Me going natural was never my plan.. I repeat NEVER! I was the girl who said I would never go natural. Well.. plans change and health issues arise. It was November of 2011,Thanksgiving and I was taking pictures of me and my niece and nephew. Looking at the pictures, I noticed how dry, damaged, and broken off my hair looked! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like it just snuck up on me?! How could my hair have become so unhealthy? I've always had healthy hair! It was in that moment that I decided I needed to do something quickly before I lost my hair! (The picture above is my hair before & after my 4 month stretch)
Not long after that, my constant battle with dry, itchy scalp and dandruff became severe. It was so bad, it was like I had a ringworm on the back of my neck growing within the hair line and dry patches on my ears. The front hairline was red, white, and scaly. If I scratched, patches of my skin would flake off like snow flakes!! I finally went to the dermatologist to see what was going on. My visit with him was brief, before I could finish telling him my problems, he was handing me a pamphlet saying I had seborrheic dermatitis: which is a chronic eczema in sebum rich areas such as the scalp, face, and upper trunk; the skin becomes red, irritated and scaly. Itching is prominent in acute, active state. There are various causes to this but the doctor said the chemicals from my relaxer could be the trigger to why my scalp had become severly irritated. He prescribed me two different medicines for my scalp as well as to suggested using the neutrogena T-tree shampoo and I was on my way.
I decided I would not perm my hair and allow my scalp to heal so I began "stretching." I became familiar with stretching from doing some research online which is basically stretching out the time between relaxers. I went 4 months without a relaxer and permed my hair again on March 24th, which at the time I had no idea would be my last perm. In the following picture you can see my results were amazing!! The before is the hair cut I had to get rid of the sparse and ragged ends pictured above. Sadly, the after picture was taken after having 1.5" chopped off, but I grew about 5 1/2" in four months!! Now that's amazing!!
Unfortunately, my dermatitis returned after perming my hair again so I had to make a choice, to continue and perm my hair and keep on paying $150 for medicines to clear my scalp up, or go natural and research all natural products & ingredients to heal my scalp. Well, here we are October 2012 about to celebrate my one year natural anniversary on the 15th so you know which decision I made!!
While I was stretching the first time, I washed and conditioned my hair once a week. I used the Elasta QP Mango Butter creme to do my braid outs (favorite style). I didn't use any heat on my hair and let it air dry! I kept it protected during the winter months by wearing a beanie.
To cure my dermatitis: I started using extra virgin coconut oil for its anti fungal properties. I oiled my scalp with it frequently throughout the week which may have attributed to my fast rate of hair growth. This was great until the summer months came along, and we know coconut oil melts, so I had to find something else fast. It had me looking like I had jerry curl juice dripping down my face lol. The solution was castor oil! I haven't had a single flake since.
For detangling: I used the Kids Organics Shea Butter hair lotion and Mane & Tale detagling spray. It wasn't until I began to transition to natural that I started switching to products specifically for natural hair and the Kinky Curly Knot Today became my staple leave in conditioner!! My other staple products are listed in previous blog posts if you're interested.
I also started taking a hair vitamin to help keep my hair strong, long, and healthy during both phases. I would recommend Hairfinity as a hair vitamin of choice. I can honestly say it helped my hair grow super fast and contributed to the overall health of my hair.
Finally, my stretch lasted almost 7 months.. on Oct. 15, 2011 I just couldn't take it anymore detangling my hair and dealing with the two textures. It was so tangled and matted, it seemed like it was trying to dread up! I took my scissors and got to snipping and I haven't looked back! The best decision I've ever made!!
If you're considering going natural, please do your research and create a healthy hair regimen that works for you! Remember it's not only what you put on your hair, but what you put in your body! Take a multivitamin and or hair vitamin, drink plenty of water and eat plenty of protein.
I hope my transition story has helped someone out there! Look at how far I've come. If you're not ready to go natural, just look at how much healthier your hair can becme after a little stretch or implementing healthy hair habits!! All it takes is a little extra care and patience!! I know this is a longer than usual post but hey, it's been quite the journey!!