Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #2

Reason #2: Discovering My Natural Texture

I got my first relaxer when I was 13 or 14.  Since then, I have regularly gotten a touch-up.  This means it's been over 20 years of consistent relaxers for me.  I have no idea what my natural texture is!  I remember my hair being kinky (I rocked the afro puffs pretty hard), but I also remember my mother not knowing how to do my hair, so I'm sure it wasn't being conditioned and cared for properly.

My father and his siblings have a 3c texture.  But I think my father's texture has changed over time. He had a kinky afro when I was little, but I think it started changing to curly in the back of his head when he was about 40.  Now, it's all changed to that texture and curl pattern.  I'm not 40, but my texture in the back where his started is changing already. My son's hair is similar to the texture of my father's hair now.  My mother and her side of the family are in the 4's in terms of texture, although my mother's and sister's hair is fine. I actually remember my mother and my aunts on both sides telling me that at a certain point, their hair couldn't take relaxers.  Since most of them have passed away, I can't ask them, but I take that to mean that the relaxers were damaging their hair and scalp more as they got older.  When my mother went natural years ago, I couldn't believe how thick and pretty her hair was.  She mostly wore braids and weaves, but when she wore it out, it looked great, and it was the longest it had ever been.

No matter what my texture is, I'm going to do my best to embrace it and work with what I have.

I found some inspiration from this post at Black Girl with Long Hair.  Erin says that it's all about taking ownership of the ugly you were born with and realizing just how beautiful it actually is. That's exactly what I'm going to do!

Monday, May 21, 2012


I washed my hair Saturday.  I actually enjoyed the experience, mostly because I didn't lose a lot of hair de-tangling, and I really liked how my new growth felt.  While it was wet.  I was invited to a day party, so I felt like I had to do something, so I let it air dry and then attempted to blow dry and flat iron it.  FAIL.  Why did I even do it to myself???  There was so much hair on the sink, and although my hair was straight, there really wasn't any body or life to it.  I was able to go to the event looking decent, but...the next day my hair looked ridiculous, even though I wrapped it.  Yesterday I wet the ends with a water/aloe vera mixture to try to give it some life.  When it dried, I applied moisturizer and oil and did a few bantu knots.  This morning it looked pretty, but it's misty outside and my hair was straight again before I even got to work.  Ugh.

I know that really should not be putting heat in my hair like that.    I probably would have been better off trying to pull it into a bun.  The only thing is that my edges get so fuzzy because I still haven't learned to tame them.  I'm not sure I ever will.

Back to my liking how my new growth felt when it was wet.  Maybe I just need to find the right product to keep it moisturized.  As always, I appreciate any suggestions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can't Do the No-Heat Thing All of the Time

Yesterday my hair was busted!  I co-washed the night before and air dried in a bun.  I woke up with major frizz.  I also lost a lot of hair while de-tangling in the shower.  Plus, it was still hard to get even a large comb through my hair.  My girl told me that I probably need to flat iron for a little while.  She was so right.  I flat ironed my roots last night and my hair is so much more manageable.  I'm still rocking a bun, but it looks much better.  And, my edges look great- much better than when I tried to flat iron them when they were relaxed. I'm also only going to de-tangle with after I've added leave-in.

I can't co-wash as often as I thought I could.  I just lose too much hair.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #6

REASON #6: Relaxer burns

I haven't had a bad relaxer burn since I started my hair journey, but every now and then I still get the "tingling" feeling and some sensitivity or redness after a relaxer.  Even though there probably isn't too much damage done to my scalp from the tingling, I still hate it.  I'm uncomfortable, and I worry about getting sores/scabs.

Relaxers really should not burn your scalp, but sometimes they do.  For a whole week before getting a relaxer I can't scratch my scalp.  Or go swimming.  Or work out.  Or wear a tight hat. Or do anything that might open my pores .  That sucks.  I think I'm the most sensitive in one place- the back on my right side.  When I burn, I always burn in that spot.  I wonder why that is?? When I was a teenager just starting to get a relaxer, I didn't know you weren't supposed to go swimming before a relaxer.  My stylist knew I went swimming - she should have just sent me home and told me to come back in a few days, but she didn't.  I still remember how miserable that salon visit was.  It still amazes me how many stylists will not rinse out the relaxer if their client's head is on fire.  Oil sheen only works for about 10 seconds.

