February 27, 2013

As the Natural Hair Journey Turns

Since last May when I did my Big Chop I have been learning/struggling with my natural hair.  It has been a great experience and I definitely feel the challenge with it. Back when I was working with a TWA (Tweeny Weeny Afro) my everyday regimen couldn't have been easier. Yet as the months went by my TWA became a WTH (What The Hell). In fact, I thought I was doing pretty good up until this month. I was used to washing my hair with my products, detangling, and just letting it air dryDetangling has become more of an issue. It is to the point that I am working more on knots than anything else. I couldn't believe how much my hair had grown and I wasn't even at my 1 year mark which is not until May.

The following pictures were taken yesterday morning after washing my hair.

I've also learned to change or add to my regimen as my hair has been growing. I've added Shea Butter to my daily routine and love how it feels as well as how it looks in my hair. I still use my mixture of oils as well. I still enjoy my Design Essentials products yet felt as of lately I could no longer use the finishing products from their line because my hair wasn't cooperating. So I was left with just using my oils, the jojoba lotion from Design Essentials and then my Shea Butter.

So a week ago I decided I needed to make a hair appointment with my stylist Daisha because I felt my hair had gone past my "comfort zone" as far as understanding.  So for the past two days I was rocking a beret because my hair was just so unsightly I couldn't bear for anyone to look at it in its crazy state. My appointment with Daisha was set for 5:15pm at The Christopher Stevens Salon and I made sure to be there at least 10 minutes early. After my arrival I just relaxed but I did NOT remove my beret until Daisha was ready for me. I warned her that she might not get her fingers back and once she took off the cap and saw my hair she couldn't believe herself how long my hair had grown since she last saw me in October at a hair show.

After washing my hair for a while she concluded that I needed to go under the steamer to help with my knots that were in my hair. So after being under which felt around 30 minutes I was done and I must say it was an interesting experience.


 So after I was done, Daisha had me back at of the washing bowls and she then proceed to detangle and unknot my hair. She informed me that I was due for a trim since I had not had my hair done since the last time I saw her which was last June. The tangling was dead hair that had been wrapping itself around and so she took off around an inch. Overall she still couldn't believe my length. From what I could gather from measuring it myself, my hair had grown in length around 5 inches - 6 inches since I last saw Daisha in June


So after she cleaning up my hair I went to her styling chair. She asked me how I wanted to style it. I told her didn't matter to me and we decided on a big rod set. She said my hair had grown so long that I had jumped up 3 spots in rod sizes.

While she was rodding my hair I was informing her of my hair routine. What I really like about Daisha is that as I was telling her what I do with my routine not once did she shake her head and say I shouldn't do this or that. She just simply asked me how did I feel and if it was working for me. She is not judgmental. I also was asking her opinion on things that I was doing and if she had suggestions. 

Then I go under the dryer for over an hour. So after she was done styling my hair I asked her about upkeep and she stated that once a week to just separate the spirals and it will give it a fuller look as the weeks progress.

Overall I am proud with my natural hair journey. How far I have come and what I have learned along the way. I don't feel that I am expert by NO means, far from it. I simply take what I have learned and apply it the best way I know how. Now there are some things I will say have stood out for me.

  1. I co-wash and/deep condition on the weekends. The only reason I might wash more than once a week is I am either working out a lot or my hair was having a crazy day. I do shampooing once a month, but I realize that I might need to kick it up to maybe twice a month once I get back to being more active and/or as my hair is growing.
  2. Black Jamaican Castor Oil has worked wonders for me. I had this bald spot (at least I could tell and so could Daisha) on the crown area of my hair on the right side. I looked up the benefits of using BJCO and decided to give it a try. I have been using it since June of last year and I my hair has grown back in that spot. I use it in my deep conditioning regimen.
  3. Nature is my best friend. The mixture of oils in combination with the homemade Shea Butter mixture I also use have made my hair feel healthy and strong. The elasticity in my hair is something else. I still enjoy my products from Design Essentials and As I Am. But the main thing is that the products that I make, I use on myself on a DAILY basis where as the other products I use on a WEEKLY basis. The oils I buy are Grade A quality (are edible), the same ones that you can find in your regular grocery store. Some others I buy from Amazon or Trader Joes. I do not buy any pre-made hair oils from the stores. They more than likely have extra ingredients that just act as fillers. The only oil that I have come across that I use but is NOT edible is jojoba oil. Not to mention if you go through the trouble of making it yourself, you save some money in the long run.
  4. Eating my veggies and fruits. On many different forums and groups I've noticed people wanting to get the maximum benefit of using biotin, gelatin, or any other pill that can be bought or produced to help promote hair growth and length. I used to be one of these individuals until I realized that biotin was already found in some of the foods (veggies) that we eat. So I decided that since I was trying to get back in shape and I know eating healthy helps promote this, I was going to increase my intake on my veggies and fruits. Since doing so I no longer take any biotin or gelatin pills. Another thing I have added to my regimen is drinking veggie/fruit smoothies in the morning. I normally use a mixture (which varies) spinach or kale as a base, pineapples, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries for fruit options and almonds, Flax seed or another nut get the point. For liquid I use either milk, heavy whipping cream, or even water.
  5. Don't obsess over hair. After I had my hair cut I went through a mini-shock episode which only last about a few hours.  I then had a period of being impatient and just wishing my hair would just go through the motions and just grow back out already, I still have THOSE episodes from time to time, but not often. I realized that it was going to take time and that I only needed to focus on making sure I was maintaining my upkeep routine. For me the time flew by and now I'm seeing my diligence has paid off.
  6. I am not an excessive product junkie. What I mean is that I do not feel at all that I have to try everything that comes out. I am the type of person who enjoys sticking with what I know. I have tried various products and even made my own. There are somethings that I have enjoyed and added to my regimen. Others I couldn't return fast enough to the store.  I feel right now I have my ideal regimen in place.
  7. It's ok to have the best of both worlds. What I mean by this is that I am grateful to have Youtube in my life. I've have learned ALOT from women on there but I know there are just a handful I really enjoy paying attention to because: A) They have been in the natural hair game for a while. B) They are the same hair texture as myself (ranges from 4a through 4c)  and C) Their tutorials make enough sense that even I can understand them. Yet even as I have them for a reference guide for me nothing beats still having a professional that is willing to help you with your hair journey. I'm grateful that I have Daisha because she has been in the hair game, relaxed and natural for a long time. The fact that she was able to detangle the mess that I had yesterday is a testament to that. Now there are others who are out there who feel they have mastered their hair and don't need any assistance from Youtube or a hair professional and that is perfectly fine. I'm just saying for myself that I feel more comfortable knowing I have someone I can go to because I am far from being at the level of understanding with my own hair.
So as my 1 year Big Chop anniversary approaches all I can say that I'm thankful for what I've learned so far and look forward to what my journey has in store for me.

On a separate note: I decided that I needed to UPGRADE my satin Bonnet so I have decided to buy one only from a lady who makes high quality versions, her store is called FlorBella. After ordering from her, I discovered another lady who also makes them as well, her store is called Ebonicurls. So I thought I would put both their links in this post/in this paragraph for you to check out.

Until the next episode....

 All That MsJazz
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