I’ve always coveted long hair and although I had shoulder length hair my entire life somewhere in the back of my mind, I often believed my hair could grow longer…I just wasn’t sure how. In undergrad my hair definitely got fuller and healthier as a result of bi-weekly rollersets at the Dominican salons (no blow outs, rollersets only). Never one to flat iron my hair regularly anyway, this encouraged me to continue with my heat-free regimen after graduation and between that, regular deep conditioning and daily moisturizing with Ultra Black Hair Dew, my hair grew to full arm pit length which is the longest my hair had ever been.
The thing is, I relied on my amazing stylist for most services – relaxers, rollersets, and trims – so once I moved for graduate school my hair began to suffer. First there were the microbraids done in an African braiding shop where they refused to braid all the way to the ends of my hair, which resulted in broken hair. Then there was finding a new stylist who believed in healthy hair like I did. Also, I had stopped purchasing the UBH spray and went back to other products, Carol’s Daughter, Profectiv, and Doo Grow for daily moisturizing all of which contained high amounts of mineral oil and didn’t really moisturize my hair. Add to that the stress of professional school and the result was broken hair that could only be remedied by a major haircut.
Finally after a few failed attempts to re-grow my lengthy locks, I did an online search and came across Black Hair Media and my healthy hair journey was born! I did have one final catastrophe a month into my HHJ (May 2009) in which a stylist burned my scalp very badly by incomplete neutralizing and improper product use plus she cut my full shoulder length hair into a ridiculously ratchet mullet looking shape leaving me at chin and neck length.
I was upset but not discouraged and I continued on my journey by wearing wigs for about 7 months straight to allow my hair and scalp time to recuperate. I heavily considered transitioning at that time but decided firmly against it during one tragic wash day where I decided to straighten my hair and wear it out. I was pulling and tugging at what seemed like a zillion knots, the blow dryer caused my hair to smoke and I failed to achieve a sleek look after flat ironing. Following all that work, I was left with a throbbing scalp and frizzy hair; then I looked down to see literally piles of my hair on the bathroom floor from the detangling and straightening session. I realized (just as I had the last time I was natural) that I do much less damage to my hair when it is relaxed – I don’t use direct heat as often, I don’t “fight” with my tangles, and overall I get along with my hair better. I’ve been happily relaxed ever since although that doesn’t stop me from having natural hair envy all the time!
I was able to grow my relaxed hair to just below my shoulder blades to graze bra-strap length, but had a difficult time maintaining that length with healthy ends and was never able to grow beyond it. Each time I reached this length, my hair needed a major trim. Since my final length goal is middle back length hair, I decided to stop relaxing my hair and transition to natural hair.
I transitioned over a period of two years to natural hair, no big chop for me! When I finally completely cut my relaxed ends, my hair stretched fell just below my shoulders.
I typically wear my natural hair in protective and low manipulation styles, usually a twist out. My final length goal is still mid back and I hope to achieve it sometime in 2017. That’s my hair story and I’m sticking to it!
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