All posts by Petra Akinsola

6-month length retention challenge

Challenges when it comes to our hair is a funny one! It is basically to do with setting ourselves strict boundaries and rules to follow for a period of time in order to reach a certain goal. But you wonder why would we need to do this for our hair?

For many of us, when it comes to our natural hair, the issue is that we are doing too much, or too little in some cases. Funny enough, when it comes to the health of our teeth, we know the routine to follow to ensure that we have pearly white smiles and when we need to go for check-ups etc. When it comes to our skin, we know the routine to follow to ensure that we are clean and moisturised regularly. But when it comes to our natural hair, we tend to stray from our routines and for some, we don’t even have a set routine that we can say confidently that we have been following for a number of years. And by a set routine, I mean a set of simple instructions that we do to our hair each time and continue to repeat.

For me at least, I have strayed away from a set routine more times than I can count. I seem to always be on a hunt for better, but I am genuinely reaching roadblocks and getting nowhere. I find myself starting back at square one quite a lot.

So this challenge that I have set myself is to simply follow a set of rules for a prolonged period of time in order to see the positive results I have been looking for.

The challenge:

  • Wear my hair in twists for at least 5/7 days of the week – current style of choice mini twists (I aim to wear these twists for 3-4 weeks and ensure I moisturise my hair as and when needed)
  • Wash and condition my hair as and when needed (For this challenge, I am willing to stray from the routine of washing my hair once a week and instead follow what my hair needs. How do I determine this? – is my hair dry and not taking in added moisture? Is my scalp flaky or my hair dirty?)
  • Moisturise my hair as and when needed – paying attention to signs – does the ends of my hair look or feel dry? Is there a dull look to my hair? are my ends breaking off more than usual?
  • Protect my hair at night with either a satin/silk scarf, bonnet or pillow
  • Massage my scalp gently on a regular schedule – 3x a week to daily for 3-5 minutes
  • Do not measure my hair until the end of the challenge

And that’s it. Nothing complicated. I genuinely do not want things to be complicated. I want it to be easy enough to follow.

I know that my hair has been growing steadily, the issue comes when the hair routine that works is being changed for something else..well..just because. This is when I find I might be introducing breakage as I have now reached a stage where I am either overmanipulating my hair or causing excess breakage. The length of my hair starts to take a hit and I may either need to trim my hair more often than I’d want, or I will notice that it seems my hair length progress has reached a plateau.

With the above 6-month challenge, my biggest challenge will be sticking to it. If I can do this and ensure I am not overmanipulating my hair in the process. I am sure I will reach my goal of retaining at least 3 inches of hair by the end of the 6 month period.

Challenge start date – Monday 28th March 2022

Challenge end date – Wednesday 28th September 2022

Average starting length – 7″ and CBL from the nape

Goal length by end of the challenge – 10″ and APL from the nape

Please feel free to join the challenge as and when you are willing to commit!

Hair and consistency

I have been pondering on this of late. Why is it that most black women are not consistent when it comes to their hair? It seems that other cultures tend to accept how their hair grows out of their scalp and can basically wear the same style for years upon years. Other cultures do not seem to have a problem growing out their hair, and we all know by now that all hair grows. On average hair grows at about 1/2″ a month whether you are black, white, Asian or any other culture for that matter. Of course, some people’s hair may grow slower or faster but this is based on genetics.

Now with other cultures, other than black, they tend to know exactly how to wash and condition their hair, how to dry and detangle their hair and how to wear their hair on a daily basis. It might be that they choose to wear it out and down for the most part and on special occasions change things up. Or maybe occasionally it is in a bun or ponytail. But let’s be real, they know exactly how to handle their hair for the most part (unless they are damaging it severely with heat styling or colour in which they know what the actual issue is and how to handle it). And if they were to have a bad haircut, they know it just will be a matter of time before their hair grows back. It’s basically predictable.

But when it comes to us black girls, we tend to change things up with our hair so regularly that when I wrote a list of the styles I have done to my hair in the past, I was pretty shocked! I have put my head of hair through so much it’s unbelievable! Now I know that our hair is versatile and we can do so much to our hair, and lots of us like to use our hair as a form of expression. But could this be the reason why lots of us cannot get our hair to retain length? Could this be why so many of us suffer from breakage and damaged hair a lot of the time?

I have been pondering on this because it has been a very long time since I have been trying to grow my hair long. It was 15 years ago when I went natural and I told myself that I will like to grow my hair to bra strap length. I never did get there. And now here we are, 15 years later and I have changed my goal to waist length. Yes, optimistic I know, especially considering that I did not get to grow my hair to my initial goal of bra strap length. But I am optimistic and I believe one day I will grow my hair to waist length and even beyond!

