On Growth and Growing

When was the last time you set a goal for yourself and accomplished it? It’s an awesome feeling! One that I can’t say I get a lot. Consistency is not my strongest suit, so I felt like a true champion the day I realised I’d made it all the way to the end of the Kinky Curly Coily Me Summer Castor Oil Challenge!

For 12 weeks, I oiled my scalp with Castor Oil 3 times a week. I used Jamaican Black Castor Oil mostly, but when I ran out, I turned to cold pressed castor oil from a pharmacy.

The challenge is over and another 3 month challenge has started, which I did not sign up for. I’m a big fan of Castor Oil now, and it will definitely continue as one of my staple products. Thank you, Jenell! Today is the last day to sign up for the Fall Castor Oil Challenge. September-December, by the way. I encourage you to try! 🙂

Castor Oil totally deserves a separate post of its own (soon) but today, I’m just going to share my pictures.

In the beginning, I was skeptical.

May 2013

End of May 2013

Five weeks in, I took out my weave and I was amazed

July 2013

July 2013

No, can you people see the difference? From eyebrow to nose! Jaw to along the neck! Hayy! I became a believer at this point, I was so excited! All the time spent lifting weave to oil tracks was not spent in vain! In fact, that day in the bathroom, I found myself dancing like Flava, at 2:06 to be precise lol

7 weeks later… September 1. End of Challenge.

September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

Hmm, how many centimetres do you think I gained? I did gain something, right? I did expect a little more length than I observed at the end though, considering the growth/retention in the first 5 weeks. 😦 Oh well, we thank God! I’d run out of Castor, so at some point, I had to mix it with olive oil and eventually when that was spent, I got regular Castor that I couldn’t exactly vouch for, from a pharmacy. Maybe that’s why?

Aaaanyway. Length isn’t all I gained/retained in three months. My hair is darker, softer and somewhat thicker now 🙂

My hair was hidden away for most of the challenge, 11 weeks out of 12 actually, so I think it’s safe to say that Castor is the reason for the changes. I don’t wash my hair when it’s in a weave or braids, and I don’t deep condition. People do so, with success, but it’s one idea that just sounds so LONG to me. Maybe one day I’ll try it. I do moisturise though, with water in a spray bottle. I used to mix it with a leave-in but then, I figured that meant build up for me, and my hair has shown that she’s pretty fine with just water and oil when she is not being exposed to the elements.

Haha. Just look at me. Not too long ago, length was not on my mind at all. But since my first hairversary, I’ve become a little more length-conscious. I feel the occasional twinge of hair envy. I wonder- why is my own hair not growing? Am I doing all the right things? Etc etc

I do realise that my pace may vary from “my mates” lol, but the hair, she is growing. I have one unique head of hair balanced on this neck, and it is unfair and useless really, to compare her to any other.

My hair is very dense but my individual strands are for the most part, very very fine. I can see that the Castor has thickened em up some, but I’m not sure if the thickness is here to stay, and even if it were, they are nowhere thick enough to be called coarse. My fine strands are still very fragile and susceptible to breakage so I must always keep this in mind.

Last Wednesday, before my midweek co-wash, I undid my chunky twists so my hair was stretched. I looked at it and tried to hold it up this way or that. To be honest, I did not know what to do with it. Then I put conditioner in and watched my hair come down, watched the coils spring. After the wash, I had the shrunken twa again and to see it made me feel happy. Like, long time, no see! So I’m happy with my hair. I want it to grow (because length to me is indicative of healthy hair practices) but I also love my shrinkage. ❤

I’m just going to have to be patient and enjoy my journey on its own terms.

On a completely unrelated note, the scalp at the back of my head is a little tender, and when weighed down, the hair at the back tends to “fall”, unlike the other sections.

Alright.

I do feel a little vain sometimes, journaling about my hair. Like now. This isn’t ALL I’m about, I assure you. Gotta go.

Later loves,

AB

x

Hair Blues- Matting.

The 3LRChallenge is still on. Please tell me you still remember what this is. A 3-month long challenge towards a healthier body and healthier hair (more specifically, length retention) with a focus on 3 areas- nutrition, hair and exercise. The month of August is gone now, so if you haven’t been keeping up at all, don’t be discouraged, we’ve got September and October to be good! 😀

How have I been doing?

I haven’t been dedicated this far, I admit- my excuse remains the intensity of school work and exams. (yawn) It was all good in the beginning but after the first week or two, I slacked. Slacked? I let go. Life had to get in the way but now that all has been said and done, I’m ready to get back on. I will keep you posted on my efforts and progress from now on because as I said before, accountability is important in these challenges.

Protective styling is an important part of this challenge. The rules say Protective styles should be kept in for not less than 2 weeks and not more than 4. Are you wondering why? If you are, let me explain.

