Tag Archives: natural hair journey

18 Months Natural: How to Flat Iron Medium-length Hair

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

So, I have officially been natural for a year-and-a-half! To celebrate, I decided to straighten my hair for the occasion. Here’s what I did:

  1. SHAMPOO & CONDITION. Because I have experienced several seborrheic dermatitis flare ups in the last month or two, I used my favorite product line from Aveeno: Nourish+Dandruff Control shampoo and conditioner. It’s great for sensitive scalps, as well as people with scalp conditions, like myself. I love this shampoo and conditioner because it soothes my scalp, prevents inflammation, and is still gentle on my color-treated hair! A win-win-win!  🙂 Click here for a more detailed product review.
  2. DEEP CONDITION. My absolute favorite deep conditioner is Lustrasilk’s Aloe Vera Cholesterol. It makes detangling sessions a breeze! I usually saturate my hair with the product to make sure all of my strands are coated. I gently finger detangle as I rake the product through my hair. Afterward, I cover my hair with a processing cap and sit under my hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes. Then, I rinse my hair and prep it for the next step.
  3. BLOW DRY. I spray my hair with Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner. I gently comb the product through my hair and blow dry my hair with my Chi Rocket pro hair dryer on medium heat. I finish by turning on my “cool shot” button to smooth the cuticle of my hair.
  4. PRESS ‘n IRON. To further protect my hair from heat, I spray my hair with TRESemmé‎’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray. I press my roots and then I flat iron my hair. I try to limit myself to two passes with my Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium flat iron, but if necessary I do a maximum of three passes. However, if a third pass is necessary, I mist my hair first with ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer.
  5. NIGHTTIME ROUTINE: I brush my hair to one side and wrap it around my head. I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair. Then, I add a mesh wrap to keep my hair from unraveling . I secure it with a satin scarf, and top it with a satin bonnet for good measure!
  6. THE NEXT DAY: I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair to prevent frizz. Then, I slowly unwrap my hair and style it.
Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

My hair remained pretty straight for two days and mostly straight for seven days. Given that the temperatures have been in the upper 90s (and beyond) with a heat index over 100, I think I received pretty good results. I “touched up my hair” once because I had an event to go to and the humidity started to swell the cuticle of my hair but, after that, I let my hair do what it wanted to do and just added some heatless curls to stretch my hairstyling capabilities.

Want more details? Watch my video here to see me prep my hair in action: 

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Flat-ironing My Medium-length Hair: 12 Months of Natural Hair Growth

FTC Disclaimer
This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I have been natural for 12 months now. Woot! Woot! In honor of my one-year naturalversary (February 6), I decided to flat iron my hair. The last time I straightened my hair was September 2013 (five months ago). I had been natural for seven months and was curious what my natural hair would look like straightened. This time, I did a few things differently. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. I sectioned my hair into quadrants, lightly misted my hair with water, and detangled.
  2. I applied a 50:50 ratio of coconut oil and castor oil to each section and then two-strand twisted each quadrant into one chunky twist (for a total of 4 twists).
  3. I shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo (Pravana Hydrating Shampoo). I used very warm water and then rinsed all of my hair with cold water.
  4. I used a light protein treatment (Aphogee 2-Minute Protein Treatment). I added a processing cap, left it in for 5 minutes, and rinsed it out with cool water.
  5. I wrapped my hair in a microfiber turban and let it air dry for 30 minutes.
  6. I untwisted each section and applied Softsheen Carson’s Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner to each quadrant. After that I sprayed Julep’s Top Coat for hair (a heat protectant and shine spray) to each section.
  7. I blow-dried each quadrant with my Chi Rocket hair dryer.
  8. I applied TRESemme’s Heat Tamer Spray (a heat protectant) and another dose of Julep’s Top Coat to each section.
  9. I clipped three of the quadrants out of the way, parted each quadrant into smaller sections for the sake of manageability, and then flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1¼” flat iron. I set my flat iron to 410 degrees.
  10. It took me about 2 1/2 hours (from start to finish).

MAINTENANCE

  1. I originally planned to wrap my hair before bed. But, less than 24 hours later, I already started to miss my coils. LOL! So, I decided to pin curl my hair instead with Dove’s Leave-in Smoothing Cream and a little bit of my Roots of Nature Butter Whip Coil Cream (for a light hold). 
  2. I added my satin bonnet and slept on a satin pillowcase for extra insurance.
  3. In the morning, I lightly coated my hair with coconut oil, and unpinned and separated my pin curls. I misted my hair with my DIY multi-use spritz and then layered on some Julep Top Coat for extra shine.
  4. I coated any stray, frizzy pieces with a dab of coconut oil, twirled the wayward strand around my index finger, and then gently released it.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair measures about 9.50″ long.

Flat-ironed natural hair at 12 months

Flat-ironed Natural Hair at 12 Months

Pin Curls

Pin Curls

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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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Flat-ironed Natural Hair – 7 Months of Growth

FTC Disclaimer
This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I have been natural for seven months. I wanted to see what the length of my hair really looked like, so I decided to flat iron my hair. I initially wanted to straighten my hair for my six-month naturalversary, but time crept up so quickly, I completely forgot. I didn’t remember until it was almost a full month after my mid-year mark. Oops! Crazy how fast time goes by … Anyway, it’s been so long since I’ve seen my hair straight, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But, I am pleased with the results. Even my family members were astonished. Mostly because I think they remember how short my hair was when I Big Chopped. LOL. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. Shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.
  2. Conditioned my hair.
  3. Deep conditioned my hair.
  4. Rollerset my hair with water (no product) to help my hair have plenty of body.
  5. Let my hair air dry for two hours and then sat under a dryer for 20-30 minutes to finish drying.
  6. Spritzed each roller section with a heat protectant and flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1.25″ flat iron. I didn’t want my hair “bone straight,” so I set my flat iron to 375 degrees.
  7. It took me about a leisurely hour to straighten all of my hair.

MAINTENANCE

  1. Because I live in a very humid climate, the next day (before wearing my hair out), I layered on some of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, about a half of a teaspoon of castor oil, and then sealed it all in with raw, unrefined shea butter. This helped to prevent the humidity from reverting my flat-ironed hair without overly weighing it down.
  2. Prior to going to bed, I wrapped my hair. Because my hair is still too short to wrap around my whole head, I had to secure my wrapped hair as I went along, pinning it in place to prevent it from loosening as I slept.
  3. I added my satin bonnet and called it a night.
  4. Throughout the week, after I unwrapped my hair each morning, I added more of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, castor oil, and raw, unrefined shea butter as needed.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair is 6.50″ – 7.00″ long.

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My Natural Hair Journey – 6 Month Check-in

It’s hard to believe that it has been six … no, wait … seven months since I big chopped back in February of this year. In honor of my six-month natural hair journey to healthy hair, I created this video summarizing my transition from relaxed to natural hair. I know. I’m a month late (ahem), but better late than never. Right? Enjoy the vid!

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