This time last year, I wrote about my natural hair journey from the beginning, and the growth I had seen from it. I was so happy with my hair; the thickness, the length, I felt like I was on the perfect journey! It wasn’t until November of 2017 that I got a true wake-up call.
July will make 5 years that I’ve been #TeamNatural. The stylist I had been going to for a few years wasn’t working out for me, so I decided to switch, and I’m so glad I did. I guess you could say my new stylist gave me “the real” about the current state of my hair, and boy was I glad she did! It was severely heat damaged, I was borderline years overdue for a trim, and I learned that my hair is actually very thin, yet very dense. I always just assumed my hair was “thick,” but there is definitely a difference, which is probably why my hair got so heat damaged. Of course that hurt my little heart because in my mind since my hair was consistently growing, I thought it was healthy; especially since I was going to a stylist on a consistent basis.
As far as my hair being heat damaged, I can’t say that I was too surprised. Up until November, I had never actually worn my natural curly hair. It was always straightened–ALWAYS. Even once I transitioned from relaxers, I still kept it straight with a blow dryer and a flat iron. Seeing as how I’d gone a lifetime manipulating my hair with chemicals and heat, heat damage is to be expected. My surprise came due to the fact my stylist never told me!
When it came to my hair being overdue for a trim, that honestly came as a surprise. My new stylist informed me that she recommends trimming your hair at least 3 times a year. Makes total sense to me since breakage from old hair can affect your new hair over time. But why hadn’t my former stylist told me? I had been going to her for about 2 and a half years and before November, I can’t remember the last time I got a trim. I was never asked or told on my appointment days to get one. Since I’m not extremely educated on hair, I never knew to ask for one. In my mind, if she didn’t mention putting scissors to my hair, I wasn’t going to mention it either.
With all of that being said, I made up my mind to restart my hair journey and take care of my hair myself. Even before I started doing my own hair, I always watched YouTube videos on natural hair, just out of interest and curiosity. The more I watched them, the more I was inspired to take on my hair myself! If so many people can do it and be successful, why can’t I?
Two months ago, I decided to dye my hair, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years. I was a little worried about it affecting my natural hair negatively, but there are ways to combat that, especially since I don’t intend on heat styling it (as much).
So what’s my plan? Well, for starters, I took it upon myself to section off my hair and get to snipping. I went back and forth about whether or not I wanted to do a big chop, a semi chop, or just keep the length and take care of the new hair coming in. Since I still am not comfortable with cutting too much hair off, I decided to just cut off the obvious dead and straight ends, and go from there.
As far as products and how I plan to maintain my hair, I’m still trying to come up with a set routine. For now, I have a weekly co-wash day routine that I’ve been enjoying. I intend to shampoo my hair only once a month, but I co-wash and deep condition my hair once a week. I plan to get a hooded dryer soon, but until then I utilize a deep conditioning cap.
Step 1: Co-wash my hair, usually in the shower for easier access. I put my hair into two sections and massage my co-wash conditioner into my hair.
Step 2: I section my hair and finger detangle. I then use my deep conditioning masque, combing thru to make sure it is evenly distributed, and twist my hair into big sections.
Step 3: I place a plastic cap on my head before putting on the deep conditioning cap because I feel that will just preserve the deep conditioning cap, as well as add extra heat on my head.
*My deep conditioner says to leave it on for about 20 minutes, but I leave mine on for an hour. During this time, I try to move around and stay active to create more body heat.
Step 4: I wash my hair out with the twists still in. That way I don’t have to resection my hair when I begin styling it (a.k.a, this is a time saver 😀)
Step 5: I massage my Jamaican castor oil into my scalp and distribute it through my hair. I then use my leave in conditioner and style my hair as I want.
As far and how I style my hair throughout the week until wash day, I typically go for an updo. It’s simple and quick. However, lately I’ve been sampling different styles that allow my hair to be out because I don’t want to put tension on my hair everyday by just throwing it in a high ponytail. As far as what I do with my hair at night, I spritz a little of my concoction in my hair (water with a mixture of various oils), I put in big twists and throw on the good ‘ole trusty bonnet 😀
To sum everything up, I’m super happy that I’ve decided to take on this challenge of maintaining my natural hair on my own. It once seemed like an impossible dream, but over time I’ve learned my hair and have gotten more comfortable with it. My overall goal is to completely stop with the heating tools, except for once a year. This is going to be VERY hard for me, so I plan on taking baby steps. Instead of stopping cold turkey, if I get the urge to have straight hair for a few days, I will just blow dry it straight.
I intend to still wear my braids as a protective style, but I’m currently trying to decide if I want to stick to only wearing them in the summer, or also wearing them a few times throughout the year to protect my hair more often.
If you have natural hair suggestions on products, styles, etc. feel free to let me know!
*My hair texture is 4b/4c.