My hair story
During my childhood my mother would braid my hair with extensions all the time. I had my first relaxer when I was a pre-teen then, growing up, I experimented a lot with my hair. As a teen I colored it, played with it and used a lot of heat and a lot of chemicals. And at one point, I think I was 18, I didn’t know what to do with my hair anymore so I did what is now called a “big chop” (had my brother shave it all).
It wasn’t at all a rejection of relaxing and did not really plan on keeping my hair natural. I simply cut my hair because I wanted to try something new AND because my hair wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to anymore.
I loved having extra short hair. I discovered freedom. No styling, no braiding, no combing no nothing. It was great.
I let my hair grow and rocked a teeny weeny afro for a while, then a full blown afro. I still used to wear braids most of the time so I did not pay specific attention to hair care.
In university, right before I graduated from my Masters I decided to make a radical change: after 5 years of having natural hair, I relaxed it and cut it in a short cute pixie. I kept that pixie cut for a couple of years and loved it dearly. Again, I didn’t care about haircare that much. I would flat iron my hair every morning and did not know anything at all about protecting my hair from heat, moisturizing my hair…nothing at all. When it wasn’t looking good I’d go back to that hairstylist and cut it again to make it look pretty. After a few months, I got bored again and got braids for a few months. I would remove them and have new braids done on the same day.
Every six months I would relax my hair, have a nice blow dry and notice my hair had grown. When it reached shoulder length I noticed it did not grow past that. Even though I could see dramatic new growth every time I had my braids on, the overall length would never go past my shoulders.
And recently, after coming back from my vacation in Senegal with micro braids, I learned that the hairstylist that usually did my hair had recently closed her salon. Montreal isn’t a city with a million options for black hair and especially braids. So I thought I’d just keep my hair free for a few weeks. Then one day, I went Facebook and saw this picture:
I am ashamed to say that I did not even know that was possible. I thought the only way a black woman could grow hair that long was if she had mixed blood or even if she came from some ethnic groups that usually have longer hair like the fulani (or Peul) people. I started Googling “healthy relaxed hair” and found so many blogs, Youtube videos and articles about it and was amazed. Another misconception: I thought the only blogs and resources on black hair on the web would be about natural hair…but again I was wrong.
All wonderful resources where I learned so many things in a couple of days. Keep in mind that I did not know 1 thing about hair so when I started reading all these things I was absolutely overwhelmed. And because I love beauty, I love taking care of myself and I am currently in need of a challenge, I decided to take on the what most call a “healthy hair journey” or HHJ. I mostly want to understand my hair and make it health. And if as an added benefit I can have long hair, I’ll definitely take it.
My hair status
I have thick hair but when I relaxed it last week (oct 18th at Salon Fresa in Montreal – which I highly recommend by the way) my ends were messed up. So I cut my ends and have now have “neck length” hair. My hair is a bit shorter on the sides, I have a little bit of thinning edges on the sides of my forehead as well.
My hair type is 4C (Learn more on Hair Types and identify yours here)
Type 4c hair is composed of curl patterns that will almost never clump without doing a specific hair style. It can range from fine/thin/super soft to wiry/coarse with lots of densely packed strands. 4c hair has been described as a more “challenging” version of 4b hair. Some say 4c looks identical to 4b except that the curls are so tightly kinked, there is seemingly no definition. 4c hair can shrink more than 75%. Source
I like my hair. I like my hair type. I liked it when I was natural (even though it was a bit coarse and dry at times) and I like the natural thickness of my hair now that I am relaxed.
My hair and scalp issues
I have struggled for years with Seborrheic Dermatitis (SD) which is a common, inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp. It causes the scalp to itch and the flakes (which can be pretty big in size) ,when removed, reveal inflamed skin. It always was an issue for me and the only things that have helpd are Nizoral Shampoo and Dermosalic Cream and Lotion which usually clear my scalp immediately when used regularly. Because of the SD I have a pretty sensitive scalp and have to be very careful when my hair is relaxed. I cannot count the number of times my scalp was burned by reckless hairstylists. But with consistent use of Dermosalic and a careful stylist I have reduced my problems a lot.
The only issues I have with my hair are a bit of breakage, and the hair on the nape of my neck and on my edges is a bit dry and dull and I don’t know why it is like that…I’m trying to find out.
What I’d like to achieve
I’m going for, like everybody I guess, healthy thick hair. I’m looking forward to regrowing hair on the parts of my edges where I have a bit of shedding even though it is nothing dramatic.
When it comes to length, I don’t even know what to wish for. I’d say that “armpit length” would be a pretty ambition goal for me and I think that it is possible. How long to reach that goal? I have no idea either…I’d say maybe a year? Two? I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my hair braid free for so long, I am so used to changing my hairstyle often and so far I have not found out if braids with extensions are considered a good protective style. (if you know please hit me in the comments section :)) So I’ll get back to you on that.
My hair regimen
I’m going to start a new post with my Hair Regimen. It’s been just a week now since I have started and I have purchased a load of products and it would make this post way too long!
Click here for the next part.
And please, tell me in the comments if you are also embarking in the Healthy Hair Journey and if you have any tips for me or words of encouragement, I would love to hear from you!