Leaving Is The Hardest Thing To Do…

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“…but being left is harder, yes it’s true.”

Tell me about it. I have been left y’all. Or “jilted” as Nigerian newspapers like to say.

By the ones I thought had my back. The ones I thought were my ride-or-die. It’s a cold world, no snuggie. *sniff* Continue reading

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Healthy Hair Will Grow!

Natural Hair Collage

Source: Pinterest.com

Or not?

I came across this caption on pinterest. It was right underneath an image of stretched bum length 4c natural hair. Oh this was not my first time of coming across a version of this caption where full, long natural hair was the object for the ogling. In very recent times, I have become very fond of browsing through images of natural hair – my insta feed is proof. Of the hair images that I come across, I find that I am particularly drawn to the look-how-much-my-hair-has-grown-in-just-3-months cohort. Why? Perhaps because I cannot entirely relate. Which brings me to why I am here today.

There seems to be a widespread conviction that as long as your hair is healthy, it will continue to grow, grow, grow and grow, lengthwise especially. And so if your hair is not growing, say after 3 years of visible growth, then well you must be doing something wrong, right? I am here to say that I disagree strongly. And yes I have growing resentment for images of flourishing, enviable hair that preach the if-you-love-it-it-will-grow gospel.

Shall we bring in a little Biology into this matter? Sadie and Kanmi were born on the same day, in the same hour, of the same parents. Sadie and Kanmi have had the same meals, played in the same environments, and visited the same physicians since they were born. It is Sadie’s wedding in a few months and she is trying to convince her maid of honour, Kanmi, to wear smaller heeled shoes because “she is already giant adjacent”. Lol see the digression! But, stay with me. Do you see the picture I am trying to paint? Ok let’s go closer to home i.e. the topic we are discussing. We like Sadie and Kanmi already and so we shall stick with them. Now Sadie and Kanmi decided at the age of 18 to both go natural. Sadie and Kanmi walk into the babershop at the same moment and big chop simultaneously. Heck, like a rehearsed musical, both barbers switch off their equipment and dust off the girls en meme temps! Now because our favorite twins are so close, wash days, protective styles, every aspect of hair TLC happens together. Yet, at said wedding, Sadie’s puff can very well make up for the height difference between them, while Kanmi’s puff looks like she had her big chop 9 months before.

Do we see my point yet?

The equation is not as simple as if A, then B,  when C, D, E, and Z are fighting to have influence as well. One of my girls could not be more neglectful of her hair. Sometimes, I believe the only reason she makes the little effort she does into pampering it is because she is afraid to lose her length. She is the only person I know, personally, with back length relaxed hair. It is oh so beautiful. And then you have me, with my weekly and daily rituals; with regimens that have now become second nature, still struggling after 2 years of nurturing to create a decent puff. Yes, it is paining me. Do I think my hair is healthy? Honestly, I do. I really really do. I have found what works for me and I am being religious about it and I can see that my hair looks healthy. But is it growing? Hmmm. If it is, then it is growing in snail years cos I ain’t see nothing. Now, my hair right now is longer than it was when I was relaxed. However, I belong to the school that believes in peak length i.e. your hair length stops increasing after a certain length. If my genes missed out on the long hair juice when it was being shared, my keeping my hair healthy is not going to suddenly override that to give me back length hair a la pinterest girl. Yes, I’m still jealous of that picture.

I can keep ranting but I think that you get the point I am trying to get across. Do I get hair envy when I log onto social media and see these beautiful, full and high halos in my face? Oh yes, yes, I do. Am I still in the process of accepting that my hair will never look like my nazuri curls fro? I am! (Seriously, guys. I am internalizing my nazuri wig so much that I might pineapple it one night, satin bonnet it and go to bed with it like it is growing from my scalp!) But I am learning in this journey that it is the health of my kinky strands, the health of my scalp, the health of the cluster of dark cotton-like balls that crowns my head that matters the most. And I need to accept it and love it for what it is. I don’t believe that if you love it, it will always grow but I firmly believe that if you love it, it will definitely glow.

So beauts, what do you think? Are you a believer in the “healthy hair will grow” mantra? What has been your personal experience?

– MeeMee

xx. 

Kinky to Straight and Back

Two Sundays ago, I straightened my hair. Just like that, because I felt like it.

I had 8AM mass so I woke up at 5:30 to handle my bidness. It was already raining before I started at 6am, yet- like the stubborn grasshopper that I am, I committed to two hours of straightening, knowing that the slightest rain would most definitely revert all my hardwork. Commonsense eludes me sometimes.

So. The day before, I decided that Sunday would be the day I brought out my flat iron. I washed and deep conditioned my hair properly on Saturday, moisturised and sealed before chunky twisting my hair. I used the Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Blow Dry Cream as my heat protectant, and the instructions say to apply to damp hair. Later at night, I undid the chunky twists, put in the Blow Dry Cream and retwisted.