So, through the years I have of course had a lot of setbacks and have had to start again on my hair growth journey a few times. Even as recent as last year. It was November 2021 when I went to get the damage chopped off. It was the best decision for my hair. The longest I had ever grown my hair is to below shoulder blade length (BSB) but my hair was definitely not at its healthiest then. Anyway, after my chop in November 2021, I was back at neck length. My hair was short again and could not even fit into one hair band talk less of a bun. And so the journey continues. Now I am here just over 4 months after what I hope is my final set back, and I am proud to say my hair has been growing in steadily and I have been retaining a good amount of length. I am now at collar bone length (CBL) if stretched at the back.

I truly believe that in the black community, we do way too much with our hair. I think there is no argument with this point. We continue to chop and change our routines, our hair styles, whether we are going to wear extensions or a braid out, wash and go, or have it straightened or in a Bantu knots, relaxed or maybe this time we will wear weaves. It’s just too much! I don’t see how our hair can thrive if we keep changing things up!

It was just this week I told myself I am going to give myself a 6-month hair challenge because I suddenly got the itch to change things up and I knew it was not going to serve me or my hair! It got to the point where 2 weeks ago I wanted to experiment with wash and go styles and that same week, I found myself straying from my hair wash routine of once a week, to washing my hair every other day to keep up with my wash and go maintenance! Let’s just say things did not turn out well for me and I thought I was going to have to chop off a bunch of my hair yet again! Thank God that all I needed was a thorough trim after that week. That week I literally washed my hair 4 times! I knew it was time for a challenge. I am not about to have another setback, this time I am certain I will reach my goals.

So of course, I pondered on it and thought, why is it so hard to just be content with my hairstyle of choice and keep things consistent. Surely, with a consistent style choice, there will be no confusion and I will keep up a healthy regimen to allow for my hair to grow and thrive with minimal breakage. And this is what I aim to do.

Just to point something out, last year in August, I decided I was going to stay away from wearing extensions until at least the end of the year. I had had enough with the damage that was caused by wearing extensions. I literally had thinning hair, and breakage and the icing on the cake was that I had a very noticeable bald spot in the middle of my head, which I am still recovering from now. I am proud to say that up until now, I have not worn any form of extensions in my hair. Oh, I almost cracked a few times but my husband thankfully talked me out of it (he loves my natural hair and has tried to get me to care for it properly by looking after it without the need for extensions). So here I am, 8 months later, and I can say I am recovering from the need to wear extensions. Side note – there was a whole movement where black girls were going natural and staying away from the ‘creamy crack’, but I think a new movement of staying away from wearing extensions and simply accepting the hair that was created just for us, is necessary!

Anyway, back to what I was saying about consistency. For the next 6 months, I have decided that boredom is what I need. My hair should not be what I use to experiment with. That is, if I want my hair to grow long anyway! I do not need to chop and change things up, or just see what my hair will look like in this style or that style, or focus on other people’s hair journey’s and try to imitate what they are doing. I simply need to choose a style that I like on me, with my own hair, and simply stick to it for a long enough time. My hair does and will grow, with consistency it will continue to retain length. I have even decided that washing it and moisturising it, will be based on my hair’s schedule, not on what other people says I need to be doing. I do not necessarily need to choose a day out of the week to wash my hair and stick to a rigid ‘regimen’. I can simply get to know my hair, feel my hair, is it dry? does it need extra moisure? If it does, I give my hair the extra moisture that it needs. If I notice that my hair has reached a point where it can no longer except extra moisture, and I know that with my hair this happens and this is because my strand is full of too much product with no extra space to take in more moisture, and in that case, I will simply wash my hair and remove the excess buildup. And it should be as simple as that! I pretty much guarantee that by the end of my 6 months challenge, I will have retained the length I want, and that is at least another 3 inches meaning I will go from my current length of CBL to APL (Arm pit length). And at that point, the journey continues and I simply repeat until I reach my goal of 20″. In theory this should take me 2.5 years taking account of extra trims throughout the year.

So yes, I have already calculated this, it is not rocket science. We as a black race, are just doing too much. We need to choose 1 style and stick to it.

My style of choice? Mini twists. I actually have in my hair now, mini twists with a twist. I had mini twisted the back half of my hair and flat twisted the front into 4 large mini twists. It turned out that I like the style. So, i’m either going to wear my hair just like that for 6 months – of course re-doing my hair when needed, or I will have my whole hair in mini twists. And that’s it! The rest is a waiting game.

Stay tuned for more content on this topic and subscribe to follow me on my journey.

Hair growth series 2022!

I have now been on my natural hair growth journey for 15 years! During my 15 years on this journey, I have chopped and changed a lot! I have gone through a silly amount of setbacks, I have been there and done it when it comes to experimenting with styles. I have had to cut my hair several times, I have changed my routine several times and I have lived and learned when it comes to sticking to a plan. I am proud to say that I am on a new journey. This journey is simply about consistency and keeping things simple. It has been a while since I have posted on here, but I am back! I am back to post my journey. The truth is, I love to write about my hair care practices and I haven’t stopped writing! I just haven’t written on here, but again I am back! If this site can be informative for anyone that will be a bonus, other than that, I am simply writing my thoughts about my hair on a different platform than just MS word and I can at least have the hopes that I can help a few people out. I really hope you enjoy the content.

