A Brief Look Into My Healthy Hair Journey
I realized that I’ve never compiled my entire hair journey in one blog post and so many of you have asked me how I transitioned. Even though I have many posts on Instagram sharing bits and pieces of my journey, I thought it would be great to put them altogether so you don’t have to search for them.
My whole journey started after I lost my best friend and confidant—my mom. I became tired of the vicious cycle of hair breakage and damage; from regular use of relaxers, bleach, flat irons, curling irons, Dominican blowouts, keratin treatments, mechanical stress (which caused ‘Traction Alopecia’), bad hair care products, etc. I was losing so much hair on a daily basis…literally on the verge of going bald. I was also tired of my dependence on clip in hair extensions or wearing my hair in a bun for weeks at a time because I couldn't do anything with it. I finally woke up in May 2016. Life is too short to keep putting off what you know you should have done a long time ago. My goal was to simply get the health of my hair back. And little did I know that in the process of restoring my own hair, I would learn and gain a substantial amount of information about achieving healthy and be able to help others in their journey.
While generic information is all over the Internet, taking care of your natural hair is different. In order to get the best results, you have to trust the source and know that they understand exactly what natural hair needs. As a natural hair blogger, it’s my passion to share with you everything you need to know about not just wearing natural hair, but feeling confident and amazing when you do. Your natural hair is one of your best assets; it’s your crowning glory. Unfortunately, so many of us do everything we can to fight it or just don’t know how to care for it. And I was one of them. Or we may not be interested in wearing our hair in its natural state and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, keeping it healthy and looking great in its natural state is possible!
You just have to know the real insider secrets (which really aren’t secrets because I spill everything). And that’s exactly where I come in. As your healthy hair advocate and researcher, you can use this site as your go-to, all-in-one stop to get the tips and advice you need. This isn’t just a website, it’s a way to find your community. So whether you’re transitioning to natural hair or have been wearing it natural for years, I promise you’ll love what you find here. Enjoying your natural hair does take work, but I’m here to help you every step of the way.
My Texture Growing Up
It was R-O-U-G-H. My texture was very thick, coarse, and kinky so my Asian mom didn’t know how to care for it properly. I dreaded wash day. My childhood memories are crowded with episodes of my face grimacing under the wrath of the metal brush that my mother would energetically rake through my hair — as I gripped her legs for support. One time my mom broke the brush trying to detangle it. I remember the day I got my first relaxer. My mom was happy and so was I. Wash days became much easier to manage and handle. But this began the cycle of chemicals and damage.
By 2015, I had had enough. I never seemed to yield growth or healthy results simply because I didn’t have the knowledge. I was desperate for answers on how to restore the health of my hair. That’s when I turned to YouTube and Instagram for help and found @sunkissalba & @honeyblondegigi— My forever sheros in the healthy hair community. I am forever indebted to them for helping me through the transition.
In May 2016, I began my healthy hair journey. I was very skeptical and uncertain if my hair could recover. I thought my hair was beyond hope. The last time I got a silk press from my stylist, I shared with her about the journey I was about to embark. I told her with a sarcastic tone of voice that I’d give this journey a six month grace period, and if my hair didn’t get better, I’d be back.
One of the first things you’ll notice in the first couple of months into your healthy hair journey is thickness and shrinkage. Changes in thickness often always precede visual changes in length. This increase in thickness is primarily due to restoration of the hair’s preferred moisture balance.
During the first few months, I went through what I’ll call the “Awkward Phase”. In my mind, my hair wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to…it wasn’t coming together fast enough for me. At times I felt unmotivated, unattractive, discouraged and frustrated. When things become overwhelming, remind yourself why you got started in the first place. I know this sounds cliche, but keep going and don’t ever give up. Every day presents new challenges and some days are easier than others.
Our society places a premium on straight, flowing hair....and hair that does not fit that “mold” is often shunned. As superficial as it may appear, no one can deny that hair is important and its appearance is frequently the barometer by which we are judged and even valued in this society. The beauty of our hair lies in its absolute diversity and this uniqueness should be celebrated and embraced. In addition to the mental preparation, a whole new set of styling skills, methods, techniques, etc. will be required to manage your hair as it grows or transitions. You may have been used to a certain way of taking care of your hair so be prepared to do some tweaking and adjusting to support your hair. It didn’t seem like my hair would get better, but it eventually did.
