Saturday, November 22, 2014

Transitioning Talk: 16 Months, 16 Epiphanies

Time. Has. Flown. By! I remember when I used to freak out when stretching my relaxers at 16 weeks, now I'm at 16 months completely flabbergasted at the fact that I'm 73 weeks posts.

[1] Do it patiently, or not at all.

"It" is anything, really. I've learned the hard way that if I don't have the patience to tackle my hair, I should not touch it. Getting frustrated and rushing is the surest way to cause breakage for me.

[2] A watched pot never boils.

I realized the other day after I hit the one year mark, I stopped keeping track of how much new growth I have. Tracking would help me gage how much longer I have to transition before I hit my "goal big chop length," but not tracking is just the easier way to go.

[3] "Not everyone will understand the journey. Don't worry, it's not for them."

I think the most asked question/statement I've received is "why are you transitioning, your relaxed hair was perfectly fine?" Or "There are so many naturals out there already, you should have stayed relaxed." That last one always makes me squint because since when was there a set quota for relaxed hair or natural hair?  Who in the world is keeping track of those stats? Folks, it's your hair. Do whatever you want to it.

[4] When in doubt, moisturize.

This is one is definitely not a rule set in stone; it won't work for everyone, but for me, moisture has been my best friend.

[5] Stick to what works. Staples will not lead you astray.

I'm all for trying new products and techniques but sticking to staples and trusted techniques has helped keep this transition drama-free. My wash day posts may be a bit redundant at times, but "if it ain't broke" right?

Here a couple staples and techniques that have helped me during this transition.

[6] I didn't think I would care about finally seeing my natural texture, but I kind of do.

My mother relaxed my hair at when I was maybe 7 years old and since then I've never really seen my texture. Discovering my texture during this transition has so much fun.

71 weeks post

[7] My texture is not uniform.

I had no clue I had varying textures on this big head of mine.  Some parts have tight coils, some parts not so much.

[8] Shrinkage is a liar. Embrace it and move on.

Here's a perfect example of the varying textures I mentioned above. My nape and temples have the tightest curls and the most shrinkage. I think it's cute lol. Stretching my nape out is always a surprise.

[9] The battle against tangles is "winnable," and preventing tangles is possible . . . but I still hate detangling lol.

[10] On very small level, I think I haven't accepted that I'm going natural.

Because I haven't tossed my jar of ORS lye away. It's still sitting in my closet as "plan B." If I ever post that I threw out my jar of ORS you'll know I finally committed lol.

[11] When it comes to styling, I'm pretty boring. And that's okay.

Bun. Faux bob. Fleix rods. Curl formers. And repeat. I really don't have any other styles up my sleeves lol.  I haven't done a twist out since 2009 and braid outs are rare; I can count the number of times I've done a braid out on two hands.

[12] There is no cookie-cutter way to transition.

I was chatting with my friend last week and she commented that she's not surprised that my transition to natural hasn't gone the "traditional" route because I wasn't a traditional relaxed lady either.  I'd never realized my methods the last 16 months weren't "conventional" or "traditional" . . . they're just methods that work for me, and that's all that matters.

[13] Seeing is believing.

When I first told my grandmother I would no longer relax my hair, she swore up and down that my hair would break and fall out. Many moons later, my grandmother is now my cheerleader and supports this lil' natural route of mine.

[14] Stretched hair is happy hair.

Keeping my hair stretched helps me avoid tangles, matting, and single strand knots. Curl formers and the tension method have become my favorite methods to stretch my hair.

[15] The tension method. Is. A. Freaking. Life. And Sanity. Saver.

Left: hair with conditioner still in after deep conditioning • Right: hair after stretching it and drying it to about 80% dry with cold air + tension method.

[16] Do it patiently, or not at all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wash Day | "Old Faithful"

So sorry my wash day post is so late! It's been a busy, tiring week.

By Sunday, my curl form set from last week was big and fluffy; I loved it. But after 2 weeks of curl former sets, I was ready to go back to my normal routine, "old faithful."
Day 7 big, fluffy curl former curls
[1] Pre-poo: Aussie Moist Conditioner to loosen my old curl former curls and remove shed hair.
[2] Co-washed: SheScentIt Blueberry Co-Wash Conditioner
[3] Tea rinsed with mix of lavender, fenugreek, chamomile, sage, and green tea.
[4] Wrapped my hair in a cotton towel to soak up excess water and then deep conditioned with HairVeda Sitrinillah Deep Conditioner (for an hour under my heating cap).
[5] T-shirt dried for an hour.
[6] Applied leave-ins (Komaza Care Matani Leave-In + Organix Shea Butter Liquid Glass Serum), detangled, and stretched my hair using the tension method + cold air (to about 80% dry).
Left: hair with conditioner still in after deep conditioning • Right: hair after stretching it and drying it to about 80% dry with cold air + tension method.

