Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"March to the Beat of My Own Drum" Regimen

The internet, being my main source of information for everything I do, is a blessing, but it can also be a curse! If I have a slight fever and headache, I often find myself visiting Dr. Google and suddenly I could be dying of meningitis. Once I was really sick and went to the emergency room with a print out of my diagnosis in hand!! Shaking my head at myself, just thinking about it!

Since I started my hair journey, I've found there is a plethora of information on methods on how to care for naturally curly hair. Today, I've reached my point of exhaustion! I'm sick of treating my hair as if it is a universal mystery that requires laborious hours of research and sometimes chemistry experiments! Most of the information I find out there are from people who have put in a lot time and effort. However, there is so much conflicting information that sometimes I just don't know what to follow! I've tried so many products and changed my regimen a million times. I've tried the no Poo and Curly Girl Method and these made my hair feel dirty, oily and weighed down. I've tried eliminating cones, but my hair loves them so I'm welcoming them back into my routine. I've tried sealing with shea butter, castor and coconut oil-- horrible end results! I'm also a true believer that an avocado in my stomach does 100x more for my hair than an avocado on my head. If I wash my hair with water everyday but don't drink enough water, my hair would suffer, thus it's what goes into your body that creates a healthy head of hair.

So today, I've decided to go back to a routine I used prior to transitioning. I will try it out for 1 month to see how my hair responds and report back towards the end of January with results.

This was my routine I used when I relaxed my hair every 3 months. My hair was full and healthy and responded well to this routine.
*1 x week: shampoo (I will use a non-sulfate shampoo)
*every other week: light protein treatment Update: only when necessary... have noticed that the front of my hair loves protein, while the back turns into a dry, tangled mess. So I'm going to back away from the protein for a while.
*1 - per week:  deep conditioner (winter: moisturizing conditioner, jojoba or olive oil + heat) (summer: moisturizing conditioner, jojoba or olive oil + honey + heat)
*every other day: co-wash, every day: wet/mist for styling
*use a leave-in conditioner, moisturize with a small amount of light oil (my hair doesn't seem to like heavy oils), and style with a small amount of gel

If this works, for my natural hair, then I've found my regimen, if not try and try until I succeed!

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Without further ado

Details on my transition chop, sorry for the delay... I just have this thing called a thesis that has taken over my life!

Last week my husband and I had plans to go to an adventure park with family members. Friday night before the trip, my husband had an event to attend. I decided to stay home to do some school work and pack for the weekend. As usual, the all consuming question crossed my mind, what am I going to do with my hair for the weekend

As you know the previous week, I had already cut off about 3 inches of hair. 3 days prior I did a flexi rod set and the curl definition was already lifeless and frizzy. I became so frustrated with the idea of planning and plotting to blend the two textures that I ran to the bathroom and grabbed a pair of scissors. As I held the scissors in my hands, pacing back and forth, listing the benefits and negatives of transition chopping, I realized the torture had to end. All of the principles of transitioning were not working for me. My patience was exhausted, the tangles were getting the best of me and my hair was starting to physically stress me out. So I came to a conclusion, calmly sat down on the couch, picked up a book and waited for my husband to arrive home.

My husband arrived home very late that evening. I gave him a hug and told him that I wanted to cut off all my relaxed hair. He realized, I was all business and agreed. He admitted that he was starting to notice my transition hair was stressing me out and taking up a lot of my time. So with fearful joy, he began cutting, as I instructed. After the first chop, I was in shock, but knew there was no turning back. 

He did a decent job, there are still a few straight pieces here and there, but I snip them when I find them and as my hair grows they'll be easier to find. Yes a salon would have been ideal, but I trust him and as I mentioned this is Europe and salons don't come a dime a dozen, so Salon Hubby it is.

During my transition I had viewed so many YouTube videos, I assumed I would have a similar experience to most people. I thought I would feel liberated, light a free (and gravitate a little), but I didn't. I just felt like I got a haircut and was still adjusting, I jumped in the shower washed it and hopped in bed. The following day, I actually started to have mixed feelings about to the whole thing... guess I kind of went into shock during the process and needed time to sort out my emotions. The next day, I realized I hated it because of the length and curl pattern, so wore a hat the entire weekend during our trip to hide my hair. After a day of riding roller coasters and other attractions, we went back to the hotel. I took my hat and stared in the mirror, noticing parts of my face, I've never noticed before but when I looked up at my hair standing straight up on ends, no curl whatsoever, I hated it and felt ugly. 

