I have made many changes to my hair lately. It’s weird; when I was younger, I barely did much with it. I feel like even after I started going natural is really when I started experimenting more with the kinks. My hair used to be straight, shiny and flat. Now, it has so much more volume. It has a mind of its own. Every day, it looks a little different. Sometimes it wants to recede a bit and hide from society while on other days it chooses to stretch itself more; of course, though, when I put it in certain styles it makes it easier. Finger coils, twists, braids, and bantu knots as well as just keeping it out are the various ways I choose to show it.
Trying all these styles gave me the opportunity to learn so much more about it which was one of my goals of going natural. I learned about why it becomes dry. I learned about the different types of oils and lotions I can put in it to keep it moisturized. My hair experienced brown, red and currently purple hues to add on some unique flavor. I also showed it off with mohawks, afros and tapered cuts.
At times, I have struggled with how to put my hair for interviews or for the professional environment in general. I choose not to wear braids or anything tight to protect the health of my scalp. (Though I do miss those styles so much) I often also adorn or cover my hair in African print head wraps to preserve a style or to simply hide a bad hair day. It is still a challenge understanding my hair. Every day is a new adventure in the land of my naps. Yet, I am an eager learner and I accept the opportunity for knowledge.
Anyway, I cannot believe how diverse I have become with my hair over the years; especially the past two years. However, the coils sitting on my head is a reflection of who I am becoming. As I inch closer to 30, the 20-year old Tiffy would not recognize who she’s become today. But I know she would be proud.
Happy New Year!!! How you doing? Lol. Today, I wanted to mark down the transitions my hair has gone through in the past year. I have made drastic changes with it from 2016 to now. Check out how my hair used to look back in early 2016 :
How my hair looks now:
I went through the transitioning stage (that was a challenge), cutting off the rest of my permed ends, working out an Afro, trying out a brownish red tapered look and now currently rocking out a fiery mo-hawk. During my permed days, I would just depend on the hairstylist to make my hair magic. Now I make my hair magic. Or at least try to. =).
It was not easy understanding my hair. I am still learning so much about it and am still making mistakes in this journey. But I am overall happy about it. In the past two years, I tried different products, went to CurlFest, looked at different YouTube tutorials on various topics like dry hair, my hair type and unique hair styles. Last November, I even went to an awesome class by Ancestral Strands where I learned more in depth about the biology of hair and the best oils to use to treat your scalp and hair qualms. (Now my hair consistently smells like lemongrass. Lol.)
Through this self-discovery of my hair, I have evolved. My tresses have grown with me; flowing and screaming for attention at times when touched. I am here for you; my strands, you are a part of me and you carry on as I develop. Here on the Heartbeat Life I decided to showcase the transitions my hair has made. I am excited to see how it flows in 2018.
For anyone who caught my post last week, dry hair is a terrifying feat for me. My tresses deserve to have the right moisture to keep it popping and smooth like I know it can be. And of course, that’s up to me; I am the sole person responsible in the quality of my hair.
I did some more research after discovering that my hair has low porosity and put it to the test last week. Some of the natural hair queens on the information highway (Remember when it was called that?) told me that butters and oils are important to hair’s moisture. A site also mentioned that Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo (I know, I know. Don’t judge. I still use Shea Moisture. Despite their stupid mistake, I can’t deny that their products work well for me) does magic for dry hair. In my resistance to the dry hair plague, I had to proceed to try this product. Let me tell you when I massaged this poo into my scalp, something happened. My hair felt different. I consistently wash my hair once a week. It always feels the same until I put this product on my scalp. My hair TRANSFORMED. Like Bumblebee going from car to robot, my hair came alive. It felt more silky and smooth. I had found the cure; Well one of them.
However, the replenishment of my kinks did not end there. The queen from Napturally Curly asserted on using oils like argan oil and apricot oil to seal in moisture after applying water to the hair. After I applied some apricot oil to my hair, the magic was done. My hair has not felt so much moisture in a long time. I was pleased to finally give my tresses the caressing that it needed to slay. Of course, the process does not end. There is still so much for me to discover and to understand about my hair. But I am glad to discover even a little bit from the tree of knowledge in the betterment of the overall health of my kinks.
My Hair after I washed it and applied Cantu’s Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner and an apricot oil grape seed oil mixture.
My hair after I did a twist out. I applied Cantu’s Shea butter Leave In, the apricot oil mixture and Shea Moisture’s Coconut Hibiscus Curling Enhancing Smoothie (The ever so wonderful LOC method – Leave In, Oil and Cream) to my hair before twisting it with curling rods after wash day. I left it in for another day, took it out and voila – what you see above.
So I am a huge Walking Dead fan. (In fact, check out this vid of me talking about it with the awesome crew on Drinks with Geeks) Well I watch it every Sunday when it comes on. No one can interrupt me after 9 pm. No texts. No calls. I prefer that whatever urgent thing you have to tell me it can wait until either a commercial break or when the show is over. I can wait for the tea; the suspense of Rick and the group dealing with Negan is way more cray. I am also really into the follow up series called Fear the Walking Dead. It finally came back to kick off season 3 this past Sunday. My buddy reminded me and I almost forgot (I know. I should be ashamed). Anyway as 9 o clock approached, something else strange happened. It was a horrifying thing I myself have been dealing with. I usually try to push it out of my thoughts and deal with it the best way I can. However, that night it crept up on me like an annoying mosquito. A chill went down my spine while the thought possessed my mind. It took over my conscious making me ignore the most important thing on a Sunday night. I was being taken over, but I could not stop it. I had to know how to fix my problem. I had to find a way to combat my dry hair.