I shall not be defined by others!

I shall not be defined by the opinions of others!
I can’t believe this has become apparent to me, at my age!  Wow life really is special and there is so much to learn. I had to pray for patience today because I found that this obsession with long hair has become a night mare.  I have been looking into different methods,  watching you tube constantly,  taking so much time to research about hair growth – which by the way is a natural occurrence in life. One of God’s many blessings!  I found that this obsession must be down to my lack of faith and God has a way of showing you when he is in control. 
Funny enough my hair is growing and has grown since my short cut back in June 2014. But some how it’s not good enough for me. I have to while away the time and I absolutely cannot stand the thought of waiting for my hair to start touching my back.  Hold on…wait a minute. Why?  Why do I want that so badly?  There has to be a reason! Aha! I know!  I need to prove a point. The point that my hair can actually grow long.  But does that mean I must spend countless hours researching about something that is a natural process of life? Does that mean I must feel ‘ugly’ with my current length and because of that I must have long flowing hair to feel beautiful?  How stupid can one person be? Why am I wasting my time trying to prove others wrong or worse, trying to mould in to their definition of beauty? It’s embarrassing the time we invest trying to please others, or even trying to prove a point. Because that is wasting too much of my valuable time. How can I look at people and wonder why my hair doesn’t do what there’s does?  I’m literally brain washed by the society’s perception of beauty. Not any more. I’ve chosen to break the shackles off my feet and hands and be free. Free to be me! To be the person God created me to be. And that means doing me without having to worry about the opinions of others, as that is exactly what it is, an opinion. I can’t live my life fully focusing on trying to get something right according to another person. Shame on me.
From now on, I will care for myself the way I see fit, not according to what this person or that person says.
I will have the patience to wait for my hair to reach new lengths, it’s not by measuring it every minute or watching other people’s progress, all I’m displaying there is doubt and fear.
I’m going to let God take control and allow me to shine like the star he made me. God made no mistakes with me, neither with you! If we were supposed to look the same, there will be no diversity. No colour, we will all simply be like drones…followers. But we’re not. We have many different shapes and sizes, many complexions, hair types, skin types, creativity and the list goes on. So the idea is..stop wasting time trying to ‘prove a point’. Have patience and faith and it will all be evident in due time.

Water only washing update

This post is about my experience with the water only hair wash regimen I did.
So I reached 8 days of only washing my hair with water.  During doing this routine, I noticed the benefits by day 4. I rinsed my hair with water every morning in the shower and massaged my scalp daily to encourage my natural oils to come through. At day 4 my natural oils (sebum) had coated all of my strands from root to tip. From then on when I would wash, my hair felt as though it was protected and it felt moisturised at the same time. It definitely was amazing. When my hair would dry, it felt a little moisturised but didn’t exactly look the way I wanted it to. It seemed like it was lacking curl definition and this was due to the fact that not enough moisture was built inside the strands and it may have taken a while for this to happen. The reason why I stopped was because I began to have issues with having too much sebum. This caused me to have a white coating on my hair when it dried, which looked like I had poured powder on my hair. I did research to try to figure out what to do about it and it was either I use a natural homemade cleanser or I use a boar bristle brush to brush out the excess sebum. Firstly I felt that using a natural cleanser defeats the purpose of me doing a water only wash. If I was to do it, I’d rather go hard or go home! And in regards to the boar bristle brush,  I tried it, but it was too harsh on my fine strands and was causing the ends of my hair to break off. So this is what caused me to end this journey as I wasn’t sure when or if the situation was going to correct itself in the future and I wasn’t enjoying how my hair was looking.
Did I regret doing it?
No way! In fact I am so thankful I did it because it is as though I did a hair detox,  in fact that’s exactly what it was. My hair did an 8 day water only fast and it loves me for it! As soon as I cleansed my hair with my Dr bronner’s castile soap then deep conditioned with my kinky curly knot today conditioner, my hair was the softest I think it has ever felt. I then rinsed out and applied only shea butter to my hair before twisting and the next morning, my hair was amazingly soft, shiny and smooth. It’s been 3 days since I washed my hair and my hair has never felt better. It still feels buttery soft and moisturised and this is without adding any extra water or product. I definitely attribute the way my hair is now to the 8 days of water only washing I did. I think it gave me the chance to reset my hair and allow my natural oils to moisturise my hair from root to tip. I definitely believe that if anyone is having problems with dryness, brittle hair, breakage, hair not absorbing moisture and all other hair problems that you can think of, you should give water only washing a go. It not only helps to strengthen your hair from the inside by getting your natural oils to do the work for you. It allows you to start from a clean and natural palette. Your sebum simply creates a protective layer to your hair and it’s more ready to withstand manipulation. I’m telling you, I have never felt my hair feeling so soft in the many years that I’ve been natural.
Now if you were to attempt water only washing until you have reached full sebum coverage (this will be based on the length of your hair and how quickly you produce your own natural oils, you will know as when you are washing with water, the hair will eventually feel moisturised from root to tip. This could be anywhere from about 4 days – 3 weeks and it’s best to have two strand twists in for kinkier hair so that it’s easier for the sebum to travel down to the tips) it’s best to use a natural cleanser so as not to completely remove the sebum that was built on the hair. I used Dr bronner’s castile soap diluted and my hair was extremely soft.  You may want to use a homemade natural cleanser but I couldn’t make a suggestion since I haven’t tried anything else since doing the water only washing routine.
Let me know if you plan on trying it by leaving a comment.

