Why You Need To Chronicle Your Curls

Comparing Curly Hair Growth

On the left: My curly mane in 2009/2010. Note the straight piece in the front. On right: My curly mane in 2012.

You’ve done the big chop or transitioned into having natural hair. Now what? Aside from picking up a few essential tools (click here for a listing), there is one thing you should immediately do—pull out your camera and strike your best pose. It’s time to document your hair!

If you’ve read my hair story (click here for details), you’ll know that I grew out my heat damaged strands a few years ago. In doing so, I placed myself on a no flat iron diet (my curls were scrawny enough!) and cut off several inches of damaged ends. I also spent a lot of time looking at my curly mane. No, it wasn’t a “fairest of them all” moment. I was adjusting to seeing myself without straight tresses and analyzing my curls. I could see the front and sides, but I couldn’t see the back of my head. Plus, I wanted to see my hair as other people saw it, so I picked up a camera.

Documenting your hair journey through photos or videos is one of the most important things that you can do. It can help you to:

  1. Remember the products that worked for you. I hope that you don’t go down the deep, dark path that is product junkism (guilty, hangs head in shame). Should you make that wrong turn, your photos will help you to know which products are winners and which can join the collection under your bathroom sink.
  2. Nail down a routine. As you try new styles and products, you may lose track of what’s actually working for you. Your photos/video will serve as a guide towards establishing healthy hair habits and lock down the right products and techniques for you.camera
  3. Obtain a true view. It’s one thing to look in a mirror and completely another to see your hair on camera and/or animated on film. With a record, you’ll know how your curls stack up against itself through different seasons and over periods of time.
  4. Monitor health and identify setbacks. Before the summer, I spent several months straightening my hair … Yes, I relapsed a bit (guilty, hangs head in shame … again). As a result, I had to trim a few inches of split and knotted ends. By looking at my pics, I can see how excessive straightening dried out my hair and prevented me from gaining my desired length (see attached photo). Now I can adjust my routine as needed.
  5. Stay motivated. If it weren’t for taking photos, I would believe that my hair hasn’t progressed much over the past 3 years. Fortunately, this blog has forced me to revisit my collection of images. Gone are the highlights I once had (When did they grow out?), and hello length! For the longest time, I’ve been doing the dance between feeling as if my hair is growing (I’m on a quest for length) and completely writing it off as stubbornly fixed at another length. Seeing these improvements, I know how far I’ve come and how close I can be to my hair goal—waist length tresses (crossing fingers)!

    Hair Length Comparison

    On left: My curly mane in May 2012, with ragged ends. On right: My curly mane with fresh ends in July 2012.

With commuting, work, family, school, and hopefully play, our lives are full. You may believe that this leaves little room for photo shoots. I completely understand. Please understand that you don’t need to devote a lot of time to this, especially if you are taking photos for your own safekeeping.

When trying a new product or ’do, take a quick snap or two from your camera/camera phone. That’s all you need. You don’t even need to face the camera, as the focus is on your hair  … unless you want to ham it up, of course!

Capture the moment now and reflect on them later. Who knows, like our fave bloggers and vloggers, your documentary may inspire someone else. At the very least, it will allow you to monitor the evolution of your curly mane.

Are you chronicling your curls? If so, in what form?

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