Tuesday, May 3, 2016

11 Month Hair Update: Let's talk hair pattern, hair updates, and more!

PREFACE TO MY BLOG READERS: I'm sorry for not updating this blog (including my other blogs) as diligently as I once was updating it. I've had a grueling past few months. To summarize my past few months: I had a serious fail in health, a family death, numerous illnesses and a life or death medical crisis! I'm working on updating all of my blogs, but wanted to put this preface on each of my blogs to explain my absence. I appreciate your understanding during this time! 
This is an update on my currently 11 month post Curly Girl Method results. A few more weeks and I'll officially be at my 1 year anniversary of the method! 

Safe to say: I'm quite happy!

I mentioned before that the longer that I'm following the Curly Girl Method: the curlier and healthier that my hair is becoming. I wanted to write up a detailed post on my curls and their current health. 

I started following the CG Method in late June. Funnily enough, I was prompted to start learning how to care and love my curls after moving to my current small coastal Southern town. My hair was not used to the humidity or change in water. I dealt with weeks of 'bad hair' until I finally started Googling different ways to care for curls.

It lead me to discovering Curltalk (which is still one of my favorite websites), the Curly Girl Method and Naturally Curly! These tools really helped me begin to understand how precious and tender my curls were! While it hasn't been an easy journey -- especially while trying to navigate it with my hair nor with an organically based approached. I am totally a believer and lifetime follower of the Curly Girl Method in regards to my own unique curls. 

My curl pattern is getting curlier and curlier. I have never had my hair this curly in my entire life. Even my best days were not as curly as they are now! While my main pattern is 3B, my new growth is all 3C. It makes me so ecstatic! I spent a lot of years being confused, conflicted and frustrated by my hair.

My front hairline is growing in great, as well as my nape! While I always had high-density hair: my front hairline was not as full nor was my nape. I experienced a lot of heat damage in those sections over the year; as well as reckless detangling. 

I used to detangle my hair with a paddle brush OUT of the shower without any conditioner! And to think I used to say, "Why does my hair always look so curly wet, but SO DRY when it's dry?" Since I put a lot of tension on those sections, I put a lot of extra care in regards. So far my approach has worked wonders! Those 'thinner' sections are extremely dense and healthy looking now. 

As for my approach?  Let's break it down: I'm not an ultra strict Curly Girl. I clarify regularly, don't co-wash exclusively and I use sulfate-free shampoo weekly.

While I don't use sulfates or silicones which is the basis of the Curly Girl Method, I prefer a more balanced approach to the method. I found it important to find out if silicones and sulfates did make a difference in my hair's health, so I did an experiment for 2-3 weeks. 

After a few weeks of trying silicones in a Herbal Essences conditioner, I realized that my hair wasn't very fond of them. For the most part, I've avoided sulfates and silicones. I did need to use a sulfate shampoo when I was experiencing severe scalp issues. 

I don't plan on ever reintroducing silicones back into my regimen. I don't plan on using sulfates ever again either -- but I do find it beneficial to use sulfonates or other harsh cleansers in regards to build-up.  

I've always been focused on a more organic approach, but I am exclusively only buying/using/purchasing items that are completely safe for my body. 

Prior to taking care of my hair: I would say my hair was a very dry 2C/3A/3B/. On my best days which were far and few between, I would say my hair looked mostly 3A/B. It was very dry, often had a brittle feel, lacked moisture and was very difficult to subdue. 

I often struggled to retain definition and it was often very frizzy. Luckily, I did have some type of hair care regimen implemented. Mostly thanks to the fact that my father is also a curly (who also had two super curly haired parents) and my mother is a licensed hair-stylist. However, I wasn't really well-versed in what was really healthy for my hair.

At this point in my health hair journey: I have multi-textured 3B hair with 3A curls spread throughout on the top layers and 3C curls in my nape and bottom layers. I also have 3C curls on my front hairline, as well.  I never assumed that I had 3C curls... but it makes sense now in retrospect because I always had strong curl definition on my bottom layer!

This is common with people with Corkicelli curls (like myself) because the curls often variate! I find that my main pattern tends to be 3B which is why I refer to myself as as a multi-textured 3B. I always have very spirally, defined, and springy curls. 

I love how diverse my hair is and that's there more than one pattern to it. It's also normal for have more than one texture in your hair! I've also been playing with ways to 'stretch' the hair into a looser pattern. I've really enjoyed my generic Curlformers which stretch my hair into a beautiful Shirley Temple-esque 2C/3A curls.