Day 6 of water only washing

Today I feel very proud of myself for sticking to this water only washing method and putting absolutely nothing on my hair except water. My hair now has total sebum coverage and feels extremely moisturised while I am rinsing it in the mornings.  I decided to put my hair in twists until I reached total sebum coverage but what I dislike is how messy my hair looks due to the constant massaging under water in the mornings, also it could be because of the colour of my hair but it has a dry appearance (my hair is like a dirty brown colour). I am hoping that in time my sebum will come in a little more and it will have a more moisturised and shiny look to it which alot of people mention happened to theirs. On the weekend I will be wearing a twist out and I’m keen on seeing the difference between maintenance while my hair is loose and while it is protected.  I’m sure it’s much easier while in twists but since my hair is moisturised then it shouldn’t be too hard to detangle in the shower.
I am aware that quite frequent rinsing is needed to maintain water only washing as rinsing is what helps to distribute the natural oils down the hair shaft but I will definitely be working towards less frequent washing in time as I do not want to manipulate my hair too much and cause any damage. I will be working towards rinsing twice or three times a week eventually but I will go by how my hair is responding.
I have read quite a lot of people mentioning using substitute oils and butters to add to the ends of their hair but I don’t think I would like to do this as to me, although it is natural, it leads to build up and this is why I feel alot of people mention having to clarify with some sort of natural product. I will see how I go with water washing only for as long as I can but I will surely update on my experience.
The problems I can see ahead are that I will miss adding product to my hair (but then again I won’t miss spending money on it!) I will also miss browsing through aisles to see what the next product craze is. Another thing I know I will do is look at other youtubers for example and notice all the products they add on their hair and possibly feel like I’m missing out ūüôĀ but one thing I need to remember is this is my hair journey and if what I am doing is working for me, who cares what others are doing. My goal is too reach armpit length by the end of the year and although it seems like I’m a long way from that goal, it’s not impossible and I might just post some pictures of my achievement. ..watch this space!

Water only hair washing

Of late I have been switching up my regimen quite frequently.  After I cut my hair I was doing the same routine of washing my hair once a week with shampoo and conditioner then moisturising and sealing before twisting in medium sections ready for a twist out. This was working ok for me but it was just that…Ok. I always had issues with dryness by day 2 or 3 and my hair will not be manageable or flexible at all. It might have felt very dry and stayed in the same position I left it in or feel really oily and still stay in the same position. It also looked very limp when left out which meant after the initial day 1 hair the rest of the days were ok or left in a protective style until wash day.
I decided to do some research shortly after my hair cut and 3 months later I decided to begin doing the curly girl method. This did not work for me and whilst on that journey I discovered that I had low porosity hair! This explained the problems I was having with moisture.  My hair was not receiving enough moisture  and this is why it was always stiff and dry and products will simply sit on my hair which is why it felt oily. A short while later, I discovered the max hydration method.  This was designed for low porosity hair and the idea was to gently open up the hairs cuticles so that it was ready for moisture absorption then closing them again. This appeared to be working well for me and I had good curl definition to prove it but the issue was the amount of manipulation on my fine strands. This method required alot of time and very frequent hands on manipulation for up keep.  Not long after I started noticing very bad ends (and this is after a short hair cut!) I had knots, feathered splitting on my ends and even mid shaft hair splitting which was quite depressing considering the amount of time and effort that was put into my hair.
I decided that enough was enough and I wasn’t going to go by all of the things we are not supposed to do to our hair. I was going to do what I thought was best for my hair. So I decided that I will try Dr bronner’s castile soap to wash my hair, after all it is a natural soap with a higher PH than my hair therefore it will encourage my cuticles to raise then the water will moisturise the hair before I close my cuticles with an ACV and water mix. I would then define my curls with a gel skipping conditioner.  After doing this a few times, I noticed that it had the same effect as doing the MHM as in my curls were defined but when my hair was dry it was very dry. In other words my hair couldn’t cope without the product giving it a moistened feel.
I always knew there was such thing as water washing but have never thought to give it a try until now. I wanted to know how people who washed with only water had moisturised hair. Did they apply a certain product after water washing? What were the secrets? So I decided to do my research. ..

