Friday, July 15, 2016

My Hair Story || How I Went from a TWA to Waistlength (2008-2013)

For as long as I've been writing on here, I don't think I've ever shared with you how my natural hair journey began.  With a new determination to grow my hair back to waistlength, I will start with that background information.  Here it goes:

I big chopped in February 2008 down to a one-inch shrunken TWA (about 4-4.5 inches stretched). I big chopped because I was tired of my relaxed hair. To me, natural hair looked healthier, stronger, more beautiful, fun, and versatile.  I was also sick of having short hair.  My tresses would constantly thin out and break at the ends due to the chemical treatment of relaxers.  I wanted to have long, healthy hair of my own ... and seeing other women with my kinky texture reaching that milestone made me believe!

During my first year natural, I wore mostly wash-n-gos, fros, puffs, and twist outs and eventually moved towards protective styling in twists. My hair was super low maintenance initially (because it was short), so I could co-wash/wash multiple times per week and condition with inexpensive instant conditioners. Early on, my products consisted of VO5 Moisture Milk conditioner, LustraSilk Cholesterol conditioner, Crème of Nature shampoo, oils and shea butter.

After a couple of years, my regimen became more suited to my growing hair. The switchover was to a mostly low manipulation routine, which included less detangling (and thus, less breakage) of my longer hair and longer protective style periods. My goal was length retention and health, so I did the research beforehand on what exactly I needed to do to avoid any major mistakes. Circa 2010/2011, I eventually settled into the routine of wearing twists monthly, detangling monthly, and washing + conditioning weekly or bi-weekly (while in my twists). My staple products also changed to extra virgin coconut oil, Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo, Suave Naturals Conditioner, and shea butter mixed with oils (coconut, olive, safflower, etc.). For my twist routine, check this “twist series” label on my blog.

It took me about 5 years to reach my goal of waist-length in early 2013. Though I avoided some major mistakes along the way, I did learn some valuable lessons about my hair. For one, my hair and the salon are not a good mix. (I had a setback – an unwanted and uneven cut – after visiting a salon a few years into my journey.) For two, protective styling and super low manipulation are my hair’s best friends.

Stay tuned for the next chapter - The Difficult Balance of Enjoying My Hair While Growing It  Out (2013-now) ...

Mixology || Naptural85's DIY Mango Cupuacu Butter Hair Cream

Whitney, of Naptural85, recently shared this recipe on her YouTube channel, ... and the best part (for some of you) is that NO coconut oil or shea butter is needed!  So, what will you need? Mango butter, cupuacu butter, aloe vera gel, cocoa butter, hokum butter, vitamin E, argan oil and castor oil!

Here goes the recipe:

Monday, June 27, 2016

How-To || Twice Re-Twisted Twist Out Method for Longer, Fuller Hair

Do you want a longer, fuller twist out without using heat?  Do you want to avoid African threading, rollers, or banding? Check out Tabitha's description of this "twice re-twisted" method.

To give an idea of her shrinkage (after a braid out on washed hair):

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Inspiring Photos of Natural Hair Growth!

Do you need some inspiration for your natural hair growth journey?  Here you go!

Source: Pinterest
Jess of Mahoganycurls 
Montana of Sparkwisdom

How I Maintain My Natural Hair on a Lazy Regimen

Short washing and detangling regimen (1.5 hours max)
I skip my usual pre-poo step and go straight into washing with a cleansing conditioner, such as As I Am Cleansing Pudding, or a gentle shampoo, such as Dessert Essence Coconut Shampoo.

My hair is already in jumbo twists from the previous week, so there is no need to section it off for washing. After washing, I slap on some conditioner and let it set under a plastic grocery bag, which is my go-to shower cap, for about 15 minutes. Then I lightly finger detangle each twist, re-twist, and rinse off the conditioner. Afterwards, my hair is plopped, sealed with my homemade shea butter mixture, and then air-dried overnight. I do this once a week, and it does not take much effort or time at all; I’d estimate that I spend about 1-1.5 hours on my hair on wash days.

Pinned up twists during the week
Styling my hair is a quick process – about 20 minutes – the morning after my wash day. I just re-twist my hair into 10-12 fresh jumbo twists, and that’s it! (Once in a blue moon, I will stretch my hair with heat after wash day so that I have more sleek jumbo twists.) The twists are then bunned and/or pinned, like in the following photos, for my “everyday” look. Maintenance of my hair over the course of the week is very minimal; I don’t do anything other than protect my strands with a satin bonnet or scarf while I sleep and re-bun or re-pin in the mornings.
The process literally takes seconds.

Lazy days: jumbo twists in bun or pinned. (The ones with me in the purple are done on straightened hair.)
Fancy styling when the mood strikes
When I am “feeling a bit fancy”, I will remove my twists for a chunky afro to wear for a couple of days or do a fresh twist out if I want big, curly hair. If I’m feeling extra fancy, the moment may call for a braidout on straightened, freshly washed hair.  The “extra fancy” process is much longer and intensive, hence why it is a rare style for me.

(LEFT) Shrunken chunky afro. (RIGHT) Feeling EXTRA fancy: braid out on straightened hair.
Longer hair requires a simpler regimen
This “lazy” regimen is something I started last year after annoyance with my long twist takedown process and detangling sessions. (Granted, it was only several hours once a month but it was still too long for my liking.) I also desired the freedom of being able to wash my hair more frequently given my new routine of exercising three times a week; the thought of going two or more weeks between washes just didn’t sit well with me anymore. Since my hair is long enough to put into 10 twists, I figured why not do that weekly! I was initially nervous about the styling, but it has actually worked out really well.


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