Daily Archives: May 8, 2012

April GOC Update: Adrienne (#4)


by Adrienne of Natural Embrace

This second round is going very well. I feel like I’m learning so much about my hair this time around! At the end of March, I decided to set my Denman Brush and combs aside so that I can experiment with finger detangling. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about being able to do this with my hair, but it’s going really well. I think I’ve seen more length retention since incorporating this into my routine, so I’ll definitely stick with it. I’ve also added Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) into my regimen, and I’ve been applying it to my scalp and edges every other night or so. Since I worry about the oil staining my satin pillow case, I’ve been doing the baggy method on the nights I oil my scalp. On the ends of my hair, I’ve been using regular castor oil and while it is a bit heavier than I’m used to, it makes my hair really shiny and it helps with the finger detangling process,.

Lately, I haven’t been deep conditioning with my steamer as much as I would like to, so I’m hoping to make more time for that. I also want to try using it for prepoos as I’ve heard that for some it works better with prepoo treatments since it opens the hair cuticle, which helps products to penetrate better. I also haven’t been very strict with protective styling and it doesn’t seem like my hair is suffering in any way. When I work out, I like to cowash afterwards and will usually style my hair in a WnG or just pull it up. I gave in to my urge to buy some products, so I’ve been experimenting with different things, which has been really fun. Recently I did a WnG using the Boticelli Botanicals Flax Gelee and castor oil mixed together, and loved how soft and defined my hair was! Prior to that, I used my bootleg version of Curlformers on hair that had been in a bun for a day and really liked how my hair turned out (just wish I had more length to enjoy the look with).

I also recently discovered that I love a braid out more than I love a twist out, so that’s going to be my new go to style (well…when I feel like putting in any effort into styling).

Since I really want to see some nice growth this month and before my birthday in June, I’ve decided to be stricter with my protective styling and really baby my ends using my leave-in of choice and castor oil to seal. I think continuing to use the JBCO and baggying will really help me get the growth I want. One recent highlight that made me happy was to hear the SO say that my hair is looking really healthy and fuller! Woo hoo! I must be doing something right.

Health & Fitness:
Despite a steady workout regimen where I lift weights three times a week and run three times a week, in addition to eating well, my weight just doesn’t EVER seem to change … so I’ve resigned myself to the fact

that this may just be the weight I’m supposed to be. That being said, I do find that my clothes fit better and overall I feel really good, so it could be that I’m losing inches and gaining muscle, which
is a good thing … so what does it matter if the scale seems to be stuck at the same number?

I think I’m too fixated on getting back to my high school/early college days weight (115) and, while I’m not old, I am older and our bodies and hormones constantly change, which definitely contributes to weight gain in my opinion. Plus I do (did … it’s under control now) have a thyroid issue, so maybe I was able to stay so thin before because of that … who knows?! Since 115 might be a little hard to get to my from current weight of 135 … maybe I can aim for 125. I have a crazy work schedule, so I’ll have to figure out where I can squeeze in some extra cardio time on the days I lift weights. I usually run for my cardio but, after lifting, I may start using my jump rope (gotta go dig it out of the back of my closet).

Missed Adrienne’s GOC – The Sequel entry? Check it out here.


Protective Styling Boring?



On Sunday, I decided to start going through my photo “archives” from 2011 to present to build a Protective Styles album on Facebook. And, it started me thinking about the recent questions I’ve been receiving about how I’ve been able to “grow” my hair long. I put grow in parentheses as I think “growing” hair long is generally a misnomer. As many of us know, absent a medical condition, our hair is always growing. Shoot, how many used to relax every 4-8 weeks, because that new growth was coming in so fast? So, yeah, that smashes the concept that our hair doesn’t grow. However, what is often happening when hair plateaus at a certain length is that we aren’t retaining that growth.

Enter protective styling. Now, there are a variety of factors that I believe have contributed to my ability to achieve my current length, which is the longest my hair has ever been, though it’s still a work in progress. What I do know is that protective styling (i.e. wearing styles where my ends are tucked) has played a major part in helping me get where I am now and will continue to be of benefit. But wait. Let me be more precise. Low manipulation protective styling has played a major part in helping me get closer to my goals.

You see, unlike those with hair of heartier stock, my fine strands can’t deal with too much pulling, tugging, braiding, twisting, cornrowing, flat-twisting, etc. So, I learned about a year and a half ago that my hair fares much better when I stretch it with twist-outs or TnCs and then place it in protective styles that can be done in 5-15 minutes with large sections of hair and pretty much left alone for several days or even a week at a time. Although I love the idea and look of small twists, mine tend to unravel. So, having to re-twist every couple of days kind of defeats the purpose of that particular protective style (though, I still wear twists on occasion). And wearing my hair down results in tangles, knots, splits and breakage due to friction and debris!

Now, to my real point. I have often read the sentiments like the following about protective styling: “What’s the point of growing your hair long if you always have to hide it?” and “Protective styling is boring.” But, I’d like to posit that “hiding” one’s hair can be anything but boring and is actually fun! In the last year and a half, I have done more simple, protective styles than I can even remember. The key for me has been to:

  1. Play around with a few gentle tools and accessories (i.e. banana clips, satin scrunchies, bobby pins, Spin Pins, Comfort Flex barrettes, flowers, hair sticks, headbands and *gasp* braiding hair! *lol*).
  2.  Search YouTube for inspiration from all sources, not just naturals with my texture and/or length (shoot, one of my favorite Youtubers for protective styling inspiration is Lilith Moon, a Russian blonde with naturally straight, shoulder length, thin hair).
  3. Use my imagination.

With those things, I have found protective styling to be enjoyable and generally prefer to wear my hair up and hidden, over down and out, most days of the week.

So, with some creativity, a few hair tools, a little time and patience, I think protective styling can be fun, fancy, and fierce for hair of all different textures and lengths. And, bonus!!  Switching up protective styles from week to week can save our strands from repeated tension on the same areas, which can cause thinning and breakage. With that, here is a sampling of the protective styles that I’ve done over the last year and a half. The same old plain bun and twists aren’t our only options!!

(Check out the Style Library to find tutorials for most of the styles pictured.)


Do you love/prefer protective styling or do you find it boring? What challenges do you face with it?