Hello all! I have become the thing that I loathed in other social media junkies -- a creeper. What is a creeper? A creeper is a person who looks at everyone else's blog posts, Facebook statuses, and Tweets every day, but doesn't contribute much, if anything, to any of these forums. Yeeaaaahhhh, I've been lazy. I miss blogging, but between my new job, thriving relationship, and the fact that I didn't know what I even wanted to blog about, I was pretty stuck and decided to leave it alone for a bit and focus on life, hoping that inspiration would strike me. I've been doing a lot of work on myself, both with and without my therapist (she was away on vacation for a bit), and I really feel like I'm in a good place. As a result, my creative side has flourished. I'm back to crocheting again, a hobby I LOVED for a long while, and am working on a gift for someone that I'm super excited about. I also have been taking good care of my hair, and continue to be natural (woop woop!). I have good and bad days when it comes to my hair, like any other woman, but the good days outweigh the bad, and I fall more and more in love with my texture every single day.
Looking back, I'm almost afraid to read my old blog posts regarding natural hair, because I really didn't know what I was doing. There is a wealth of information out there, but not all of it is right, and the sheer volume of info can be overwhelming to a new natural in addition to being helpful. Now that I've been taking care of my hair for about 5 months, I have a list of things I know today about my natural hair that I was clueless about when I big chopped:
1. I have a pretty good handle on my hair type. This, I've discovered, comes from a combination of research, working with your hair, and letting it grow long enough to see a clear curl pattern. Most of my hair -- the front, crown, and back -- are 3c/4a, with ringlets that range in size from teeny tiny to big and loose. The sides and bottom back section of my hair lean more on the 4a/4b side -- they have less curl definition and take more effort to style. But thanks to my stylist and lots of practice, I've been able to get my hair looking pretty uniform all around and have figured out a wash day routine that works for me.
2. My hair LOVES all or mostly natural products. Sulfates dry it out, and so do the so-called natural products made by brands like Dark and Lovely. The only reason a company famous for its relaxer starts an Au Naturale line is to profit off what they see as the "natural hair trend," and I'm not interested in feeding into that. Plus, their products did NOTHING for my hair! On the flip side, Shea Moisture products are amazing for my hair. They are, to my knowledge, all natural, smell fabulous, and do wonders for my hair, keeping it well moisturized and clean without stripping it.
3. Deep conditioning is a MUST! I did it once with my stylist two months ago and thought I wouldn't have to be bothered with it. But my hair is so much easier to deal with when I deep condition it once a week. I'll be reviewing the one I'm using in an upcoming post if you want a more in-depth explanation of my routine.
4. Heat is not always the enemy. I have banned and will continue to ban flat irons, blow dryers, and curling irons from my head. However, a hooded dryer helps a lot with deep conditioning, and the heat is evenly distributed in a way that doesn't attack your hair. I recently bought a dryer for at-home use from Hot Tools, and I love it so far, even though it makes my head look like Jiffy Pop, lol!
5. My hair grows fast, but my curls make it harder to see. I was getting very discouraged thinking that my hair was growing too slow, and that I would never achieve any real length. However, I started looking at old big chop pics and comparing them to newer selfies, and I realized that my hair has grown quite a lot in the last few months. It's easy to not see it because it is so gradual, and because my hair can get flat at night and look super short. But it's slowing turning into a bigger, better afro, and I absolutely love it.
With all this new knowledge in hand, I feel like I can get some decent growth by the end of this year. I don't have any specific goals, because so many factors effect hair growth, and many of them are beyond my control. All I want is to continue to see progress, and focus on the health of my hair so that it has the best chance of length retention. I will try to be more diligent in documenting this on here as well, so that you and I can watch the progress together, and I can have evidence of what works and what doesn't. Thanks for sticking with me, I'll talk to you soon!