Monday, January 9, 2012

How a Little Trim Became a Big Cut

Alright ya'll... let me start by saying I'm embarrassed. Really embarrassed. But, I have to be real with myself and others about what's going on, and not act like everything is hunky-dory with my hair when it's really not alright. #notgoingtocry

I know the rules about natural hair, especially the ones about heat styling. I've read literally hundreds of posts on and many other natural hair sites about achieving (obviously) long natural hair. I watch vloggers experiment successfully with various methods of straightening, including Curlformers, tension blowouts, and flat ironing on the lowest heat setting possible (of course). I personally know people who do blowouts regularly with no issues. I even used heat protectants -- commercially-available stuff from the BSS as well as natural alternatives, e.g. grapeseed oil. And still, somehow, I managed to mess up my hair. Dang.

Professional blow-out and
my last on-purpose haircut, January 2011

Mini-twists, Fall 2011

I started noticing the signs of weakness and fragility about six weeks ago. I started trying straighter styles when the dew point dropped in NC, figuring my efforts would last longer. At first, I used heat-free methods to stretch my hair and feel the length -- mini-twists, regular twists, bantu knots and overnight roller sets. However, as my hair continued to grow and life became a bit busier, I became lax in caring for my hair. At least once a week, especially on colder days or when I was in a rush, I resorted to the blow drying to speed the styling process and push through the tangles. Even though I have a satin pillowcase, I started sleeping with my hair completely out, ends not tucked, moisture not applied. I also started using some new products. First I tried grease, then Terressentials shampoo, and finally some new Oyin products and my first set of Curlformers. I'm happy to say I didn't do all of these things at once, but it did all happen in the last few weeks. This created the perfect storm on my head.

I can't say that it was just one thing that lead to my problems.
I just know the health of my hair went downhill fast.

Big soft stretched fro, December 2011
I was feelin' it!  But look how fuzzy my ends look.

Two weeks ago, while two-strand twisting my hair, I felt something strange at the end of each twist. My ends felt very rough, and my curls weren't springy anymore. The frizz and dryness was undeniable. I self-trimmed my hair, closely examining the chopped-off parts for split ends and single-strand knots (SSK). I was alarmed by how many I saw. None of my best treatments seemed to have any positive effect -- even mayo + honey -- so I scheduled an appointment with Krika, creator and owner of the MyHoneyChild product line and the Sophia Sunflower Salon in Raleigh. I've gone to her for years and she does good work... which brings me to another significant point -- I stopped going to her regularly exactly one year ago.  My hair absolutely thrived when I visited her quarterly from 2009 to 2010 for deep-conditioning treatments and trims.

When Krika got me in the chair, she immediately asked if I had been blow frying drying, to which I sadly confessed, "Yes." Apparently, I had a short patch in the back I didn't even know about. My sides were really long, but my crown was really short. It was just uneven and crispy all over. The bottom line: I would rather have short healthy hair then long crazy-looking broke-down hair. At my request, Krika cut my hair while it was damp, because I really didn't want to mess with heat again, even for this cut. Here's the result:

Not pleased to have lost so much length, but the shape is nice and my curls look MUCH better.
This is a wash-n-go, not stretched at all, with some SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Masque left in.
So the worst part is that I made some mistakes and lost a lot of length as a result. However, two days after my cut, I'm really happy to say it's growing on me (I made a pun!). Hubs and I just started a new workout routine. I sweat a lot and this length is suitable for wash-n-gos. I'm so thankful to God I have a supportive husband. He wanted to see me keep the length, but he still thinks it's really cute. Whew!

My takeaways:

  • Heat is bad. Bad-bad-bad-bad-bad!
  • I like the way mud wash (Terressentials) cleanses, and how light it makes my hair feel, but I think I used it too frequently OR I need to moisturize/seal more effectively after using.
  • I'm going to start visiting a stylist every quarter ideally, or at least twice a year. The stylist can see things I might miss, and they can help correct issues before they become full blown disasters.
Have you done anything with your hair which you later realized were mistakes? 


Tia said...

wow, that is a lot of length. BUT you look with short hair so that's a positive. It's a good thing that you did learn some lessons from this. I have seen a lot of naturals go through the same thing and instead of learning from the mistake they blame the products and then engage in the same behavior all over again.

Shones said...

@Tia, I've definitely learned my lesson, and I know I should have been more careful with heat. Thanks for reading and commenting!