Daily Archives: May 15, 2012

April GOC Update: Mimi (#16)

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Hair
Oh, where to begin. I was so excited at the beginning of the GOC … for all the changes about to occur, about my regimen. Let me tell you that it exploded immediately. As I stated in my initial goals, I wanted to start regularly hennaing and using castor oil. Yeah, guess who is extraordinarily allergic to both henna and castor oil? This girl. The last henna that I did, it caused a MASSIVE eczema break out down the back of my neck and back. I kind of knew henna irritated my skin a little based on my first henna application, but it was nothing major and I ignored it because I so badly wanted to use it. Bad idea. It looked like I had shingles (I actually thought I had shingles for a minute). Before the outbreak however, I had started using a mixture of castor oil, jojoba, grapeseed and olive oil on my scalp and edges. I did this once and my scalp was so irritated that I had to leave work early to wash it out. I knew it was the castor oil causing the problem because I use the other products routinely.

Both the henna and castor oil have resulted in a great deal of shedding. My scalp is so sensitive in some areas (particularly my crown and front/side edges … joy) that I can’t even touch them (Btw, it has been a month since doing the treatments). There are 2 or 3 tiny bald spots ( BALD SPOTSSSS!!!!!) in parts of my edges now. I am so devastated by all of this. The solution I’ve come up with, for now, is to use a wig to do major protective styling for a while. I considered twists or weave, but my edges are so sensitive and the shedding hasn’t calmed down fully, so I did not want anything pulling in those areas. I am also currently in a show (I am an actress), along with working full time, and I would not be able to dedicate myself to my hair the way that I would want.

Health & Fitness
But okay … haha … there is good news. I lost 5 pounds this month! Woot! I would have lost more, but when I’m upset, nothing stands between me and food. Thank the Lord for the gym and dance class. Also, and I think you can tell from the pic, despite the massive shedding, my hair is still growing! Slowly but surely. I was APL starting off and now I am a little over that. So, I am excited to see its progress when I just leave it the heck alone completely.

Missed Mimi’s first GOC post? Check it out here.

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Tia’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Tia. I would describe myself as a very open-minded, free-spirited individual. I love to laugh, to learn and I love hard. I’m also a Pisces.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I have been natural most of my life. I say most because, when I was 13, my mom gave me a relaxer because she didn’t know what to do with my puffy hair and I was tired of wearing a ponytail. However, after that first time, she never did it again and my hair has never been the same since. My once mid-back length hair is now growing in two different patterns, a “natural layer,” if you will. I am now 27.

Did you transition or big chop?
Ummm, lol. I guess, technically, I transitioned since I’ve let it grow out since 13.

What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle? How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
My biggest hair challenge is breakage and retaining the length. I have 3 different textures with the coarsest being in the middle that seems to stop growing at my neck, a very fine 3b in the back that grows on and on, and a 3c in the front that stops at shoulder length. I stumbled upon Naturallycurly.com in October of 2011 and learned a lot about my curls and how they need moisture and protective styling to retain length. My hair has grown 3 inches. Yaay!!

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love that I was natural before it was considered normal. I love the versatility of it, I can be curly or straight whenever I desire.

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural? What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
I love WEN. I use it to cleanse, condition and as a leave-in. SheaMoisture Deep Treatment masque is my moisturizer and I use a JBCO and EVCO mix as my sealer. I love Elasta QP “Feels like Silk” gel for hold; I have been using that for years before I discovered the beauty in the naturalista lifestyle.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
I currently wear my hair in a bun during the week as a protective style and then I rock a braidout or WnG on the weekends. Since birth until right before I discovered Naturallycurly.com, I wore my hair in a boring combed, brushed and pulled waaaay too tight pony (that probably had a hand in inhibiting growth).

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? Before I embraced my natural hair and knew how to take care of it, I got a press once a year. Usually, due to not knowing how to take care of it, I always had to get a serious cut (which always left my hair at my shoulders). I don’t recommend going to a salon, they always want to cut it all off and start from scratch as opposed to nurturing it slowly back to health with minor trims and deep treatments.

Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.)? If so, how and in what ways has it affected your lifestyle?
Yes, embracing my natural has me working out more (circulation and growth), eating better and now I’m starting to drop this baby weight that I have been carrying for the year that my son has been here.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Yes, YOU actually. lol. I love that shot of your TnC with those beautiful red highlights. I also am in love with the luscious curls of Jess Of Mahoganycurls on YT.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
Hairscapades.com, CurlyNikki.com, Hairlista.com, MahoganyCurls and HairCrush of YouTube.

Where can we find you online?
I’m new to the Naturalista game and I’m  pretty low key. So, I can only be found in two places: Tia Ellisia on Facebook and last month I joined Twitter @Curlymami43. I’m following you Shelli. lol.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I’d say go for it!!!. It was the best decision I’ve made to take care of my hair, because in turn I had to take better care of my body. My hair is growing and thriving and my waistline is shrinking. How amazing being in tune and loving oneself 😀 !

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Love the blog! Love the hair! Keep up the great work, you’re such an inspiration.

How I Retain Length

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Last week, I mentioned that I was getting quite a few questions about what I do/did to get my hair to its current length. Usually when I get asked that question, I’ll point to my regimen post. But, to be honest, that is ever evolving and what I may be doing or using today may be totally different a week or two from now. So, I started to think about the various Tips and Tricks that I’ve shared over the last year. Then, I grouped them into categories of things that I consistently do to retain as much length as I can.

Right now, my hair is the longest that it’s ever been in my life … not ADULT life … my ENTIRE life. I have what is viewed as a “looser curl” and some assume that length automatically comes with that. However, I was not one of those little girls with a thick, long ponytail hanging down her back until the yearning for a “perm” set-in and destroyed her long, luxurious mane.

Instead, my hair was fine, frizz prone and armpit length was probably the longest it ever was pre- or post relaxer. All this to say that, at 40 years of age and 12 years natural, my hair is the longest that it has ever been … EVER.

Now here’s the disclaimer! LOL! This post isn’t to say that I’ve got this length retention thing down to an exact science, that my methods are the only ones that work, that I don’t have setbacks or that I have a perfect head of hair. I am trying to grow out a shorter, dryer, coarser and more breakage-prone crown, a shorter nape, transition out henna-loosened ends and recover from the amla induced “Great Shed of 2010.” I don’t have a perfectly even, thick perimeter and although my longest areas have reached waist length, not all of my hair has (I’m testing Chicoro’s “Lead Hair” Theory and the goal point method of trimming). So, yeah … my hair is a work in progress and I hope some of the things that I learned and began incorporating late last year will help me to achieve healthier, thicker, stronger and longer hair in the twenty twelve!!

So, without further ado, here are the 3 things that I am doing to “grow” my hair long or, more accurately, retain the length that I grow!

1. MOISTURIZE: Every week (or two weeks at the most), I pre-poo with Vatika or coconut oil, deep condition, apply a leave-in conditioner and seal with an oil. I re-apply a water-based moisturizer and seal between wash sessions, as needed.

2. PROTECT: I’m not just talking about protective styling. I think about protection as everything I do to reduce stress on my hair and prevent “premature” breakage. I finger detangle, use gentle hair accessories and tools, search and destroy to trim knots and splits that can cause “collateral damage” to adjacent strands, sleep on a satin pillowcase, wear a satin scarf or bonnet every night and wear low manipulation/protective styles that tuck away my ends 5-6 days a week.

3. STRENGTHEN: Throughout most of 2011, this element was largely missing from my regimen and I think it resulted in preventable breakage. But, I rectified this in November 2011, learned how to use protein correctly and began incorporating strengthening protein treatments every 2-3 weeks, or as needed. I also use henna. But, as I do roots-only treatments due to curl loosening caused by repeated applications, it isn’t sufficient as a strengthening agent alone. So, it became imperative for me to begin using protein to reinforce the “structural integrity” of my strands.

Here are a few pictures that show my progress from 2008, when I had my hair cut to ear length straight, to present.

Sept. 22, 2008

Feb. 19, 2011 (post 2-3″ trim)

Feb. 5, 2012

Feb. 10, 2012

Check out How I Retain Length-Part Two here.

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 What do you do to retain length?