Relaxer Results

Hi friends, happy Sunday! I hope everyone is well.

I got my hair relaxed today, and unfortunately had to get 4 inches cut. Talk about a set-back. I wasn't surprised because my hair has been breaking on a consistent basis since the beginning of January. I noticed the breakage early on, but I hadn't changed any part of my routine, so I wasn't sure what to do to try to stop the breakage. I finally chalked it up to the weather (I live in Philadelphia). I had this same issue last year this time, but before the breakage was mainly because I was using Amla Oil and my hair had a bad reaction.

Fast forward to today and my stylist could see the damage. She initially wasn't going to cut much (and do a normal trim), but I'll ALWAYS choose health over length, so I told her to cut it! It really hurt my feelings/ set in when I threw my length check t-shirt on and saw that my hair was at line #1 and I was on pace to be at line #5, which is BSL. However, I had to remind myself that last year this time I was at the same length and by the end of the year I was at line #4, so I can certainly do it again this year. It's not an ideal situation, but at least I know that I can grow my hair.

Moving forward, I'm going to experiment with my conditioner and see if that changes anything. Although I'm blaming my breakage on the weather, I'm still not 100% comfortable with my conditioner. I exclusively use Phyto products because that's what my stylist uses and I'm too lazy I find it easier to stick with a product line that she knows well and can provide recommendations for based on her knowledge of my hair. However, Phyto did a major overhaul of all of their products last year and they discontinued the conditioner that I previously used. I used one replacement and immediately thought my hair was breaking a little as a result, so I changed to another and had the same results. I've been using the new conditioner(s) for about 1 year and I did retain length, but I still think it's playing a role in the breakage.

Following are some photos:

3.9.14_Line #1
3.9.14_Line #1

Left: 3.9.14 line #1; Right: 12.1.13 line #4

Looking at these photos, I should have gotten a cut sooner, but I thought the thinness in my ends was the result of styling and not bad ends. Anyway, you live and you learn. My goal is to maintain this thickness throughout the year and reach line #4 again!  I'll keep you all posted :-).



I'm Engaged!!!

Hi Friends,

Happy holiday's everyone!!! As you can tell from the title, I GOT ENGAGED last night!!!! I am so over the moon and feel like the LUCKIEST girl in the world. Naturally there is a hair component to this story, lol.

So my fiance (can't believe I'm saying that) and my family planned an amazing proposal and engagement party. As you guys know, I got my hair relaxed 3 weeks ago, and I haven't done much to it since then. I've just been wearing it out and straight down. Earlier this week my older sister asked me about getting my hair done, but I said I didn't think I could fit it into my schedule. I ended up wearing my hair in a pony tail while my BF and I ran errands earlier in the day. That night I knew we were going to dinner and I planned to wear my hair in a pony tail, but my BF suggested that I wear my hair down to show off my hard work (he's so sweet). I put some bantu knots in my hair in order to try to get soft waves, but that didn't work so well since I had too much oil from M&S'ing over the last 3 weeks. I still wore it out since my BF requested it and just tried to make the best of it.

By the time we got to the engagement party, my hair looked less than desirable, but it didn't matter because I was soooo happy!!!! In hindsight I definitely wish I would have gotten my hair done, but it's all good. We haven't set a date as we're still basking in engagement land, but I already know how I want to wear my hair for wedding day. I'll show you guys once I finalize the details.

Happy holidays and new year to you all!


Relaxer Results

Hi Friends! It has been a while, but I'm still around...lurking and keeping track of everyone's wonderful hair journey.

As you all know, I've had my hair braided for the last 8 weeks. It was great to have braids because I was able to be lazy with my hair (in terms of styling) and still look presentable :-). I'll definitely miss my braids as I jump back into wigging in order to protect my hair through the winter.

Overall, I had a decent relaxer experience. No breakage issues, or any other matters that would require me to adjust my routine. I can confidently say (while knocking on wood, lol) that I've mastered my hair routine, products, etc. and have no intentions of changing unless something stops working. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" It's such a good feeling to know that I know my hair, what works well, what doesn't, and that if I treat it right, it will grow.

