August 31, 2014 marks exactly one year since I made the decision to take better care of my hair. I am glad to say (and show) that the decision was well worth it 😀
The above result looks incredible, but it wasn’t easy. I experienced 2 major setbacks that required me to cut off significant portion of my hair.
The first setback occurred when I focused on length retention; I was only taking care of my ends and largely ignored my new growth. This led to matting and breakage, that I had to cut off a few inches when I went for a relaxer touchup in February.
The second setback happened when I did box braids in March. Though I left it on for 5 weeks, I experienced so much matting that it took 4 hours (yes!) to detangle. I had so much breakage that I thought I will be bald when I finished detangling. I had huge chunks of hair falling out daily, the week after taking out the braids. I was so mortified! 😥
Though the above setbacks were terrifying, I learnt a lot from them. Setback No.1 taught me a BIG lesson, as I seem to have slept through Lesson No.1 of Healthy Relaxed Hair 101: NEVER IGNORE YOUR NEW GROWTH. They are the babies of your hair and they must be well cared for. As they grow, they become stronger, healthier, and they are less prone to matting (which leads to breakage). I have abide by this principle since the unfortunate incident, and I am glad to tell you that the babies and I are doing well 😉
There are 2 major lessons I learned from setback number 2:
My Relaxed Hair + Box Braids = No!
I noted the matting happened from and above the demarcation line, the line where relaxed hair meets natural hair. I have done box braids on 3 separate occasions and the results were all the same. For this reason, I decided to layoff the styling for good. A few months later when looking through old pictures, I noted that I have been braiding my relaxed hair with extensions for years, and I never experienced such breakage because I never did box braids! I did cornrow braids. This encouraged me to give braiding another try, though I was still haunted by my last detangling session *shudders*. I braided my hair in June and the result was amazing! No matting and no horrifying detangling session. Overall, I was very happy with the result because it gave me hope that I can still do braids.
Wash + condition = No matting
Another thing that help made my cornrow braids successful at protecting my hair was that I washed and conditioned it regularly. Click here for more details.
Note of Thanks | Encouragement
First of all, I want to thank God for giving me the grace (cliché, but true) to make the decision and for keeping me going when I hit major road blocks. There were several times when I felt like chopping off my hair, but I am grateful to God that my scissors miraculously disappears at my moments of weakness!
I also want to thank my sister, Adeola @the mane captain for her (constant) encouragement. If it weren’t for her, I never would have made the decision. Thank you Sister Adeola, I really appreciate it. <3
I wrote this post to encourage readers who are on the fence about caring for their hair. I made the decision a year ago, and I am glad that I did. Though it wasn’t always smooth sailing, I did not give up and I kept going. If you are experiencing setbacks, take a time out to analyze and document them because they always provide hints on how to deal with them. Keep going, don’t give up, you can do it!
Continue to educate yourself on healthy hair practice, because you are what you know. The more you know, the better off you are. Check out some blogs I follow for starters.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
If you scoff, you will bear it alone.
Finally, remember to relax, it’s just hair 🙂
Photo credit: Google Images