DIY Beauty: My Healthy Hair Journey

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Okay so that title is slightly misleading.  I don't actually have a DIY recipe for you all today.  Instead, I have a story about the beginning of my hair journey, which I have decided to share with you all!  This is mostly for my own documentation, but I figured I might as well put it out there for those who are interested in healthy hair as well!

WARNING:  This blog post is quite long.  I didn't start out intending it to be this way, but it happened.  If you are not interested, don't read!  This was written for the ladies and gents out there who are trying to grow out their hair the healthy way, and would like a little back story on my hair journey!

For those who are interested, I am Black and Indian (hailing from Guyana!), and therefore have "curly mixed girl hair".  I will spare you the rant about how I feel about being classified as mixed for another day.  You're welcome. :).

For most of my life, I wore my hair in braided hairstyles. My hair did not grow past armpit length for most of this period.  In 2007, I thought it would be a good idea to relax my hair at home, an idea that didn't really work out, as we didn't leave the relaxer in my hair for long enough, and as a result I ended up with "tex-laxed" hair.  Back to square one, and my braids/twists.

It was somewhere around this time that I discovered the "natural hair beauty community" on YouTube, and I religiously watched and followed several users with long Black hair.  This is where I probably picked up my subconscious protective styling tips, which I began to use without really thinking of it as protective styling.  This is also where I heard of "the big chop", and vowed never to do it myself.  Healthy hair without the major changes please!  I continued with my braids, and slowly grew out my relaxer.  If I remember correctly, I cut off the last of my relaxed ends at some point in 2009 or 2010.  I was happy to be relaxer free, but still wanted to have nice long flowing hair.

Finally I decided enough was enough, and I started flat-ironing my hair in 2009.  The flat iron I had was not very good at its job ... It didn't do a good job of flat ironing my hair.  The plus side to that is that I escaped with very minimal heat damage and some very voluminous hair.  I also did a lot of protective styling, although I more referred to it as "lazy hair".  My hair was in buns and french braids for most of the time, especially when I had classes early in the morning and not much time to get all dressed up.  Combine this with the fact that I was obsessed with the Organic Root Stimulator brand's Olive Oil Moisturizing Lotion, and you had ideal conditions for my hair to grow.

I only had one problem with breakage during this period, and that was around April/May of 2010.  Once I noticed this breakage, I started putting my hair up in buns almost every day to avoid the mess all over my clothing.  Again, protective styling without me really knowing what I was doing.  It did the job though, and my hair thrived (after I cut off the splitting ends).

Fast-forward to Valentine's Day, 2011.  I had decided that I would get "in the spirit" this year and get all dressed up for V-Day.  As I was curing my hair, it happened ... My flat iron gave out on me.  I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but I do know there was a *pop*, and a spark, and some smoke, and then my flat iron wasn't working anymore.  So off to the beauty store I went, this time to purchase a higher quality flat iron that wouldn't start an electrical fire in my house.

I still have the flat iron I bought back then!  It was a HAI brand ceramic flat iron ... special edition so it had some gothic design printed all over it.  It worked really well ... I was surprised at how well it flat ironed my hair!  My hair was sleek and smooth, and for the first time I noticed how long it really was!  Bad move on my part ... this is where the heat damage began.  Me being me, I flat ironed my hair to the point where it started breaking off, and though I didn't notice, I managed to lose several inches off of my ends.  Eventually I noticed, and started trimming my hair regularly.  Again, this stalled my hair growth, as I was cutting off hair as it grew.  I also noticed that the ceramic plating on my flat iron was wearing out, and it was therefore cutting my hair off as I flat ironed, and especially as I curled.  Damage everywhere!

In 2012, I decided to add hair dye to the mix, and began to colour my hair.  I have been pretty responsible with hair colour ... I have only coloured about six times, and have stretched my hair colour for up to four and a half months before retouching.  I have made one mistake, which you will read about later.  At this point, all you need to know is that I started colouring frequently in February of 2012, and this began to add to the damage.

In May/June of 2013 I finally decided that I needed to recover from the heat damage the HAI was causing, but instead of protective styling, I decided to buy a new flat iron.  Smart move, I know.  This time I invested over 120 dollars in a Babyliss ceramic flat iron.  (If I find the model, I will insert here!).  Though it made my hair look nice and shiny, it did not help with the overall health of my hair.  My hair continued to break off, and I continued to flat iron and deep condition on a weekly basis.

The final straw for my hair was the last time that I coloured my hair (December 7th, 2014).  I ended up with a colour I wasn't happy with, and tried in vain to wash it out with multiple shampoos.  Imagine the damage.  Two months after the botched dye job (which actually turned out really well as it faded), my hair has had enough, and is falling out.  I have noticed breakage at the back of my hair, which has drastically reduced the length of my hair.  My hair is always dry, and breaks extremely easily.

So this is where we're at today!  At the beginning of this month, I decided I needed to go on a healthy hair journey, and restore the health of my hair before it all falls out.  I still am against the idea of a "big chop", especially when I do not actually have as much heat damage as one would expect.  I am however for the idea of protective styling, and will be doing so religiously in order to restore the health of my hair.  I will be putting together a hair health plan for the next year, and will be posting updates on this blog as I go.

I hope that along the way, I am able to make some great friends who are willing to go on this journey with me!  And if not, at the very least, I can say that I have documented this for my own benefit, and I can look back in a year and see how far I have come :)

Since this post is so long, expect a follow up post with pictures (if you have made this far and are still interested in my journey).  I will probably also post a short summary of this post in the future, for people who are interested but don't want to read through an essay.

I have been using biotin, and thought it would be helpful for me to link my favourite products for you!  Check them out, and let me know what you think!

Until next time, cheers to healthy successful hair journeys! And thank you to those who have made it this far down the blog post!

xoxo, Jayy

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