On to the fun stuff...below are a few length check shots. I always get my hair trimmed with each relaxer - I am a stickler for health over length and love the feeling of well kept ends. I retained a little more than an inch since my last relaxer, which I think is primarily because I've been working out HARD. I exercise daily, but decided to take the summer off. I definitely saw the difference in my growth rate and barely got an inch over the summer. Fortunately I'm back to my routine and my hair is thanking me for it. The one thing I will note is that my hair/ ends looks a bit thin in these shots. I think it's because of how my hair grows. I talked about this in an earlier post, but basically every other relaxer, my hair looks full/ normal. I think my sides grow slower than my back, so until my sides get a little closer to the length of the back, my hair looks thin.

I'm going to keep an eye on it to be sure. Until next time!

Left: 8.13 (~line 3); Right: 12.13 (line 4)


Back to Braids

I made a rash decision about 3 weeks ago to get my hair braided again. I relaxed at the end of August and planned to start exercising again, 2 weeks after my relaxer. Well I stuck to the plan and after one week decided that I didn't have it in me to go back into my wig, which is my normal routine when exercising.

I wore my hair in a braid and curl, which always started out cute, but would look a bit wild and crazy by the end of the week after exercising for 6 days and sweating heavily. After the first week of this, I made an appointment to get box braids. The month of October is going to be really crazy for me with traveling, working, and a few other events, so my hair is the LAST thing I want to be bothered with. 

Also, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'm over wearing wigs. That's not to say that I'll never wear one again, but I think taking the 3 month break over the summer to actually enjoy my hair made me not want to "hide" my hair again. This has created quite the dilemma because I probably won't get braids again after this (side note: just when I was about to get my braids done, I decided I am too old to have braids and will not be getting them done anymore), but I don't want to wear a wig. What will my protective style be?

Fortunately I'm planning to keep my braids for 8 weeks, so I have some time to devise a plan. I believe I'll go back to wearing a wig, but it sure has been nice not to wear one.

Aside from buns, what other protective styles do you guys wear? I'm all about keeping my ends hidden.


Relaxer Results

Hi friends! I apologize because I have not done a good job of posting over the summer. In my last relaxer update, I mentioned that my goal was to wear my hair out over the summer in order to “enjoy” it a bit more and give myself, and close family and friends a break from my wigs. I had planned to post my hairstyles, but only shared the details of my curlformers.

Fortunately, I did stick to the plan of wearing my hair out for the summer, which I’m SOO proud of myself for! After I did the curlformers, I did bantu knots a few times, followed by twist and curls, followed by braid and curls. My favorite styles were the curlformers and braid and curl. It’s funny because the braid and curl was a HUGE hit with everyone! Literally – it was to the point where complete strangers (ex: middle aged white man) would approach me to compliment my hair and/ or ask how I achieved the style. It was also interesting because everyone commented on the length of my hair, stating that if my hair was shoulder length, or a little beyond with the curls, then it must really be “long.”  I’m sure you all can relate in that when you’re on a hair journey, you often don’t think your hair is that long considering the many women who have MBL, and longer hair. However, I’m now a little past APL, and am finally starting to feel like my hair is long!

I got my hair texturized on Saturday at 12 weeks, and it was business as usual (texturizer + trim)! At one point when I was roughly 6 weeks post, I thought I was experiencing more breakage than normal. I kept an eye on my hair and stopped using JBCO (Jamaican black castor oil) and eventually gave up EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil). Fortunately, I didn’t actually have any unusual breakage (based on my stylist’s assessment), so either eliminating the oils did the trick, or I was being overly sensitive.

One last note – I exercise daily, with the exception of the first two weeks post relaxer (I need to get my money’s worth out of my straight hair, lol), but this summer I ended up taking the entire 12 weeks off from exercising  and I decided to track the impact on my hair. I noticed that although I’m close to line #3 on my shirt, my hair should actually be at or slightly past #3 based on my normal growth rate. So overall, working out makes a difference for my hair growth! Fortunately party time is over, so I’ll be back to Insanity, and wigs in two weeks J.