Safely straightening natural hair is one of the things I research every now and then. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen like 20 videos on the subject and read soooo many blog posts. Every girl has her own method, and because of the fear of heat damage, some straightening regimens I’ve seen can make you a little weak. Having applied my heat protectant on Saturday, all I did on Sunday morning was straighten. I didn’t blow dry first, I simply used a flat iron on still damp hair, that’s all.

Beloveds, I went to church late, and the two hours spent on my hair were not enough. The second hour was quite rushed.

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Heat… Heat… Heat Damage

Sigh.

Sigh.

I’m sorry, I just don’t know how to say this.

Okay. Remember that time I spontaneously straightened my hair? Well, yup. My beautiful coils got heat damaged.

How did I determine it was heat damage?

1. Smell.

By the morning after I straightened my hair, I could smell the burn. It smelled like someone had lit my hair on fire and it absolutely irritated me, the smell. When I finally decided to wet my hair in the shower, and the smell lingered on, I knew that I was screwed. Sigh.

2. Loss of coil elasticity.

The beauty of natural hair is how versatile it is. Shrinkage has to be the 8th wonder of the world. Usually, when straightened natural hair is wet, it ought to go back to its natural curl pattern. In addition, when the hair is pulled at by fingers, it ought to spring back and curl back in. Granted, my hair, after washing, was shrunken, however there were visible straight tips. Also, when I pulled at any part of the hair, it became straight and would refuse to spring back. Sigh.

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3. Loose curl pattern.

For me, this was the third indication. I twisted my hair one night in preparation for a twist out and my hair felt too fine and thin. I am not thick-haired, but the thinness that I felt was definitely strange. That was when I studied my coils in the mirror and yup, most of my coils were really loose. Sigh.

What to do? What to do?

I decided that I was going to restart the Maximum Hydration Method. Basically, the changes that follow heat damage all point to one thing – moisture.

Different people have tried different things that have worked in helping to deal with heat damage. Here a few examples:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.

Well, clarify. That’s the purpose of the rinse. Usually, when your hair is straight, more products go in and there is high build up by the time you are ready to revert to curly/coily hair. So cleansing and clarifying hair properly is highly necessary. However, in nurturing your hair back to life, it is advisable to do the ACV rinse every so often (say, weekly).

2. Protein Treatments.

One baggage that heat damage comes with is weak hair that tends to split a lot at the ends. I actually noticed that when my hair was straight and I combed through, there were broken strands of hair on the comb and the table as well. Ugh. A store-bought protein treatment (e.g Aphogee 2-minute reconstructor) or a DIY treatment will suffice. But be careful! Don’t overdo it with the protein now.

3. Deep Condition.

Ah yes. Deep condition! Deep condition!! Deep condition!!! Choose your favourite highly moisturising deep conditioner and use it regularly and freely.

4. Hot Oil Treatment.

The point of most of these is to retain as much moisture as you can. Your hair has been robbed of its natural oils and is basically dead. So you will need to overcompensate for a while until it gets back to being independent. Hot oil treatments help. I will also add that you try oil rinsing with your frequent washes.

6. Allow hair to be slightly damp more often.

You know how sometimes we like to do our favourite styles on dry hair? Yeah, you can’t anymore. At least not yet. Have a spritz bottle handy with a water/conditioner or water/oil mix handy to spritz your ends with. In the state of damage, they get dry really easily and this will help to train your hair to be more accepting of moisture.

7. Cut/Trim.

Shiver. They say this is the last resort. If all fails, you gon need to go to the scissors (or even the clipper! *screaaammm*). If your damage is horrendous, you will need a lot of patience. However, as  you treat your hair delicately, you will need to imitate a transitioner. What this means is that you will need to trim off the ends regularly until all of your hair is back to being the hair that you once knew. Sometimes, people take the plunge and do the big chop. I. Will. Not. Be. Doing. This. No no no. I mean I only have one year of growth but please, it is never that serious. I shall nurse this hair back to life.

How can you prevent heat damage?

1. Don’t do it too much!

Usually, heat damage affects naturals that abuse the straightening iron. However, as in my case, even doing it once without proper safeguards can destroy your hair. The number of passes the iron makes through your hair should not be multiple. Two passes, and move on please. I didn’t count mine, but I bet she made more than 5 passes. When you start to see and/or smell those fumes coming from your hair then you should be afraid and stop what you’re doing.

2. Heat protect

Always, always, always use a heat protectant serum with any form of heat, especially a flat iron. I have no idea what was used on my hair (which was a very stupid thing to do. Do not be like me.). I advice that if you will be going to the salon, take your product with you or at least trust what the salon has before proceeding. There are more and more straightening kits in the market now and while I am not sure about the post-straightening services that they offer, at least they have heat protectants that help prevent damage.