The whole point of Protective styling is to prevent you from manipulating your hair. This is particularly necessary for length retention because if your hair is in a low-manipulation style, there is little tension and little exposure and this translates to little breakage. If you’re going to see any improvement in the Length retention department, it only makes sense that your Protective style should be around long enough to matter.

How long is too long?
Three weeks seems ideal. A month looks just about right.

Putting your hair to rest does not mean that you should neglect it or totally forget it exists. When you have a Protective style in for a long time (esp when you’ve got extensions), from my experience, it is easier to get lazy and forget it.

Moisturising is actually more tedious for me when I have extensions in. Here’s my routine for moisturising with extensions in. I did moisturise at least 2 times a week sha. That much, I did.

MATTING IS REAL.
Here’s a photo of my hair one time, taken after a wash. I’d just taken out my kinky twists.

I don’t know if you can notice from this picture, but most of my hair did look like locs just ready to happen. Strands all clumped and meshed together, I had to do some MAJOR detangling. I’d only had the twists in for 2 weeks!

I took this photo in March or so, I made this observation, yet in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go for the long haul. I had kinky twists in for 7 weeks.

Technically, the twists were in for 4 weeks of the Challenge, so I wasn’t breaking any rules. I lawyered myself into matting and breakage.

Yeesh. From week 2, my hair started matting real bad. And breaking. I had to take out almost all the braids along my hairline to ensure that I still had a hairline. And a few at the back too. After I took the extensions out (Still talking about hairline area), I noticed that my hair was strongly meshed together.

Even with the help of some leave-in conditioner and careful finger detangling, I still lost a significant amount of hair. The twisting technique sef, was so teeeek. So tight that it got real tricky for a twist or two and I actually had to just cut them off, along with my hair.

Why didn’t I just take the damn thing off, you say?
1. No time. Really, I felt like 24 hours in a day was not enough.
2. I only returned to school with my spray bottle and bottle of JBCO. I had no conditioner, no leave-in, no comb, nothing.

Lessons learnt:
1. I will not again leave my protective style in for too long.
2. My hair matts easily in kinky twists.
3. I will not travel for a long period without the basics.

I go home tomorrow morning and I’m definitely taking the kinky twists out as soon as I’m home. I hope all the detangling doesn’t make me cry. 😥

Have you had a similar experience with your hair? Or anything else you knew not to do but you did anyway?

Till next time,

Love,

AB

x

The 3 Length Retention Challenge!

If you’re a hair growing girl of African origin, length retention is probably one of the things on your hair agenda. Especially if you’re a kinky curly. Every kink, every curl, every bend in the hair strand is a possible breaking point. Are you interested in experiencing less breakage and improving your length retention?

Yes? Join me on the 3 Length Retention Challenge hosted by two ladies who have been natural hair inspirations on the blog- Tega and Joke.

I’m going to outline the gist of the Challenge for you real quick.

How long is it?

3 months. August – October

What is the aim of the challenge?

To retain length with a focus on 3 areas– Exercise, Nutrition and Hair.

Why these other 2? Isn’t this about hair?

We cannot say this enough: a healthy body is foundation for healthy hair.

3LRC_requirements1

Okay. What do I have to do?

As a Participant in the challenge, you are required to:

  1. Drink at least 2 litres of water daily.
  2. Consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  3. Exercise 3 times a week, for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Write and stick to a hair regimen.
  5. Moisturise hair at least 2 times a week.
  6. Wear hair in a protective low manipulation style for at least 2 weeks and not more than 4 weeks at a time.

Participants are also encouraged to:

  1. Take a daily multivitamin.
  2. Send in a before and after picture of their hair length.

Accountability is important in these challenges. It’s inspiring to see how others are doing, and get the clarification and encouragement that you need.

Also, there will be a monthly giveaway and a grand prize at the end of the 3 Length Retention Challenge. *shakes shekere* #iKnowYouLoveFreeStuff!

So What Now?

Register for the challenge here.

For more information, please visit and keep up with: Social Hermit and Roots Don’t Lie.

Follow @3LRChallenge on Twitter and Instagram. Share your tips and your progress, with the hashtag #3LRChallenge.

In other news, my hair is in a really happy place! 😀 I’m still staying true to my commitment to the Castor Oil Challenge, and so far, so good! I’m seeing results and this has encouraged me to continue! Let me not say any more, I don’t want my hype to be premature. I’ll share my progress with you in pictures as soon as the Castor Oil challenge comes to a close at the end of August!

I’m going to be away for a bit guys. The life-blog scale has to tip heavily in favour of life right now. I’ll be back in September.

If you aren’t already, do follow the blog: follow on Bloglovin’ OR click to subscribe to get posts by email (there’s a widget for this on the right side if you’re viewing this page on a computer, or a widget at the bottom if you’re viewing the mobile version)  ^_^

Bye till September!

Love,

AB

xx