Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Backstory

From what I remember I had pretty healthy hair as a child. I remember older girls saying how pretty my hair was because it was soft and long. I was that overly cute little girl that everyone loved.

And my mom didn't used a simplistic approach to take care of my hair. From what I remember, she would wash my hair every other week. Then after washing she would blow it out and then comb and brush it into whatever style. My signature style was two pigtails (my mom can't do too many other styles). The only styling product remember was Luster's Pink Lotion.

As far as I could tell, my hair thrived. But thinking back on it now, I realized that I'd never seen my hair in it's curly state...from wash to wash, it's always been stretched.

After growing out of these limited hair styles that my mom could do, I began getting braids a lot (w/extensions). Sometimes I'd have singles and sometimes cornrows. But having them too often (without proper care) began to thin out my hair. And so I tried something else...

I have never had a perm, I have, however, had texturizers which is kind of similar to a perm.
A texturizer is basically a mild relaxer that loosens the natural curl pattern. I think the biggest difference between the two is that a texturizer is left on the hair for a very short time and it's not combed throughout the hair to avoid causing the hair from becoming straight.

Thinking back on it now, I'm not sure what the point was in me texturizing since my hair has never really been too coarse or unmanagable. But I was about 14 at the time so I think it was just the idea that since everyone else had perms, I should follow suit and do something similar. I often flat ironed my hair to achieve the straight look (just like everyone else too).

The negative effects of the texturizer weren't much different from that of a perm either; I had a lot of breakage and my hair became limp, lifeless, and thinner. I also seemed to have developed dermatitis. I'm not completely certain that it's a result of the texturizer, but the timing seems right.

I didn't continue getting texturizers for long because of the reasons I already stated and I didn't like how much it would burn (sometimes as soon as it touched my scalp). If I recall correctly, I only got it touched up twice after the first application and then I just stopped. But I continued to flat iron...

I didn't know much about protecting my hair so I'd never used a heat protectant. The last time I flat ironed was Labor Day weekend 2008. The next time I washed my hair I noticed that my hair was still straight. I didn't think too much of it at first and thought it was a good thing since I would flat iron my hair again anyway, but after a few more wash days I knew something wasn't right. So I did some research and figured out that I had heat damage. That was when I decided to start taking better care of my hair.

While doing my research I came across a few different hair boards that could provide me with the information I needed. I'd never really learned how to properly care for my hair and so these resources taught me everything I now know. My favorite hair board is (often abbreviated online as LHCF). Youtube also proved to be very helpful since it allowed me to be able to actually see what people were talking about. Some of my favorite Youtubers are RusticBeauty, Blackonyx77, NappyChronicles, and FamilyGoingNatural just to name a few.

Even though I wasn't relaxed, I researched as if I were relaxed and going natural. I learned a lot about the importance of keeping a balance of moisture and protein, helpful/harmful ingredients in products, methods to improve my hair's health, protective styling, transitioning, and a lot more.

In an essence I transitioned for 10 months then big chopped (often referred to as the BC). I BC'd my own hair on June 28 of this year.

In the picture is all of the heat damaged ends that I cut off. Before cutting, I had an average of 12" of hair all around. After cutting of these damaged ends I was left with approximately 4.5". So that means I have a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) for now.

This is a big adjustment for me for two reasons. First, as I stated before, I'd never really seen my hair in its curly state so I have to get used to the look. Second, I'd never had hair shorter than shoulder length. I don't really like hair in my face so I'd often just pull my hair back into a ponytail or bun whenever it would annoy me or even if my hair was acting up and I was having an awkward hair day. Not being able to put it into a ponytail is the biggest thing I'm trying to get used to, but I'm working on it. Right now the only style I've been wearing with my TWA is a pushed back puff.

Ultimately I want to loc my hair. I'm not sure when yet though. I could finally do it next week, next month, or next year. No matter when I do it though, I plan to keep this blog to document it all. I'm hoping to learn from my readers and that my readers can learn from me.

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