Category Archives: Hair Journey

My 1-Year Naturalversary: 12 Months of Natural Hair in Review

1-Year Natural

Today (February 6) is my one-year naturalversary. Hurray! I can’t believe I made it! The last 12 months went by so quickly. I made some mistakes, experienced a few setbacks, but I also had some amazing triumphs as well. Here’s a review of how my first year as a natural went down …

MY UNPLANNED “BIG CHOP”

It all started on Friday, January 11, 2013. After a traumatizing experience with a dry shampoo, I had my mom cut my hair. I originally had intended to transition for at least 12 months but, sometimes, life happens and change becomes inevitable. My mom cut off eight inches of my 12″ hair. Three-and-a-half weeks later, I cut off the remaining relaxed ends. I was left with only only 2.5″ – 3.0″ of hair after transitioning for six months. So much for long-term transitioning. LOL!

MONTH #1

Even though my hair grew a full inch in only a month’s time, my hair had never been this short before. And, truth be told, I really did not know what to do with it. To make matters worse, some of my family members DID NOT like my new short do and did not mind letting me know! My confidence plummeted, so I bought a wig. After a while, though, I got tired of (and too hot while) wearing it (think 90 degrees in April), so I decided that it was time to embrace all of me, including my new short hair. I wrote a letter to my TWA to boost my confidence and to let other new naturals know they were not alone, but I still struggled with wearing my natural hair outside of my home.

MONTHS #2, #3, and #4

While researching how to style my super short hair, I came across colouredBeautiful’s YouTube video on how she defined her curls on her own short mane. Her hair looked fabulous! I finally started to believe that maybe mine could, too! Her video gave me the jumpstart I needed to style my own short locks and the self-esteem to actually wear it “out” in public. The first few times I wore my finger coiled hair in public, I felt like everyone was staring at me and snickering amongst themselves about my hair. Maybe it was my imagination, or perhaps they genuinely thought I looked foolish. Who knows! Nevertheless, slowly but surely, I decided to ignore the noise (real or imagined) and found my confidence again.

However, I still had a long way to go to figuring out how to maintain my natural hair. My hair only grew 0.75″ over three months (0.25″ a month). I learned very quickly that even though my hair was short, I wasn’t moisturizing it enough. My dry, thirsty tresses were dehydrated but still managed to grow despite my hair care ignorance. I did more research about how to take care of my natural hair and decided that I had better create and implement a hair care regimen.

MONTHS #5, #6, and #7

I found an answer to prayer! I discovered the baggy method and the Green House Effect as viable techniques to moisturize my dry hair. My hair grew 1.75″ over three months! I finally seemed to have reversed my parched strands.

MONTH #8 (Setback #1: Breakage from Stress) 

October 2013 Mini Top Knot

October 2013
Mini Top Knot

I experienced my first genuine setback when my mom’s health momentarily declined, and I inadvertently started to neglect my hair. I lost a month’s worth of length (a 1/2″) as a result.

MONTHS #9 & #10 

I quickly bounded back and my hair grew … and grew. Everything was sunshine and rainbows … until it wasn’t!

MONTH #11 (Setback #2: The Single Strand Knot)

January 2014 Faux Hawk

January 2014
Faux Hawk

After wearing wash ‘n gos non-stop for almost three months, it finally happened … my second setback! My ends were covered with SSKs! Although I attempted to use a needle to untie each knot, the diameter of each of my strands is just too fine, and the task proved virtually impossible. So, I ended up lopping off a 1/2″ of my length to prevent split ends and further damage to my hair. Sigh.

MONTH #12

February 2014 Old Twist-out

February 2014
Old Twist-out

I finally had an epiphany and went back to the basics of moisturizing and sealing my hair every night. Sometimes even twice a day. Whenever I don’t moisturize my hair enough, my hair rebels, and I pay for it in the end by having to sacrifice length.

HAIR REPORT CARD

My hair grew a total of 7.5″ over 12 months, but I only retained 6.50″. Extremely dry hair contributed to three months of slow growth (only a ¼” a month for three months). I lost a ½” of my length due to breakage from stress and another ½” after enduring an extreme case of SSKs. On the whole, even though I experienced lots of ups and downs, I learned a great deal about my hair. All of my setbacks were (ahem) self-inflicted and predominately a result of my failure to properly moisturize my hair. My ending length? 9.50″. Here’s to wiser hair care in 2014 …

Do you have a naturalversary coming up? If so, congrats!

