Guess what? It’s my 2 year natural hair anniversary!!! Yaaay!!! Yesterday, October 7, marks 2 years since I made the decision to stop getting relaxers, and I have to say it was a great choice for me. I have learned so much about what my hair likes, what it doesn’t like, what works and what doesn’t, and what techniques work for my curls.
Over this 2 year period I learned to love my hair, and in my opinion that is imperative to having a successful hair journey. After I did the big chop in April 2016 (6 months post relaxer) I really didn’t love how my hair looked due to the fact that I had never had hair that short, but after a few weeks of realizing that I’m stuck with the length that I had I made a conscious decision to love my hair. Loving my hair meant that I would wear it with love, that I would give it the best treatment that I possibly could, and that I would not be ashamed to present my hair to the world.
I also learned the ins and out of my hair such as the porosity, density, type (not imperative to a successful hair journey), how often it needs moisture, how often it needs protein treatment, and when it needs to be trimmed. In other words I became one with my hair. I can’t stress how crucial it is to be in sync with your hair because this way you will know exactly what it needs to stay healthy and grow to its best potential. I can’t say how often it is that I see women desperately wanting to have long and healthy hair but are unable to do what’s necessary to get there. Many say that it’s just hair and it shouldn’t be that serious, but I say for me it’s not just hair.
My hair is my crown, but it’s not the same as being defined by it. I am not my hair! My hair doesn’t dictate how I treat people or how I feel about myself, but at the same time I see it as an extension of my culture and pride as in I wear it proudly because it grows from my scalp and I love it.
In this article I’m going to share with you pictures and details throughout the 2 years, my 1 year mark, products that I used, my regimen, and a lot of other things so keep reading.
The transition from relaxed hair to natural wasn’t a planned thing as I had been relaxed for 10 years at that point. The decision was made after I’d watch a video on Youtube that showed the dangers of relaxers, and a few years before that I had suffered bald spots and hair loss due to the chemicals in the product. So I was convinced to practice healthy hair care and with that decision to also invest in a healthier lifestyle overall. I transitioned for 6 months using protective styles such as box braids and kinky twists as this helped me to leave my hair alone to avoid breakage. I washed my hair in protective styles every week, and would remove the style once per month so I could do a proper protein treatment and deep condition session.
I also didn’t comb my hair too much as this would prevent premature breakage since the relaxed hair was super weak, and I repeated this process for 6 months until one day I decided I was sick of having two different textures of hair. On April 22, 2016 I spontaneously chopped my hair off and was left with really short hair. I became really conscious of my short hair, and felt like I was not beautiful because I was out of my comfort zone ( I was used to long hair). After realizing that I was stuck with my hair length I made the choice to love my curls and embrace the new hair. After a few weeks of choosing to love my hair I started to feel like I had made the best decision, and I realized that I had started to love my curls as they were.
What I’ve Learned
Over the last two years I learned that the most important tip that is crucial for a great natural hair journey is to simply love and accept your hair in every way, shape, or form. One of the biggest things that I come across is many of us do not accept our hair type for what it is. In this case I’m referring to type 4 (4c) hair sisters. We try too hard to mimic other hair types by using products that promise to give us curl definition and make our curls pop. But to what end? Some of these products make our hair dry, become brittle and break, and they also contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily great for our hair. But we look beyond that and use them anyway. So in the end our hair just suffer and we do not retain length.
Loving our hair means that we will embrace our hair regardless of the type, texture or porosity, and do what it takes to have heathy hair. I believe that this is the most important part if you want to have long and healthy hair.
I also learn that heat is not our natural hair friend, and that consistently using it will cause dryness and breakage. During this 2 year period I have never once used direct heat on my hair. I have never blow dried, flat ironed, or use a heat tool on my hair. Every wash day I air dry my hair in twists and leave it for a few days then style. This has worked great for me and I have seen no issues with my hair at this point. This may not be an ideal situation for everyone, but if you’re serious about growing long, healthy hair then you have to cut back on heat. You can still use heat safely if you use a heat protectant, use low heat, and not do it often, but personally if I want straight hair I do a sew-in for a week or so to get my straight hair fix.
Year 1 Update
My Natural Hair Regimen
My regimen has been pretty simple and straight forward since I started my hair journey as I didn’t want to complicate things. My motto is to keep it simple with a few products and don’t manipulate too much. I wash and deep condition once per week, and do a light- medium protein treatment every 3-4 weeks (depending on how my hair feels). I moisturize every 1-2 days (depending on how my hair feels), and oil my scalp with my oil mix 4x per week.
When I’m protective styling I wash my scalp every week as normal, but I deep condition and do a protein treatment once I remove the braids (every 3 weeks). I also still moisturize my hair every 1-2 days, and oil my scalp 4x per week.
This has helped me a lot to retain length and maintain healthy hair. Not using heat and low manipulation worked wonders for me, and I think that this has been the deciding factor in whether or not I retained length. When I’m not protective styling I wear styles like twist/braid out, mini twists, and braids. I will braid or twist my hair and wear that for 4 days, then remove them and wear a braid out or twist out for the rest of the week until wash day.
Products that I Use
If you’ve read some of my other posts then you know that I make and use my own natural hair products, but I do occasionally use store-bought products when I run out of my homemade concoctions. I make my own oil mix using castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil, hempseed oil, neem oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil, tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil, and the infused oils. I also make my own deep conditioner, leave in and shampoo bars. I have found great results with using all natural products using natural ingredients, and I notice that I get less breakage and single strand knots.
This has worked great for me, and I will continue using them in the future.
This is a Shea Butter and Honey Shampoo Bar that I use to wash my hair, and my hair loves it! It’s made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Unrefined Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Avocado Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Honey, Distilled Water, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Cedar wood Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, and Rosemary Essential Oil. It makes my hair soft and manageable, and it doesn’t strip my hair like store-bought shampoo does. It is also free of chemicals. It’s available for purchase in my Sweetsop Apothecary Etsy shop if you’re in the US.
Hemp and Wildflower Honey Deep Conditioner.
Leave in Conditioning cream
Store Bought Products
Like I mentioned before I occasionally use store-bought products when I’m in a tight spot with homemade products and some of them include Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning cream (which I didn’t like), Mielle Organics White Peony Leave in Conditioner, Aphogee Two Minute Reconstructor (protein treatment), and Palmers Protein Pack. You can give those a try if you haven’t already.
Year 2 Hair Progress Pictures
See year one update article for pictures of my hair from big chop to year one.
This is the comparison of my hair on year one and year two. There has been tremendous growth and I’m excited to see what year three has to offer.
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