|Picture Courtesy of ACurlyGirlAllTheDaysOfMyLife|
So, first things first! Some people say, "don't count your transitioning days in how long you've been natural!" So, what does that make me? Two years natural? Dunno!
I transitioned for about 12 months. During that time, I got heat damage which I transitioned out of during those 12 months that I transitioned out of a relaxer. Two years? Is that right? So, I've been natural for 2-3 years? Okay!
So, anyways, y'all know my story! But I'll say it anyway:
SKIPPING THE BEGINNING OFCOURSE (the whole story about having a relaxer for most of my life, not being born with a hair manual, yada yada).
Okay! So, being natural wasn't the easiest thing and I guess I put my hair before other things in my life which was a terrible decision, of course, but my hair benefitted from it, I guess (though it would still have benefitted even if it wasn't the main physical thing in my life). It took a while for me to decide what products I actually needed and how to work with them and it took a while for me to learn to work with my hair well and embrace the annoying things of being curly like shrinkage (the #1 annoying thing. The #2 is having your hair get stuck in things you walk past).
So, y'all know my goal had been BSL by the end of last year and unfortunately, I didn't get that. That was a bit of a downer. However, I've been on this protective styling journey that has helped in retaining quite a lot of length! You see, I'm a first-year college student (sixth form) and my mum thought it would be a lil stressful trying to take care of and style my hair while trying to get used to a new environment, teaching system, a bigger amount of workload and all so she had me decide to protective style. So, I was like, "okay, I'll get crochet braids done" and she installed them for me (I had mini twists in prior to that, but they were WAY too frizzy I had to take them down). I had my crochet braids in for about 4 months before I took them down, rocked my hair for about a week or two and then went back to them for about 3 months, took them down again, rocked my hair for a couple of weeks then put them back in. The second time I took them down, I had a lil past APL length hair! Oh me, oh my!
Okay! So, anyways, for 63 days, I did the Insanity Workout. Now, y'all might be like, "sixty-three??" Yup! the Insanity workout is advertised as a 60 days workout, but honey, it ain't! Count the days on the workout calendar! Stuff is 63 days long! They lied to me!! I finished this workout last month which means that I started it in March? I think? Can't remember? Too lazy to calculate? I believe the working out helped stimulate blood circulation in my scalp which in turn helped stimulate growth because I had quite a lot of new growth under my crochet braids before I took them down and noticed all that length. I have been off working out for a while now. I mean, I did Zumba once a week after Insanity, but I had a bad knee during the last week or so of Insanity and it got worse then about 3 weeks ago, my joints in my shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees (both) and ankles started hurting, I had to go for physiotherapy (been to it for about 4 weeks now) and I've had to see a doctor twice now so I've been off all workouts for a while now! I am going to pick up another workout that I'll do everyday a week after all this pain stops 'cause honey, it hurts to move.
Anyways, so that helped with my hair growth. Another thing that helped was that I started drinking more water which is really good. It's like watering grass. Water's gon' help those grass blades grow! Your hair's gon' grow if you water it and if you keep the soil (which is your scalp) hydrated!
I also started eating WAY healthier! Although my guilty pleasure was popcorn and now it's ice cream. I'm not really a fan of ice cream (the only one I kinda actually like is Strawberry Cornetto), but if you live in Somerset or near Somerset, you would know that that place is HOT! Oh my gosh! It's like Nigeria all over again! (minus the perpetual smell of outside, the brown and grey skies (not blue!), the constant fighting, shouting, honking of horns, et cetera) I was sweating every night! You can't blame me for reaching out for some ice cream! I actually left where I live over there, walked for how many minutes, just to buy one Cornetto! Anyways, I felt sick afterwards. My punishment. With the popcorn, I ate it at night, which was bad, but that was just because that was when I had time to watch my series (Arrow, Vampire Diaries, The Originals and 24 (shout out to my fellow fans!)). Besides those guilty pleasures, I'm a healthy eater. I mean, I eat "grass" (a friend of mine calls my green, leafy salads, "grass"), I drink green juices (I have a bottle of it right beside me), I eat a bowl of fruits and/or veggies every night, when I make pasta, there's veggies in it, I cook clean (I avoid processed foods). When I eat what the school makes, I'm not sure what's in the food, but the food's not really unhealthy, I have one liquid meal a day (soups for lunch), I don't eat actual/cooked food after 5pm! And I have tried cutting off the popcorn, I actually deprived myself of it for a while (IT WAS TORTURE!! 'Cause I had a bag that stared me in the face whenever I opened up the cupboard to get some food ingredients). My popcorn was Metcalfe's Skinny Topcorn which doesn't have that many calories, doesn't have all that flavouring, preservatives and nasty stuff added into other popcorns. I did indulge in some toffee popcorns, but they make me feel sick, make my teeth feel weird and my fingers sticky and I hate sticky and dirty fingers (I've helped a friend teach a clay club for about 2 weeks now and I was like, "uugh! my fingers are dirty!" when the clay messed it up. I'm girly when it comes to dirt!). Anyways, the healthy eating benefitted my hair as it is stronger, shinier and longer (I eat loads of protein (eggs) for breakfast, which helps).
When I take down my crochet braids, I have my hair out on some days, especially when leaving my house, and then, I prefer to rock a bantu-knot out. If I'm staying indoors, psh! Ain't nobody got time to detangle, style or simply just manipulate my hair (no touching!)! I just leave it up in a satin scarf, how I slept. That helps retain length :)
Aah! My fingers don't get into my hair (new growth under my crochet braids), and if I have a bobby pin in, it stays in (as long as it's not in a position it can get tangled in my hair in while sleeping) and if I have my satin headband/hair ribbon in, it stays in because the more I put it in and take it out, the more my hair weakens. I mean, it's like bending and straightening out a piece of metal or plastic or something. It's gon' weaken and break!
Oh! oh! I drink green tea daily too! Had about 10 cups in one day to my best and closest guy friend's utter disgust. :) I drink it just 'cause I love it and well, in return of that love, it boosts my metabolism, which I read recently, could stimulate hair growth and it stimulates my hair follicles according to some university's research.
There's already quite a bit of new growth under these new crochet braids which I've had in for about a month or a little over that now. This could be as a result of the new green tea addiction and also because I cleanse my scalp with apple cider vinegar instead of washing it often with a sulfate free shampoo then conditioning. This prevents abrasion which can lead to breakage.
Anyways, this is longer than I planned for it to be so I'm going to stop here!