Upon returning home, I decided to give myself a deep conditioner and just figure out the best method to style my hair. I decided to try to adopt the Curly Girl Method, which uses co-washing and conditioner as a leave in. For more information Google or YouTube: Curly Girl Method. After my deep conditioner, softness and a curl pattern started to reveal itself. My husband's theory is that my hair went into shock after the chopping off all the straight hair that was weighing it down, so probably needed time and TLC to adjust. My response: hmmm.... so my hair and I are having the same reaction after the chop, nice to know I'm not alone. =)

Here's a picture of me after returning from my trip, sans hat and au naturel.

Let me just tell you what I love about my new hair:
-Regimen time: 15 - 30 minutes
-Washing my hair almost everyday
-Getting to know my texture
-Having curly hair 
-Dealing with one texture
-Reactions from close friends and family members (my Mother-in-law and Mom simply adore it).

...and what I dislike about it:
-Having short hair
-Reactions from some friends (a friend of my husband's: you cut your hair, I prefer it long, I don't hate it but I like it long. Me: C'est la vie, c'est ma vie, it's only hair it will grow back, hey at least I didn't chop off my face.) Humor really helps those kind of situations.
-Shrinkage!!! It's unreal! My hair is jaw-length and you would never know it!

Hey on the bright side, at least the positives outweigh the negatives!

Since my chop I started doing a video log of my hair experience, so I can perhaps help anyone out there on the same boat: I am by no means an expert, but plan on posting videos on my experience, how I care for my hair, and will still discuss transitioning experiences. I know what it's like to be in constant transition limbo. I wanted to transition for as long as I could, with a year being the minimum.  I am not disappointed I didn't reach my one year mark, because I listened to my hair. If my hair was not tangling so much at the end, trust me I would have held out for as long as I could. Now, I'm really excited to see my growth at my one year mark!

UPDATE:  Youtube videos are not really my thing. I'm definitely a blogger not a vlogger. My account is still active, but there are no longer feature videos posted.

Peace & Love, 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I transition chopped!

I did it on Saturday, with my husband assisting me! It was totally spontaneous, but necessary! I hated it at first and I'm starting to love it more and more as each day passes. My quest for long, healthy natural hair starts today. I started a new Youtube channel to catalogue my hair in different stages of this journey, will post more info soon! My hair has thanked me so much for this decision!! Photos and Youtube videos to follow!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Give and Take

Lately my hair has been a tangled mess! I was really frustrated with it and dreaded wash day (i.e. spend hours detangling my hair web)! I didn't understand why this was happening to me. I followed the key transitioner tips that most haircare experts and bloggers suggest: deep condition, finger detangle, co-wash, wash in sections, etc... what else was I not doing right?? Then it suddenly hit me, I never trim my relaxed ends! Upon close examination, it was clear that I had serious split ends. So I chopped off about 2.5 inches of hair and can I tell you that has made such a difference!

How could I've not realize that I was holding on to all kinds of split-end baggage, which would cause lots of breakage in the long run! So until my big chop, I'll be sure to continue cutting my relaxed ends as my natural hair grows in.

My hair has thanked me in so many ways and for the time being, I do not dread wash day!! After I finished cutting my hair, I realized it was the same length as when I started my transition, which made me happy to see it had grown so much! I imagine that I'll do one or two more drastic haircuts and then bite the bullet and transition chop... I'm becoming bored with having two textures and am liking the idea of a short hairstyle more and more--- I think I will definitely be a wash, shake and go kind of girl! I've become really knowledgeable about styling methods during my transition, but really am looking forward to shorter hair and less time styling!

Here are new growth comparison shots showing how my hair is progressing. I'm really proud about how far I've made it into the journey! I've changed so many of my ideas on what is beautiful. That for me is the beauty of transitioning.

about 6 months ago