Braids, braids, braids!!!

Hi friends! As promised, I wanted to write a quick post about my box braids.

I got them done on Monday, March 25, so I've had them for exactly 3 weeks tomorrow. I LOVE them! My stylist did them and it took roughly 5 hours. She actually started out braiding hair before she moved to becoming a stylist focused on hair health. I love the fact that I have one stop shopping with her because she knows my hair and is gentle with it. It took less than a week for them to loosen. They weren't too tight to begin with, and after the fourth day I had really good movement with them that wasn't uncomfortable. That was a BIG relief.

I have been caring for them just as a I would my normal hair. I moisturize and seal them daily, wash them weekly with my normal products (including my normal oil pre-treatment and protein leave-in). So it's business as usual even though I have braids. The other great benefit is although I follow the same process, it takes about an hour (if that) for my wash day because I don't have to detangle!!!

I would like to take more photos, but here is one that I posted on Instagram (they are pretty long...about waist length and I'm 5'7 for reference):

Until next time!


2 Year Hairversary!!!

3/31/13 marked 2 years ago that I started my long, hair journey. Boy how quickly time flies! Looking back, I've realized that the first year was a year of hiccups and lots of experimentation while this last year I truly got the hang of things.

I was natural for the first 5 months of my hair journey (I had been natural for a little less than 2 years before beginning my hair journey) and then realized that I love straight hair and straight hair styles, but I couldn't achieve and maintain them with natural hair. This was the case primarily because I work out daily. Natural hair + a desire to wear straight hair styles + daily sweat sessions do not work well. Three months after beginning my journey I got a brazilian keratin treatment (June 2011), and then two months later I decided to get a texturizer (August 2011). This was the perfect solution for my hair, but it took a few months and some trial and error to get there.

After I got the texturizer, I committed to washing and doing my hair myself weekly, but this was definitely new for me. Then life took over and I ended up back in my stylist's chair every week, getting my hair corn rowed because I had started wearing wigs. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I didn't feel like I was making much progress in terms of length. Nonetheless, I stuck with this routine and figured I needed to be patient.

Fast forward to March of 2012 when I had a bad texturizer experience and that was it. I decided that I needed to make time to care for my hair myself because I hated the last experience I had and I thought after one year into my journey, I should be able to do my hair myself. Thank God for that experience because between March 2012 and my next texturizer in June 2012, I retained the most length since beginning my hair journey. It was almost like a growth spurt, but I know better, it was just good ol' length retention!

Since March 2012, I've been doing my hair myself with the exception of my quarterly texturizer and trim. I have no desire to be a DIYer with chemicals, or scissors...that's where I draw the line, lol! With the exception of my recent almost set back, I have retained length and feel like I FINALLY understand what my hair needs and how to maximize length retention. It took 2 years, which seems like a long time, but I'm glad I was forced to truly understand how my hair thrives.

Following are a few things that I've learned:

  • Patience, patience, patience! 
  • When experimenting with products, try to change only one product at a time and take note of when you introduce the new product. For example, I have my staples, and I only introduce new products or experiment with changing things after a relaxer. This helps me track/ monitor the effects on my hair.
  • Focus on learning your hair and the length will follow!
Finally, this post wouldn't be complete without progress photos! 

Left: 3/31/11; Middle: 3/31/12; Right: 3/31/13