Health & Length Check: Nov. 2012

Length Check My Curly Mane_November 2012

My curly mane in November 2012.

In the past, I was obsessed with having long hair without really giving any thought to hair health. While I was dyeing and frying my hair, I didn’t realize that this abuse would prevent me from having lengthy tresses, and boy oh boy did my curly mane let me know. It decided to “break off” our relationship, and my ends decided to split … literally! Hair will grow. It’s length retention that’s the trick and can only be achieved by having healthy hair.

For me, healthy hair means oingy boingy curls that greatly shrink in its natural state. This is opposed to hair that lays dry, limp, and overly frizzed out on my head. This is not like how our curls normally frizzes. I’m talking about the type of frizz that screams moiiiisturiiize meeee (cue high pitched, squealing voice)! Today, my hair is in a much better state thanks to several factors, all of which produce healthy and longer hair.

On Average

It is said that hair grows approximately 0.5 inch per month. Of course you’ll need to factor in your genetics, diet, hair routine, and hair type. If your curls are tight then moisture retention may become an issue, since it is harder for the oils from your scalp to travel down the length of your strands. It is recommended that you regularly apply oil to your hair, sealing in moisture/water. This has been one of the key ingredients in ramping up my hair health and creating much softer curls.

What’s Working

My Curly Mane_Length Check July & Oct 2012

On left, my hair in its natural state in May 2012. On right, my straightened hair in November 2012. Next time, I will compare my length in the same straightened state, so you can better see the progress.

My hair has grown since May 2012. What has changed in my routine? I finally began implementing all the things I typically hear about, understand, but ignored. Please note that I did not implement all these changes at once. I slowly began tweaking my routine as I monitored my hair progress. Here’s what’s working:

  1. Stop Straightening. As the weather warmed up in May, I stopped straightening my hair and started experimenting with natural styles, as you may have noticed here at My Curly Mane. Now, I truly enjoy going back and forth between sporting straight styles and an afro, but I noticed that a break from flat ironing allows my hair to thrive.
  2. Press go for wash and go’s. This was my trademark look for the summer, followed by braid outs as a close second. Wearing wash and go’s would normally produce tons of split ends, but when I straightened my hair in November, I noticed that my ends were okay. I believe that I was able to save my strands due to a change in my leave-in conditioner and frequently oiling.
  3. Leave-in Conditioner & Oils. As noted above, oiling my hair helps to seal in moisture. I can’t stress enough the importance of implementing this in my routine. Try it and see.
  4. Switcheroo For Shampoos. I switched from harsher, oil stripping shampoos to moisturizing shampoos. I also shampooed my hair less often. This once again aided in my hair’s moisture balance.
  5. Go Natural. I began relying on products with more natural ingredients. This includes Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner, Fruit of the Earth 100% Aloe Vera Gel, and Dabur Vatika Coconut Hair Oil.

Measuring Up

To understand my progress, keep in mind that my hair naturally grows in layers. It wants what it wants! In May, my longest strands were bra strap length. Now this is at mid back length, followed by other strands that are bra strap and shoulder length. Measured from the front, my longest strands were above chest length (you get what I mean) in May. They are now just past mid chest length.

Going forward, I want to find out what is the average rate in which my hair grows. My goal is to reach waist length hair. I have never had this in my life and believe that it is attainable so long as my hair remains healthy aka moisturized. Watch out Rapunzel!

If you’re on a journey towards growing your mane (regardless of your current length), let’s do this together. Let’s give it time, so we don’t obsess … well, not too much! Let’s revisit and see how our hair measures up in February.

My Curly Mane_Curls_Length Check_2009-2012

From left, my curly mane in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Note how much healthier my hair looks now than in 2009, after I cut off the majority of my damaged hair but still had a few rough ends remaining.

 

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