First, let me say Happy New Year! I hope you all are having an amazing 2011 so far.
Anyway, if you have been following my progress then you know that in 2010 I made SL and APL. One question that I have noticed on the hair boards I frequent that comes up a lot is a) How long does it take to get to APL from SL? and b) What do you do to get past the SL/APL hump? Well, I figured that it would be a good idea to share what I have done. Hopefully, this will help those trying to reach their APL goal.
First things first......
It took me 7 months to graze APL and it took me 9 months to achieve full APL. So for the people who say they reached APL in 3 months, I'd really like to know what they did.
How did I get past the SL/APL hump?
1) Maintain your regimen if it works. Whatever you have been doing to maintain your hair, keep on doing it! Your hair obviously is thriving from it. Do not feel like you have to kick up your regimen to achieve your goal! You washing and DCing your hair 20 times a day isn't gonna get you to APL any faster (yeah...I know that example is a little extreme but you know what I mean)
2) Lay off the heat. I think this is the most important factor...even more important than protective styling. If your ends (which are the oldest, most fragile part of your hair) are getting bombarded with heat everyday...of course they are gonna break off! In turn, you aren't able to retain as much length as you would like. Personally, I did a lot of bunning and phony ponying to keep from using too much heat. My hair is thanking me for it too.
3) Let your hair be. Give it a rest. I did a lot of low manipulation/protective styling during this growth period. During the summer when it was unbearably hot, I keep my hair braided up. In the late summer/early fall season, I wore a lot of phony ponies and buns. When I finally did wear my hair out, it would only be for 2-3 days at a time. For the most part, styling wise I left my hair alone. I wasn't constantly in it which meant I wasn't constantly combing, brushing, or whatever else. Again, my hair thanked me for it.
That is really all I did. There really wasn't an elaborate plan to reach APL. I just did what was best for my hair. I want to point out that some people can reach APL without doing any of this which is great. However, I am not one of those people. I really had to be aware of what I was doing to my hair at any given time. So as you begin your journey to APL, you really need to have a good idea of what your hair responds to...what it likes...what it doesn't like. Once you have a grasp on that, reaching APL is a breeze!