I had my first big chop in 2014. I didn’t even think about transitioning, I just wanted to chop it all off and start over again. And I loved it, it was freeing. But I had no idea how to take of my natural hair in its raw state. All my life I had my hair relaxed and it was fairly easy to manage it and grow it. I relaxed it every other month and kept it braided. Suddenly, I needed to pay attention to my hair because it was prone to damage and breakage. And for the past 4-5 years I was just winging it but this year, I finally realized where I went wrong. With the help of many incredible women I know who have grown healthy hair and by reflecting on my bad habits, I finally figured out where I went wrong and I am doing my best to treat my mane better. My hair is my crown after all. So I’ve listed the top 5 mistakes growth mistakes I’ve made. Learn from my mistakes and your hair journey should be a breeze.
- USING HARMFUL CHEMICALS ON YOUR HAIR
Dyeing your hair a different color may make your hair more appealing in a lot of ways but the damage it causes simply isn’t worth it. When I dyed my hair, and I did three times it became fragile and prone to damage right away. But I prioritized hair color over the health of my hair. My other mistake was not letting a professional color my hair perhaps – so if you really need to; get a professional to color your hair.
- USING HEAT STYLING
For a very long time I use to straighten my natural hair with a hair straightener in order to make it easier sleek it back in a low pony hairstyle. And I didn’t immediately notice but my hair became brittle and weak and it was prone to breakage. With time I found more efficient ways to tame my hair and sleek it without applying any heat to make it easier for me because a good hairstyle is not worth the damage to my hair. Braiding and twisting it out didn’t give me the same results but these methods were better than any heat styling.
- PROTECTIVE STYLING
I personally hate protective styling because my scalp is easily dry and is very sensitive. When I get braided, the pulling on my hair causes wounds and the constant dryness causes unbearable itching. More recently I prefer to braid my own hair and I am not perfect at it but I am able to discern when I may be pulling too much so I am able to prevent the pain resulting in wounds but my hairstyle doesn’t last because its not done tight. Keeping my scalp moisturized is easier, I simply spray water onto my scalp and apply oil. Protecting your hair means you should be comfortable and protect your hair at the same time. Box braids are my favorite. Twisting may hurt your hair. Lets focus! Do whatever is best for you, wear a wig if you have one. But protect your hair so that you retain length when it your hair grows.
- SHAMPOO WASH, DEEP CONDITION & MOISTURISE RELIGIOUSLY
These three are so important when it comes to the health of your hair. I personally find that a shampoo wash revives and cleanses my hair – that’s why I stopped co-washing (washing hair with conditioner instead of using shampoo) because it defeated the cleaning process. I shampoo twice and make sure I remove any product build up and oils. Deep conditioning is my way of strengthening my hair. If you want to keep your hair, it needs to be strong enough to resist breakage. Moisturizing my hair is just one of those things you need to do in addition to the deep conditioning. Dry hair is prone to breakage.
Put simply, clean, strong and moisturized hair will retain length better.
- HEALTHY LIVING
I wont even lecture you on this. Eating well, drinking enough water and exercising daily while maintaining a balanced life with minimal stress goes a long way. I am testimony that your hair and skin respond to how you treat yourself and what you put in your body.
BEFORE NATURAL HAIR JOURNEY
I have a few other tips I would love to share, and reasons why I stopped being a product junkie. I’ll be sharing those in another post. Also, YouTube is your friend, look up all the tips out there – most things are trial and error because everyone’s mane is different after all. Thanks for reading. And remember – YOUR HAIR IS YOUR CROWN!