Thursday, 26 January 2017

9 Lazy Girl Tips To Growing Natural Hair Faster And My 4 Month Length Check...

**For the purpose of showing hair growth and styles this post contains a few fugly unflattering photos of me... You have been warned**

If by any chance you've been reading this blog for a few years you might be wondering if you've got deja vu.... Nope, i'm really growing my hair out... Again! I've realised that when it comes to hair growth, i've got no patience whatsoever and after two years the disappointment and frustration of impulsive hands takes over... Before I know it my two years worth of hair growth is sat in a fluffy, dejected pile on the floor while I frantically jab away at my head with my clippers, going over and over the patchy job i've done of shaving all my hair off... *Deep sigh*

But not this time, this time i'm going to commit... This time i'm going to finally find out what my hair looks like after 3 years of growth... And as this is the third time i've grown my hair back from BC-ing it, i'm really hoping that the third time's the charm.

So far i've been growing my hair since October 2016.

After the initial hair growth spurt of October/November I started to feel like my hair grew faster the last time I grew it out, which is quite frustrating. Probably not even true but a frustrating feeling to have nonetheless. Plus there are few things I hate more than the sight of myself with a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro)... It just doesn't suit me. (If you're not interested in seeing my hair growth over the last few months, scroll down to the bullet points to check out my new hair regime)

My hair story from October 2016-January 2017...

4th Oct '16- 1st wig I have ever bought! Channeling Bettie Page

11th Oct '16- that proud 1st curl

11th Oct '16

6th Nov '16 (hair had been wrapped for flatness)
8th Nov '16 Curly Sue

12th Nov '16 (hair had been combed)
12th Nov '16

I reallyyyy hate these next photos but I don't seem to have any others that show how I've been wearing my hair during December '16 and a lot of January '17 so i'm going to put my vanity aside. This was probably the longest i've ever had to spend installing a hairstyle... There were quite a few points I genuinely considered giving up... My fingers and my soul were numb. In the end I had about 150-160 skinny yarn braids. It was the first time i'd ever tried yarn braids and it was especially challenging to braid the back as I don't reckon I could've had more than about 1/2 an inch of hair the first time...

Dec 2016

Dec 2016

Which brings me to my hair now... Benn has been singing into it as apparently my head now resembles a microphone! Hahaha




So that's what i'm working with right now. Definite progress but I can do better! I'm going to switch things up and try to get into a good hair routine. I've finally come to terms withe the fact that i'm quite lazy and low maintenance with my hair so I've chosen things that don't carry a big investment on my time. This is a mixture of tried and tested methods and things i've heard or read about and would like to try.

To begin with my regime will primarily consist of-

  • Jamaican black castor oil- This has been recommended to me on numerous occasions and loads of people vouch for it's hair growing and thickening qualities. I've been meaning to buy some for months but keep forgetting. Looking forward to seeing what it's like, would love to thicken my hair up a bit!
  • Water- I think that people often forget to look at internal things that can affect hair growth. I used to drink loads of water everyday, now i'm out of the habit of really drinking anything. Sometimes it gets to 9pm and i'll realise i've only had 2 cups of a drink (including my morning coffee, eek). Well no more of this. I don't want to be unrealistic as I need to ease back into drinking lots of water but i'm going to start making sure I drink at least 3 large glasses of water, hopefully working up to 2 litres a day. I will also be trying to make generally healthier food choices too, but we'll see how that goes.
  • Biotin- I've used biotin tablets as part of my routine quite a lot, but i've never really been sure how it was impacting the rate of my hair growth. For all I know it might be doing nothing for me at all but I think after this slow few months, reintroducing it now should give me a better idea of whether it actually helps me or not.
  • Hair wrap- Some of you might be reading this one in shock... Who seriously tries to grow out their natural hair without sleeping with a silk scarf or bonnet on??!... Well... Me! This time round I haven't really bothered wrapping my hair at night. While it's so short it just doesn't feel like a priority and having my hair wrapped kinda gets on my nerves. But i'm going to buy a nice new head wrap and get wrapping. I might also invest in some new satin pillowcases so that I can at least minimise friction on my hair on the nights I really can't be bothered to wrap my hair.
  • Coconut Oil- I already use coconut oil on my hair and body and the last time my mum came to visit she left me her nice new tub to use to my heart's content. I'm going to look into all the benefits of coconut oil so I can maximise what I get out of it... Thanks to a suggestion from my friend, i've already started using it orally for oil pushing (I might write a separate post about that at a later date)
  • Ditching the junk- Whilst i've never been a product junkie, I think that every Black girl is guilty of picking up products they don't really need when they visit the hair shop. I'm especially bad at doing this with styling products. Every so often I find myself walloping a load of 'curling creme' or other nonsense onto my hair , just because it's there! Well i'm getting rid of all that crap. All i'm going to keep are my coconut oil, shea butter, apple cider vinegar, spray bottle and combs. 
  • Low manipulation- When I have my hair out I find it practically impossible not to sit twisting and pulling locks of hair pretty constantly throughout the day. I'm actually doing it as I write this post! Doesn't take a hair expert to realise that this definitely isn't the best thing for growing coily hair out. So i'm going to be leaving it alone as much as possible, mainly through my next point...
  • Protective styling- The best friend of growing out Black hair... When done properly! Meaning; no tight braids pulling out your hairline, no leaving the style in for X million months, no back to back protective styling without giving your natural hair a breather for at least 5 days, no hurried removal job when it's time to take it out- take time and be gentle and kind to your hair, especially in this vulnerable state!
  • Managing expectations- While this one might seem like a bit of a cop out, it's probably the most important and most difficult thing to incorporate into a regime and something I can't stress enough to everyone who's currently growing their hair. It's obviously a lot easier to preach the virtue of patience and not comparing yourself to other's than it is to do it, but it's important to try and the whole thing becomes much more rewarding if you can. I've found it's helpful to completely cut off anything that negatively impacts the way you feel about your own hair. For me this meant turning Youtube off, scrolling past certain Instagram posts and keeping it moving. At some point I got the crazy idea that it would be good hair growth motivation to watch the tutorials of Black hair gurus with suuuuuuuuper long afro hair. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I know a lot of people take this approach but I think it's counterproductive. If you do this, especially in the TWA phase, you will inevitably become frustrated with the length and growth rate of your own hair (which at the low end of the Black hair scale could be growing at a rate of 3-3.5 inches per year and at the higher end be growing at a rate of 5+ inches per year) and this can really start to get you down. If you need visual motivation I think it's a really good idea to collect some of your favourite photos together of your own hair at time's it's looked particularly luscious to you... If you're going to get hair envy you may as well get it for your own hair :) Also remember not to think too deeply about the comments of your friends and family; Some of these will be well meaning and meant to encourage and some might be sly jabs, but focussing too much on this feedback can leave you feeling confused, inadequate, frustrated and a whole host of other things you wouldn't have otherwise felt. 
Over the next few months i'm sure I will adapt this plan (which admittedly isn't really much of a plan at all lol) depending on what I feel my hair needs. I'm also likely to slip up sometimes but i'll report my findings and hopefully start seeing some results. xx

