Monday, 28 July 2014

How to easily find what works for your natural hair

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I know many people perceive me as this natural hair guru, considering the number of mails and calls I receive on a daily basis, but the truth is that I am not without my own unique hair struggles. I have made careless mistakes, suffered hair damages, and what not.

Middle of last year, after my hair reached mid-back length, I was so excited to see my hair grow that long. I was quite pleased and surprised, considering the fact that I hardly do length checks. Even when my hair was relaxed, it had never been that long.

My regular style for a long time before then was to have my hair twisted for two weeks, after wish I proceed to do my usual thing on wash day, and then put my hair in twists immediately after. After a while, this was getting stressful, as my hair was taking longer hours to twist. I was now using close to for hours to do medium-sized twists on my hair, the only advantage being the fact that I could watch movies while making my hair.

Because of this, I decided to increase the number of weeks I keep my twists in from two to three. I felt is I do this, I would lose less hair, because the manipulation would be less frequent, thus allowing for faster growth. I was just looking for anything in the world that would make me retain more length.

I felt the three weeks twist thing was cool, but could be better, so I decided to start making updos, which could last for three weeks. I tried this twice (making a total of 6 weeks), and then stopped. I realized this wasn’t good for me because when updos stay to long, you can’t reach every part of your hair to properly moisturise, since its hidden in an updo. This led to my hair being extremely dry after 3 weeks, and really thirsty. The worst part was the overwhelming amount of single strand knots I saw in my hair, I hardly see knots when my in twists, so I returned to the three weeks twist.

Earlier this year, I still felt I wasn’t doing well. My hair had almost reached waist length by then, but it is no news that I easily suffer hair damage. Men, if I could count how many times I have damaged my hair, mostly due to carelessness…

Anyway, after the aloe vera incident, I was pissed, and decided to change my styling regimen to the two weeks period corn-rows I had been contemplating about. I only had to do this for about 5 weeks to realize that this is the worst mistake of all.

My hair had become noticeably shorter that I did not even bother doing a length check, to know that my hair was in serious trouble. The hair loss I was seeing was telling me all I needed to know.

It was at this period that I brought out my hair loss records to do comparisons, taking products and techniques into consideration, and I almost beat myself in the head from the discovery I made.

The hair loss I had when I was twisting my hair for three weeks was definitely more than twice what I had when I was twisting for two weeks. This meant that my hair was one of those kind of hair that did not favour having styles in for too long. Also, the style that was the worst for me was the two weeks cornrow.

Sample hair loss chart: Click image for a clearer view
On the paper stuck behind the ziploc bags, are written the date of record, products used, treatments done, and any other important info one needs to pen down.

Please, note that I used multiple hair records to arrive at this conclusion, i.e. I used hair loss records for over a year, amounting to over 30 samples, so I didn’t just pick two records and compare. Also know that you can never really tell what styles make you lose hair more if you do not actually have physical evidences to compare. This is because sometimes, our mind can play tricks on us, making us believe we are losing lots of hair, when it is just really the normal thing, and vice versa, which was what drove me into changing my styling regimen in the first place. I should have done the much-needed comparison a long time ago. The only comparison I had been doing was bi-monthly comparison, not comparing like 6 month ago records to current record.

As for you, three weeks of twist might be the best for your own hair length retention. You would never know if you don't experiment, but don't wait for an extremely long time before you start comparing.

I have now gone back to the 2 weeks twist, which I should have never left in the first place, and have to repair this damage. I have since cut part of my hair. I want to see how it will blossom with the cut. I was trying to fix what wasn’t broken, and I am paying dearly for it.

So please, you can choose to answer any of these questions. Have you ever experienced hair damage, and how did you solve it? What could I have done differently to avoid my damage? Do you think paranoia was one of the determinant factors in pushing me to fix what wasn't broken in the first place?

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  1. You're so meticulous with your hair care sha. Keeping records...

    1. Lol yea. That's the only way I can know what exactly works, and not just depend on feelings and assumptions.

  2. Two weeks twists! I wish. After 4 days I untwist my hair; at my length ( shoulder, when stretched) I think it's harder to get away with the frizz. Looking forward to having styles on a long term basis without extentions...

    1. Lol. The default mode of my hair is frizz mode. So it doesn't matter if the twist is 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months. Its gonna be frizzy anyway.

    2. This frizz mode is what's keeping me from letting my hair out. I always have my natural hair under a wig except when I am home. It's pretty long now and I hope one day out of frustration I won't use a texturiser.
      Can frizz ever be controlled? I have tried several products and it's not working?

    3. Sykik: Lol. It depends on what's causing the frizz. If it is as a result of hair and cuticle damage, a good trim, intense conditioning and good products should be able to sort the problem. Too much humectants causes frizz too. But as for me, the natural structure of my hair strands are frizzy, and not the typical kinky Nigerian hair. I really can't control my frizz, but I find out that updos look better on me than twists because my hair naturally swells, and is extremely big when left out. And the edges... let's not even go there.

  3. wow i'm just amazed at the fact your hair is MBL lol how long did it take you?

    1. Lool. thanks. Been growing my hair since 2010, with so many damages in between.

  4. Please advice, I guess my hair isn`t growing as supposed (just about two & half inches) since January that I did the BC.

    1. Wow. Your hair is growing, but it seems you are not retaining the length. Please, check this post out, and see which ones are the culprits of your issue.

  5. Am still studying my hair after about 1 year. Maybe i'l try keep records like you did!


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