Monday, 2 September 2013

Bon Annivers(h)aire!!

One year's worth of growth
So guys, it’s been a whole year since I went natural! There have been many highs and lows but overall I’m so glad I did this. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from when I did my semi-big chop (I know… How annoying?!) but I started my natural journey with about two and a half inches of hair. It’s been a huge struggle to get used to my kinky texture, and to be quite honest, I’ve only just started to accept it and care for it the way I should have a long time ago. This has come through writing the blog (which has acted as a record for the way I look after my hair) and also through slowly building a regimen. I know a year sounds like quite a long time but my hair regimen is only just being created. Prior to this, I was just watching YT videos and attempting to copy everything I saw. It was fun but the routines didn’t last, I was growing poor and my arms began to ache from two-strand twisting every 5 seconds. Through reading natural hair articles and picking Mariama’s brain, I’ve been able to build the basic layout for a regimen that is unique to my hair type, texture and length (I need armpit length hair for graduation - 2015 baby! Woop!) I’ve only just entered that awkward length phase but here are some of the things I’ve learnt over the past year and some things I’ve added to my hair care routine:
  • Finger Detangling – It’s made such a difference to my understanding of my texture. When you use a comb, you don’t really get to feel what your hair is like. I’ve been able to really get to grips with my 4c hair (hey! An accidental pun!)  and I’ve discovered that it's a bit 4B as it has a couple of clumped kinky-curls tucked away in there. 
  • Co-washing – I’ve started washing with conditioner once a week which is slowly improving my high porosity hair and adding moisture. I need to dabble with the products I use but it’s working slowly! I started this at the beginning of my journey and even though it was working so well, I couldn’t keep up with it. I’m a lot more determined now :P 
  • Shampoo – I now only wash with shampoo once a month and then detangle thoroughly with my wide tooth comb and my Denman brush. Finding a shampoo that is moisturising is so essential! I use the L’oreal Elvive EverSleek which always works wonders and… it’s sulphate free! 
  • Braids and protective styling – I braid my hair all the time now and attempt to keep them in for a maximum of six to eight weeks. I’ve found this is the best length of time to prevent that gross oily clump at my scalp and also to minimise breakage and unnecessary shedding. 
  • L.O.C method – Mariama pointed out to me that I never stick with products and see them out ‘til the end! Using my own advice, I have to see this stuff through. My hair has been pretty dry recently so hopefully using a leave in conditioner, oil and then thick cream/butter will make a difference. I started this method a while back and yeah… I gave up (rolls eyes vigorously).
  • Blow-drying – I’ve been loving my blow dryer for adding stretch to my afro texture. It makes it a lot easier to do up do’s and protective styles as well as allowing me to see how much my hair has grown. I’ve noticed that where my hair had a lot (and I mean A LOT) of shrinkage, the blow-drying has helped it to stretch permanently but without heat damage. 
This year, I’ve also given up on twist outs and braid outs for definition. It was a sad day but I just realised they weren’t working for me! I’m waiting for my hair to grow out a bit more before I attempt a defined twist/braid out but I will continue to use them to add stretch to my hair before I do a style. My next goal for my natural journey will be moisture retention (in particular for my edges and ends). As I mentioned above, my hair has just been super dry. As I build a cupboard of staple products, I’ll let you guys know but for now, I’ll continue to search!  
Obviously I'm a bit too pleased with my growth here...
Are there any products you use that work amazingly? Spill the beans – comment and email with your questions and suggestions! 

Until next time… Zee xx

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