Funmi, She Loves The Finer Things' resident hair care guru is back and today she's sharing her hair story with you guys. You will see that she has come a verryyy long way. Enjoy!
My Hair Story
Hope we’ve all been good. Yes I know it’s been ages…please forgive my long hiatus. Picking up from where I left off in my last post, I promised to upload before and after hair pictures. Seeing as that was a while ago, I have several “before and after” stories; so please sit back, relax and enjoy this picture-filled hair post.
|December 2012 August 2013|
I became interested in healthy hair practices sometime around September 2012 through a friend of mine. She had very long and beautiful hair which I always admired but assumed I could never have; the stereotype of long hair being tied to hereditary and how certain people had good hair genes was fully etched in my brain. We however got to talking one day and imagine my surprise when she told me that she hadn’t always had long hair like this but had grown it out on her own. She started to tell me about extra virgin oil, argan oil, deep conditioning, and so on. By this point in time, my interest was fully piqued and I decided to carry out more research on all things hair. Thanks to the internet, I had access to all the information I needed; it was all right at my fingertips. My dear friend was also kind enough to send me some helpful links and you tube videos. I remember being so overwhelmed when I saw all the waist length pictures of full-on African girls who had grown their hair that way from almost nothing (ear length and shoulder length). I was amazed that this was actually possible and I knew it couldn’t be a hoax since I had read about several cases; it wasn’t just one person’s word. I was so enthusiastic at this point that the more I read, the more I wanted to know. Needless to say, I definitely suffered from information overload that night because I stayed up all through reading so many posts and watching videos. Armed with all the knowledge that I needed to begin, I went straight to Pak cosmetics online store and amazon and I literally bought any and everything I felt I would need; shampoos, conditioners, oils, you name it.
Three months from my purchase craze (December 2012), I officially began my Healthy Hair Journey (HHJ) and had my very first wash day (picture below). The state of my hair was so appalling! Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I was the one in the picture. I mean what was I thinking carrying around such scraggy looking split ends?? And they were so uneven and scanty that you can clearly see my white t shirt underneath the hair. Oh well, I had only myself to blame because instead of treating my hair, I hid it beneath different types of weaves. I have however been cured of this type of thinking, and went a whole year (yes I mean 365 days) without installing a weave once. How did I pull it off you ask? Please read on…
Since I was going to be leaving my hair out to give it all the tender loving care I had failed to give it for the past two decades and then some more, I decided to stretch my relaxers for just 8 weeks. I was still a newbie at this point and I didn't want to be over ambitious and carry out any long stretches that would hinder my HHJ. So the cycle began; I washed my hair every week, clarified once a month, had regular protein treatments and deep conditioning sessions, and I made sure to pre-poo overnight before every wash. I waited exactly 8 weeks and come February 2013, I carried out my first self-relaxing session (please read up well on how to relax hair yourself before attempting this at home).
During my research, I had learnt about texlaxing as against relaxing (Jen of Just Grow Already was a big and welcome influence in this area). Basically it means deliberately under processing your hair to retain more volume. Relaxers are made to chemically break down the protein bonds in our hair shafts which result in smooth silky hair at the end of the process. While this look suits some people, I decided that I didn’t just want flat silky relaxed hair but I wanted thick, full hair with more volume and body. I have fine hair strands, which means that my hair is very soft and light and a full relaxed hair would leave my hair looking lifeless. You can under process your hair by shortening the amount of time you leave the relaxer on your head, adding oils or conditioners to your relaxer to reduce its potency or using a mild relaxer that will not over relax but just straightens out your hair (more like a texturiser would do). I decided to take the easy route and use a mild relaxer, African pride’s Olive miracle anti-breakage no-lye relaxer for kids. This was the result…
I saw this improvement in my hair and I was definitely wowed. I was also happy because it meant that my efforts and hard spent cash were paying off! But I was still not satisfied. Yes my hair had grown about 2 and a half inches in just 2 months. Typically, the average growth cycle is half an inch every month which means I should have experienced just about an inch of growth is those two months. I honestly don’t know why my hair grew that fast initially, I think my hair just went into overdrive because of the many years it had been starved and not properly nourished, lol. However you will see that it was just a one-time thing and I have since not experienced this type of abnormal growth since then.
Now back to my unsatisfaction; as you can see from the above picture I still had the dreaded split ends and my ends were still uneven. The middle part of my hair was much shorter than the left and right hand sides. So I cut off about 2 inches till my ends were even. I was initially reluctant to let go off my new found length, but I knew it was for the better since I was aiming for not just length but also health of my hair. After cutting my hair, I repeated my 8 week cycle again and relaxed my hair in April.
After carrying out 2 successful 8-week stretches, I grew more confident in my ability to manage my hair for longer periods and decided to do a 16-week stretch the next time. I couldn't leave my hair out for 4 months without causing breakage so I started wearing wigs and weaving my hair underneath to protect it. I invested in different styles of wigs depending on my mood and it worked and still works for me. Gone are the days when wigs were seen as being for old women, wigs are here to stay people! Another good side to it is that you can custom make your wigs by making use of your previously owned weaves, so converting your human hair weave into a wig will achieve the same look while giving you easy access to your hair. I have since become completely sold on wigs and am a serious advocate for the cause. Some salons offer these services, and you can also check out these hair bloggers who do so as well: Lade of Rehairducation (http://www.rehairducation.com/hair-shop/custom-made-u-part-wigs/) and Ifeyinwa of Loveifeyinwa (http://www.loveifeyinwa.com/p/store.html). The picture below shows my hair after I relaxed in April and then four months after in August.
I am happy with the progress I have made so far, and I am more inspired than ever to keep pushing on because my journey is just starting. I know I still have a long way to go till I get to a length that I am satisfied, but I guess that’s why it is called a journey. Since I began, my hair is looking much healthier, fuller and thicker and with less ugly looking ends. There’s only one way from here and that is UP! There will definitely be some setbacks along the way but it helps because you learn from them and also learn what not to do next time.
For my hair pictures in December 2013 (a story on how a scissors happy stylist cut off a good 2 inches!) and my next relaxer session in April, please watch out for part 2 of this post. Hope you not only enjoyed reading it but you were also motivated to go crazy on all things hair and start your HHJ today. You will not regret it, and your hair can only get better so why delay? Don’t be left behind people, join the hair revolution. Say no to ridiculously priced weaves and yes to luscious silky hair that belongs to you and only you. Okay enough of my rallying and motivational chants, bye for now.
If you are interested in making your own length check t shirt to help you track your hair progress, check out Dabs’ article here on Naija hair can grow blog, that’s where I learnt to make mine along with many other useful tips.