[Hair] LHCF’s Year In Review Thread

Greetings! I hope this post finds you well. I’ve been trying to write and finish a post discussing a new recipe, my breaking of a major “hair rule,” etc. But my photos won’t upload, though! So in the meanwhile, I’ve decided to think through and document my answers to questions posed in a new LongHairCareForum.com thread entitled “Hair Plans for 2017 & What Did You Learn in 2016?” Details are below! 🙂

Questions from the Thread

I love the thread! Here are the questions posed at the thread:

  • (1) What did you learn about your hair this year? (2) What worked and what didn’t?
  • (3) What was your biggest improvement with your hair? (4) Any setbacks?
  • (5) What products will you continue using? (6) Which will you dump?
  • (7) What are your hair plans/goals for next year?
  • (8) Anything else….

Question 1: What Did I Learn About My Hair This Year?

I didn’t really know much about my hair, so I learned A LOT about my hair this year, such as:

  • Hair type:

I thought my hair was 4c but was almost LAUGHED out of the first natural hair salon I visited when I said as much. I have since learned that my hair is mainly 4a (coily).

However . . . that said, I like GreenBeauty Channel’s explanation of why curl/coil/kink pattern is just a tiny part of the picture. So besides knowing that my hair is 4a, I also know that my hair is fine, dense, and highly porous. Understanding that last fact has helped me TONS!

  • Comb-ability:

This is SO SAD, but early in the year, I didn’t think it was possible to get a comb through my hair. Just too tightly coily, I thought. I have since learned that if my hair is properly hydrated/moisturized (i.e. conditioner-laden and/or oil-laden and damp or wet), I can comb my hair.

  • Detangling:

Related to comb-ability, I have finally learned how to fully detangle my hair. I used to struggle with this so much, to the point that I feared my fine hair would dread up. At first I thought I was alone in my detangling struggles, but I’ve learned that many folks have to learn how to detangle their hair.

For my super coily hair, a major, key part of detangling is dampening and then ELONGATING my hair so that strands are more easily pull-apart-able. To detangle a hair section, I do my own version of The Funnel Method:

  1. I apply Soultanical’s Hair Glide or steam in Shea Moisture’s High Porosity Moisure-Seal Masque,
  2. I apply oil or another conditioner on top of that,
  3. I elongate and then separate the strands in the hair section with my fingers,
  4. I then carefully brush through the section with a Wet Brush,
  5. I then carefully comb through the section with a seamless medium-toothed comb,
  6. I next comb through the section with a seamless fine-toothed comb or use my fingers to feel for knots (cutting out unremovable ones), and,
  7. finally, I twist the hair section up so it does not re-tangle.

I am aware that this will make some folks cringe: Perhaps too many passes through the hair section with a brush and comb. Many naturals say that one should ONLY use fingers to detangle, and no tools or combs whatsoever. In fact, all over the internet I read and hear that frequent brushing/combing is too much for Type 4 hair. While I’m open to the concept of finger-only detangling, I am not quite there yet. 🙂 Maybe some day. 😉  I will see how my ends are 3-4 months post-trim, and that will influence my decision greatly.

  • Protein-moisture balance:

I have learned that when my hair is low on protein, it will not hold onto moisture well. Thus in that state (too little protein), adding more and more moisture does not work: My hair just lets go of that moisture easily.

NOT knowing that resulted in much money spent, much product used, and much concern, all to no avail. Once I applied Komaza Care Protein Hair Strengthener to give myself a protein treatment, it was like I had a new head of hair!!! Most of my “failing” moisturizers were suddenly awesome for my hair. 😐 🙂

  • Hair health:

My ends had several inches of split ends! I had no idea. I am hoping that now that the split ends have been trimmed off, I have a great foundation for hair maximal health and retention going forward. 😀

  • Shrinkage:

I have learned that the MAJOR percentage that my hair shrinks is not to be taken lightly. Since my hair is super coily, when it shrinks, it tangles and knots in ways that result in damage once detangling begins. Thus, as the GreenBeauty YouTube channel explains, it is IMPORTANT to keep my hair from shrinking fully all the time. Took me awhile to connect/get that 😀 , but I get it now, and as a result (hair) life is TONS better because of it!

