Year in Review: relaxed, Transitioning, NATURAL :)

Has it been a year already? Funny how time flies. My last relaxer was 9/17/11, and I fully became natural 11 months later. Call me a long-term transitioner who didn’t last that long 🙂

WHAT I LOVE MOST:

1. Only one texture, and it’s so much livelier (& of course healthier) than when it was relaxed or in-transition. Plus, detangling is much easier with ONE texture.
2. Natural up-dos are FIERCE! They last all day, and I’m telling you, I feel grown with something as simple as an afro puff. I can’t wait for my hair to get even larger and more bold 🙂
3. Styles last more than one day! Wash days may be a monster lol, but keeping it moisturized, and styled throughout the week takes 5 minutes! I’m starting a “twists throughout the week, twist-out on weekends” hair diet, so we’ll see how that works.

TOP FRUSTRATIONS:

1. Back at square one: After 11 months of transitioning, I was able to tell when my hair was responding well, and when it need some extra TLC. Now, I feel like I’m starting all over. For example, I feel like I’m seeing too much hair in the comb and on the shower floor after each wash session. I know 4b/c hair is more prone to breakage, so I’m trying to be cautious, but only time will tell.
2. Stubborn hair type: I am 4b/c, so I have some of the tightest coils, and it’s REALLY difficult to get any type of curl definition. That is my next mission, bring out more of my curl definition.
3. Tangles and knots: I have less overall, but the ones I do come across are definitely more stubborn than when I was transitioning! I could more easily “unravel” a knot when transitioning, but in my 6 weeks of being completely natural, my hair locks up tighter and it takes more to time to delicately loosen.

Enough of the boring stuff 🙂 I love SEEING progress, so below is my journey over the past 12 months. It’s a bit self-indulgent lol, but I hope it inspires or helps someone!

Last relaxer 9/17/11

9/17/11

Curlformers done about a week later 9/23/11

Curlformers pinned back 9/23/11

4 months post-relaxer: quickly became a fan of the flat-twist out! Jan. 2012

9 months post-relaxer: Flat twist out again! At this point I was cutting ~1-2 inches every couple of months. Cutting away the relaxed ends led to tighter, bouncier curls! June 2012

9 months post-relaxer: Wanted to be more protective of my hair, so I pinned it all back. June 2012

10 months post-relaxer: Realized separating my twist outs more led to even bigger hair! I loved this phase 🙂 July 2012

10 months post-relaxer: Hair was pulled back and tucked. July 2012

The “big chop”: I stuck with what I knew, flat twist out! There were still some relaxed stray hairs that I got rid of later on. August 2012

Freedom lol. This was somewhat stretched from the flat twist out shown before, but I had to capture my hair in its raw form! August 2012

Normal twist out: August 2012

I actually wore the twists out one night when I didn’t have enough time to let it dry. Kind of liked it 😉 Aug. 2012

I can’t seem to repeat this level of definition from a twist out. I should have documented what products I used! I’m thinking this was when I tried Kinky Curly Knot Today. Aug. 2012

Twist out. Seeing a theme lol? Sept. 2012

One of my favorites! The afro puff 🙂 Sept 2012

This week I put in smaller twists, pinned them back, and added a bear-claw clip. Very convenient, and I got a few compliments 🙂 Sept. 2012

Sept. 2012

~TS

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Parting Ways with my Shampoo?

I have very mixed feelings on this topic. There are several arguments on each side of the debate (I guess it’s not really a debate, just different opinions). There is a belief out there that since Shampoos (especially those with sulfates) dry the hair and strip it of necessary (and natural!) oils and moisture, they should not touch natural hair. Some of these “no-poo”ers choose other natural ingredients and concoctions to clean the scalp like Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda (please read up on these before you try them, I have not heard good things about them, but they must work for some people! Yet, other ladies feel that conditioners contain enough of some form of cleansing agent to lift the necessary dirt and product (if you use primarily natural products).

On the other side you have the “shampoo-ers” who feel that because a clean scalp is the foundation of hair growth, shampoo is a necessity. These could be the shampoos with actual sulfates (the typical ones in most stores), or the sulfate free ones.

When I was transitioning from relaxed to natural, I loved washing my hair with shampoo once a week with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo (sulfate free). It’s almost like my scalp was itching for the shampoo (yea, yea, it could have been dry from shampoo lol). It’s pretty much the same story now. I can definitely tell when it has been a week since my last shampoo because my scalp itches, but I alternate each week between a shampoo wash and a co-wash (with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration). Even after co-washing my hair/scalp doesn’t feel clean, and sometimes I still see product build-up after co-washing.

Now, I’m sure it’s my fault that I see product build-up because I use products with ingredients that build up :). I use products with silicones and other ingredients that require shampoo to lift them, so as a result, I need to shampoo in order have clean hair and scalp. I actually don’t mind silicones because they give me the slip I need to detangle my hair and manipulate it with ease. Letting go of silicones would require I let go of my Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. At least I think…I get confused on the silicone debates lol. Either way, I KNOW I can’t get rid of my Hello Hydration!

It may sound like I have my mind made up. Shampoo all the way right? Not quite. Each week I can also tell when I’ve washed with shampoo vs. conditioner because of how moisturized my hair feels. Even when I deep condition after a shampoo wash, my hair just seems to lack moisture. And moisturized hair is detangled hair! So now I’m starting to re-think some things. So I’m going to start researching more shampoos. Wen is supposed to be really good as a ‘safe’ cleansing conditioner. I also heard so many great things about the Terressentials products. It’s time to venture out again. I’ll keep you posted!

Do you shampoo, or no-poo?

~TS