I celebrated my one year nappiversary last week. Can't believe the year has gone by so quickly.
I'm not going to go through the reasons and back story for going back to being natural, you can read about it here in a previous post.
Protective Styling &Length Retention
My main goal this year was healthy hair and growth; I defintely wanted to regain the I'd lost when I chopped. As a child my mother maintained my afro by keeping it in big braids and then later cornrows or threading.
In high school, I maintained my hair by doing two-strand twists and braids. When I got to varsity I kept my hair in box braids.
So I know that the best way for me to retain length would be to do protective styling which is I maintained my length in the past. Box braids and marley twists are my preferred methods, and to keep things interesting I decided to use coloured extensions instead of the brown and black I usually go for.
|Gunmetal grey/ Silver|
|Blue & Green Marley twists|
I never kept the braids installed for more than 4 weeks at a time, after which I took a 2-3 week interval before re-installing. during those weeks, my go to styles were twist-outs and braid-outs, and just wearing scarves when I was feeling lazy.
|April 2016: 2 years post-relaxer|
I tried to keep heat to a minimum, and when I did use it - I slapped on that heat protectant. In the past year I've blow dryed my hair maybe 6 times and this mostly in the winter when I didn't want to sleep with wet hair (It's really uncomfortable and it takes forvever to dry). I blow dry with a round brush at medium heat and speed. I used a hair straghtener only once this year and that was at my 2 year post-relaxer mark in May.
Up until 2 years ago, I'd never coloured my hair, but I've been coloouring hair since I started my transition. I lighten my the ends of my hair with bleach and then use sem-permanent hair dyes such as Manic Panic and Crazy Color. So bleaching is not go for your hair; I lightened my hair in three steps 3-4 weeks apart until I achieved the desired shade of blonde.
To minimise the damage, I do protein treatments with aphogee 2-step every 8 weeks, and I do a light protein treatment every month with the CHI fortifying treatment. I also deep condition every week, no exceptions and minimise the amount of heat I use on my hair.
Favourite products of 2016
Jamaican Black Castor Oil - If there's a holy grail product for me, It's JBCO! I use to pre-poo by adding it to my conditioner. I also use it in Mandy's growth mix, in a new Mafura butter mix I'm currently using and the scalp oil mix I use (I'll have to do a post on my DIY hair products).
Shea Moisture JBCO range - is one of favourite haircare ranges. I have the shampoo, treatment masque, leave-in anf styling lotion. When used together, the results are amazing.
Mandy's growth mix - I've talked about this in a previous post. It's an old school South African growth recipe that Mandy from The Mandy expedition modified as the original recipe is quite drying. Click here for her recipe. I add rosemary and peppermint essential oils to my mix and I use Jamaican Black Castor Oil instead of normal castor oil.
My scalp has become really dry in the last year. and the flaking was out of control in the winter. I had to use the Shea Moisture African Black Soap range to reduce the flaking and it helped.
I considered giving into the hype and trying Hairfinity, Mane Choice etc., but I decided against it as I already take the Vital Hair, Skin & Nails supplements. I started taking these for my nails which tend to break when I don't take the supplements.
Goals for 2017
Maixmum length retention and to grow my hair to bra-strap length
To keep it healthy
|December 2016; 1 year natural.|
It's important to realise that there isnt one magical product that will make your hair grow. Your have to eat properly and exercise, drink enough water and take care of your hair; limit the amount of direct heat and keep your hair in protective styling to maximise length retention.
I don't think I've left anything out,
See you in my next post,