I Simply can't believe it's been 5 years! I never thought I'd make it "this far". It has been ONE of the most Emotional, Life Changing events thus far. It has been Rewarding but it has also been very Frustrating because became soooo delusional in my expectations of what my hair was Gonna Do and what it was Suppose to Be. I was so excited to be on this journey with no idea of what to do, even though that in itself was invigorating because after all, this journey was all about me and my beautiful, natural hair...wasn't it? I thought I was prepared for the twists and turns, the bumps and the bruises and the milestones and the mistakes...What I wasn't prepared for was the weeks of devastation because I had to trim my ends (yet again) that endlessly kept breaking; I wasn't prepared for the months of unnerving anticipation for my hair to grow after the 3rd (yup 3rd ) big chop, hair cut, major trim, whatever you want to call it...all I knew was that this was the 3rd (and last) go round of going backwards with my hair....and it was!!!! So here I am today, if someone had sat me down or had I come across a blog like this, I would not have made so many mistakes but without those mistakes, I would never have been able to write this blog, huh!!! Well here is what have I Learned...The Good, The Bad and the Ugly....
NEVER COMPARE YOUR HAIR (or yourself) TO OTHER NATURALS
Understand that each and every one of us as Naturals are on our own separate and individual Journey and we each started at different points. A Newbie Natural will frustrate herself if she compares her hair to someone who has been on a natural journey for 7 years. Also, every natural's hair texture is different, like Hair Typing (3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 4c, etc.), density, coily, kinky, low/high porosity. If your hair is thin, it is not going to quite look like the YouTube Queen who has thick, curly hair. Knowing your hair type and texture will help you find and identify with those who have similar hair types and textures as you do. I was one that would scowl YouTube and Instagram and get so frustrated with my hair because it didn't turn out like my Hair Crush of the Week. I started following and reading Blogs from Naturals who had thin, fine hair like me and were hugely successful in their journey.
FIND YOUR OWN PRODUCT STAPLES
This took some trial and error for me. Not every product you see advertised will work for you like it worked for the Natural in her Product Review. I brought countless products, oils, butters, sprays and spritz until I finally narrowed them down to "My Tried & True" Products. Those are the ones that yield the same results every time. My hair is thin but dense and loves butters as long as it is in thin layers. My hair also loves protein which I incorporate during every other wash. When it was all said and done, I experimented with what "My Hair" Loved and needed to thrive; I created my own Formula that birthed My Natural Hair Product Line that has proven awesome results for me and others with similar hair types and hair struggles (thinning, breakage, shedding, greying, etc.). Nope, I'm not blogging this to sell my own products...I'm just simply telling you what worked for me.
DEEP CONDITION...MOISTURIZE & SEAL from Root to Tip
I can't stress this enough, the more I incorporated deep conditioning during EVERY WASH and Moisturized & Sealed at least every other day, the less breakage and split ends I had. Dry and brittle hair will Break! Keeping your hair moisturized will keep your hair supple, pliable and healthy. In the Summer, I use lighter oils and watery leave in conditioners; in the Winter, I use heavier oils and/or butters and thicker leave in conditioners and creams.
CREATE A CONSISTENT REGIMEN
Once I created a weekly schedule to include Wash Day, Products I would use and Hair Styling, I was able to track what agreed with my hair and what didn't; creating a Regimen also helped me to master certain styles because that was the "chosen style" for that weekly regimen . The only way I knew if something worked or didn’t was to track my hair progress for a few weeks. The main lesson I learned from having a consistent regimen was that if a technique, product, routine, style, etc. worked then don’t deviate to go keep up with trends or the latest Social Media Posts or Hair Tutorial/Video that’s gone viral.
After about 2 years of ongoing breakage & split ends, I learned that I have thin hair strands which snapped and split easily, especially when I would Over-Manipulate my hair due to daily combing, brushing and styling. I fell in love and mastered Wash & Go's very early in my Natural Hair Journey but as my hair grew, my Go-To-Wash & Go Style began to develop Single Strand Knots. I've learned that my hair thrives when I wear low manipulated or protective styles that STRETCH my hair. As long as my hair is moisturized, stretched and left alone, I retain length and my hair is healthy; I try to wear my Protective Styles for at least 3-4 days before I re-moisturize and re-style. Protective Styles did just that...Protected my hair from the elements, breakage & and even me.
So there you have it...The 5 Key Lessons that I still use to this day to grow healthy hair and to retain length, there is certainly more that I've learned along the way but these lessons were definitely the Game Changer for me...Happy Hair Journey!!!
What have you learned the 1st few years of your NappiAnniversary?
What advice would you give to a Newbie Natural?
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