It’s been a while since I posted anything on my natural hair and that’s because I’ve been in protective style mode for a good while. Fortunately, that break is over for now and my hands have been all over my hair and I’ll be sharing what I’ve been doing with it (including how I styled my hair for the photos in this post) and what I will be doing for the next couple of months.
Before I get into all that, I wanted to share some of the things I used to do to my hair in my early natural hair days, which seem crazy to me now. I’m just glad I left some of them the past because they were either just ridiculous, or very tedious.
After my first big chop, I was overwhelmed my hair texture and wanted an easier route so, I did some reasearch (read: watched videos on YouTube, as you do) and decided to heat train my hair instead of going all the way natural. Heat training, is simply straightening your hair using a dryer and straighteners (flat iron) instead of a relaxer, but like relaxer, you are completely destroying your natural curl pattern and there is no going back. I didn’t make it past the first year because my hair just cannot handle that much heat and I ended up doing another big chop and starting over.
Bone marrow deep conditioning
Years ago, I came across Lamaur Bone Marrow Deep Penetrating Treatment, which was an amazing protein deep conditioner, which was good for reducing breakage. Unfortunately, it was discontinued soon after and after failing to find a replacement, I decided to use actual bone marrow to condition my hair. This seemed like a great idea and it was backed by a lot of research about ancient Egyptians using it to keep their hair healthy and luscious. I would go to my local butcher and buy marrow bones and boil them for hours then use the stock to deep condition my hair. Although it worked, I found good alternatives that didn’t require as much work.
You may or may not have heard about greenhousing but, in a nutshell, it is when you spritz your hair with a little water, apply some oil and wrap it with cling film showercap then a scarf or bonnet on top overnight, every night or every other night. This generates a lot of heat and moisture, like in a greenhouse, to keep your hair moisturised all the time. I did this when my hair was at that awkward length and my ‘go to’ style was a puff. It kept your hair soft to styling my puff in the morning was really easy, but there was so much build up accumulating in my hair and it felt really dirty most of the time.
Whole day wash days
This seems crazy to me now but spending all weekend doing my hair was very normal to me. I would start off with a prepoo (pre-shampoo treatment) on Friday night, which was saturating my hair with coconut oil and letting it steam under a cap overnight. Saturday I would de-tangle, shampoo, deep-condition with a protein-based conditioner, rinse, apply a moisture-rich conditioner, rinse, dry then finally, style. One weekend every three weeks was blocked off for this and I stuck to it religiously for a long, long time. I’m glad I have streamlined this process and can go from start to finish in about three hours now.
I cringe and laugh when I think about some of the things I used to do, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a list like this. It’s all part of the journey of getting to know your hair and experimenting, even with the most ridiculous ideas. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t until you try and sure, you could play it safe but, where’s the fun in that.