The water only washing method:
So the method is exactly what it says. You wash your hair with water. No shampoo, no conditioner and no additional products (apart from natural oils or butters while waiting to get total sebum coverage and that is optional).
So we all know that we all produce our own natural oil from our sebaceous glands in our scalp. These oils are known as sebum and they moisturise our scalp and hair. People who have naturally straight hair notice the oils more than those with kinky hair as those with straight hair produce it quite rapidly and it is easier to travel down straight strands making it more noticeable after about 2 days of not washing straight hair. Those with kinky/ curly hair do not tend to notice these oils as our hair is naturally quite dry and because of all the kinks and waves, it takes a while for the oil to travel down our strands.
With water only washing the purpose is for the oils that we produce naturally to wash and condition our hair. That’s it. No other products are needed. With massaging you can encourage the oils to come through and with scritching (a light scratching of the scalp with the pads of the fingers) the oil can be gently cleaned to make way for the new growing hairs and lastly preening which is using your fingers or a brush to smooth the oils from the roots to the ends of the hair ensuring that each strand has the natural moisturising agent, sebum, from root to tip.
The amount of times that the hair is washed with water varies from individual to individual based on their hair type and level of sebum coverage on the hair. Those with straighter hair that is more prone to being oily will work towards washing less frequently once the oils being produced become balanced. Those with kinkier types are advised to wash more regularly especially at the beginning so that the oils can be produced more rapidly with the massaging and the use of warm water to distribute the oils.

Getting started:

As I have kinky hair, my hair is naturally dry and through all of the processes I have done,  my natural moisture has been completely stripped. Therefore, for the next few weeks I will have to battle dryness while my natural oils begin coming through.
I have decided to twist my hair in small to medium twists and leave them in while my hair gets used to not getting any additional product and produces it’s own oil.
I will be massaging my scalp daily and water washing daily until I have full sebum coverage, which I am hoping will take no more than 3 weeks.
I am choosing not to use any additional oils or butters for moisture as I genuinely can’t wait to see my own oils do the conditioning for me and I don’t want to feel cheated by using substitutes. 
I will keep my twists pinned up so even if the ends are dry,  it wouldn’t be manipulated and hopefully this will result in no breakage.
I will be brushing my hair with a soft bristle brush from root to tip to encourage my sebum to be moved along the hair shaft to the tips
After I have full coverage I will experiment with styles.
Some people have said it is necessary to clarify every once in a while to get rid of sebum build up which apparently is very sticky and waxy and also has a grayish appearance on kinky hair when it is overloaded.  I will see how my hair reacts and note whether I will need to clarify after I have brushed my hair to remove excess. If I can I will stick to just water and nothing else to clarify but if need be I will try oil cleansing as my next resort.
So far I am on day 2 of water only washing and my hair is dry, which is expected. It feels quite moisturised while i rinse my hair and while wet but completely stripped of product once dry. I am excited to see how this will work for me. I have every belief that it will as this is as natural as you can get and I know God created me without additional products to put on my hair, yes he created natural oils and butters too but he also made me to be so beautiful that I can produce my own hair conditioning oils! Why not use what God gave me. I am already experimenting with water only face washing and body washing and who knows, there may not be a need for oiling my skin afterwards as my skin will produce it’s own oils eventually. Okay maybe I won’t go that far lol. But I really can’t wait to update. Yes I will be going through some weeks and possibly months of dry hair days but I’m hoping that the patience will be well worth it.
There is plenty of information online about water only hair washing and if you are willing to give it a try.  Have a look and take the plunge. There’s no harm in trying right?

Hair challenge and regimen

I have been researching a lot about the benefits of Castor oil of recent and I’ve seen some impressing results with using this oil.
Castor oil is a natural oil that derives from a plant.
Castor oil has many benefits for the body, skin and hair amongst more. Some of the benefits for hair include:

– Promotes hair growth
– Thickens hair
– Darkens hair
– Thickens eye brows and eye lashes

I have decided to incorporate using castor oil in my regimen to receive some of the above benefits, therefore I am setting myself a challenge. I will start off with a 3 month challenge and extend it if I see great results! Please comment if you will like to join me on my challenge to grow healthier, longer hair.

The challenge rules:
– Apply castor oil to scalp at least 3x a week (I am planning to apply it every other day)
– Massage the oil in to scalp for 1 – 5 minutes (massaging will increase blood flow and help aid in faster hair growth)
– The night before washing and conditioning hair, apply castor oil to scalp and hair, wear a steam cap to bed (I aim to do this at least 1x a week as an added deep condition step)

Note: You may want to mix your castor oil with a carrier oil e.g. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil etc. This is fine and will help to lighten the otherwise thick consistency but make sure you have at least 50% castor oil in the mixture.