[7] Applied aloe vera gel to my edges, tied my hair down with a silk scarf, and finished air drying overnight.

The next morning I finger combed my hair into a low ponytail, and then bun.
Three cheers for smooth edges at 72 weeks post relaxer!

For the week I've been wearing my hair in simple low bun, alternating the location of my ponytail each day to prevent causing breakage.

How was your recent wash day? What's your "old faithful" routine?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hair Story Feature: Meet Curly4Christy

Describe your hair for us.
I would say that I am a "type 4" natural. Meaning, I have type 4a, 4b, and 4c all over my head!

When did you start your hair journey? What inspired you?
My natural hair journey all started when my husband convinced me that I should not have to put chemicals in my hair to feel beautiful. My natural beauty is just enough and so is his love! So I decided to transition for 3 months before I gave in to the big chop. I say "give in" because it was hard to resist touching my new growth/curls.

What is your current regimen?
I have a video on this on YouTube, but I will quickly summarize my routine: I co-wash my hair once a week using As I Am Coconut Cowash and then I apply Jamaican Black Castor Coconut Oil to my scalp and hair. For my cream I use any leave in conditioner I can get my hands on. I twist my hair
after wards and wake up the next day to unravel a beautiful twist-out! I love following the "LOC" method (liquid, oil, cream) because this helps me to maintain moisture in my hair.

Do you have any hair goals? Have you achieved them?
My hair goal is to healthily grow my hair passed my armpit. Currently it is passed my collar bone, so I am well on my way!

How did you achieve them? How are you working to achieve them?
I stick to a regime and do many protective styles to retain length. I also apply Coconut/Castor oil to my scalp once a week by rubbing it in and massaging my scalp. I believe this may have helped my hair to grow consistently.

Have you had any setbacks? How did you bounce back?
My wedding was my setback. My hair was practically destroyed from stress and the way I maintained it. I made the mistake of letting people work on my hair so that I can look a certain way for my wedding, but that only ended up destroying my hair and caused breakage on the most sensitive areas of my hair. After my wedding, I bounced back by getting back on my regime and basically went on a healing process.

How has your hair journey impacted other parts of your life?
I started a channel on Youtube documenting my journey and my natural hair growth back in 2013 when I big chopped. Being natural is one of the best things that have ever happened to me because it allowed me to embrace who I truly am and to love myself more than I ever have. I quickly realized it's not just about hair, it's about acceptance. My husband is always playing with my hair now, but when I was relaxed he wasn't as curious as he is now.

What are your favorite protective styles?
I absolutely love 2 strand twists for a protective style because I can always pin them up and have versatile styles with them or just let them hang around... y'know!

What are some of your favorite products?
I absolutely love using Jamaican Black Castor Coconut Oil and the As I Am Coconut Cowash.

How do you deal with people who doubt you? What motivates you to keep going?
I always remain positive and confident when people doubt me because I know what I am capable of and I know my strengths, so when people doubt me it's because they don't know me at all and that's okay. That's where I get the opportunity and the challenge to give them a reason to believe in me! Plus, I love a challenges, it pushes me to do better if someone ever doubts me. My husband has always been my motivation in anything I do because he is my everything.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things (e.g. conditioner, bobby pins) would you wish you had?
1. Oil
2. Conditioner
3. Satin Bonnet
4. Hair Scrunchies
5. Spray Bottle

What do you love most about your hair?
I love my curls. They are unique and they are mine. Versatility has become a big thing for me when it comes to my hair. I can now choose to wear it in any state: protective styles, big afro, curly, etc...

What advice would you give someone just starting out on their journey?
Being natural is so much healthier and the benefits are phenomenal. Once you get passed the idea of detangling your hair, it all becomes fun to explore the versatility your hair has to offer! Embrace your natural beauty and love yourself.

Where can we find you on the web?
YouTube | Twitter and Instagram, search for “christypetko”

Thank you for sharing your story with us!
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