FAQs: My Thoughts on MY Hair

FAQs: My Thoughts on MY Hair



I was recently asked why it seems to be taking me a long time to reach my hair length goals.  A very valid question since I have been on my hair journey since 2009.  Shouldn’t I be further along (lengthwise) by now?  I also receive several emails per week asking why I don’t stretch my relaxers beyond 12 weeks, why I don’t texlax and if I think those things are necessary.  I am not at all offended by your asking, that’s why I’m here right?  To share my hair experiences and things I have learned along the way.

In many ways I follow a lot of the hair “rules” – I don’t use direct heat frequently, I use a sulfate free shampoo and deep condition weekly and I moisturize and seal my hair.  That is my basic regimen and it has proven to work, not just for me, but for others as well.  I’ve actually received emails from women who started their hair journey after discovering L4L and their hair is now longer than mine!  However, that is about where my compliance stops.  In many other ways, I am a healthy hair rebel.

First of all, I don’t want to texlax right now.  Texlaxing for those who are unfamiliar with the term refers to when a person uses a relaxer to only mildly loosen their natural texture, either by applying it for less than the normal suggested time, or preventing it from penetrating your hair by mixing oils or conditioner into either the relaxer creme itself or your hair.  The result is hair that is straighter than your natural texture – the hair is still relaxed – but more texture than if the relaxer was allowed to process normally for the full time.  Now that we all understand the term – it is often suggested that texlaxing is a means to retain more length because it is gentler on the hair.  There is no evidence of this though, there are as many ladies who relaxed bone straight and grew their hair long as those who texlax.  However, a more compelling reason ladies choose to texlax is to give their hair more thickness.  I have yet to see one woman who texlaxes their hair NOT state this as a reason – if not the primary one.  So, with these benefits, why on earth don’t I want to texlax?  Because everyone I see who texlaxes uses direct heat more frequently than I do.  On their roots after rollersetting, blow drying to smooth, flat ironing for straightness.  I do not LIKE to use direct heat.  Not just because of its potentially damaging effects but because I prefer my hair rollerset.  I am better at setting my hair than I am flat ironing it.  Blow drying takes WAY longer than my faux-air drying method takes.  I hate pin straight flat ironed hair.  Blame it on my Jersey roots where rollerwraps, aka doobies, reign supreme but I just prefer rollersetting.  Now, to see some awesome texlaxed hair check out Jeni of JustGrowAlready.com and Traycee of KISS.

How I Prefer to Wear My Hair

Secondly, I refuse to protective style for the sake of length retention.  More than most healthy hair bloggers, I change my style up.  There are some You Tubers who change their styles often as well, but many of them are not concerned about their hair’s health or growing their hair long.  If you’ve been following L4L for any period of time, or even just clicked around a bit – you know I like to do it all with my hair.  Wigs, weaves, clip-ins, phony ponys, bantu knots, twist outs, braid outs, updos, down-dos, buns, bangs, slicked up, fluffed out…hair truly is MY ultimate accessory.  Now again, with that being said, whenever I do feel like protective styling (like now), I run with it.  But only because that’s how I want to wear my hair, not because I’m in an imaginary race against time to grow my hair long as quickly as possible.  Actually wearing, styling and ENJOYING my hair is what makes me happiest!  Now, if I had protective styled nonstop, I’m sure I would have reached my goal already.  But…the sacrifice wasn’t worth it FOR ME.  Everyone is different though!

grow black hair long

Third, I don’t like total DIY.  I fought against becoming a self-relaxer tooth and nail.  I still don’t trim (only dust) my own hair and I enjoy going to the salon!  I like everything about it.  Having my head massaged by someone else.  Chatting it up with the stylist and other patrons.  Being pleased when he or she spins my chair around to the mirror for the final reveal.  I LIKE the salon.  But yet again, with that being said…honey child….the salon doesn’t like me!  I’ve had THREE HORRIBLE setbacks on my hair journey at the hands of hair dressers.  So, now I do everything myself for the most part unless I’m sitting in the chair of my New Jersey trusted stylist.  But I still refuse to install my own sew ins…even though I can.  Ain’t nobody got time for alladat!

My starting length – see how short some of those layers are?!?!

So, just in case you have been silently wondering…with all of this so called “hair knowledge” I seem all so willing to share with others, where are the fruits of my labor? Oh, its there.  You may not remember that I started with chin and neck length hair and a horribly damaged scalp.  Some may have missed my thin end escapade during which I had to chop off all of my retention in order to regain my hair’s thickness and health.  And Lord knows I whined enough about the trim-turned-cut debacle from February of this year where a few inches of hair was “trimmed” taking away all my lil progress!  The entire purpose of L4L is not to brag about how long, healthy or beautiful my hair is – it is to document my JOURNEY to long, healthy hair.  Although I haven’t enjoyed going through the setbacks, I am so happy that I had this platform to share it with you.  You have had the opportunity to experience my hair journey with me, I’ve never claimed to have all the answers. I simply have a love for hair and a small set of researching skills, and if anything I share ehlps you – I’ve done a great job!

