Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update: March 2011


I straightened a week ago and just got around to posting the pics. I trimmed my hair (by myself :-/) 6 days after taking these pics.

My hair is in better condition than I thought it would be but there were still some issues.
Because I've been wearing my hair natural since November and have not been trimming every three months like I used to, the SSK's took over. They weren't playing either. Some of them were a couple inches up the strand!! They were EVERYWHERE.

I did not have a ton of split ends although I havent been moisturizing or oiling regularly but that could be because they broke off. My growth-retention did not impress me and my hair seemed thinner to me in some places.

I've been thinking about going back to  my old regimen until the end of the year just to go hard in 2011. I'm still not sure yet though. If I find a decent, natural looking wig, I'll let you guys know.

*please excuse the pantylines lol*

Friday, March 4, 2011

State of the Union 2011 :)


So after my hair reached the longest it's ever been in my life, I stopped "going hard". No more half-wigs, no more braid extensions, no more long stretches of protective styling with a hardcore moisturizing regimen. I was over it. Bored with it. Done.

Right now I've just started my spring break and I plan on straightening for the first time since late last year. I want to do it right before I go back to school. I'm nervous and excited to see the "State of the Union" if you will. What effect will the deviation from last years regimen have on my progress. Will there be any significant progress? Regress? I'm not going to kid you, my expectations are low. I know that my strict, protective-style-heavy regimen was a major factor in my length retention.

Anyway, we shall soon see...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Let's Go!!!

(Pony Tail) Taken Nov 11th 2010

(2 week old braid-out) Taken Oct 15th 2010
(Pseudo-length check) Taken Oct 15th 2010
Hi, Followers old and new! I'm back with my end-of-the-year update and New Years goals. I can't believe 2011 will bring me into Year Three of my healthy hair journey. I started this blog in December of 2008, and although I wasn't able to keep it up the way I wanted to, it's great to have a photo journal of my progress and if it helps others-even better! Currently my longest layer is MBL and I'm not too far from WL sooo *pops champagne?*. I have not been the best at documenting over the past months due to my FT job and being a FT student but as you can see, I made a few attempts. :/
Looking over my "Moving On" post from January 2010, I cannot believe how fast this year went by! Under my list of challenges in 2009, I can say that Ive made some progress in 3 out of the 4:

-I have not  been able to find a protective style that I love. It's not due to a lack of styles available. It's definitely my lack of skill lol.
-I have cut the amount of breakage from detangling down on wash day with the help of my seamless wide-tooth comb, my steamer and pre-pooing with oil.
-I have also managed to put the scissors down. Split ends are not a chronic issue for me but if I happen to find them I'll dust or do the search-and-destroy method.
-As far as questioning protective styling, I have cut down drastically from my strict regimen in 2009. I did not use any braid extensions, half-wigs or weave in the last 6 months. I used heat more frequently than I'd like because it was convenient and gave me consistent and predictable results. I even experimented with twist-outs and braid-outs and after a couple failed attempts I fell in love with them.
Challenges in 2010:
-Single strand knots (hate them!). Wearing loose natural styles like braid-outs and twist-outs often lend itself to SSK's for my hair. If I dont stretcch my hair with a cold blow-dry, I notice more SSK's. I just cut them out.
-Because of my full schedule, my diet has suffered. I dont remember when I last took a multivitamin and I've been eating way more fast food than I'm accustom to. I noticed the difference immediately in the strength of my nails so I'm pretty certain that it has had adverse effects on my hair.
-My scalp has recently been flaky and itchy. I started washing more frequently but it has not helped. I know it's tied to my diet because I started noticing it after I stopped taking my multivitamin and omega oil capsules.
-My moisturizing regimen has fallen off a cliff. I just have not been consistently moisturizing at all. My hair was less pliable, drier and more susceptible to breakage.
-Product junkism surfaced during the last six months of 2010. Because I was experimenting with different styles and using more heat, I'd try out new products and deviated from my regimen. 

What I've learned this year:
-Moisturizing is important. The ends of the hair are the driest and they need that extra attention.
- In a recent youtube video Anthony Dickey said something that stuck with me "Take advantage of the blow-dry." That goes against what Ive learned about heat-styling in the past two years. When I heat-styled, my hair was free of product because they say that product weighs the hair down and it actually may promote heat damage. Anthony D uses a moisturizing leave-in to blow-dry then flat-iron natural hair. You can see his explanation in THIS video around the 10 minute mark. I'll be experimenting with this when I decide to flat iron my hair again.
-For a short time I experimented with clean eating, drinking green smoothies, eliminating processed sugar and cardio exercises and the results were great: better sleep, more energy, clear skin, soft skin and best of all accelerated hair growth. I had the time to make my own meals, exercise and do green smoothies in the morning for breakfast because I was on break from school. After school started back, I slowly crept back into my old habits...
-Less protective styling for me meant drier hair and less retention-period.
-Finally, Ive learned that longer hair equals more responsibility. More time spent in the shower, more time spent detangling, more product used, more time spent styling.

   In 2011, I'd like to be waist length. I plan on using less heat, stretching my hair more, moisturizing and sealing consistently and getting my diet and exercise in check. 
Even with all the challenges I faced in 2010 I definitely fell in love with my hair this year. Having this head of hair is not easy but  it's all mine and I absolutely love it! *Sesame Street muppet dance*