I don't even scratch my scalp anymore, but it's a psychological thing for me.  The week before I get a relaxer is usually when my scalp is at it's itchiest!  My dad and my cousins used to always tease and mock me for patting my head!

When I was in college, I went home with a friend and had her stylist relax my hair.  Before she even started, she told me that the relaxer would burn because she didn't use a base and wanted to get my hair as straight as possible.  You can guess that my head was like one big scab for a week after.  I didn't even have a nice hair style, because my hair was matted to the sores.

I started my healthy hair journey four years ago after getting a terrible burn.  I think it was actually an allergic reaction, because the relaxer didn't burn as the stylist put it in.  She applied a semi-permanent color right after (I don't know the name, but I now know that all semi-permanent colors and I do not get along).  I was fine when I left the shop, but the next day, I had oozing sores all over my scalp.  To top it off, when I called the stylist, she told me not to wash my hair, but to just grease my scalp!  What horrible advice.  I could have probably saved some of the hair breakage and scalp damage if I had just shampooed and conditioned my hair the next day...thank goodness I did some research online and found the great hair care blogs and forums I still refer to today.

Please don't think I am all of a sudden against relaxers.  I'm not.  I just want to try something different.  I'm sure in a few weeks, I will be literally fiending like an addict for a relaxer and want my straight hair back.  This is just one of the reasons I am trying to stop getting relaxers.  For me, it's a mental transition just as much as it is a physical one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pretty Good Twistout

I did a twistout last night. It's not great, but I felt good enough about it to wear it to work today.

The curls/twists have fallen some, so I'm liking it better as the day goes on.  I did it on dry hair.  I dampened my hair first with aloe vera juice, and added some Creme of Nature Argan Oil wrap lotion and coconut oil.  I did 5 flat twists (like cornrows) and curled the ends with flexirods.  I've never done flat twists before.  I'm excellent at cornrowing, but just using 2 pieces of hair feels awkward to me.  My ends seem a little frizzy- I'm not sure what I did wrong.  Maybe I need to smooth the ends better on the roller.   The curls are defined, but I wish the twists were bigger.  My relaxed hair is so thin that I don't know how I could get a more wavy look with the twists...if I do less than 5 twists, will more of my roots show?  I definitely need to work on getting better at these styles.  Maybe next time I'll sit under the dryer for a little while to try to get smoother results.  I have to admit it's been nice today going out and not worrying about the rain. Normally on rainy and windy days like today, I make sure I have a hat on.

I also need to do something about my platinum hair around my edges. The semi permanent color I've been using (Adore) isn't working anymore.  I may re-visit henna again.   

My roots are THICK.  I have about an inch and a half of new growth, but I still have no idea what my true texture is.  Although this style isn't a huge success, the fact that I've been able to keep my air dried hair moisturized for 2 days is a wonderful thing that I'm still shocked about.

I'm going to the gym tonight, so I'll probably co-wash and try again!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Air Drying Success (Finally)

One of my biggest challenges has been air drying. I always end up with hard, dry, crinkly hair.  However, I as progress in my transition, I'm going to have to master air drying.  Last night when I came home from the gym, I knew I had to do something, but I didn't want to roller set it- I was tired, and it was just too much manipulation, since I set it just 2 days before.

My friend (in my head), On Some Hair Sh*t, reminded me to "Kimmaytube" my leave-in conditioner for shinier hair.  I tried this about a year ago, and loved it.  I'm not quite sure why I didn't keep doing it, because I really do get good results.

