Hair Journey Update: Spring 2013

Starting at the beginning of the year, I decided to join Traycee's KISS Boot Camp Challenge on the K.I.S.S. site. I have been on a hair journey for quite some time, and have had quite a few challenges while on the journey.  Nonetheless, I've learned a lot about my hair and what it likes as well as what it doesn't like.  I've even built a pretty basic regimen that I tend to tweak from time to time (depending on the changing of seasons and discovering new hair needs). I felt that taking part in this challenge would be great because I had already set goals for myself this year.  Joining the challenge gave me a way to hold myself accountable for my goals and chart my progress.  I also decided it would be cool to share a blog post with you guys every season to let you know how I'm doing with my hair goals.

The goals I set for myself this year are as follows:
1. Achieve APL length by Summer 2013
2. Try new low-manipulation hair styles (such as roller sets, twist-outs and braid-outs)
3. Don't buy a new hair product without completely using up another.
4. Stick to my routine! Remain consistent in my hair care.

In remaining consistent, I must make sure to stick to these tasks:
1. Use the least amount of direct heat as possible.  Only one heat pass per 6 weeks.
2. Moisturize and seal nightly.
3. Deep condition weekly under the dryer.
4. Massage scalp with hot oil mix 2-3X weekly.
5. Baby my edges with JBCO nightly.
6. ALWAYS sleep with my scarf or bonnet on. No excuses!

The Stretch
My last relaxer was on December 6, 2012.   So my stretch lasted exactly 16 weeks and one day.  During my 16 week stretch, I've been pretty consistent with my regimen.  I started moisturizing with my Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Moisturizer instead of the Herbal Essences LTR Leave-In because I felt that the Elasta QP was more moisturizing for the cold winter months.  I even tried the LOC method I saw Sdestra use after washes.  My liquid of choice was my Aloe Vera Mix, the oil was alternated between Jojoba and Grapeseed Oil, and my cream was of course the Elasta QP Moisturizer.  All in all,  I love how it locked the moisture into my hair! This is a practice  I will probably continue doing after each clarifying wash.

One thing I regret is that I didn't do much styling.  Something came along mid January and started sapping all of my energy, making me only want to wear my hair in a bun.  So if my hair wasn't in a ninja bun on the top of my head, it was probably pinned in a bun to the back.  And if I left the house wanting to look extra, I put on my blonde shorty-do I like to call Susie. I guess this approach made it very easy to just leave my hair alone and keep things simple!

ladies, meet Susie! lol

Two things I've noticed that my hair loves a lot during the stretch are my scalp massages and the aloe vera mix.  In fact, I can almost guarantee that the scalp massages aided in growth.  In my scalp massage oil mix, I use my three favorite oils: peppermint oil, jamaican black castor oil, and coconut oil.  I gently massaged the oil mix in my scalp 2-3 nights weekly and boy did the new growth get thick on me quick!  But the beautiful thing about my new growth was that my aloe vera mix made it soft, gave it great curl definition, and made it so easy to manage.  

The Results
I will admit that I was only partially pleased with my results from this stretch.  While I could tell that my hair had grown since my last relaxer, it definitely looked a bit thin. Perhaps this was because  I never use heat on my hair, and I flat ironed my hair after washing and conditioning this time.  I haven't used a flat-iron in over a year, so I was amazed at how bone-straight and thin it was.  I guess I was so eager to see the accurate length that I couldn't wait for it to air-dry.  I probably won't be doing that again! But I can say that I am pleased that I'm finally grazing APL. I've haven't passed SL hair since I cut it from APL at the start of high school!

Another great thing I have noticed, is that when I add the protein step into my relaxer regimen, my hair feels so much stronger!  And there was hardly any shedding.  I've added a light protein (ORS Replenishing Conditioner or Aphogee Two Minute Reconstructor) before neutralizing with my last three relaxers and I will never go back to relaxing without this step.

In the upcoming months, I will focus more on the overall health of my hair.  I'm trying to get some thickness going on about my tresses, so I will be doing more research and perhaps tweaking a few products so that I can achieve the thickness that I desire. I will also pay close attention to my fragile ends as well.

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