Oh happy days....
Yeah, I am so happy alright. I need confetti, popping champagne bottles, all the works to celebrate being one year post relaxer.
My last relaxer was on the 16th of November 2013. What was initially supposed to be a 6 month stretch became my long term transition when I realised I really didn't feel like spending an entire day on my hair while relaxing it, and also when I noticed that I couldn't see a difference between my texlaxed hair and new growth.
The first 4 or 5 months of the transition went smoothly, my go to hair style was the sock bun. I could easily detangle and put up my hair in a few seconds. My hair was still friendly with glycerin and other humectants. It was just like my usual relaxer stretch, no issues.
Then month 6 rolled about. I had a lot of new growth thanks to the inversion method.My hair could get laid enough for the sock buns anymore. And I hadn't really learnt how to do anything except bun. It was a struggle. I almost went back to relaxing at this point. But a few people talked to me and persuaded me to back away from the relaxer kits, and wait for a while before deciding on something this drastic. This is the point when I started wearing wigs with a vengeance. I would do box braids, and wear my wig over them. The relaxer urge passed, my hair stopped rebelling, and the transition continued.
I did not even notice months 7 to 12. My routine went like clockwork. The only major change that happened here was that I moved to finger detangling exclusively. I also stopped shampooing weekly, and now washed my hair with African black soap, and only clarified once a month. Style of choice: milkmaid braid + buns.
So what did I learn about my hair and its personality over the past year? Well:
1. My hair now hates anything with a humectant as one of the first 5 ingredients. I have stopped using glycerin or honey since it makes my hair feel strawlike.
2. Shea butter, mango butter and heavy oils are what my hair craves. Any product with heavy butters and oils in the first 5 ingredients is what my hair demands. Give me castor oil, baobab oil, coconut oil, shea butter, mango butter, jojoba oil or cocoa butter and my hair is a very happy camper. Olive oil just has my hair go crunchy.
3. Water will always be my hair's first love. If my hair feels weird, I either baggy or do the GHE overnight. The next morning, I just seal with an oil and we are good to go. And since the rainy season is here, my hair will enjoy the extra moisture from the skies too :)
4. Heat is a definite no no. I ended up chopping off 1'' to 1.5'' off my hair thanks to heat damage after my last flat iron in August, despite using a heat protectant. I had a lot of breakage and split ends, and I had to do something fast in order not to lose all my retained length. Before my setback, my hair was BSB (below shoulder blade)length. I had to cut back to APL because of that. I am now on an indefinite no heat challenge.
Now I am not sure how long my transition will last. One thing is for certain, I am not big chopping yet. My hair is APL and with full shrinkage, I cannot ponytail it. So I will wait until I can do a proper ponytail with full shrunk hair before I chop off the rest of the relaxer.
Onto length stats. Last measurement (with a tape measure) was done on 20 October 2014. I am grazing APL with the following measurements:
The nape is fully natural at the moment. The front has about 3'' of relaxed hair still to be chopped off.
Plans for the coming year:
1. Do inversion method for entire year
2. Start doing clay washes
3. No heat or trims. Only S&D (search and destroy) will be done
4. Start doing henna applications
5. No length checks until I am 2 years post.
Let the transition continue!!!!!