I co-washed with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner.  I used this conditioner to co-wash when I first started my hair journey 4 years ago, but stopped using it when I started to use V05 more.  I always keep some in the house because my stepdaughter uses it to co-wash when she stays with us.  Anyway, I'm in love with this conditioner.  First of all, I love the smell of coconut.  Secondly, I couldn't believe how easy it was to de-tangle my hair.  When I rinsed it out, my hair felt silky and smooth.  I dried my hair with a t-shirt to prevent frizz, and then added my leave-in.  I mixed about a quarter size amount of Salerm 21 leave-in conditioner with 1 tablespoon of aloe vera juice and one teaspoon of jojoba oil.  I tied my edges down with a silk scarf and let my hair air dry.  Every 20 minutes or so, I would check my hair in the mirror and looked shiny and smooth.  When I felt my hair, it felt moist from the roots to the tips.  It was like a miracle.  My ends never stay smooth when I air dry. My plan was to attempt a braidout or twistout, but I was just too tired, so I put my hair in a bun and went to bed.  I'll try later this week.

This experience really boosted my confidence in air drying.  Now, I just need to work on my edges...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Transitioning: Reason #11

When I was in the car waiting for my man, I scribbled a list of 15 reasons why I am transitioning to natural hair.  Over the next few weeks, I will discuss all 15, and maybe even add a few more.  These are in no particular order, I just feel like starting with 11 today!

REASON #11: Skimpy Ponytail

I hate my little skimpy ponytail.  I love to see thick, luscious ponytails.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for my hair. Not only is it because my hair is fine, but also relaxed.  Sometimes I feel like I've grown my hair in vain because when I wear a ponytail, it looks so sad.  I'd much rather have a short, full, happy puff!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wash Day

I'm under the dryer now with my deep conditioner in. I'm a little nervous about this wash, since it's the longest I've ever gone without a relaxer. I'm worried I won't be able to handle my new growth. I put some Vatika oil in my hair last night, and this morning I added an egg and some oils to my hair and left them in for about 20 minutes. I'm deep conditing with ORS Replenishing. I have decided to go back to what used to work when I first started my hair journey, and ORS Replenishing was a staple for me. This wash does incorporate a lot of protein, but I'm thinking my hair needs all the strength it can get! Fortunately, my hair hasn't been shedding or breaking, until yesterday. I felt like I had to wash my hair though. Along with the shedding, it felt dirty and hard. It's amazing that I used to go 2-3 weeksvwithout washing my hair. I could not imagine that now! It's hard for me to go past 6 days now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 2012 Update

I'm almost 13 weeks post relaxer- the longest I think I've ever gone.  Yay me!  I am definitely planning on transitioning to natural, but I'm open to texlaxing in a month or so if things get too hard for me.

I've been going to the salon every other week.  I get a rollerset and then they blow out my roots.  The salon I've been going to does a really good blowing out my roots on a low setting and still getting them straight. Straight hair definitely keeps my hair from shedding and breaking off as much.  Between the salon visits, I wash and deep condition my own hair.  I usually will rollerset and flat iron my roots.  I have tried airdrying.  FAIL.  I have tried braidouts.  FAIL. I end up with hard and extremely dry hair.  I welcome any tips or suggestions!

In the past few weeks, I've also been trying some new products and techniques, and have discovered a few things:

1. S-Curl is not my friend. I've tried using it different ways and in different quantities and I still don't like it. When I use a little, my hair feels dry and coated. When I use more, my hair feels wet and mushy. I hate how the product feels on my hands. I hate how it smells.  I will not be using S-Curl, Hawaiian Silky, Wave Nouveau, Carefree Curl, or any other similar products in the future. I just can't.

2. Argan Oil is my friend. Although I haven't used straight argan oil yet, my hair seems to really like products with argan oil in them. I've been using Hair One with argan oil, and Creme of Nature Shampoo with Argan Oil, and my hair comes out really moist and shiny. I've also been using serums with argan oil, and although I'm not convinced that products with silicones are good for my hair, I do get great first, second and third day hair with them.

I'm working on changing my mental state by appreciating women I see with natural hair. I am looking forward to having big hair that I can wear curly or straight.

This is not the best picture, just one of me and my son being silly, but I did my hair myself (rollerset + pincurls):