Let Your Hair Be Your Guide
In month four of my journey, I did something crazy. I decided to get color because I had that “itch”. I took a huge risk knowing my hair was still transitioning. Thank God my hair didn’t fall out! Knowing what I know now….I highly recommend waiting to get color until your hair is in a healthy state.
***Always use discretion when following techniques learned from others or wherever you receive your information. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the vast amount of conflicting information out there. Let your hair be your guide—listen to it. That is my HAIR MANTRA! I know there are a lot of great advice from other bloggers but ALWAYS remain attentive to YOUR hair’s needs as they are quite often subject to change and it is VERY IMPORTANT.
By 2017, my hair was completely restored. In March I wanted lighter highlights. My hair was healthy and I was ready for it. Unbeknownst to me, my stylist used a new and stronger bleach, which nearly ruined my curls. What you cannot see in the middle photo above was the feel of my hair—it was severely dehydrated. I was devastated. All of that hard work down the drain.
It was also during this time when I almost quit my IG account because I thought my hair was ruined for good. But, my bestie encouraged me to keep going. I amped up my regimen and started deep conditioning twice a week, incorporated regular protein treatments and pre-poo oil treatments with righteous roots oils. I also discovered Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner, which helped correct and improve my hair’s porosity. Also, rice water rinses have played a major, major role in the health of my hair. I swear by them.
It took four months of consistently working my regimen to restore my curls. I did not slack or get lazy in my routine. And as a result, you can see how healthy my hair is in the middle picture.
Can you recover from bleached damaged hair? Yes, you CAN!
Adopt a Long-Haul Mindset
I talked about adopting a long-haul mindset on IG and want to reiterate the importance here. Too many of those starting out want to give up and throw in the towel when they can’t figure things out with their hair. I hope this little pep talk will be the fuel you need to move forward and keep going.
The journey to healthy hair is different for everyone— from transitioning from chemical or heat damaged hair to natural hair, to product trial and error, etc. On top of that, you’ve more than likely spent your life dealing with one type of texture and now you've got to learn how to care for a different texture, plus a whole new way of styling methods, techniques, products, etc.
It's going to take time and a lot of patience before you can sport your healthy hair. And you’re going to have to adopt a long-haul mentality in order to stick with this journey and achieve your hair goals.
There is no magic, no special pill, no secret potion or overnight miracle; it’s just consistency and dedication to proper care and taking a proactive approach to your journey.
You will have lots of results along the way and out of each of them you will find out which doesn’t work. Keep going until you achieve your goal, regardless of the number of trials or setbacks along the way.
When you run into a mishap, don’t see your attempts as failures, see them as results! Train yourself to see a failure or setback as an opportunity to learn something, not a threat to go back to your old ways or throw in the towel. That is how you gain worthwhile knowledge, it’s a learning process. See what didn’t work just as valuable as what did work.
Attempts are not failures; attempts are results and worthwhile knowledge gained. Be determined and adopt the mindset that you’re in it for the long haul. It is an essential mindset needed to succeed, even when you cannot see the end of the road yet.
If you want your hair to recover from whatever damage it suffered you MUST put aside the things that caused the damage in the first place. Next, establish a regular weekly routine which will help tame your out of control hair, frizz, dryness and maintain your curls more than anything else— it's your foundation. If you don’t know where to start, download my guide on ‘Steps to Beginning Your Healthy Hair Journey on my landing page.
An architect knows that a solid foundation is essential to any building. It's the same with our hair. You must have a solid foundation before anything else can be enhanced.
Last but not least, increase and improve your knowledge on hair care. It’s an ongoing effort that will ultimately provide incremental improvements overtime and breakthroughs in your hair journey.
Wherever you are in your hair journey I'm here to encourage you that you CAN do this!
I love how @moms.can.be.fit, who is a Certified Health Coach on Instagram puts it, "...it's the educational, the recipes that are shared, the inspirational messages that give you the recipe needed to GET to your own before and after".