Yes people, dry hair. I have been dealing with this horror for months. Naturalistas gave me advice on how to keep my hair from being dry. Moisture is key they said. Deep Conditioning is important they said. However, after deep conditioning my hair once a week, my hair always eventually became a dry Brillo pad. I love my kinks and you must nurture what you love; I must continue nourishing my tresses. The itch for understanding took over this past Sunday and I missed the first seven minutes of Fear the Walking Dead. (Side note: It was an incredible episode. Please check it out if you have not. We got the gift of two.) I started looking up my hair type – a search I completed about a year ago but was still not completely sure at the time. A dope site called Black Naps had a quiz which helped me learn that my hair type is…… drum roll please………4b. I learned that my hair type shrinks up to 70%, benefits from protective styles like buns, twists and braids and requires a lot of moisture, continuous deep conditioning and gentle cleansers.
Through more research, the goddess at NapturallyCurly showed me the light in understanding why my hair is a Brillo pad. In an article about moisturizing your natural hair, the author of the site Lisa wrote about the importance of understanding your hair’s porosity which is how open your cuticles are on your hair shaft. Low porosity means that your hair is not getting enough moisture while high porosity means your hair is getting too much moisture. There was a link that led to a test in discovering your hair’s porosity. An adventurer at heart, I had to continue the quest in creating moisture for my kinks. As Travis was going through hell in fighting for his family, (Bit of a spoiler but you still need to watch to find the goods =p) I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. The test: I had to put a strand of my hair in the cup to see if it sunk. If it sunk, my hair has high porosity. If it floated, my hair has low. As I sat back down to continue my show with the cup in hand, I sent a mental message to my hair follicle; “Little buddy, I am depending on you to help me understand you. We’re all rooting for you. I know you can do it.” I put the glass on a surface and placed the hair strand in the water then waited. While Fear the Walking Dead continued, my kink peered up at me as it stayed on the surface. A few minutes went by and it was still chilling at the top.
Discovery: my hair has low porosity. After all this time, now I finally know. The article went on to explain how to care for the both high and low porosity hair which for me is with buttery products and oils like jojoba oil and coconut oil. The quest in understanding my kinks continues. I plan to try some butters and oils this week and see how it may help my hair. Though I loved the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead once I was able to fully focus, the fear of dry, brittle hair is far more scary. These now brown red, tapered kinky coils that sprout up from my scalp are a representation of who Tiffy is; I must honor, respect and treat them with care.
My Galaxy phone every few days reminds me of pictures I took years ago. Sometimes it’s a nice trek back into the past and at other times in brings up painful memories. However, today it brought back a natural hair milestone for me. A year ago today, I took a picture of my hair when I was first transitioning. I never noticed before until I saw that picture but you could see the permed hair meeting the new growth. It’s remarkable to me how much my hair has changed since I decided to go on this journey. I am so happy with how my hair is turning out even though my hair often times has a mind of it’s own.
You what I hate these days? I hate what Trump is doing to America; I hate driving in New York City and I hate doing a twist out and my style disappearing within two days. Honestly, it takes a lot for me to dislike or have anger towards anything. I find comfort in being cool about most things. But when you put time and energy into a style and it is gone…..it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain that zen like mood.
On Sunday night, I put my hair into twists. I sat in my bed while watching the Walking Dead and preceded to do my hair. My hands worked through my hair carefully parting each strand to the best of my ability. (I actually am very bad at parting, ha ha.) My hands put some time into each piece of hair treating it delicately. When I was done, I put a hair cap over it to preserve the look. My hair was left in the twists for about two days to continue the preservation of the look I wanted. On Wednesday, I took the twists out and the style did not look too bad. It had a mixture of perfect and lopsided curls that accentuated my style. It was not perfection, but it defined my look.
For some reason this morning, it looked even better. It had definition, volume and the curls were looking great. I was so excited. I went on to take a shower like I do every day. However when I was finished, the popping volume was GONE!!!! My hair had shrunk so much. It looked like how it normally does after a few days of a twist out. This has happened before after taking a steamy shower, but I am just so sick of it. It sucks when humidity ruins your hair. Venting here is making me feel a bit better, but it truly is frustrating when the warmth that actually puts you at so much ease into your routine destroys the time and effort put into your tresses.
However, I cannot help but love the diversity my hair naturally possesses. It changes when it feels best. I can only do so much to control it. I am loving my kinks but that love turns into frustration at times. It is like loving a child; you come into your once clean kitchen and find a tornado of a mess. Your anger rises quickly, but you find a way to swallow it and handle that situation like a champ (or try to) because in your heart you know the love you have for the sometimes wild one is unconditional. My wild mane will always have my heart. I will do my best to understand it one day at a time. So for today, I will put on my armor of chill and embrace the shrunken kinks my hair decided to morph into.
This was after a successful twist out. =)