It had grown in length, seems to have gotten thicker (I didn't even think that was possible), and now it seems that some of the products I use don't necessarily work anymore. This reminds me of the time when I realized that Cantu Shea Butter's Leave-In Conditioner didn't work for me anymore (honorable mention to Suave's Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner - that one really hurt).
A little over a month ago I was getting a bit annoyed with my hair. Sure it had grown a lot, but it also started tangling even more than before. Before it decided to change up on me, I used to be able to finger detangle once a week - when I washed it. Now I had to be detangling every other day and that totally didn't jive with my 'lazy except one day a week' hair routine.
Then I started to train for my first 5k race (which I coincidentally ran today at a clocked time of 37 minutes - yay for me!). Every morning I would run and then have to deal with my hair - and I am not one of these women who isn't going to work out because of some damn hair - uhhhhh, no. So I put my hair in mini twists for 2 weeks, and after I couldn't take the frizzing after washing it, I did the twists over adding a little bit of kanekalon hair to hold it right. That lasted 4 weeks for a total of 6 weeks of my hair being in two-strand twists. And then two days before the race I took them out (and still ran the race - booyah! LOL!)
The results of this hair break are great! I gained some length (I would say less than an inch), as I mentioned before it looks thicker, and I needed the break even from weekly washing to deal with some things (including an incredible amount of stress, shooting a video project, training, and job hunting). If I didn't take this hair break, I feel like it would have broken off or I would have inadvertently done something damaging. So I took my twists with the kanekalon hair out on Thursday (you ever wonder why you're doing something while in the middle of doing it?), and had to handle it.
It was not fun. At all.
I started off my sectioning my hair in to big braids - I think about 8 - thinking this would help. Sigh. I have a lotta hair ya'll. I applied a mixture of conditioner and my pre-poo oil mixture to help me out. Left that on for over an hour and then proceeded to wash my scalp first with my homemade black soap shampoo (I used this because the black soap cleans makeup off my skin so well I figured it was the best product to use to clarify my scalp (not so much for my hair). I then used Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Shampoo (and ended up taking out the braids because it just wasn't happening in the sections. I was still removing the kanekalon from my hair and I had to do it with all of my hair out). I then spent damn near an hour using one of the Herbal Essence conditioners to finger detangle and braid my hair into sections again, followed by a black tea rinse before rinsing with cool water.
Now here is where I made a change in my regimen. Instead of using my Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, after finger detangling (again), I squeezed excess water from my hair with an old t-shirt, and applied Extra Virgin Coconut oil - I hadn't figured out the best way to use this for my hair, but after doing some research I decided to try again because the biggest problem I seemed to be having with my hair before I put it in twists was retaining moisture, and I know that the answer lie in my hair washing routine. I braided my hair into six braids, wrapped the t-shirt around my hair, and went to sleep!
The next morning I ran over three miles and thought about what the heck I was going to do with my still-not-dry hair. I decided to do a soft blow out, so I did this section by section, applying more coconut oil, Tresseme's heat protectant, and using the wide tooth comb attachment on the warm and then cool settings, and ended up looking like Chaka Khan in her Rufus days (yes!). I followed that up with some chunky twists, let it hang for a bit, pulled it into a bun, put on my scarf and kept it moving!
Here's the thing: I finally figured out how coconut oil works for me and that I have to pull back (or all together stop) with the heavier products on my hair. The EVCO totally conditioned and moisturized my hair. It was so agreeable in the last detangling session, and leaving it on my hair to mostly air dry allowed my hair to really absorb it. I also use EVCO for my skin and cooking.
As for my heavy butters and oils, they have their place. When the weather gets colder I can use the butters on my body, and as for my castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil, I will use it on my scalp, but it's a no go for my hair. I will also clean my scalp weekly with apple cider vinegar, but wash my hair every other week (well see how long that lasts!).
I also realized something: while my hair on my head is very thick, I have learned that my actual hair strands are very fine (aka, very sensitive). Seeing how I am able to retain length as a result of the changes to my regimen over the year makes me understand why Shea Moisture's Yucca and Baobab products for fine hair works so well for me. The one thing I will say about all of this is there is always something new to learn and I have to not get complacent in paying attention to my body and hair and the adjustments that I will always have to make along the way to stay healthy (and happy).
Note: I know, I didn't take photos. I just wanted to get outta my hair at the time, but I still should have taken a pic of two. I will in two weeks.