I’m really happy with my hair health and feel like I’m seeing length progress. If all things remain consistent I believe I’ll hit my next goal of BSL, between lines #4 and #5, by my 3 year hairversary in March 2014. I’m hoping to reach my final length goal of MBL, line #7, by next year this time (September 2014). Until next time…

Left: 8.2013 (~line 3) ; Right: 6.2013 (line 2)

Left: 8.2013 (~line 3); Right: 9.2012 (~ 1 year ago)


Hairstyle #1: Curlformers

Hi Friends! I hope everyone is well.

The last time we spoke, I professed that my next hair journey goal was to wear my hair out for the entire summer (i.e. until my next relaxer at the end of August) and to experiment with different styles. Well I've been eyeing curlformers since seeing gorgeous heads of curls on youtube such as Naptural85. I waited until Sally's had a 25% off sale and ordered two packs of extra long, extra wide. I planned to try them while my relaxer was still relatively fresh so that I wouldn't have to battle with getting my thicker, harder to manager hair through the tubes. Welp, I loved the results (and still do), but DOUBT I will be trying these again.

Since I rarely wear my hair out and don't really do anything to it from a styling perspective, I felt the curlformers were much too taxing on my hair. I was pretty good with putting them in since I had watched so many youtube videos on the technique beforehand, but there were a few times when my hair got stuck going through the tube and I had to yank it out, as well as a time or two when I felt like I was ripping my hair out (even though there were no signs that I actually was). When I took the curlformers out, I lost quite a bit of hair (in my opinion, even though it may not seem like much) and that didn't make happy. I used ~72 because I had to put them in small sections in order to prevent trauma to my hair. It took me 2 hours to put them in, I "slept" in them to ensure my hair was dry when I took them out, and it took me about 30 minutes to remove them.

All in all, I'm proud of myself for sticking to my plan of "enjoying" my hair and experimenting with new styles, but I'm traumatized by curlformers. Next, I may try a bantu knot, or go back to my very first style when I first started my hair journey, a twist n curl. Below are a few pics:

Bottom middle: hair lost during take-out


Relaxer Results

Hi Friends! I hope everyone is well and staying cool during this heat wave (I'm in Philadelphia).

I texturized at 14 weeks over the weekend and had a pretty uneventful experience, which is a good thing. I hope I don't jinx myself, but I think I've finally mastered the best way to care for my hair leading up to my texturizer to ensure that it's a good experience. I was especially nervous this time because I took my braids out last week and texturized 2 weeks later than my normal 12 week period. I didn't have amazing growth results (not that I normally do), but in tracking my results through pictures, I've noticed that every other texturizer I see length progress in the back, and the alternating texturizers show length progress on the sides. What I mean is when I compare these results to March, the back of my hair is touching line #2, which is just about where it was in March. But now the sides are longer and closer to lines #1 & 2. Basically it looks like my hair grows in a U shape. I'm not sure if it's because it was cut like this at one point and now my stylist maintains the shape, or if it's natural. Makes me no difference either way, just an observation. I had my normal trim as well and am satisfied with my hair!

Left: 2.24.13; Right: 6.1.13
Top: 6.1.13; Bottom: 2.24.13 (this is to show the side comparison)

You may remember me mentioning this before, but since I've worn wigs 99% of the time over the last year plus, I've decided to try to wear my hair out this summer. I told myself that after my June relaxer, I would wear my hair out (i.e. no wigs) until my September relaxer. This is a HUGE deal for me. For my new readers, the main reason why I wear wigs is because I work out daily in the AM, sweat heavily, and have to go to work. With that, I have yet to find a style that allows me to look presentable while maintaining my active lifestyle.

In the beginning of my hair journey (in the summer of 2011), I wore my hair out before I discovered wigs, but I just don't know how things will be now. Nonetheless, I think wearing wigs has made me lazy and a bit scared that once I stop wearing them, I won't retain length as well, which is probably not true. While I haven't tried it yet, I feel like most women on hair journey's have been successful using primarily buns, and other protective styles to retain length. If they can do it, why can't I?

So wish me luck ladies. I'm going to try to post pictures weekly to help keep me accountable. Until next time!