“Hair brings one’s self-image into focus; it is vanity’s proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.” ~Shana Alexander
Isn’t the internet wonderful?! Almost a year ago I wrote a post about The Life of My Hair. At the time my hair was as pictured above. While a lot of people are into taking selfies of their faces, lately, I am always taking selfies of my hair lol. I have almost perfected the art of stretching my arm out behind me to snap a photo :D.
Anyway, last year I decided to stop cutting my relaxed hair regularly and to grow it instead but I knew nothing about relaxed hair. Having worn my hair natural most of my life I had no idea what I was doing and 3 months in I can safely say that things were not going according to plan at all. My hair seemed a little too thin and unhealthy for my tastes and it looked like this:
You don’t need to be a hair guru to see that I needed help with my mane at this stage. So I turned to the internet. This is possibly the best hair decision I have ever made. There are hundreds of hair care blogs for black girls on the internet. Whatever your hair care needs, there is a blog out there for you. There are the naturalistas rocking their afros in ways I wish I had known about in my natural hair years. The knowledge people have amassed about how to take care of natural hair over the last few years is amazing. Because I was undecided about whether to go natural or to keep my relaxed hair, I also found blogs on texlaxing hair (intentionally under-processing hair with relaxer). This is aimed at those who do not want to be either natural or relaxed. The idea is that it is more healthy for your hair than relaxing bone straight and it is easier to handle than full natural texture. There are also plenty relaxed hair blogs for those who want to go that route.
The result of my slog through all these blogs is that I worked out what I was doing wrong and what my hair needed and still needs in order to flourish. I learnt about stretching relaxers, texlaxing, sulphate free shampoo, protective styling, forfeiting heat as much as possible, moisture v protein based treatments, flexirods, castor oil, natural oils, wide tooth combs, avoiding mineral oil and petrolatum based products. I am just grazing the surface of what I learnt here. Armed with this knowledge, I attempted to grow my hair again and 8 months later, in April 2014, this is where I found myself:
My hair hasn’t been re-touched since September 2013 because I am still undecided about whether or not to relax or to transition to tex-laxed or natural hair. In the picture above it is just straightened. I am not sure what my length goals are either. For now, I am just happy to have a healthy head of hair.
I have to ask again…isn’t the internet wonderful? Although my hair isn’t particularly long, I am amazed at the progress I have made health and volume wise in just a few short months. I actually feel like I have a full head of hair instead of just hair. My hair is currently plaited in a protective style so it will be another month or two before I can see where I am now but so far I am well pleased. I am also grateful to all the hair bloggers who have chosen to share their knowledge of our hair in a healthy way. The extremists who believe in natural hair or nothing and who advocate for breaking up with husbands who don’t support natural hair scare me a little.
The ability to share knowledge is just one of the many reasons I love the internet and this has taught me that if you seek knowledge (patiently), you will find it and make it work for you. Sometimes a girl needs to accept that she doesn’t know enough about something and turn to those who do. You still need to sift through the useless pfaff to get to the good stuff but it’s totally worth it.