Question 2: What Worked and What Didn’t?

What didn’t work:

  • a whole host of products (SMH!!!)
  • plain wash-and-go’s (because this led to too much shrinkage which led to too much knotting/tangling, which led to too much hair less and time spent on doing my hair)
  • detangling in the shower (surprisingly, this didn’t turn out best for me!)
  • trying to rely heavily on the salon for my hair care because they said I needed to (Eesh! Wish I’d known better! Stylists just kept RIPPING the comb through my hair. Man, I really wish I’d known!!!)
  • not really “hearing” the key message in information discussing the necessity of protein-moisture balance

What worked:

  • hydrating my hair as opposed to only moisturizing my hair
  • Komaza Care Protein Hair Strengthener to regain protein-moisture balance, which made my moisturizers work better 🙂
  • this order of hair care:
    1. Often I first treat my hair with Shea Moisture’s High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque and steam it in with shower steam. This aids TREMENDOUSLY with later detangling.
    2. Then, I do The Funnel Method detangling process at the SINK, twisting each section as I go.
    3. Next, if a poo is needed, I poo the hair in sections.
    4. Then, I allow the hair to fully dry (or almost fully dry) so as to fully benefit from pending treatments. (In other words, I leave no or little water in the hair shaft so that now water is there to block product!).
    5. Next, I apply the moisture and/or protein treatment.
    6. Lastly, I apply styler and style my hair.
  • instead of doing simple wash-and-go’s (which caused major tangling from the major shrinkage):
    • wearing a gelled twist-out in a low-hanging ponytail (minimal shrinkage and tangling!!!)
    • doing Onicia Muller’s “wash-and-go” (which is actually a two-strand-twist-and-tension-blow-until-90%-dry-then-section-by-section-untwist-and-gel-and-blow-dry)
  • at night, putting hair in a ponytail and then putting a soft, clothy, Ouchless band on the end of the ponytail to prevent movement/tangling
  • softening the hair with shower-steamed-in Shea Moisture’s High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque
  • using the Wet Brush
  • detangling damp hair with Soultanicals Slip-N-Slide Hair Glide with oil on top
  • Moroccan rhassoul clay treatments for cleansing, moisturizing, and curl poppage
  • shower-steaming in DevaCurl Decadence One Condition . . . and then LEAVING MOST OF IT IN . . . for conditioning, moisture, and fail-proof curl definition for my hair
  • mixing Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie with DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel
  • sealing with jojoba oil

Question 3: What Was the Biggest Improvement with My Hair?

I finally learned how to hydrate and moisturize my hair.

The discovery: I have to seal in hydration (water) with (a) conditioner and (b) oil and/or gel. I learned that it does me LITTLE TO NO GOOD to moisturize DRIED hair. Once I accidentally figured THAT OUT, things started turning around. 😀

NOTE: Oyin Hair Dew was the first product I ever used that kept my hair moisturized for days if I had applied it on wet hair. Sadly, I do not like the smell of it! But it got me through some rough times until I found other products that, while they don’t live up to Oyin Hair Dew’s effectiveness, do okay and smell fine. 🙂

Second place: Learning how to detangle via The Funnel Method. My hair improved DRASTICALLY once I was able to properly detangle it. 😀

Question 4: Any Setbacks?

I had split ends that required a 2+ -inch trim. 😦 I want to believe that this stemmed from all the rough combing I got at the various salons I visited, and not from my version of The Funnel Method of detangling. I’ll know soon enough: I won’t be going to the salon too much this quarter. Around February 28, 2017 I plan to get my hair blow dried and trimmed. I plan to take photos of my ends pre- and post-trim so I can see whether The Funnel Method has given me split ends beyond what would be expected. 🙂

Question 5: What Products Will I Continue Using?

