What a difference a year and a little knowledge can make. So, I’m sitting here with Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner in my hair after finally washing it. I did a pre-poo with Vatika oil mixed with some EVOO for about an hour (picture above is pre-pooed braids), washed with DevaCare No Poo, applied ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor for a few minutes, rinsed and then applied my DC.

I know what you’re thinking, “So, what’s this about perspective and a year making a difference?”  Well, a year ago I was avoiding protein like the plague. I despised how my hair felt hard and stiff, instead of soft and moisturized, after using protein-based conditioners. I remember how, after my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin treatment, I told Rece, “My hair doesn’t feel as soft as normal” and she told me, “It won’t after a protein treatment.” I didn’t know how I felt about that … wasn’t that the reason I didn’t like protein conditioners/treatments in the first place?

But now, four months later, my perspective on that feeling has completely changed! Now, I see that “hardness” as strength, as resilience, as elasticity. I realize that what I previously perceived as soft and moisturized was over-conditioned, fly-away, snag prone and weakened hair. I see and feel the difference in my hair now. After rinsing the ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, my hair was springy, firm and strong. And I knew, with a little moisturizing DC, it would feel softer and moisturized (but not overly so), yet still strong and firm.

Naked hair, post ApHogee (straighter section in right pic is my normal curl pattern, not heat damage).

I feel like I’m entering 2012 armed with the key to unlocking my hair’s full potential and I can’t wait to see where I am and what else I’ve learned a year from now!


What changes of perspective have you had in your natural hair journey?


19 responses »

  1. Shelli,

    It was great to see your hair in a wetted, natural state. Your hair has a nice wave pattern. I have the same on the sides and the back. The majority and crown, however, is coiled which makes life rather difficult.

    My perspective has changed and evolved as I’ve journeyed down the road to healthy, natural hair. Initially, I jumped on every bandwagon, every new pudding, butter, EVO mix et al that promised perfect elongated curls found a comfortable place in my bathroom. Today, I must say that my hair is MY hair and I have a more realistic understanding what my hair can and will do. :0)

    I can’t get all caught up in what others are doing or NOT doing. I live by trial and error and try to keep track of what’s working and what’s not and make changes to my regimen accordingly. I am narrowing in on my regimen and arsenal of products that are mainstays.(To this regard, I must say that I have borrowed several techniques from you with great results — oil rinses and pre-poos and the cool and seal conditioning technique. I had great results.)

    My journey continues and I remain open to the learnings and experiences of others, but filter for applicability and feasibility to my own situation.


  2. I actually look for protein in my products now, protein is a must for fine hair, you live and you learn! I add a little to every deep conditioning session and that is predominantly weekly. my hair does even better with leaveins that have hydrolyzed protein as the second or third ingredient, the first ingredient is always water. So every week, I either use and egg, cocnut milk or if I want to take it all the way to the core (literllay) the 2minute reconstructer is my guy.. Cant wait to see your progress… your hair is beautiful as always.


    • Thanks Em!! I never liked egg or mayo conditioners and I tried a coconut milk homemade DC one time (with avocado and honey). Had the same hard hair results. So, this is my question. Do you follow those with a moisturizing DC or do you add oils, honey or some other moisturizing product to the eggs or coconut milk?


  3. I have notice a big difference in my hair as well when I use protein treatments. It is heavier and feels a whole lot stronger. How often do you do your protein treatment? I was doing mine once a month, but I don’t know if that is good enough.


    • Miche’al, I’ve just been feeling it out based on if I see excessive breakage or shedding. So, I’m not doing it on a schedule and I’ve only done the 2 step once. I’m thinking that I’ll do the 2 minute every few wash sessions (every 2-3 weeks) and the 2 Step every 6-8 weeks. But, if it doesn’t feel like my hair needs it, then I’ll do it when it seems it does. I think you have to listen to your hair. If it is feeling over-moisturized or too soft, then maybe increase the frequency until it feels the way that you think it should. Then, start spacing them out based upon how your hair feels from there.


  4. Oh my gosh, I totally hear you. Last year I was like…. “protein who? Isn’t my hair dry enough?” And now it’s like “ooooooooo! THAT’s what the ends of my hair are supposed to feel like!” Which reminds me… I need to write a review for my favorite protein treatment!


    • Leah, I just did the 2 minute reconstructor this time. That’s a lot simpler and faster. Why don’t you try that instead of the 2 step? I especially would recommend that since you didn’t do the 2 step too long ago. And, in fact, if your hair isn’t feeling overly soft or stretching too much, I wouldn’t suggest that you do a protein treatment at all until you have your moisture balance restored!


  5. @Tai – what is your favorite protein treatment?

    Has anyone tried the Aveda Damage Remedy line? It is also suppose to be a great protein treatment.

    I’ve been misled all this time. Here I was thinking that protein was the anti-Christ for fine hair. Geez!


    • My favorite protein treatment is Curl Junkie’s ‘Repair Me.’ It’s the protein treatment for cowards and I really don’t have to DC after using it if I don’t want to! #lazy


  6. Perspective! My fine hair always loved protein. My challenge was to be conscientious and diligent in applying moisturizing products, especially DCs. Now I do a DC with every wash during the winter months and especially after protein treatments. I also learned to lighten up and not be so anal about regimens. Flexibility is key for me. Now that I’m “listening” to my hair, we have rekindled our love for each other.


  7. I have come to realise that growing and caring for your hair is a journey, and sometimes the things you thought wouldn’t work then, for whatever reason, work well now., or how you feel about the results of past experiences revisited.
    Shelli you wrote a fantabulous article ages ago called “Rome was not built in a day…neither was a regimen’.(If I could give a $1 for everytime I have read that article, you would be one rich lady). I’m happy that you are able to share so openly the fact that you are still on this journey of discovery (or rediscovery as the case may be), and are brave enough to revisit things that previously didn’t work, or the yielded results you weren’t entirely happy with at the time.
    I do use protein in a variety of forms – mayo, coconut milk, store bought etc. My hair is super fine and ultra soft and the results are strong, hard hair always. I do always deep condition afterwards and after that I have strong, soft hair, which is just a treat!!


  8. Ha! I remember saying that. Back when my hair was relaxed, I used to feel the same way after using a conditioner with protein in it… like my hair isn’t as soft as I would like it to be. A friend of mine told me to alternate using protein conditioners and moisturizing conditioners. I alternated weekly and my hair flourished. I see you use a protein conditioner and a moisturizing conditioner on the same wash. I just used one or the other depending on which week it was.


  9. Great post!! I feel the same way about protein, thanks to your blog! For my past 2 wash days I’ve incorporated the 2min Reconstructor and my hair has felt – and performed – amazingly well! I didn’t even have to use my Tangle Teezer to detangle last time!


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