06 Jan

What I Learned About My Natural Hair in 2013

natural hair

Lessons of discovery – natural hair and what makes/keeps it healthy

natural hair

January is all about new beginnings and what better way to start the year off than to reflect on what you learned from the previous year? Since this is a beauty blog, let’s start with hair! Before I get into it, check out this fun review of my natural hair throughout last year:

 

2013 was one heck of a year. If you have been on a hair journey for as long as I have (over 10 years….I’m no longer counting), it’s tempting to think you’ve got this whole natural hair care thing down to a science. And while it is sort of scientific, a lot of caring for your natural hair is intuitive.

I’ve learned some very specific things about my natural hair last year – things that can make or break a healthy regimen including hair growth and length retention. Now, for my little disclaimer…

What I’m about to share you may not exactly agree with.  Remember though, this post is all about what I learned about MY natural hair LOL

While much of what I have learned comes from the trial and error of using multiple hair products, some of what I learned comes from trying specific hair care techniques. I guess you can call them the nuts and bolts of hair care. OK. Let’s get to what I learned (I’m going to list them out to make it all plain ya see!)

  1. Being a product junky is not productive. While it may be fun to experiment with different brands, (especially those that smell so good!  B.A.S.K. ring a bell? LOL!) using a bunch of products when you don’t really know what your hair takes to, does not help you get any closer to your hair goals. If you are using 30 different conditioners and 17 different stylers on a rotational basis, which one (or two) is best for your hair? There’s no way to really know until you narrow them down. And, narrow them down I have.
  2. Why cutting your hair has nothing to do with hair growth. Now, this one I’ve known for quite some time now but it was further reinforced last year after doing several trims. Hair grows from the root. The health of your scalp has more to do with hair growth than the ends of your hair. Sure, split ends can leave your hair looking raggedy. There’s also an increase in tangling when there are a lot of split ends. However, split end or no split end, you can still grow your hair down your back without ever trimming it. And, when you eliminate heat styling and rough handling, you’ll find you don’t need to trim as often. I’ve discovered that I can simply trim off the pesky SSKs (single strand knots), and keep my ends relatively healthy. It’s sort of like the SnD (search and destroy) method only I’m not searching for splits. My hair is so darn fine, I can’t see them anyway! Instead, I feel for tiny little knots. When I find them, I snip them off. Simple.
  3. Whoever said washing your hair weekly was the rule? For years, I washed my hair once a week because that’s what I thought everyone else did (Well, except those chicks who wash daily. Who has time for that?!) On the contrary, I found that washing my hair bi-weekly is way better. Now, this may change as my hair gets longer or if I choose to switch my products up but for now, bi-weeky washings it is.
  4. My scalp does not like JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil). I know a lot of ladies swear by the use of JBCO, how it stimulates hair growth and such. It never worked for me. Not only that, it made my scalp itch like crazy. The whole time I thought I just had itchy scalp but when I eliminated JBCO from my hair care regimen, my scalp was fine.
  5. Silicones are a God-send. I know. I know. So many naturals say that silicones are evil, build up on your hair and doesn’t allow it to breathe. The Curly Girl Method is the only way for naturally curly hair. Blah Blah Blah. The fact of the matter is with hair like mine that tends to frizz, silicones are my friend. They help keep my hair smooth and free of fly-aways. As far as build up, I never have moisture retention problems and one apple cider vinegar rinse takes care of any build up (however slight).
  6. Protective styling only works sometimes. Braids and mini twists take a lot of manipulation to  install and while I don’t add hair, I find that too much manipulation on my fine strands causes breakage. The only way it would be worth it is if I kept them in for at least a month and there’s no way that’s happening (#HairADD LOL)! The most effective protective styles are those that I don’t need to re-do daily (ex; side buns tied down at night, large twists that I can pin up ) and/or don’t require much handling. That’s why I looooove my banana clip. I don’t have to detangle my hair to style with it.
  7. Ouchless elastic bands aren’t really ouchless. I may be special but my hair still gets tangled when removing Ouchless elastic bands. The Ouchless ribbon bands work much better and never get stuck in my hair. When doing a ponytail of some sort, it’s best to use either the ribbon band or a satin scrunchy.

I told you what I learned about my hair may not be what works for everyone. The great thing about having natural hair is YOU get to discover whatever it is that works for your hair. If you haven’t quite figured it all out yet, maybe some of what I’ve shared may help :-)

What have you discovered about your natural hair in the past year(s)?

 brown beauty gal

23 Dec

Thoughts on Natural Hair Shrinkage

natural hair

natural hair

If you’re a naturally curly girl (especially, kinky curly), then you are quite familiar with this word. Regardless of your hair texture and type, you’re not a foreigner to natural hair shrinkage.

I’m always in awe of how versatile natural hair is. We can style our hair in so many ways and sometimes shrinkage is good. Other times, not so much.

I have tried natural hairstyles like bantu knot outs to no avail. They just never look right to me. I think it has to do with the amount of shrinkage my hair gets. My hair is just not long enough to create a bantu knot out that I’m satisfied with. I think if I did the bantu knots on straightened hair, it might come out nicer but since I’m not inclined to straighten my hair I simply stay away from this style….for now.

Shrinkage also brings with it, the propensity for our hair to tangle and snarl. That’s why it’s so important to keep natural hair moisturized and as tangle free as possible. I recently trimmed off an inch of hair from my nape because of the increased snarling. Part of that was the fineness of the hair back there but the other part is….shrinkage.

natural hair shrinkage

While I don’t have really strong feelings against shrinkage, it’s still an annoyance from time to time. That’s the ONE thing I miss about having a relaxer.  I do miss being able to display my true length but that’s not the main reason.

Shrinkage is a part of having natural hair. You can embrace it or not. I may not have strong feelings about shrinkage but I know that some do.

Share your thoughts on natural hair shrinkage in the comments section and let’s get a dialogue going!

brown beauty gal

16 Dec

Giving Attention to The Nape Hair & To Trim or Not To Trim?

nape hair

nape hair

This natural hair journey is very enlightening. When I was relaxed, I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics of what would ensure healthy hair…. or lack thereof. You know – Things like balanced moisture & protein levels, split end maintenance, and caring for nape hair – otherwise known as the kitchen LOL.

Caring for the hair at the nape was actually not something I paid much attention to until recently. I had read other bloggers write about it (check out Shelli’s Nape Hair post on hairscapades) but had not really cared until I saw a video by SistaWithRealHair on YouTube (there’s a link to her video in the about section of the video below).

The nape hair is very fragile making it more prone to damage. Think about it. The hair at the ape takes the brunt of abuse caused by friction from being rubbed against your clothing. Nape hair is also often overlooked on wash day.

Well, I’ve set out to have a healthier head of hair and that includes my nape area. Therefore, I’ll be paying extra special attention to it. Especially, during the winter months. On wash day I will:

* Add extra conditioner to the nape area for deep conditioning
* Keep the nape nice and oiled to reduce SSKs (single strand knots)
* Keep the hair at the nape twisted or braided when wearing my hair out so it doesn’t get all tangled.

Now, before doing all of that, I had to actually “reset” my nape hair area. Check out this video where I share what inspired this attention to the nape hair and what I did to get it all started:

brown beauty gal


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