Lyrics of the day- could only be 'Don't touch my hair, when it's the feelings I wear' taken from Solange's instant classic, beautiful, magnificent album A Seat At The Table <3 <3 <3

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Be Leery 'Bout Your Place In The World, You're Feeling' Like You're Chasing The World, You're Leaving Not a Trace in The World, But You're Facing The World...

For once my most recent blogging hiatus wasn't due to disorganisation or lack of time- for the last however many months i've been without a laptop and there was no way I was about to to try writing blogs on my iPad... Aint nobody got time for that! So here (slightly later than planned) are some of my reflections on the past year and my plans for the coming one.

Most of us are in agreement that 2016 was a pretty bad year to say the least. It was so bad that even Charlie Brooker's 2016 Newswipe fell pretty flat. As I sit writing this post the inauguration of racist Cheeto Donald Trump looms ever closer and it still feels like a bad dream (that I wish i'd placed a bet on at the beginning of 2016 and won my fortune). Listening to the soothing beats of A Seat At The Table it  feels like Solange's stunning album was the only good thing to come out of the cursed year. Losing music icons: David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and Sharon jones in a year that seemed to offer up so few creative offerings made everything sting that little bit more. Buuuuuut i'm going to resist the urge to write a full round up of all that mess, i'm sure it's all still fresh in everyone's memories.

On a personal level 2016 was an odd year for me and it really did fly by. On the one hand Arthur is now a thriving 15 month old; independent, determined and energetic. Watching the rapid development of a lil baba over a one year period is genuinely fascinating and from a parental viewpoint I found it extremely fulfilling. I got to observe Arth grow from some lil, curly haired alien egg that couldn't lift his own head up to a toddling menace with his own likes and dislikes, constantly absorbing the world and pushing new bounderies and that was all fantastic.... But on the other hand i've fallen very short of my own personal ambitions this year. Last night I was absolutely knackered but lay in bed for hours plagued by my frustration with myself and endlessly recapping all the things I haven't done that I could have during the last few months. I tried to implement my New Years Resolution at the beginning of December in a bid to gain a bit of momentum in the hope that it might actually make it stick if I was already one month in when 2017 actually came around. I wanted to choose something achievable so I chose getting fitter and having a healthier diet. The healthier eating part has been going ok but the exercise part, my goodness I CAN'T STAND EXERCISING any more... Like I can't believe people actually enjoy all that!... I can't believe that I used to?!?!... Was I living in an alternate universe?!?! I don't yet know how i'm going to address my fitness regime but please pray for me if that's something you do cos a few home sessions have had me feeling like i'm dying forreal! Hahaha

So my new New Years Resolutions are- 
  • Maintain a healthier lifestyle (fitness included) 
  • Complete tasks at the earliest chance... It's a bit of a purposely vague one but those who know me will know that i'm really bad when it comes to completing anything in a timely manner. I put almost everything off right up to the last minute and this not only makes even the most basic tasks anxiety ridden but also means I generally get a lot less done than I could do. If I can start to adopt the 'no more last minute' mentality and just do things as soon as they come up, my life will completely change gear for the better. So this organisation and motivation based resolution is for my financial well being as well as my mental health.
Basically i'm going to be tightening up my life this year and hopefully that will mean fewer regrets next year.

To stop this post being entirely text here's a pic I took of me and Arth a few weeks ago.

As you can see i'm back on the hair wave, hopefully i'll resist cutting it this time!


(P.S. Title = Lyrics to 'Weary' by Solange, my favourite song of 2016, taken from 'A Seat At The Table', my favourite album from- the last x number of years lol)