2624-seasonal

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A letter to my TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro)


Letter-to-My-TWA

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February 7, 2013 · 9:06 AM

Big Chop D-R-A-M-A!!!

I know … I know … My plan was to transition for a year (maybe even two) so that I wouldn’t have to BC (big chop) and be left with super short hair. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a hair dilemma after uninstalling some braids over the holidays. Ok, I had a HUGE hair catastrophe! I had planned to take out my braids in a few days, but I got a call from a potential employer. On a Wednesday, I found out that I had a job interview scheduled for Friday. So, I immediately started to take out my braids. It took me two days. In fact, I didn’t finish until late Thursday night. So, I wrapped my hair with a satin scarf until I could wash my hair the next day (Friday morning), the day of my interview.

I finger detangled my hair, but unfortunately I made the mistake of using a new product in my hair while in braids. I know, a big no, no! I had been seduced by the almighty dry shampoo. The moment I stepped into the shower and tried to cleanse my hair, my strands locked and seized up on me! My fine strands are already highly prone to being tangled, but I was confident that I would be able to get the remaining tangles out when I conditioned my hair. So, I conditioned, deep conditioned, and even sprayed in a leave-in.

I attempted to detangle for another half hour to no avail. Mortified, I called my mom for back up. She immediately came to my rescue (or at least attempted to). She massaged argan oil into my matted tresses. After removing some of the milder tangles, I gained confidence but, after an hour of her diligently working to detangle the more deeply matted areas of my hair, it became painfully apparent to me that my relaxed hair had inadvertently “locked”.

Someone started crying … To my surprise it wasn’t me. It was my mother! I told her to cut my hair. She said my hair was too long and she couldn’t. I told her it was just hair and that it would grow back, but she was too scared. I knew what had to be done and, after working another ten to fifteen minutes on my tangles, so did she. We had both come to the same painful conclusion … my hair was too far gone.

So, my mother grabbed a pair of hair shears and lopped off eight inches of my twelve-inch hair in sections. Here is one of the most matted sections.IMG_2603To be honest, I think the process was more painful for my mom than it was for me. But, just imagine. This was all on the morning of my interview. I couldn’t believe the horrible timing! I blow dryed and flat ironed my hair, but it looked horrible. After only ten minutes, the humidity in my bathroom had caused my just-flat-ironed hair to curl up again!

My hair was so short, I didn’t really know what to do with it. Thankfully, my mom knew how to curl short hair. She managed to create this look for me below. It wasn’t my finest hair moment, but given what had transpired the previous three hours of that morning, it was something I could live with. I went to my interview feeling semi-confident. IMG_2146_ppUpdate (2/6/13): After about a month, the two textures drove me nuts! It was like I was holding onto the relaxed ends as a crutch. So, while every one was sleeping, I chopped off the remaining two to three inches of relaxed hair (mostly my bangs and a few stray relaxed ends in the back)!

IMG_2609

I was left with hair that was only two-and-a-half to three inches in length! While I have never had “long” hair, I also have never had super short hair. Most of my life, my hair has been shoulder length or slightly longer (arm pit length at its longest). So, my new do was a shocker to me and my family. BIG CHOP #2

It doesn’t look like much, but after all was said and done, I lost this much hair (from my initial hair catastrophe and final chop)! IMG_2605And, yes, I saved it in a little Ziploc bag.IMG_2598What can I say? I’m a little sentimental!

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Let the Journey Begin!

My goal, during my hair journey, is to transition from relaxed to natural hair. I plan to maintain length as I use low manipulation and protective styles to slowly transition. I am thinking I will transition for a year or two, but we will see how patient I am in the long run!    🙂

What are your goals? Are you a relaxed diva looking to obtain a more lustrous mane? A natural maven flaunting your crown of glory? A frustrated transitioner searching for ways to stay patient? Or, are you just a coiffure enthusiast interested in all things hair?

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