  1. Shea Moisture Clear Start Shampoo when chelating/clarifying feels needed. Note: This product is from the professional line that is being discontinued.
  2. Shea Moisture High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque (steamed in, this softens my hair for MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier detangling)
  3. Komaza Care Protein Hair Strengthener (or Colorful Neutral Protein Filler, depending on how it compares)
  4. DevaCurl Decadence One Condition (for ever-reliable curl definition of my hair)
  5. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie mixed with DevaCurl Decadence Ultra Defining Gel (to moisturize, help with definition, and seal)
  6. Netwurks Revitalizing Hair Spray (to aid growth of hair at my edges)
  7. jojoba oil
  8. Jakeala Honey Hair Thang Mask
  9. Jakeala Beer Conditioner
  10. Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker

*** EXTRA: Joico Moisture Recover Treatment Balm for special times when I’m dealing with significantly under-hydrated/moisturized hair that is behaving as if hard to hydrate/moisturize

I don’t know if I will continue to invest in the Soultanicals Hair Glide, due to reported product inconsistency I read about at LongHairCareForum.com and due to sporadic product availability.

I am REALLY trying to streamline, for so many reasons, the least of which is that a lot of companies discontinue products or change the formulation or have consistency issues. That is, one bottle/jar of product looks and feels and performs ONE WAY, and the next bottle/jar of that same product does so DIFFERENTLY. 😦 I don’t want to get “dependent” on products that I can’t get when — or in the STATE/STATUS — that I need them.

So, I’m going to take my time, but my goal is to replace some of my products with DIY (do-it-yourself) products. I plan to start with finding an awesome DIY detangler/prepoo, perhas LavishlyNatural’s DIY Fenugreek Conditioner/Detangler. Then I hope to perfect my own Moroccan rhassoul clay treatment.

I feel I own enough cleanser to last a lifetime, I use cleanser so slowly! So I won’t concern myself with a DIY cleanser just yet. I also don’t think I’ll concern myself with making my own styling gel. It is worth it to me to purchase DevaCurl hair gel or Camille Rose Natural hair gel.

Question 6: What Products Will I Dump?

As I am really trying to streamline, I will not be repurchasing anything besides those listed above in Question 5 and potentially anything that ends up being wonderful that I mentioned in Question 7 below.

Question 7: What Are Your Hair Plans/Goals for Next Year?

  • Retention goal:

I think I can grow 9 inches of hair in the year 2017 and retain 7 of those inches, so that’s my goal!

  • Protective styling goal:

I want to have the option of an additional protective style besides a wig over two-strand twists. So far when I want a great protective style, I’ve been going in to get a crochet install. I am leaning toward trying natural hair clip ins, and I am REALLY excited about it in every way except associated costs. 😉

  • Products I want to try at some point:
    • Jakeala Marshmallow Root Conditioner Bar (on the way!)
    • Jakeala Beau Vert Mask (on the way!)
    • Jakeala Protein Conditioner (on the way!)
    • 22nd Century Natural Woman Shampoo Bar
    • 22nd Century Natural Woman Deep Conditioner
    • Shea Moisture Bamboo Extract & Maca Root Resilient Growth Protein Masque
    • Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner
    • Qhemet Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee
    • Bekura Tonga Mousse Opulent Hair Creme
    • Smooth Naturals Hair Perfection Gel

I also want to revisit the Wetline Gel that I have in the back of my closet. It contains a LOT of plastic-y and not-so-great ingredients in it, but it might help prevent knotting/tangling from what I’m reading in reviews. I am pretty curious about the effect of mixing it with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. As always, I’ll try to remember to share how it fares!

Conclusion

Phew! That was a GREAT exercise to work through. I’ll have these answers to refer to over the next year. Do you plan on reflecting on these or similar questions before you begin a new year of healthy hair care? Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! Many blessings! ❤

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