Throughout sampling many products, I've discovered that I'm extremely protein sensitive. I have very coarse hair ranging from slightly to severely coarse. I struggled A LOT in the beginning of my journey with understanding what exactly protein sensitive is. Unlike fine hair: coarse hair possesses more protein hence why the individual strand is so thick. Low-porosity hair is also generally protein-sensitive, too. 

Luckily for my curls, I have both coarse and low-porosity hair!

I have only had luck with 3 protein products in my entire journey so forth: Curl Junkie's 'Daily Fix' which has oat flour (which is generally a weak protein), Shea Moisture's 'Manuka Honey' masque which has rice protein (unsure of its strengths) and Shea Moisture's 'Curl and Shine' conditioner which has silk protein (which is generally well liked). 

If I use too much of the 'Daily Fix' than I'll easily overload. I haven't tried the rinse out conditioner by Shea Moisture in almost a year... so I'm unsure how my hair would react. I know proteins are generally better tolerated in summer. I have tried lots of proteins over the past year to extremely bad results. 

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the masque. 

While it did give my hair a 'crunchy' feeling, it wasn't very bad. In my extremely coarse areas, I noticed some super crunchiness. I'm definitely going to use this once a month or every two months (depending) to make sure my hair is getting a good protein ratio. 

Even protein sensitive and coarse hair like mine benefits from protein! I generally use my cleansing conditioner by Curl Junkie as my "protein treatment," so to say. I really love how moisturizing the masque is. I've learned that rinse out protein products are much better tolerated in my hair versus actual products that stay in the hair. 

I'm going to write a detailed updated routine on my curls this week! Keep your eyes open, my fellow curlies! :) 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Guess who chopped almost 10 inches of hair?

It's been over a year since my last hair cut. I got my hair cut in April of 2014. Like majority of my haircuts done at salons: it was pretty disastrous.

It was cut extremely uneven and there was not much that I could do to my hair except wait for it to grow back evenly. A simple 'trim' turned into a hair disaster. 

My hair was cut crooked, they used 4 hair dryers to blow it out then straighten it and applied an oil to my hair that smelled like Lysol. My hair was so unbelievably greasy, I couldn't even believe it. It took about a month to get my hair back to normal. Never in my entire life had had my hair ever looked greasy! It went away in about a month. There's nothing quite like every person at your birthday asking you, "Do you smell Lysol?"

I didn't realize how uneven it was until my haircut this past Monday! My hair had grown out to my hips. Since 2008, I've been growing out my hair and only cut it once a year. I used to think that my hair just didn't grow. For my hair, it seems to just work better for me to cut it once a year. 

As much as I loved my long hair, I knew that I needed to get my split ends cut and long layers. One night after a Google session, I found this haircut and it looked so adorable to me! Her curl texture, coarseness and thickness seemed to be similar enough to mine that I could do it. 

Ever since becoming Curly Girl, my hair has become so important. Not just what it looks like, but its healthiness. I normally do my big chop (usually anywhere from 3-7 inches once a year) during the summer. The only reason for this is because it keeps me cooler in the summer. :)

My mom, who is an ex-hair stylist, cut it. I had about 9 inches cut off. She cuts my hair wet then dry. This technique has worked for me my entire life. She also cuts my Dad's coarse, high density, tightly curled 3B curls.

I considered taking the almost 2 hour trip to Virginia to my nearest Deva salon, but decided against it. I always know that I can trust my mama. ;) 

It was a mixture of split ends and just general length that she cut off to give me the long layers above. I can happily say that my hair looks exactly like in this picture without any product... except with a lot more frizz. LOL.

Since I have Corkicelli curls, my hair shrinks pretty badly. My hip-length hair shrunk to my chest to mid waist. My current length is elbow-length when wet, but shrinks to my shoulder when dry. It's a huge adjustment... but I love it! 

I'm really happy with how easily my curls get defined now. There's also no 'straight/wavy' ends on my hair either. 

All in all, I love my new length. 

I save so much time with detangling, styling and my scalp is so much cooler. I haven't had my hair this short in a long time, so it's completely refreshing and fun!

If you're worrying about your big chop -- whether it's because of damage or because of split ends -- try to remember that it will grow back! Not only will it grow back, but it'll be healthier. Granted, it does feel weird sometimes to not have so much hair... but I know how much healthier my hair is now!