The time has come to celebrate my natural hair anniversary! It has now been 4 years of growth, frustrations, learning, and acceptance. But most of all having my natural hair as something that’s not anything new to me….but true to me (lol). Now that it’s been so long I am used to my hair and comfortable with it’s true texture of 4c and areas of 4b here and there. It’s apart of who I am and all of the hours of hard work every night have paid off in the form of moisturized and healthy hair. I still am amazed with the many forms of my hair and trying new hair products never gets old.
Updates on Last Year’s Goal
Last year my goal was to stay consistent with hair trims and I stayed true to that goal. I even learned how to successfully trim my own hair! The entire process took 8 hours (detangle, wash, deep condition, blow dry in sections, trim in layers) but my stylist said I did a pretty good job. My schedule for trims is every 3-4 months, alternating between professional salon visits and DIY. Each time at the salon, the amount snipped off is less than an inch… a BIG difference from last year when I had my first professional trim with almost 2 inches snipped off.
New Products in Rotation
This year I tried more new hair lines and products than I ever have in my natural hair journey.I felt like my hair growth was getting stagnant and was also having some issues with retaining moisture. I had been using the same products for years so it was time to switch things up. I previously wrote a blog post raving about Shea Moisture’s Red Palm Oil Curl Stretch Pudding and it’s definitely my favorite new product I’ve tried this year. The stretch is truly magnificent. Also one of the greatest hits this year has been the Apple Cider Vinegar & Indian Healing Clay masque( for both hair and skin) for an amazing cleanse and to rejuvenate my curls. But besides that I’ve tried:
- Price doesn’t always guarantee quality. This was the most I’ve ever paid for a product and I was utterly disappointed. For $16 I was CONVINCED this product would change my life. It didn’t do much at all. Granted it did say “lightweight” on the description but I took it as though it just wouldn’t weigh down my hair. I now know I really need a thick leave-in for my very dense and kinky hair. This product was too watery for my liking and for $16 I wouldn’t do it again.On the good side, it did smell really good. The other products of this brand sound interesting but right now I wouldn’t want to risk it not working for my hair.
- I enjoyed this smoothie alot. It was thick and had a creamy consistency. A little oily but I liked the extra moisture. I used as a leave-in conditioner and for twist and braid out styles. I like that the first ingredient of this was aloe vera juice.
- My positive experience with the smoothie led me to purchase something else for the line. I learned here that any masque that claims it can be used as a leave-in is not for me. I wouldn’t want something that’s supposed to thoroughly condition my hair to be light enough to be a daily leave-in. The cream itself has a consistency to watery for an effective masque so I used it as a leave-in. As a leave-in, the smell was way too overbearing to just sit on my hair.
- This product had a good hold to it for twist outs. It did it’s job for the most part. The only thing I didn’t really like was that it was sticky at times. I often combined this by combining with an oil.
- I love a nice multi-purpose hair milk. Palmer’s is definitely pushing through in the natural hair community. It was a nice product for nightly use as I section my hair in a few braids. It helped with detangling as well.
- I was initially on the fence after purchasing this because the directions said to use on towel dried hair. It works great as a leave-in right after wash day and on the following day as my hair is still damp. On dry hair it seems to make my hair feel sticky after too many uses so I find the best results when my hair is damp. I love detangling with it after washing and to form firm twists.
- It’s a 3 minute rinse out type of conditioner. The smell kind of makes me feel light-headed. But it is great for a co-wash/in shower rinse out. I rarely ever do in shower rinse outs because it takes so long to get through my hair that the water just gets cold. But it was interesting to try a line from Shea Moisture that I rarely see in-stores.
Hairstyles of the Year
By now I’ve tried pretty much every protective style from wigs to braids to twists. About ½ of the year my hair is in some form of a protective style. I like to allow some time for my hair to rest but also time to wear my hair out and style my fro. Braids were a tride and true this year as they appear 3 times on my list, can’t really go wrong with braids. Other than that, I finally tried clip-ins, but soon grew tired of that and soon outgrew the length of the extensions. The best thing about natural hair, is you can switch around styles constantly throughout the year. Let’s take a trip down this year’s styles.
Braids (Half Cornrow Half Singles)
- I had this style done while I was in Ghana. Can’t believe the braiding and braiding hair cost $40 USD. It was a different style for me braiding wise, since I typically just get regular box braids. They didn’t last long though, I took them down after like 3 weeks because they started getting really fuzzy with my natural hair sticking out. Still a cute style and would love to play around with more braided styles.
- It was a cute outcome which is what matters the most. Wouldn’t go out anywhere looking crazy but the process was brutal. Youtube really betrayed me with this one. The crochet idea was good in theory but ONLY if you have LARGE locs. I was trying to find medium sized locs but couldn’t find it in the colors I wanted (fuschia, violet, and 1b, complex I know). But anyways, I started off crocheting it with a base of french braids but it was so obviously crochet that I had to redo and do the single crochet version. That took HOURS and the locs kept unraveling omg. It was just… never again.
- I was soooo happy when Heritage1933 sent me these coily clip-ins. I was on the lookout for clip ins and then I was sent some to review. They blended in really well for a twist out and even when I combed them out for a stretched look. I wore them for a few weeks and then just moved on to the next style. After a few months I pulled them out for Spring Break. It was great to be able to rock natural hair similar to my hair without having to take my hair down and manage it every night. By graduation, however, the clip-ins weren’t reverting between styles *stretched to twist out and vice versa* as easily. They were 12 inches and I think my hair has outgrown their initial length.
- This style will require some more finesse. I attempted flexi rods for the first time and unintentionally ended up looking like a cast-member for Dreamgirls! Not quite the turn out I expected lol but still kind of cute.
- Box braids always the most consistent.
Blonde Curly Crochet
- I was CONVINCED I was going to dye my hair blonde after this look. I loved the blonde phase of the spring. Had blonde box braids earlier in the year and was set on dying my hair blonde in the summer but then that faded away when I decided I liked having my dark brown/black hair color. I got over the blonde phase. Another plus of using protective styles is trying so many different hair colors without having to bleach or dye your actual hair.
Amazing Twist Outs and More Natural Hair Styles
- I grew to absolutely love and perfect my twist outs. The length and fullness of my hair has been creating my dream twist out and my technique has improved so much with the years. While it does take 2.5-4 hours for the perfect twist out, it’s absolutely worth it. I also did a lot of styles with my hair out on the months where I wore it out. I moisturized diligently every night and did several low maintenance styles and some that took more time.
Updated Hair Goals
Now that my hair looks like how I dreamed of when I first went natural, I am just focused on loving everything my hair does and is. I am truly celebrating my journey and all of the effort I have put into getting it to where it is now. Length was my goal for a while and yes I want to continue to grow it as long as possible but I feel less pressed about making it grow in a certain amount of time. A specific goal is caring for the crown area of my hair which is the most breakage and dry prone. I am also excited to try more essential oils this year and experiment with more DIY masques and mixtures. And overall hope to maintain more length, especially during the cold months, through consistent moisturizing and trims.