You do not have to wash your hair every time you apply the castor oil, you can simply apply a small amount to the scalp and wait until your wash day, since I am following the curly girl routine, I plan on co-washing my hair at least 3x a week but if you will like to stick to 1x a week then it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter if you use shampoo or conditioner for your wash, as long as you moisturise with a good conditioner after you shampoo.

Challenge start date: 12/02/2015
Challenge end date: 12/05/2015

My regimen:
Day 1
1. Put hair in 4 sections then Clarify my hair with either baking soda and water mixture (2tbs baking soda to 2 cups of warm water) for 2-7 minutes or Apple cider vinegar mixed with water (1:1) for 30-60 minutes then rinse out
2. Apply kinky curly knot today in the 4 sections and finger detangle before steaming or deep conditioning over night
3. Apply bentonite clay mixed with water and leave for 10-15 minutes before rinsing
4. Apply kinky curly knot today (watered down or on sopping wet hair)
5. Apply kinky curly curling custard to define my curls

Day 2 and 3
1. Rinse hair with water then put hair in 4 sections
2. Apply kinky curly knot today
3. Squeeze out excess conditioner (for low porosity hair)
4. Apply kinky curly curling custard to define my curls (wet hair if hair begins to dry before this step)

At night: Apply castor oil to scalp every other day and all over hair before day 1 wash

Update: 18/02/15
I’ve noticed that my hair has not been responding well when product has been applied and products are starting to sit on my hair much more than before (when I was doing the maximum hydration method). At first I just thought that I will do the full MHM method once a week and cowash in between but my hair is definitely looking more dry and losing alot of moisture. Therefore I have decided to go back to square 1 and do the 7 day maximum hydration method full regimen. I’m hoping I’ll be able to gain moisture again in my strands and after the 7 days I will hopefully be able to do it less often – at first every 1-3 days and in time every 3-5 days (when I have reached max hydration on all strands of hair). The max hydration method is the day 1 routine above and I will be doing this as this is what helped my hair receive much more moisture than I used to get before knowing about it. This time I’m hoping to be more consistent with it before adapting the routine to make it a little less time consuming which is the whole reason why I stopped doing it often enough. Additionally I have noticed that my hair does not like coconut oil and glycerin as it causes my hair to appear dry. An update will be made after 3 months to show my progress

My hair journey 2015

I have been natural now for 8 good years! Wow. I must say, it has been a very long journey! I have been on a growth journey ever since and the longest my hair ever got to natural was collar bone length (and that was just at the back!) I noticed that although I had some length to put my hair in to a hair band and other styles,¬†I didn’t like how my hair looked out. ¬†Additionally I couldn’t quite get the moisture right, my ends will always break in the shower and I will always notice that by day 2 my hair felt dry and matted. It was very difficult to style my hair on day 2 and I will just resort to a protective hair style for the rest of the week until I would wash my hair again.

An attachment

I felt very attached to my hair, I felt that all I wanted was length, my first goal was arm pit length, then bra strap length to eventually waist length being my ultimate goal, ¬†but I noticed I will constantly get set backs. My hair will always break at the ends and I felt that this was due to split ends so I decided to trim my ends quite frequently, this still did not combat the breakage. I then decided that maybe I needed to go to a professional to trim my ends instead, as I may not have been getting all the split ends. In the hairdressers they will vigorously blow my hair dry then straighten it before cutting. It had a good shape but this still did not combat the dryness. I still wanted to hold on to my length and felt that I should ignore the dryness as this was probably the nature of my hair. I will watch a lot of videos and be inspired by different people’s hair journey and told my self to keep at it and soon I will reach my hair goals. However, I constantly noticed others on youtube having way longer hair than mine in such a shorter space of time (by 4 years, their hair will be waist length!) I was obsessed. But my hair was still the way it was, maybe retaining 1 or 2 inches then appearing to stop retaining any at all.

It all changed

After having my daughter in early 2014, my priorities started changing, I wasn’t so obsessed with watching youtube videos and admiring other natural girls’ hair as I was occupied with looking after a baby. One day I decided to drastically dye my hair for a change and noticed a breakage patch in the middle of my hair (this was ongoing but got worse with the bleached hair). I decided that once and for all I am ready to cut my hair off and start again! I couldn’t wait to start again that I pleaded with the hair dresser to cut my hair on the day of my hair consultation, (bearing in mind this was the first ever time we were meeting) she told me my hair was severely damaged and she didn’t want to just cut it all off for the problem to continue and told me that she will consult with another professional before I come back the next day. I took pictures of my length once and for all before getting it all cut to a short tapered hair style. I was happy with the results and felt relieved till a certain point…

Lacking patience…again…

So I did the big chop in June 2014 and about a few months later I decided I wanted to grow my hair out again. I was able to read my hair much better now as it was shorter and it was in good(ish) shape. I decided that I wanted to get my hair trimmed professionally every 3 months for maintenance but every time I went to the hairdressers, they required for my hair to be stretched out before trimming, so heat was used quite vigorously. The last time I got my hair trimmed, I noticed that after I washed my hair (from the blow out) I had some heat damage, I wasn’t too happy with this at all, considering I had a fresh start and all! Anyway, I didn’t feel that it was right that I kept on trying to get my hair to submit to what I wanted it to do – twist outs, blow outs etc. I was desperate to get my hair to grow much longer than it has ever ¬†been before and I figured that the methods I was using to try and grow it out wasn’t working.