Now, if I wanted to concentrate on JUST gaining length (which I actually do for the next 6 months) then I can certainly do that and I’m sure I’ll see the results I anticipate, but most of the time for me, although I do long 4 length…I also want to enjoy my hair too.

  • ‘Actually wearing, styling and ENJOYING my hair is what makes me happiest!’ Me too!!
    I’ve been trying to get myself to start protective styling, but for the mean time I just don’t want too, I’m having too much fun with my hair.
    Great post!

  • alexismoore611

    I absolutely loved this post. You have really gave words to everything I was feeling about why I do not texlax and why I do not protective style as much and why I try to enjoy my hair more than protective styling; hence, this is the reason why I have yet to meet major goals. Thanks for this post.

  • Jenna Garrett

    Fantastic post! Thank you for reminding us that the journey is as amazing and important as the final goal. God bless and happy holidays :o)

  • Loved the post. It takes time to grow your hair, adding in setbacks makes it take much longer. I remember the video when u reached bsl w/ thin ends.( your words) The comparing a man to your hair. Too funny.

  • HairIAm_Shika

    Yass!!! We are def on the same page re: this topic! Setbacks happen! I have seen soooo many women on the forums go into EXTREME growth mode for over a year (GAs, vitamins, unicorn blood, etc) and once they reach that MBL or WL they don’t know what to do with their hair! Enjoying the road to that ultimate goal so so important (IMO!). But you are definitely one of my biggest HHJ inspirations, all the way back to days in the Growth forum on BHM lol.

  • Amija James

    I never wondered. I love your hair and the fact that you wear your hair. I see some people with super long hair but they wear weaves or wigs 24/7, 365. I can’t. Or people who stretch for 6 months and are looking rough (no shade), but I can’t. My goal is for healthy hair but I want to be able to wear it.

  • Andrea Bonds

    Great post, Ebony.. I just recently started my HHJ blog and have been following you for a little while now and some other blogs. I was one who (secretly) wondered why you had not met your goal, although your hair is very long to me and gorgeous. But it makes a lot of since. I am just learning how to take care of my hair and protective styling is one thing I have a hard time accepting. I keep thinking I want my hair long so I can wear it out and do things with it, but protective styling kind of hides it to me. I also am trying to make up my mind about texlaxing. I do have thin hair 🙁 so that was my main reason…to strengthen and thicken, but I think bone straight is much more manageable. It all just depends on the individual and what’s most important to them. Great post and thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Holly

    I have been following you for quite some time now and your progress has been nothing short of amazing, in my opinion.

  • LaShanda Eller

    Long time lurker here, Ebony! Thought that I would come out of the shadows to make a comment on this great post! Thanks for keeping HHJs personal and reminding us all that it is not a race. We will make our goals in our own time and everyone’s road to long healthy hair is different. Some people will face a setback (or a few) and some won’t … well, that’s true of many aspects of life, right?

    I personally do not like texlaxing either. I tried it once and it was just not for me. The roots were unruly at about three weeks post. I was like “Never again!” I have thick hair naturally (as it appears you do as well) and do not need nor want to texlax to get the appearance of thicker hair. I also like your blog because you don’t brag about how long and pretty and shiny your hair is! I am turned off by blogs that do that (not a fan of “thirsty” bloggers). You share the good, bad and ugly of HHJs by putting your experiences out there to help others!

    Kudos for a great post! Happy holidays and here’s to healthy hair growth in 2013! :o)

  • Ty Varnado

    Great post. I’ve been on my hhj since 2008, no major setbacks. I either trim or cut my hair back to a neck/shoulder length bob once I reach APL. I’m determined to reach my length goal in 2014. I want to texlax in the future for thickness, but now thinking about the extra heat, maybe not.

  • Jenni

    I LOVE THIS POST! It speaks knowledge and reminds us that hair grows even when we don’t care for it… I absolutely agree with all the ladies who posted before me.. You’ve kept it REAL with us about your HHJ…That’s why I love reading post by you, Jeni, Shika and a few other ladies. A true inspiration!!

  • ITA with EVERYTHING you have just said, because as much as I loved my long hair, it was so dissatisfying that it wasn’t healthy and I hadn’t enjoyed it hardly at all because I was PS’ing a lot of the time. It was totally not worth it to PS just for length’s sake because although I retained like crazy, what I retained was not even that great, and really took away from the glory of finally having long hair.
    I now realize that slow, steady, and sane is the way to go with my hair, even if that means I’m only retaining a few inches per year.