Sorry for going dark, Curl Chasers but I've been feeling a bit out of it lately. I wasn't sleeping well or feeling well for that matter. While I've been away, I've been doing a bit of experimenting. Shocking as it may seem, there are more things that interest me other than natural hair.
Don't get me wrong, curl chasers, I love my curls. It just took me a while to come around to the idea of having the shortest hair I've ever had in my life. I fell in love with my texture and pattern immediately, but the length was getting on my nerves. Sure the short styling time was nice, but I missed having having hair down my back. I wasn't enjoying my hair in the now. I was pining after my future length like some people pine after their future husbands or wives. If I sound a bit dramatic, I was feeling a bit dramatic. A few weeks ago I had a bit of a moment. I realized that I loved my hair as it is now Not how it will be later. I decided to enjoy all of my hair: length, texture, quirks, and shrinkage. Boy do I get shrinkage! My hair isn't heavy enough to get much hang time yet but that's okay. I'm learning to except my hair and in a roundabout way myself for what/who it is. Well, fellow chasers, that's my confession for this week. Have you ever had a time where you weren't feeling your tresses? Comment or drop me a line and share your hair love moments.
Well, the Summer Growth Challenge has officially ended, but I hope whatever healthy practices you began during the challenge will stay with you on your hair journey. I learned a lot about my hair during the challenge and even came up with a better routine. What started as a desire to see growth became a desire to have 100% healthy curls no matter the length. Each month, I tried to add a healthy practice to my regimen. For August, I tried protective styling and by protective styling I mean an updo designed to protect my precious ends. While I got nothing but compliments, I was forced to realize something about myself....I hate protective styles. I don't know if it was being worried that I was pulling my hair too tauntly or worrying about losing more hair pins (I've already lost and thankfully recover two hair pins from the growing mass on my head). While I will continue to practice protective/gentle styling methods, I will probably not be revisiting protective styles anytime soon. I've tried bantu knots, two-strand twists, braids, puffs, and a fierce updo. And. I. Hated. Every. Minute. Did my hatred of tucking away my ends stop my hair from seeing growth? Nope. In fact, my hair seems to like my fluff-n-go modification to the wash-n-go. The hot oil treatments were my best addition to my regimen. My hair loves it and seems to grow faster with the treatments. My hair went from not quite shoulder-length at the longest and eye-length at the shortest to almost armpit length at the longest and mouth length at the shortest. These measurements were after a necessary trim and after suffering a setback. How did your challenge go? Did you reach your goal? Also, I'll be announcing a giveaway in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for details.
Later Days, Curl Chasers
Me circa 2008...4 years before I said no to the lye.
No, fellow Chasers, I don't need an intervention. The creamy crack is no longer my pied piper. The truth is I couldn't be happier with my new-found curls, and while my mother and sister are happy for me, they're still clinging to relaxers. They're learning more every day as I do my best to educate them about hair care and encourage them to join me. Granted I'm not a militant curly and I never will be. I think everyone should go natural for the sake of their hair health, but only in a perfect world could that happen. The reality is that many women like my mother and sister stick with what they know either out of fear or personal choice. I explained to my mother today that her journey didn't have to be like mine. She thought that since I'd cut my hair off when I did that she would have to do the exact same things I did. She just didn't want to go through what I was going through and I understand. It may take months or years before either of them is convinced ( my sister is afraid that she can't go natural because her hair isn't like mine), but in the meantime I try to help them take care of their relaxed hair properly. I explain and demonstrate the things that I wish I'd known when I was in their shoes. So if you're a member of the relaxed community, know someone who is, or just plain curious, this article is for you.
1. Deep Conditioning is your bff. When I was a teenager, I got my first relaxer, and my stylist walked me through the steps of hair care at home. She told me to use conditioner (something I'd never used in my life at the time) and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Now, this tip proved revolutionary for me, but it wasn't what I needed to know. What I needed to know was that I should deep condition my hair at least once a week for about 15-45 minutes or longer with a moisturizing or strengthening conditioner. This would help repair the damage done to my hair by the chemicals and extend the life of my relaxer.
I don't usually write two posts in the same day, but I wanted to make an exception. I know I've been pretty quiet for a while, but I've been dealing with a few issues. First and foremost, the fallout and verdict from the Trayvon Martin case really through me for a loop, and I just couldn't bring myself to write. Secondly, I've been having guy issues, which I will discuss at a later date. The other was that I felt like a failure as a natural. Yeah, you read right, my curls are in ICU, and I am not happy. Truth be told, I was also a little embarrassed How could I be offering advice on healthy curls while watching my curls healthy degrade in front of my face? The answer...I couldn't. I started noticing that the top of my curls was feeling/acting/looking dry, frizzy and a tad unruly. I tried a new style with perm rods, and while it looked really nice, I knew perfectly well that my ends were Not okay.
I did a wet set using my Giovanni Deep Moisture Direct leave-In. I air-dried overnight for about 18 hours and took them down. I later separated the curls with Clear's Ultra Shea Hair and Scalp Oil. It was alright for a first try, but my ends worried me. Over the past two months, they've gone from smooth and easy to detangle to rough and beastly. Detangling was dreadful and occasionally painful (I'm rather tender-headed). I kept the style for few days while it kept growing (see below), but inside there was a bit of turmoil set in motion by the fact that I had lost control of the curls.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. We've all heard this saying before, but did you ever think to apply it to your hair? When I was transitioning, my routine was constantly evolving. Everytime I thought I knew what my hair wanted, the season would change and my routine had to change with them. I thought things would be different after I became a full-fledged natural. Ladies, I was wrong! Nearly six months later, I'm still adjusting (but that's for another post), and at times I want to scream.
When you reach the screaming point as I like to call it, it's probably time to adjust your routine. The important thing is to find what works best for your curls. What worked during the spring might not work in the summer or fall. The best thing you can do is listen to your hair and obey. Natural hair doesn't have to ruin your life or rule your life. It's up to you to take control of the curls and give them what they need to behave. Think of your curls like you would a newborn baby. They may not be able to speak to you in a way you understand, but they have their way of telling you what they need. Remember to take it one product at a time, so you can tell what your hair responds best to. You don't want to change your entire product routine and give up those holy grails when you don't need to. As always ,stay beautifully curly, my fellow Chasers!
~ Penny Jane
No, that isn't old mayonnaise that's my variation of the Cherry Lola Treatment. Fellow chaserz, I'd read about the CLT as a method of stretching your hair without heat and reducing frizz. Oddly enough I don't have much of a frizz problem unless I apply multiple products to my hair separately, but I decided to give it a try anyway. First, let me say that I'd read about it (past tense) and decided to make my mixture without reading it again. I figured how hard could it be just add some baking soda to my homemade deep conditioner. Well, that's exactly what I did...only my homemade DC consists of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and a drizzle of olive oil. This time I added two healthy shakes of baking soda. I didn't think the first shake was enough so I added a second. That's when I noticed the change.
You've heard it time and time again...follow the directions. It's been drilled into out heads since the womb and in most cases is the correct approach. If my natural hair has taught me anything (and it has), it's taught me that sometimes following the directions to the letter can be disastrous. You know how your parents eventually added the do what you're told unless you'll die as a result clause (funny how I never got to use that clause with their instructions). With your hair, that clause can sometimes apply. Only your hair won't die...it'll just give you the side-eye and a bad hair day to boot. I remember when I first started using Shea Moisture. There weren't any directions to speak of on the container and I was lost. What did I do? I'm glad you asked :)