3. Healthy pre-straightening practices

This is just as important as using a heat protectant. Make sure your hair is clean and deep conditioned before the blow-drying portion of the straightening process.

Because of the weather and because I was overwhelmed by what was happening to my hair, I am now currently caring for my hair in Marley twists. I shall let you know how that goes when I take down to assess progress.

So, yes, I was stupid and I’m paying the price. Thankfully, heat damage is not irreversible. On a similar note, I came across the idea of heat training. Apparently, it is applying heat regularly to cause hair curl pattern to become looser. The idea is to have healthy hair but loose curls and texture. It has been argued that heat training is not heat damage as it does not come with the dryness and brittleness of heat damaged hair. What are your thoughts on this? Have you had heat damage? How did you rescue the situation

Remember, we’re having a Big Fat Giveaway because we love you guys! 11 days left to enter, so do it!

Be smart with your choices this week.

– Mee Mee

❤ 

Maximum Hydration Method: My Experience so Far

Hey beauts!

I had so many ideas for how to present this post to you. They excited me, these ideas. I was going to show you every day, with pictures, how my curls were evidently approaching maximum hydration. I was going to give you pictures to ooh and aah over of how day 1 hair was way different from day 5 hair.

But…

There was no difference. I’ll let you have a quick look before I go off on a rant.

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Day 1

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Day 3

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Day 7

There you go!

In case you missed it, there is a post on the Maximum hydration method (MHM) here.

How did I go about my MHM?

I began with the Cherry Lola Caramel treatment.

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The best way I can describe my hair after this treatment is that it felt stripped of everything. The smell of the aminos was very overpowering in the mix. At a certain point during the treatment, I began to smell ammonia coming from my hair. Ugh.

Mistake Numer Uno:

Apparently, on day 1, after the Cherry Lola Caramel (CLC) treatment, the ACV or Baking Soda rinse should NOT be done. Somehow, I skipped this part of the instructions and after my CLC treatment, I did an ACV rinse. In hair science, what I ended up doing was opening up my hair cuticles with the CLC treatment in readiness for moisture and then closing it straight back up with the ACV rinse. Bad bad bad.

After the ACV rinse, which I kept on for about 30 minutes, I co-washed with Tresemme naturals nourishing moisture conditioner. This was my first time of using this conditioner and I have to say that I quite like it. Product review in the future? I then DC’d overnight with this conditioner as well.

Now, I have a feeling that perhaps I was wrong for DC-ing with just a conditioner and not a product created specifically for use as a deep conditioner? What do you guys think?

The DC option I opted for was the overnight option. So basically, I began each day of my MHM treatment at night, close to bed time.

Come morning, I would rinse out the deep conditioning treatment and then do a bentonite clay rinse for 15minutes. From day 1 – 5, I did the clay rinse for 15 minutes. On days 6 and 7, desperate for results, I did clay rinse for up to an hour.

After rinsing out the clay, I sprayed my damp hair with a mixture of Tresemme naturals nourishing conditioner and water. I then finished with ecostyler gel.

As explained in the MHM post done previously by AB, there are certain approved products for use in the MHM treatment. I admit, before commencing on this journey, I did not do an extensive homework. I made a number of assumptions, one of which was that Ecostyler gel was definitely on the list of acceptable gels. Afterall, most people swear by Ecostyler. But alas, I was wrong.

Another assumption I made was that by day 7, my hair was definitely going to look like the ‘after’ pictures I had been seeing around hair blogosphere. Wrong! I won’t even lie, it kinda hurt. Mainly because I religiously went about this treatment, excited for results.

Will I say this was a total waste of my time and resources?

No no no. Infact, I have made a decision to stick to the MHM treatment. Why? I got results that were not physical.

– My hair felt softer each day, without any products in it.

– I experienced very minimal or no breakage. By day 2, I stopped seeing loose curls lying all over the bath tub after my hair wash.

– My hair also felt stronger.

– My dry twist outs were super-defined, without any products. This was the result that amazed me the most. Unfortunately, I have no pictures because I am yet to learn how to wear a twist out so I end up destroying it after careful unravelling.

For these reasons, I would definitely recommend the MHM treatment. AB asked me a few days ago how keen I was on ‘finding my curl definition’. I believe my reply was something like “2 out of 10”. I am happy with the way my hair looks at the moment. I was just fascinated by the results this method produced for other women. I shall continue the MHM treatment and if anything changes, I will definitely report back to you and let you know how I may have altered the regimen.

This is is from me for now.

I hope the new week was off to a brilliant start.

Be good to your hair!

– Mee Mee

xx.