My Hair Journey

19:15 Sandra N.U. 6 Comments

[UPDATED]
This is my up-to-date (02/02/2018) hair story.

As far back as I can remember, my mum took care of my hair and my sister's. She would wash our hair every other Saturday, grease and do a few single plaits. On sunday evenings, it was out with the single plaits and in with cornrows. Always a proper school style: shuku, sade, all back etc, or threading (all my Nigerian sisters can identify. Heyyy!).

    Yes, yes, there were sulphate shampoos and mineral oil and petrolatum and (gasp!) a no conditioner situation happening, but she must have been doing something right (now that I look back -no heat whatsoever, protective styling, low manipulation), because I had the kind of natural hair that intimidated stylists in its loose state- BIG. I got a lot of "is that all your hair?" They charged extra too. (sorry mommy).

I kept my hair natural through most of secondary school because mum had one rule about our hair: no relaxers until you're done with secondary school and can carry the weight of that decision. She has always had natural hair by choice.

   Then I became a know-it-all teenager and thought I knew everything about hair because I had read a bunch of teen magazines. I loved my natural hair but had one grievance: shrinkage

 I wanted to feel all that hair on my back in the shower, kilode! I fussed and fiddled with my hair and wore her down until she gave in and permitted me to relax my hair in ss2.
    It was great! For the first time ever I saw my hair straight. It was so black and silky and it stayed long when I washed! Come and see me swinging like Rapunzel. I bought white girl products to match my new white girl hair: hairspray, mousse, gel (don't shout). Thankfully, I had some good sense and bought conditioner, shampoo, hair mayonnaise and other products from the same line as the relaxer I used- Kids Organics, which I ended up misusing.


   I made several blunders (moment of silence). This post will be endless if I went into all of them. But here are some:
*washing with a sulphate shampoo twice a week
*using hair mayonnaise ( a protein treatment) as a weekly deep conditioner
*using same hair mayonnaise as a daily hair moisturiser
   (At this point, please stop shouting)
Needless to say, my hair was constantly breaking. God really blessed me with die hard hair. It stayed longer than shoulder length at its shortest and got compliments despite my abuse. Also, I have always been cautious with heat and always waited at least 3 months for a relaxer touch-up.

 But there's only so much my hair can take. In University, you are busy, broke and not really sleeping well or eating your best. You're not even sure what's good for you. At least I wasn't.
 My hair got into a cycle. I would wear my hair out and over time it would break and I would lose some length. I'd put in a weave or braids and leave it alone and it would bounce back but never really made it past shoulder length. It also didn't look its best despite that length.

  In 2011, my hair hit an all-time low. It was damaged, discoloured, VERY dry, uneven and shorter than ever.
Feb 2011

By September 2011, I was fed up. I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut it to chin length. My hair was so unhealthy and didn't look good even as a bob. I went online searching for a miracle hair product and saw something about olive oil. I called my mum and she talked me into going natural. I threw out my hair products. I bought extra virgin olive oil, ORS Shampoo and Replenishing Conditioner. 

I used just those on my hair for 6 months and kept my hair protected under weaves.

   That was how I did my very first 6- month stretch.
 But I wasn't ready to commit to natural hair so I relaxed my new growth in march 2012. Oh lord did I see GROWTH. it was longer than I thought it could grow in 6 months, dark and healthy. EVOO was a keeper.


March 2012
I kept it up and while my hair stayed healthy, it remained the same length for a year. I assumed that was my maximum growth potential. 

Sept 2012

Some time in October or November 2012, my friend told me about a Nigerian girl who had been featured on bellanaija. She had grown out short hair to waist length. I went online and the scales fell off! I found her- Bassey Akan of lushstrands and i learnt so much! I kept searching and discovered a large community of black women, relaxed and natural, growing very long, healthy, beautiful hair.
In march 2013, I officially started my own hair journey. I  was diligent with moisturising every day, deep conditioning and protective styling and my hair flourished.
 I have searched high and low for my starting picture in march and can't find it anywhere. Oh well, here are others starting a month after:

April 2013

June 2013

August 2013, after a relaxer touch-up. 1.Before trim, 2 &3. After trim

March 2014

My last relaxer was in November 2013. In March 2014 I was grazing waist length and I decided I had done everything I wanted to do with relaxed hair. I was ready to go natural.


I transitioned to natural hair for 19 months and then finally chopped off the last of my relaxed hair in June 2015. You can see how I was able to transition to natural with these posts.

Big chop, Jume 2015


July 2015

December 2015



February 2016
April 2016
January 2017



November 2017

November 2017
My natural hair journey has been very interesting. I've had times when I couldn't figure out my hair, when I struggled with products, when my hair was dry or splitting or breaking, when I wasn't retaining length as well...
I think I've finally started to understand what works best for my natural hair, and sometimes it's quite different from what is supposed to work.
I find that the products I use now are a lot more important to how my hair behaves now than when it was relaxed.
You can check out my regimen here,
And see my product reviews here.

Thank you for reading!

Wish you all happy, healthy hair.



Xx,
NGND

6 comments:

  1. Pls.I need help. I hv long relaxed hair. My hair is quite as long as yours,but I notice its breaking at d hairline. I'm really impressed by your hair story. What can I do to kip my hair healthy. Am a Nigerian mum of one,a stay-at home mum 4 now. N I find out dat in between caring 4 d baby and other home responsiblilties, I've really neglected my hair. I really nid 2 get it back in shape

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    Replies
    1. For your hairline, try to find the cause- tight ponytails or buns? Braids too tight or kept in for too long? A weave with tight cornrows? Bonding glue? Stop whatever it is and just let the area rest... you could try massaging with things that will encourage growth. Some people use JBCO, others use essential oils like peppermint or rosemary in a carrier oil like olive or coconut. Still others just shea butter. You may have to experiment a little bit.
      Also remember to moisturise and seal your hairline as you do the rest of your hair.

      It's not easy taking care of responsibilities and having time for hair. The only way is to keep your regimen as simple as possible and to become a master at multitasking.
      How about applying your deep conditioner on dry hair and keeping it on while you do chores, then washing it out as you take a shower.
      Maybe m&s just before bed or when the baby is asleep. It should take say, 10 minutes...5 as you become more proficient.
      Protective styles like braids and weaves are an advantage (if they're your thing) because you do not have to worry about daily styling, but remember to pay attention to your hairline and don't neglect your hair underneath. A good moisturising mix in a spray bottle should let you get away with moisturising every other day or every 3 days while wearing such a style.
      I've lots of respect for hard working mums. I really hope this helps!

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  2. Thanks so much for replying. I believe my damaged hairline may be due to always wearing tight ponytails. Thanks for all d suggestion. U are really a darling. I will try as much as possible to apply d suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely second that advice. Im also a new mum and my hairline broke due to postpartum shedding. I find that doing things like an overnight dc and rinsinf it out in the shower has helped. I also keep my hair in 2 cornrows throughout the week cause they are quick and easy. My hairline is recovering cause i dont put tension on it anymore and i rub jbco 3x a week.

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  3. you have beautiful Hair! your hair story is very interesting you are my hair crush!!!

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  4. No judgement! the best part of any hair story is that your hair was telling you something. you listed found what you want on the internet..Im so greatful for all kinds of blogs and post like this that you know there is a niche you way you want to do your hair.you can find hair friends to help you along even via the vast internet! good deal!

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