections in the back that were a bit dry.  So I sprayed a little bit of  Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner – 8 fl.oz..   The pictures are after a full day of teaching classes and cooking dinner.  I apologize for the tired eyes — it’s obviously way past my bedtime.

Once I’m done with this post, I’m going to spray in just a little bit of Jane Carter’s Leave-In conditioner and wrap my head for bed.  Let’s hope that tomorrow brings good luck with the curls.

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Doubts About Going Natural

The Thanksgiving Day Rinse-n-Go debacle has left me wondering if “going natural” is really worth all of this hassle.  The allure of not having to use chemical relaxers every couple of months or burning my hair with flat irons or fretting about getting my hair wet if it rained was enough to get me to make the big switch a few years ago.  However, it seems as though it is requiring more effort to maintain the “care free” hairstyle as time goes by.

This morning I looked in the trash can and found enough hair to make a wig.  That made me wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to just get a weave and forget about the “journey to natural hair.”  At least I wouldn’t have to expose my own hair to these trials and tribulations.   I could have some other hair flitting around on my head, while my own locs would stay safely tucked into braids underneath.

I thought about this again this evening as I stood in the bathroom with cold wet hands that were covered with leave-in conditioner while I sectioned my hair into several two-strand twists and bantu knots.  If I had a weave right now, I would simply wrap my head with a scarf and go to sleep.

I don’t know…  I’m going to have to give this a lot of thought over the next few days.  The holidays and work schedule are going to be stressful enough without having to deal with high-maintenance hair.

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Thanksgiving Mistake – Rinse-n-Go Curly Hair

My search for a daily routine for my curly hair hit a major setback this week. After spending four whole days cooking and cleaning in preparation for the holiday feast, the last thing that I wanted to do was worry about my hair.

Twenty minutes before everyone arrived, the table was set, the turkey was resting, and I still needed to take a shower and get dressed.  As I dashed by the mirror, I noticed that on my head there was a flat, lifeless mess.  Since it had been almost a week since my last co-wash, there was a heavy build-up of moisturizers, oils, and styling products weighing down my hair. 

I was upset that I still had not found a wash-n-go routine that would work in a situation like this.  Since I didn’t have enough time to wash, condition and style my hair, I decided that I would simply rinse out some of the product that was already there — a “rinse-n-go.”  It seemed like a great idea until I woke up the next day to find that my hair was completely matted.  It was as though the styling products had acted like super glue and fused strands of hair together.

What started out as being a quick fix turned out to be the start of a long ordeal.  I spent an entire day deep conditioning and detangling my hair.  Huge clumps of knotted hair ended up on my wide-toothed comb and eventually in the trash can.

Well, I guess every mistake is a learning opportunity.  In this case, I learned that I still have a long way to go on my journey to find the perfect hair care routine that suits me and my lifestyle.

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Kinky Curly Curling Custard to the Rescue

Before this application of Kinky Curly Curling Custard, I had tried the Miss Jessie’s Stretch Silkening Creme.  I was disappointed because the Stretch Silkening Creme left my hair very tangled and matted.  I’m sure that it was some sort of user error on my part.  I’m still trying to find the right daily hair care routine that works for me.

Anyway, I had to condition my hair thoroughly with a deep conditioner by Dr. Cabello, Suave Coconut conditioner, Pantene Pro-V conditioner, and almost an entire bottle of Knot Today in order to get it back to normal.  Continue reading

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Riss Hair Straightening

As a teenager with mixed textured hair, it can be a tedious task to convert my curly hair into smooth straight strands.  In this video, I show you my daily routine for straightening my hair.  {I apologize for the loud dryer noise — I didn’t know how to mute the sound on the camera.  Luckily, that part only lasts a few minutes.}

I started off by applying It's a 10 Leave-In Conditioner to clean hair.  After letting my hair air-dry for a few minutes, I used an ION blow dryer.  I then applied TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray 8 fl oz (236 ml) before using a flat-iron to straighten my hair.  According to the manufacturer,  the Remington S9951 Shine Therapy Frizz Control, Humidity Resistant Ceramic Flat Hairstyling Iron, 1 Inch has ceramic plates that are infused with a blend of conditioners and avocado oil.  To complete the process, I sprayed in just a little bit of TRESemme Smooth No Frizz Shine Spray, Ultra Light 4.25 fl oz (125 ml). Continue reading

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Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding Application – Video

According to, the world famous Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding is “a smooth operator that transforms shrunken kinks to super shiny stretched out curls.”  This curl creme was specifically formulated to stretch out and elongate your curls for soft, maximum curl definition.  Since I am in dire need of a wash-n-go styling product for naturally curly hair, I decided to give it a try.

I used the shingling method and followed the instructions for use: Apply a palm full of Curly pudding to damp freshly shampooed and conditioned hair. Rake through large sections and air dry. For maximum elongation comb a nickel sized dollop thru small sections and air dry.

This video shows the entire application process.  Continue reading

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Results of Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding Application – Video

Results of my first Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding application.  I am still trying to streamline my hair routine to fit into my hectic workday schedule.  I need a product that can achieve that “wash-n-go” effect without requiring a full day of prep time. 

As you can see in this video, Continue reading

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Kinky Curly Curling Custard Natural Hair Care

As a black woman taking care of your hair can be a time consuming nightmare.  There is no end of expensive hair products you can buy that claim to give your hair that natural curl.

I personally have spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the perfect product for my hair. I’ve purchased creams, gels and ointments of all sorts with varying degrees of success in my attempts to go natural.

Thankfully, I have finally found a product that really works well for me. Continue reading

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Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Review

Soul Glo - 1980s

I find Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to be a great product.  My hair has multiple personalities that are constantly at odds with each other. It is terribly parched — requiring lots of moisture.  However, applying too much moisturizer leaves it looking like the dreaded Jherri Curl circa 1980s.  In addition, parts of my hair have a very tight curl pattern that could form a cute little afro, but the random clumps of straight strands destroy the overall image. Continue reading

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Black Hair Dyes

If you seek to darken your hair, black hair dyes are one of the essential hair products you will need to make this happen.  There are two primary reasons why people seek to dye their hair black; the first is changing their natural look to something they find more appealing, and the second is fighting the signs of aging represented by the first appearance of gray hairs. Continue reading

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