Hair Regimen Changes (since my big chop)

It has only been 3 weeks since I became fully natural (coming off of an 11 month transition), and these past 3 weeks have been a learning experience. Even though I transitioned for almost a year, my hair still surprised me in how it responded to my typical regimen.

I underestimated how much those few inches of relaxed hair changed things, but now I know. And now that the relaxed ends are gone, I have to adjust. So here’s my new regimen.

Shampoo Wash Days (every 2 weeks)

  • Pre-poo/finger detangle with Olive Oil.
    • Divide hair into small sections, drench in Olive Oil, and twist
    • Leave in for ~30 minutes (or over night, if the mood strikes me).
  • Wash hair in twists (currently using Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo)
  • Apply deep conditioner in twists (currently using Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose Conditioner)
  • Air dry (in twists) for at least an hour before applying leave in products (I undo each twist to apply product then re-twist for my twist out the next day):
    • Silk Elements Leave-in
    • Cantu Shea Butter
    • Shea Moisture Elixir

Co-Wash Days (every 2 weeks)

  • Co-wash hair (currently using Herbal Essence Hello Hydration)
    • Divide hair into small sections apply conditioner (while in the shower), detangle with a wide-toothed comb, and twist
    • Let conditioner sit while completing shower routine
  • Rinse out conditioner (leaving twists in hair)
  • Air dry (in twists) for at least an hour before applying leave in products (I undo each twist to apply product then re-twist for my twist out the next day):
    • Silk Elements Leave-in
    • Cantu Shea Butter
    • Shea Moisture Elixir

Daily (& Nightly) Routine – My protective style is the twist out pulled back into a puff (see pic below). I can get at least 5 days out of it!

  • Spray water in my hands and smooth the sides and back of my head, as well as the puff on top.
  • Pour oil (Shea Moisture Elixir) into my hands and smooth the sides and back of my head, as well as the puff

I’m still enjoying the journey, still learning so much, and still loving my new lively texture!

Still working on smoothing those edges!

~TS

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My Thoughts on Hair Typing

 

I can understand why a lot of ladies prefer not to type their hair. It’s confusing. There are two over-arching types (3 or 4), then there are sub-types within each (a, b, or c). Add on top of that the fact that most women have multiple types of hair on one head, and just thinking about it can get overwhelming!

I was overwhelmed initially. While I was transitioning from relaxed to natural, I tried to type my natural hair. I looked at the few inches of new growth that I had, and hoped it was enough to tell me its identity. It wasn’t.

As long as I had relaxed ends attached to my natural hair, my natural hair somewhat stretched (or weighed down). Now that my natural hair is free of the relaxed ends, I’m seeing its true texture lol. I have a really tight curl pattern, and in some areas, there seems to be no pattern at all. The hair strand just turns every which way.

I noticed my hair type when I tried a “wash and go” this past Friday. I spent several hours watching MahoganyCurls on YouTube because I loved how easy her wash and go looked (although her hair texture is a lot looser). She even did it on oooop95, who has a texture similar to mine, and I thought, “okay, I will give this a shot”. In short, the method is to use a conditioner and a gel (or curling custard) and finger comb it into your hair in smaller sections. As you comb your natural texture becomes more defined. The thicker (or more dense) your hair, the smaller the sections should be. The results (at least with Mahogany Curls and ooop95) were beautiful, defined curls. I loved it.

But for me, it was an epic failure lol.

Now, I probably didn’t have all of the right products (I prefer not to use gel on my hair), and I also hadn’t mastered the technique. It also would not have been as bad if I didn’t give up lol. It was just taking way too long and the section I had completed didn’t look different enough than the other sections I hadn’t yet gotten to. Because my curls are so tightly coiled, it was really difficult to see definition. I didn’t think it was worth the time about halfway through, so I quit. #shame

That’s when it dawned on me that although it is great to learn from women of all textures and coils, it is very important to understand what your hair type needs and how your hair will respond to certain styling techniques. This is when I watched more tutorials from ooop95, jerseystylezz and latifatumi. I learned that a wash and go on our texture of hair looks more like an afro no matter what you do, lol (unless you use more gel-like products). I also learned that maybe I should let my hair air dry a bit before putting all of my leave-in product in, so it can absorb more.

Not only is it helpful to see how they care for their similarly textured hair, but it is also encouraging to see their length journey. There are a lot of discouraged 4c’s out there who don’t think they can retain length. Well, it’s possible!

Now all of this isn’t to encourage comparing yourself to other girls’ curls (although, I know a lot of that happens subconsciously). Many have said it, and I agree, that you need to learn to love your own hair. But I think it’s wise to have a group with a similar texture that you can learn from (almost like hair mentors :)). Expanding to girls with different textures is fine too, but in my opinion, it’s more beneficial once you know the basics of how of your responds.

