Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Six Steps to Sexy Hair

I've come a long way since I started on this journey almost a year and a half ago. Since then, I have learnt what techniques are right for me and my hair. I'll give you a rundown but before I do, let me tell you how I got to this point. 

My virgin hair was relaxed just prior to entering the 7th grade at 10 years old. In Jamaica (my home land), a relaxer is like a rite of passage for most girls and I was no different. I have now been a relaxed head for 15 years during which I retouched at the first sign of new growth and at times when I self-relaxed, I even pulled the relaxer all the way to my ends (eeekk!!) Fast forward a few years and here I am living in Japan where the environment is achingly different from Jamaica: the weather, the language barrier, the exorbitant cost of everything in sight and worst yet, the availability of products and stylists, or rather, the lack thereof, for black hair! All these factors led me to take my hair into my own hands and really take care of it, growing it from a little below shoulder length (SL) to mid back length (MBL) in 16 months. 

A month before my hair journey

16 months into my hair journey

How'd I do it, you ask? 

 1. Research - This is foremost on my list. How else would I know what to do and how to do it?! Researching youtube, blogs, forums, and the Internet as a whole, reading books, picking the brains of the hair obsessed, you name it, you gotta do it. (You are heading down the right path by reading this post ;-)) Also, listening to what your own hair has to say. This is supremely important as no two heads are the same. 

 2. Deep Conditioning - Whether it's a 30 minute session or one that lasts all night, a moisture or protein based deep treatment, a deep conditioning session is vital to my life! This is the part of my journey that I just could not do without. The effects of a good DC session lasts all week. 

 3. Stretching - Since my hair journey began I have been a serial stretcher. I have gone to 8 months and 7 months with successive relaxers. I am currently 5 .5 weeks post and I plan to end my stretch in December at around 20 weeks post. Stretching is beneficial as it allows; the line of demarcation to be clearly seen, the scalp time to recover, and the not-so-skilled self-relaxers (like myself) enough new-growth to relax without reapplying to previously relaxed hair. Good stuff!

 4. Low Manipulation and Protective Styling - Not only am I a serial stretcher, I'm a serial protective-styler too. Let me explain: Japan has awful summers and winters and IMO, we only get a few weeks of spring and autumn combined! This is really hard on my anyone's hair. So, I keep it protected with half wigs, full wigs, and now I've decided to add braids to the lot. I do however, schedule my relaxers to coincide with my (usually quite long) vacations within each year so I can let it all hang out (literally). During this time, I do employ low manipulation styling techniques to make up for the lack of protective styling. Protecting your hair from the elements as well as yourself is a key ingredient for length retention. 

 5. Reducing Heat Use - During the periods where I'm enjoying my progress, I like to try various styles and this is when I usually use my heat tools, but I try to keep it to no more than once or twice a month. Indirect heat I use less cautiously and a little more frequently, by roller-setting my hair and sitting under a hooded dryer. The majority of the year though, my hair is air-dried. 

 6. Diet & Exercise - Healthy hair<- healthy scalp <- healthy body... u get the point. Nourish your body and your hair reaps the benefits, simple. I try to eat clean as much as possible and exercise at least 5 days a week. Sometimes I fall off but right now I'm sitting pretty on the wagon. I also throw a few supplements in the mix to be on the safe side. Make a clean diet and regular exercise a lifestyle and you'll not only have a healthy, sexy body, but also some lengthy, sexy hair.



What are your thoughts?