My Hair Is Driving Me Crazy, But I Still Love It!

Howdy Folks!

It has been absolutely ages. Believe it or not, I do miss writing for this blog as regularly as I used to. I just felt that I had to come here and say something, as, even though the intention to write is there, with exams coming up in just over a week, I know that I will not be able to write anything until the end of July.

So…. what has been happening with my hair? So much.

I’ll start by saying that when I read MissBwalya’s post the other day, I chuckled heartily, because it also happened to me. After sticking to protective styles faithfully for ages, my twists just began to unravel one day. I rocked a twist out and then combed it out into a  pseudo Afro and remembered how good it felt (and looked) after such a long time. I also made the mistake of slapping on the bonnet and sleeping just like that. The detangling took much longer than normal. So, as Miss Bwalya said, there is definitely a price to pay for looking cute.

My locs. I miss them so. A few months later, I BC’d.
I have been so frustrated with my hair over the last few months that I even considered packing in this natural thing and returning to my locs as in this picture. The reason for my frustration was that I was getting tired of the length and only really being able to do two-strand twists. The same hairstyle gets old real quick.
When I have a chance, I will do another two-strand twist update. In case that takes a while, I will briefly state what I have learned:
Keeping it Twisted
I have been working out on a serious note since November last year (2011). Three to four times a week means more sweating and rinsing my hair in between my fortnightly wash and conditioning sessions. This resulted in my hair styles not lasting as long. I keep my twists in for two weeks, but with working out, week two twists look really tired, so I needed something to disguise this. Just this week, I began experimenting with up-dos using hair pins, clamps etc. I discovered that I can do a little more with my hair than I had previously thought, if only I was willing to experiment. This came about after tying my hair with a scrunchie and then pinning back the front and realising I could do something with this look. 

My twists, about a year ago
This is a picture of my twists in February or March 2011. I am excited to say that my hair has now reached my nape. I realise that the ends and back of my neck (what is known in natural lingo as the kitchen sink area), gets much more tangled than it used to, so I will have to think about pinning up the back of my hair as time goes on. This is great that it has grown, but I prefer loose hair at the back. Not a big fan of too many up-dos. I really need ideas on this one. 

Extension Maintenance
A few months ago, I also had my hair in braids (actually kinky twists) for several weeks. (NB: This means I bailed on the 3in6 challenge 😦  . Exams and work pressure got the better of me, I confess). After last year’s experience, where I kept the extensions in for too long, I was determined not to exceed 5 weeks. I washed my hair weekly and used an aloe vera and jojoba oil spray to moisturise and seal my hair. I will do a post about how I washed my hair. But, it is basically about diluting a small amount of shampoo (and then conditioner) in a big bottle of water and pouring it over the wet hair, letting it sit for a while, gently squeezing the braids/twists and then rinsing the hair again. No scalp massage.

When I took down the twists, I had no product build-up or lint and I don’t feel that I lost any hair along the way, especially along my vulnerable edges. My policy is to braid my hair with extensions a maximum of three times in a year, preferably two. I just don’t think the hair loss is worth it because try as I might, I always forget about taking care of my hair when it is in extensions. This why I also have a 6 week deadline before the extensions MUST come out. Four or five is even better. It helps that I live in Zambia, where braiders are plentiful and labour is cheap .

Kinky Twists. I don’t know why, but this style is a sure-fire head-turner.
I should say a little about how I have changed one of my major products and that is using aloe vera juice and moving to jojoba and grapeseed oils. There are a number of reasons which I will go into more detail in a later post. But, as with the twist update, in case that takes ages, I will say a few things now:
Moisturise and Seal
I found that my hair was oily, but not moisturised. Meaning, every time it was dry, I would just add more oil, but this was just creating layers of mafuta (oil). So, I realised I needed to moisturise my hair and then seal in the moisture. I did a bit of research and liked the idea of aloe vera juice. I used my moisturising spray recipe and substituted most of the water for more aloe vera juice. It is cold right now in the Southern hemisphere, so coconut oil gets way too hard. I also wanted a lighter oil, that resulted in less grease on my pillow, hair scarves/bonnets etc. My research kept mentioning Jojoba and grapeseed oils as good light oils. I found them in a health food shop in South Africa and was in love. Jojoba especially, is so light and moisturises well, and yet is not too greasy. I also use it in my Kimmaytube leave-in recipe. Coconut oil still rules for shine, though.
Next Steps
I hope to take some pictures of my hairstyles soon. I have been avoiding it because I have had some nasty reactions to products and foods over the last few months and vanity does not permit photographs at this time. Come August, I am on a diverse hairstyles mission. I will be trying out as many styles as possible, in advance of our natural hair meet-up, tentatively scheduled for November.
My Hairdresser Friend
I have to say something about how I found a stylist who knows and understands natural hair and has once again made a trip to the salon, something to look forward to instead of dread. My hair has driven me crazy, but I am at a stage where I am excited by the challenge of exploring what else I can do with it. It really helps that there is someone willing to come alongside me on this journey and help me experiment trying out new things. Watch this space!
In the meantime, please follow ZedHair on Facebook. Although we are not posting on the blog very regularly these days, we share articles of note on a daily basis through Facebook.

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