Just sharing my thoughts as I continue this journey 🙂

~TS

 

In Love with my Hair (top 3 things since being fully natural)

 

My first week since my mini big chop has been an emotional roller-coaster. It started out with fear of simply not knowing what to expect, or what styles would look good. I was also a little concerned about what others would think (still something I’m trying to get away from, trust me!) Then it quickly turned to excitement at the sight of my new look. There were also little bouts of insecurity sprinkled in there, but overall, I feel good 🙂 So I think it is worth talking about the top 3 things I love since becoming fully natural.

1. TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE!

I have fallen in love with my hair! The first thing I noticed when I cut off my relaxed ends was how soft my hair was. I never remembered it being that soft when I was transitioning. I just couldn’t keep my hands out of it. I then loved the “bounce back” lol. Most ladies call it shrinkage. I can’t stop pulling on my twists and watching them bounce back in such a healthy way.

I LOVE being able to twist it without having to secure my ends. And I have been waiting so long to be able to wash in twists. It is everything I imagined (so much easier!).

2. Detangling (whaaat?)

Yes, I said detangling! My wash process, as a whole, took a bit longer than it did when I was transitioning, but it was still a lot easier. I was able to stroke a wide-toothed comb through my hair for the first time since around March or so. I had a few knots, but not many. It just overall felt so much stronger than when I was transitioning. I’ve heard many ladies talking about their hair coming alive when they shopped off their straight ends, but I honestly didn’t believe it until now.

3. Short & Sexy Styles

It took a couple of days to get used to shorter hair (my shrinkage is a mother!), but once I got the hang of it, threw on my make-up, and dangling earrings, I was on! I felt a new wave of confidence. I felt like a model lol. I still haven’t had a chance to look at my options for shorter styles, but below is what I was working with this week.

Before, I go, I would be lying if I acted like this week was perfect (although it felt pretty close!). If there was anything that was keeping me up at night, it would be my poofy ends. They got a little better throughout the week as I moisturized and sealed, but they are hard to twist sometimes because they poof out quite a bit. I even did one more trim mid week just in case I didn’t get all of the straight ends initially. I will continue to monitor these. But other than that, I’m honestly really happy with my decision :).

~TS

 

I “Big” Chopped!!

Yes, I actually did it. 8/4/12. I don’t even think I believe it just yet. I wish I could say it was this big, anticipated, planned-for event, but it wasn’t. It was supposed to be a normal wash day. But what had happened was…:)

During my detangling and pre-poo session, I noticed a lot of hair breakage (or shedding). It could have been because I had my hair in a protective style all week, and so the strands that would usually shed were caught up during the week. It also could have just been more tangled over all because it wasn’t detangled throughout the week (again because of the protective style. Whatever the reason, I was over it. So while the Olive Oil was sitting on my hair I decided to trim. Honestly, that’s all I planned to do.

Once I was done washing and conditioning I sat there staring in the mirror at these stringy straight strands over my healthy “puffed”, natural hair. I had been trimming a significant amount of inches (at least 2-3) every 3-4 months since January ’12, so it really didn’t look like a lot of relaxed ends were left. So I thought to myself, “maybe I should just chop one section to see what it would be like without these relaxed ends weighing it down.” And that’s how it began.

I cut the front right side, loved how soft it felt and uninhibited it felt, and just kept going…getting more and more nervous as I continued (probably because I told my boyfriend I’d completely transition out and wouldn’t chop my hair lol).

Throughout the cutting process, I really felt liberated. From what I’ve read, most ladies experience this. I loved how soft my natural hair felt, and it really felt free to take it’s real shape and form. By the time I finished the last section, my right side had already shrank lol, and that’s when it hit me. I had really big chopped.

I sat there staring at my afro, I wanted to cry for like 2 seconds, then I thought, “I kind of like it”. I finally let me boyfriend see and his first words were, “I thought it would be a lot shorter. It’s cute”. Phew!

I shocked myself because I’m really not the impulse type. This whole blog is supposed to be on my long-term transition. I guess one year is enough (it actually would’ve been 1 year next month). Oh well, I’m free. My hair is free. And now it is time to continue my journey…100% natural 🙂

This style below is from my flat twist out. I’m excited about experimenting with styles! Oh, and I promise I have clothes on, it’s just a tube top so I looked naked (sorry)!

Looks like about 5-6 inches???

Quickly pinned it up! I wasn’t too comfortable with the shorter look…I’ll give myself some time 🙂

Afro pictures to come later! (I was too much in shock to take them during the process :))

~TS