Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Healthy Hair Journey

This post is long over due. I actually have been a little afraid to write it because once you make something public- you make a public commitment. But maybe that's what I need.

August 1, 2011 started my Healthy Hair Journey. Actually, it started on July 28th but August 1 is easier to remember. What exactly is a Healthy Hair Journey? well first, let me start by telling you how I got here. It is a long standing myth that African American women cannot grow long hair. I've been told this many times by different people and I actually believed it to be true- until recently. Last year I happen to be in Tennessee at a work conference where I completely forgot a very good friend of mine is in med school. Luckily, the hotel van broke down on the side of the road on the way back from the mall and I was in such awe of the driver backing down a highway (because the gas petal was not working) that I posted it on facebook. She saw it and called me!

We spent all of the following evening 'catching up'. Literally... from like 7 pm to 3 am. Amidst all of our girl talk, we discussed hair. We've always had some sort of a hair relationship that I felt on she could understand. Being the same age and having similar hair backgrounds and turmoils I found her story intriguing and inspiring all at the same time. But in true 'The Mrs.' fashion I just could not commit to a hair routine. It is so much easier for me to pull my hair back in a ponytail and let it be. This stems from years of felt like hair torture... hours of hair drying, hot pressing, and greasing only for it to be all undone when I go outside to play and "sweat my hair out". I distinctly remember the night before my cousin's 13th birthday party my aunt spent all day washing, drying and pressing me and my 2 cousins hair. She put my hair in about 7 ponytails and I was ready for the party. The next day when the music came on- it was on! I was about 9 years old and getting down in their living with with all of my cousins teen aged friends... until my aunt saw me and snatched me up 'cause of all the work she done, lol! I have way many more stories of how my hair played 'traumatizing' roles in my upbringing but I don't really want to relive that.

*And this my folks it why I am deathly afraid of having a girl*

So anyway amongst one of our catch up sessions earlier this year- I found out that my friend, Ebony, has dedicated years of research and practice to having healthy hair and wrapped it all up in a bow just for me!:) First I started following her vlog. It's actually her YouTube channel filled will lots of helpful info, tips, products reviews, how-to's and more! I was amazed as to how far she's come and where she's headed on her journey. As a healthy hair newbie, I still had a lot to learn and was still very confused about some of the info- I needed her to start a blog. Something that I could reference at anytime and follow step-by-step, plus video watching isn't very conducive to a work environment (I'm just saying!). I'm sure she had been planning a blog before I mentioned it but luckily, she in March she answered my call. If you are at all curious- and you should be- you MUST visit her at www.longing4length.blogspot.com. I also have it booked marked all the way to the right under 'Good Reads'.

I will admit- it will take a while to catch up on some of the lingo and processes- in fact I still don't know exactly how to co-wash but research is key. I didn't started until I felt comfortable knowing and understanding why I would be doing what I was doing and how beneficial it was to my hair. Ebony's blog alone wasn't going cut it so she gave me (her readers) some of the resources she used for her journey. She actually gave me this info way back after our all nighter in Tennessee but once again in true 'The Mrs.' fashion I delayed out of fear of commitment. Her top recommendations from hair forums are KISS (Keep It Simple Sista) and Hairlista. There are countless other forums and blogs that you will come across who can also give you insight. The two listed above are actually social networking sites so you will need to sign up for actual info on what you should/can be doing (which was another part of my reservation- I like to "lurk" before committing). Or you can just read her blog until you feel comfortable enough to move on. Now for the good stuff (and what Eb has been waiting for):

Oh wait! I forgot to tell you that Eb's blog also has fashion and beauty tips (that I really love) and will use for inspiration once I can get back into building my wardrobe. Some of my faves are how she beautifully she does her own nails and the amazing outfits she puts together. I remember her doing my nails back in college and when we were roomies- I totally tried to where her clothes but unfortunately our differences in clothing sizes made this extremely hard. I do have pics of us where matching outfits tho'! She even dressed me for my very first Alicia Keys concert! Ok for real now... the good stuff.

This is my hair 2 days post relaxer- August 1st 2011. I went and had a touch up July 2. My hair was roller set under the dryer and instead of wrapping it after it dries like I normally get done, I had her re pin the curls from the roller set. That night I slept with a satin bonnet on my head and the next morning I took out the pins and just let my hair hang where it layed. This created beautiful shoulder length spiral curls. Of course I don't have any pics (I'm still new to documenting my hair journey and I forget to take pictures) although pics where taken at my baby shower the next day so I may have a useable one once the girl who took the pics share them with me. That night I re-pinned the curls the best I could and by day three my curls were pretty much non existent (as I didn't use any setting lotion).  This picture is the result of day three non existent curls. This is where some of my issues come in- I absolutely suck at styling my hair. I've been wearing my hair pulled into a ponytails for 99.99% of my life (since I was old enough to do my own hair). So I HAD to join these hair networks. I needed easy to maintain healthy styles to do at home.

One style I came across was to pull your hair back into a bum and pin curl the ends. The next morning take it down and let the ponytail out and you will have soft flowing curls for the next day- I rocked that for about another week and a half alternating with days of keeping my hair in a high ponytails with the pin curls. This is called protective styling [:)] and it's done to protect the ends of your hair from the weathering elements.

You can see from this photo (maybe) that I have some breakage in the back towards the nape of my neck. I am sure this comes from years of wearing low ponytails. That is a stress point from the ponytail holders. Also, my shirts/sweaters, blouses do not help as the collars rub against the hair causing it to dry out and break off.

This is my curls after leaving my hair in the high bun with pin curls over night. I added a headband and voila! I love this style. It is very manageable for me because it doesn't take much in the morning after you pull out the pins and I can pin it the  night before while watching TV. This dress allows my hair to hang without rubbing against a shirt- although there is the down side of the halter part rubbing against my nape ( I have to do something about that!)

I feel like this post is getting a bit long and I'm not trying to bore you to death- but rather share so I'll pick this up later. I actually promise to do so because I'm writing the post and scheduling it to post automatically because my memory is bad. To be continued...


  1. OMG!!!!!!!! I CAME HOME TO A GREAT POST! First, thanks for the GLOWING recommendation of my YT and blog! Second, omg you are so right - to this day you are the closest thing to a twin I have, in terms of hair AND family celebrations! Third, look at you sounding like a hair expert already!!! I love your high pincurl bun and the results! Guess what I'm trying tomorrow?! Your hair is so healthy and pretty!

    Lastly....I too believe you are having a girl! LOL!!!!


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