Back to square 1

I decided to continue my research in to finding what will work for me. I ended up finally reading The curly girl handbook by Lorraine Massy as I was always hearing about this method but didn’t think I had the type of hair to do it, I decided to start the method using Tressemme naturals. I wasn’t immediately satisfied as I noticed that every time I will come out of the shower, leaving in the conditioner, like the book suggested, my hair was left with a lot of product residue. After applying the gel on top of the residue, I will be left with white wet hair for the whole day! I was still on the pursuit to find a routine with minimal manipulation that worked well for me. I then came across a book called Curly like me: How to grow your hair healthy, long and strong¬†by Tery LaFlesh. This book was a good read, however again, I noticed the same residue problem as the principals were very similar to the curly girl method but leaving the hair with conditioner only, instead of the added gel step. Among other small tweaks. Anyway I continued my research, reading more online and watching videos, then I came across the maximum hydration method.

Progress

I read about the maximum hydration method on www.maxhydrationmethod.com and decided to give it a go, as what was being said seemed to be addressed at me. My hair was dry, dull, lifeless and whenever I will try the wash and go with leaving the conditioner in, my hair was left with a whole load of residue on it for the whole day. The information explained that this happened due to the hair having low porosity and not being able to absorb much, if any, product. It made a lot of sense! I began to realise why my hair was left dull, products were simply sitting on my hair and overtime this was causing build up. The product was not being absorbed at all! The regimen, which was originally thought of by Aketafitgirl on youtube (who was also following the curly girl method) consisted of clarifying the hair before every wash with either apple cider vinegar or baking soda, following up with a deep condition, then a mud wash before moisturising then sealing with a gel for more definition. This worked for me straight away, I immediately noticed a difference in my hair. My hair was responding to the product and was much more moisturised, as a result, my hair began to curl from the ends and slowly was moving up towards the roots. I did the regimen for 8 days straight and my hair couldn’t be happier. I felt that my hair was already retaining more length. Also a lot of the progress was attributed to the products that I was now using, I ditched the tressemme naturals as this contained certain ingredients that didn’t like to absorb in to my hair, and decided to purchase a batch of Kinky curly knot today conditioner and Kinky curly curling custard. These were my new staple products and I could use the conditioner for both the deep conditioning as well as the leave in.

The downside

Although the maximum hydration method was so good for my hair, it took a lot of time to complete all of the steps. I would usually start the first part of the process the night before, before finishing the process in the morning. This was not something I could keep up with for too long as I have a daughter, who still needs my attention a lot of the time. Therefore I decided to moderate the regimen to suit me. I found that after completing all of the steps one day, the next day all I needed to do was simply allow the water from the shower to hit my hair, shake my hair and go. My hair looked as good as it looked on day 1, if not even better! On the third day, I will do the same thing I did on the second day but my hair will definitely be a little more dry since most of the product was washing away. I will start the whole process again on day 4.

Moving on

As it got colder outside, my hair will take a little longer to dry and I wasn’t very comfortable with leaving my hair with water droplets on the ends, as I wasn’t sure what havoc I could cause with the harsh wind. Therefore, I began using a t-shirt to help absorb some of the moisture, as a result I will have less product in my hair and my second day hair wouldn’t look quite as good as it did before. I also noticed that because I was missing some steps, due to time e.g. going straight in to a co wash and adding the gel and missing out¬†the clarifying step etc. my hair wasn’t absorbing the moisture at the styling step as it did before and I was left with some residue that will remain and get flaky by the end of the day, this actually happened even when I was following all the steps but more so when not. I think the way to combat this happening is really watering down the conditioner I will be leaving in before adding the gel step.

