Natural days over but still on growth mission

I’d been thinking about it for a few months. I did heaps of research; watched several videos on YouTube on the topic and also consulted my hair bible: The Science of Black Hair. Then I made up my mind to do it, researched various products and made a choice. The deed has been done.

The deed I am referring to is relaxing my hair. After more than two years of not using chemical straighteners on my hair (that doesn’t mean I was chemical free, I still coloured my hair) I have once again taken to using relaxers, only this time I applied it myself.

My decision to go back to relaxers has nothing to do with self-hate or a dislike of afro textured hair. I actually loved the feel of my hair’s natural texture. But it was difficult to wear my hair in the type of styles I like, because my type 4b/c hair is so coily and has so much shrinkage that I would need to use flat irons and curling tongs too often, which are almost as damaging to the hair as relaxers.

And even after using flat irons and tongs, my large, bouncy curls do not last very long as my coily hair reverts very quickly to its own tight, curls. To avoid hair damage through excessive heat, in the last year I have mostly hidden my hair under hats in twists, my favoured protective style. But where’s the fun in that?

Yes, I did finally get the hang of twist outs a few weeks ago and played around with updos, but it wasn’t long before my hair started to revert and my twist out curls became a frizzy mess. It just wasn’t meant to be!

The other reason for going back to relaxers is that I once believed that only natural hair was healthy and could grow long. But having seen so many women on YouTube who have grown long, healthy hair that is relaxed or texlaxed, that is clearly a myth. Relaxed hair does not necessarily mean unhealthy hair. Most relaxed/texlaxed ladies who have healthy hair all have good hair regimens and use similar products to women with natural hair.

The knowledge I acquired about afro textured hair during the last year has been invaluable and I will continue with my hair regimen which now includes garlic pre poos twice a month, weekly washing, weekly deep conditioning, low manipulation, protective styling and minimum heat.

I scoured the internet to research different relaxers, and finally decided on the Vitale Olive Oil Anti Breakage No Base Relaxer with She Butter in regular.  I also purchased the Protector, applied after relaxing to replenish vitamins and proteins and to seal the cuticle; and the neutralising shampoo, to remove any relaxer residue.

I added two tablespoons of olive oil to the relaxer before applying to my hair and at my first attempt also lightly coated my hair with olive oil, so that I was effectively texlaxing and not relaxing bone straight. However, that did not work out too well and my hair was not processed at all, it was all frizz.

So I made another attempt the next morning, still mixing the relaxer with olive oil but this time not coating my hair with olive oil – and it worked a treat. I would say my hair is around 80% processed, which is about right for my 4b/c hair. Any less processing would retain too much of the coiliness and result in too much frizz. At 80% it is smooth and straight but still has a bit of texture in it as you can see from the photos of my relaxed hair after washing and deep conditioning.

I am in praise of Crème of Nature’s Argan Oil Intensive treatment, which I used after shampooing and left on for one hour. My hair felt soft and smooth. I blow-dried my hair on low heat and then applied the Hawaiian Silky 14-in-one Miracle Worker and it added lustre and shine and replenished the moisture lost through blow-drying.

Lastly I sealed the ends of my hair with a homemade mixture of shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. I put it into two twists and rolled the ends in bendy rollers to eliminate frizzy ends (a tip I picked up on YouTube). That will be my protective at-home style. But when at work or outdoors I can wear my hair in a smooth bun.

I could never get my hair to lay flat when my hair was natural and the front was worse. Even if I wore a satin scarf overnight my hair would be smooth and flat but would quickly revert back and no matter which gel I used on my temple hair it would remain thick and coarse.

Because I still have some texture in my hair I can do twist outs and have wavy hair instead of frizzy hair. In its straightened texture my hair is past collar bone, but when natural and air dried it shrinks to neck length.

I am happy with my texlaxed hair and intend to grow it and keep it healthy. My next mission is an alternative to the much touted but expensive Hairfinity supplement. It costs around £30 a bottle in the UK including shipping and that is only for one month’s supply.

I have researched the ingredients in Hairfinity and have purchased six different products to replicate the most active ingredients in Hairfinity which I will be taking from 1st October and will check the progress after three months. My selected supplements together cost £30 but I got 90 capsule bottles, which last for three months, so far more economical. I will report back on my supplement trial in December.

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