Straightening my Mane

In the process of trying to get through this winter hair rut, and rejuvenate my mane,  I decided to straighten my hair. I do this every 1-2 years. I allows me to see how much my hair has truly grown and to properly trim my ends. I trim my ends a little when I twist my hair. I just cut off all the straggly ends that hag from the twist. But I know its not as thorough as if an actual stylist does it. I searched Groupon for deals on some natural hair stylist. I previously got a blow out at a Dominican shop, and while I was pleased with the results I was not pleased with the experience. The stylist made me brush out my own hair dry before she washed it. This, although seemingly outrageous, is not an uncommon event for me. The same thing happened when I went to get senegalese twist, and to make things worse I was 8 months pregnant at the time. I found a place in a nearby city that had a deal. It was quite convenient because my cousin, also my son’s God mom, lives there so she could babysit while I got my hair done. I was ready to give this place a try at styling my precious mane.

When I told the stylist the experiences I had with other “professionals” making me brush my own hair she was appalled. Her reply was “that’s what you pay us for, to have someone else do your hair, so you can relax.” It was music to my ears. She seemed well aware of how to work with natural hair. She finger combed through my hair a little before washing, then came shampoo and conditioner. After the wash and condition I sat at the chair, where she detangled my hair with…..a wide tooth comb! Can you believe it? She then proceeded the blow dry my hair, flat iron, trim, and curl it. I wish I had remembered my heat protection and anti frizz serum, but hopefully there isn’t any heat damage. The trimming stage hurt my heart, because it dramatically reduced my length. I had to get over it, because those were damaged ends and it would only cause more breakage to keep them. It still noticed a considerable amount of growth since my last blow out. The stylist has a sister that does braids. Although I typically try to do my own hair, or have a family member do it when I want braids, I will make this my go to shop when I want special treatment. Its even better that I can go to one place for blow outs, curl sets, and braids.

I wore my hair out for the rest of that day, admiring my length. That night I wrapped it, and kept it that way all Sunday. It was my goal to keep it up with as little heat as possible. It was very voluminous the next day, because it started to puff up a little bit. For the remainder of the week I wore it in various pony tails, something else I can’t do regularly without stretching my hair out in some way. I flat ironed it once again the next Sunday. Then for the rest of the week once it started to revert I did a bantu knot set.

I always have mixed feelings when people compliment my straightened hair. My students say “OMG, you look so pretty”, as if I’m not with my afro. I try not to take it personally, because most people are trying to be nice. Although one of the older, teacher assistants took it a little farther. She said “I know your husband’s happy.” I proudly said, “actually he prefers my natural hair.”Not every one felt as that particular teacher assistant does. There is yet another TA at my school, who is always raving about my natural hair, because since her treatment for breast cancer she has never been able to get her texture back. She walked right past me and said “I didn’t even recognized you, it so long and pretty…but you know I love the natural, girl.” My husband also, love my afro. Even when I have braids, he bugs me about when MY hair will be out again. So, when I straighten it, he compliments my length, but then says “it’s just not you anymore.” I love that he is so supportive and admires me for who I am, from my head to my toes.

Straightening my hair is supposed to be like a reset for me to restart my healthy hair regimen. The next step is protective styling. I’ll probably get crochet twist to keep in for 6-8 weeks, then go from there. I just the versatility of my mane.

Rejuvenating my Mane.

hairHave you checked out my natural hair regimen? If you have I should note that I am a complete fraud. My lion mane has been very unkempt for the past few weeks, for no reason other than my own laziness.  I hate to use the “busy working mom” excuse, but this stuff is hard. Just yesterday a student said “you look tired” and I replied, “gee, thanks a lot”. In his opinion I should not have been tired because its Friday, but my reply was that “I’m tired because its Friday.” My past month has included: being snowed in, car repairs, potty training, parent teacher conference nights, and various other after-school meetings and requirements, and sickness.

Every weekend my intention would be to do my typical winter routine of wash, deep condition, and twists. Saturday would come and go, Sunday would come and go, even some Monday holidays/workdays, and snow days off, and I still would not have the motivation to do anything with my hair. To make things worse I wasn’t even protecting my hair at night. I would either fall asleep on the couch or be to tired to find my bonnet to wear. (This is where a satin pillow case would come in handy). So I really wasn’t worrying about putting my hair a pineapple, sealing and moisturizing, or using the plastic cap to lock in moisture. The most I was doing was  fluffing it out in the morning after it got moist in the shower and adding a leave in. Occasionally, I would put it in a puff and/or maybe add a twist or something in the front. But I am determined at this point to get back on track. These are the steps I plan on taking.

1. My twist routine.

This weekend, as in today, I am going to reset my usual routine. I really mean it this time. I am going to do a hot oil treatment with coconut, EVOO, or avocado oil, co-wash, and deep condition. I will then put my twist in and wear them for 1-2 weeks. This is my typical winter routine, when I am trying to use as much protective styling as possible. I will usually wear my hair out for a little but after I take the twist out. But I need to get back to this.

2. Straightening

I know this might seem like the opposite of what I should be doing for healthy hair management, but sometimes I just get a boost my seeing my hair totally stretched out. I plan on going to a professional stylist that specializes in natural hair. I got a blow out at a Dominican stylist last year, and while I was happy with the results, I was skeptical about the treatment of my hair. They were VERY rough. I understand that there is going to be some pulling and tugging, but I want to make sure my hair is getting the best care possible; especially after my own bad habits. This is also an opportunity for me to get a good trim. Although it always breaks my heart to see them trim away all that length, I know its damaged ends so no need to keep it. After this I will be ready to keep up my healthy hair.

3. PROTECTIVE STYLING

For the rest of the dry wintry season, maybe even through spring break, I plan on keeping protective styles. And I mean real protective styles with all my hair tucked away. I’ll probably rotate between crochets, corn row styles, and buns with some added hair. I will of course be moisturizing throughout and washing/conditioning in between styles. I just want to make sure that I am keeping my hair away from the elements as it has been very much exposed for the past month or 2.

My hair is so important to me. Natural hair care is no easy task. Some people think its easier than having a relaxer, boy are they wrong. I had reasonably long hair before I was natural, it would be a shame if my hair was worse of now that I am natural. This is by no means swaying me back to the creamy crack. I am a Naturalista for life, for more reasons than just having long hair. I would be lying if I said my long was not to surpass my relaxed hair length. I know we all have ups and downs, but I hope to get back to my old self; rocking my coils for the world to see.