Where I am now

So I am now aware of what works for my hair, that is clarifying my hair of any build up from my last styling product, then deep conditioning before styling. However as before, I still feel that it takes a while to do, especially if I am doing it every day or every other day (which is what has worked out the best in terms of moisture). Therefore I am still doing some trial and error and working out what will be the best for me. I definitely will like to follow all the steps once a week, but in terms of maintaining my hair in between is what I am still working on. Last night I simply put on a silk scarf and fluffed my hair in the morning before spraying just a little bit of water on to it. My hair looks good and still has good moisture (this also may be attributed to the fact that I added extra virgin olive oil in between the conditioner step and gel step while styling my hair on day 1). I have decided to do the same thing tonight and see how my hair will turn out tomorrow. If my hair still has moisture, I will simply re-wet it with a little water spritz, if it looks dull or feels dry I will add a little oil over the water, trying not to disturb the curl pattern. Judging from this, I will know how long I can go between washes. By day 4 I will probably start the whole process again but instead of doing the clarifying step with ACV or baking soda (as this can be a bit more effort), I may either use a co wash or just use the conditioner that I will leave in then apply an oil then the gel. If this turns out okay, this will be my new routine! I am hoping that it does turn out okay, as it means that I will be saving time from constantly doing all the steps almost every day and also I will avoid having to walk outside my house with a soaking wet head in the cold weather everyday, it will just be twice a week instead (I may experiment with using my diffuser again, at least for the winter, but we will see I guess).

My next steps:

I have realised that whenever I want to grow out my hair, I look to youtube for inspiration but sometimes that inspiration can turn into straight obsession and I may begin to try and copy what is working for someone else. This does set me back a lot and takes my attention away from what it is I am doing that may actually be working for me. Therefore I am hoping that I can dramatically reduce the amount of hair videos I am watching, at least for now until I am well into my own routine and no one can tell me to change it ūüôā

Also I will be taking hair pictures from today and try to do it routinely (maybe once every 3 months) to see how much my hair is progressing.

Every 6 months to a year I will like to do a length check video and post it onto my youtube channel

Current length:

Front: 6.5″

Middle: 5″

Left side: 3.5″

Right side: 4.2″

Back left side: 3″

Back right side: 3.5″

Next update will be April 2015!

Flaxseed gel

Can someone please tell me why I am only using flaxseed gel now?!?
All I can say is WOW!
I am so over the moon right now I can’t sleep lol. I have just given my hair a dose of flaxseed gel and I am in LOVE!¬† For the last 2 weeks I have been experimenting with my hair in its natural state (wash and gos), as in straight from washing it (with conditioner) and no manipulation through twisting, braiding etc. And I have been trying to find the best products to use to:
1. Define my curls
2. Not leave me with a whole load of white residue (which takes hours to dissappear due to my hairs low porosity)
and 3. Leave my hair feeling hard and crunchy.
Before 10 minutes ago i had not been successful as I tried the conditioner only method which is leaving the same conditioner I put in my hair to co wash with, in my hair as my styler.  This just left me with white hair (residue from the conditioner) which took the best part of the day to dry to about 90% and even then the residue became flaky,  was still visible and had a slight crunch. This method did nothing for my hair and it was left looking dry by the end of the day.
I had also tried using eco styler gel on top of the conditioner but this time I squeezed out most of the conditioner, leaving less residue and applied the gel on top. Again my hair was left with flakes and even more crunch by the end of the day, also my hair dried even slower! My hair was about 80% dry by the end of the day and bear in mind, my hair is short as it is growing out from a tapered cut.
The last method I tried is using ‘paul mitchell the conditioner’ (which I have read works well with eco styler gel to avoid flakes and is very conditioning) and on top of that I used eco styler gel to define my curls further.¬† Now firstly, the conditioner by Paul mitchell is very¬†moisturising and does leave the hair feeling well conditioned, but unfortunately the gel leaves a very hard and crunchy cast on top which does not leave my hair touchable at all! But never the less, this method did seem to look the best and gave my hair nice shine. I still wanted something more though,¬† I wanted the whole package, nice defined curls, well moisturised, shiny and soft to the touch so I kept on researching.
I have come across flaxseed gel in the past but never gave it much thought, however now I found myself in a desperate situation.  So I decided to give it a try. All it took was for me to mix 1/4 cup linseeds (flaxseeds) to 2 cups of water and stir on a medium heat until the water began to boil and become thick.  I then strained it through some stockings into a container and voila I have myself a home made gel. I did add a few drops of essential oils (peppermint,  rosemary and T tree) just for added benefits and to extend the shelf life, as unfortunately it only lasts for about 2 weeks in the fridge (hopefully an extra week with the added oils).
So the fun began,¬† I tested several areas of my hair with my new 100% natural gel. Firstly I wet my hair to get rid of the existing product,¬† I then added the flaxseed gel and was and am still AMAZED! My hair instantly felt soft, moisturised and looks defined and shiny!¬† What more can I ask for? It’s everything I want for my hair. I am so happy I actually made this as it has not only saved me money, as I was planning to go out and try to find the right products to use to give me what I wanted, instead of settling for less, but this is 100% natural, I know what is in it, I can reuse the same flaxseeds I first boiled again for my next batch and it took all of 5 minutes to make! Wow I am sooooo happy. Please please please give it a try if you haven’t already! It can be used as a replacement product to those drying gels that only put a hard crunchy cast over your once moisturised hair!¬† You can also use it for a twist out, braid out or for edge control.
Please like and share! Xx