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Monday, July 20, 2015

7/20/15 LOTD: Ion't Know What to Call This...

Happy Monday lovelies!

As I sit here dragging my feet for a training I don't want to go to, I figure I would stop by with a post that shows my hair for the day. As you can see, the box braids are still going strong. However, I am constantly looking for ways to style them that doesn't involve a high bun (nothing agains high buns, I just get bored with them after awhile). Today, I did something simple: I flat twisted the front of my hair and brought that back into 2 buns. Add a couple bobby pins and BAM!!! I have a hairstyle where the braids aren't in my face and is not in a high bun!

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

T.A.S. Question of the Week: Are You Experiencing Breakage/ Increased Shedding During Your Transition?

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Happy Wednesday lovelies!!

Ever since I announced my unofficial/official transition, a question that I have been getting a lot is if I'm getting more breakage and/or shedding than normal. Since this seems to be a common question, I figured I should make a post detailing my experience thus far.

Am I experiencing increased breakage?

Prior to transitioning, I would experience minimal breakage when I would do normal hair care practices like combing my hair or heat styling. More often than not, this breakage would come from the ends of my hair (which makes sense-my ends are the oldest, weakest part of my hair). This type of breakage is expected. However, I felt that I could do more to minimize the breakage that I saw. Last year, I figured my hair would benefit from me doing protein treatments (which would strengthen my hair) weekly. As you guys saw in my various posts, use of Komaza Protein Strengthener, Apoghee 2-Min Keratin Reconstructor and/or the Sally's GVP Protein Reconstructor had great results for me. I still saw some breakage due to styling but it was wayyyyyy less than it was before.

This is a practice that I continue to use now that I am transitioning but with a different focus.

As a transitioner, my focus has been to prevent any and all breakage at the line of demarcation. Therefore, on wash days you can find me applying my protein treatment like a relaxer to my new growth. Yes, this makes the process take a little bit longer but it is so worth it. So far, I'm not having any of the breakage.

In addition to my protein treatments, I am consistent in giving my hair the moisture it needs via deep conditioning with a moisturizing DC. This keeps my hair from becoming dry and (as a result) prone to breakage. Furthermore, the protein treatments also aid in imparting moisture because it allows my hair to readily accept whatever moisture I am giving it.

So to summarize a long story: when it comes to breakage during your transition, it is STILL important for you to maintain some sort of moisture/protein balance. The need for that doesn't go away just because you are transitioning.

What about shedding?

First, let me say that shedding is a normal process. It will happen whether you want it to or not. In terms of shedding, my hair tends to shed more in the winter than in the summer. That's just what it is. I accept and embrace that.

So if you thought I was about to tell you ways to stop your regular run of the mill shedding.......sorry?

But I will tell you how I keep my shedding to a range that is acceptable for my head of hair.

A big thing for me is diet. If your diet is crap and you aren't getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, there is a strong chance your hair isn't getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. That can result in increased shedding. While I do have a weakness for certain junk foods (just last night I was craving a nice slice of caramel cake), I try to ensure that I am drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet (with lots of fruit and veggies), and I take a multivitamin for good measure. The key take away is this: shedding is a normal, internal process. It's your scalp's way of saying "Hey, everything is all good over here!" The only time your hair is going to have abnormal shedding is if there is something going on internally: poor diet, illness, hormone fluctuations (due to birth control, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, etc), anemia and other chronic disorders. Your hair is not going to decide to shed like crazy because you are growing a relaxer out. I cannot stress that enough.

Bottom line: my shedding is normal (for me) even though I'm transitioning. In addition to diet, I also try to watch how I style my hair. I know that finding hairstyles during your transition is hard. However, you don't want to resort to styles that place unnecessary stress on the hair follicle (ahem....braids that are too tight).

Hopefully that answers the breakage/shedding question! I know quite a few of you are transitioning also and I am interested to hear what your experiences have been. Tell your story in the comments below!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Transitioning: Months 0-6

Happy Monday lovelies!

I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend! I spent my weekend back home in VA and let me tell was a much needed trip!! This weekend marked 6 months since my last relaxer! This got me to thinking. When I started my blog, I documented the growth of my hair from a short cut to the length it is now (which is something you rarely see in the blog world) and even shared how I styled my hair at every length. Why should my transitioning journey be any different? Something that has helped me tremendously is knowing how to style my hair during this time and I think that by sharing my experience I can a) help those who are stretching relaxers and need a way to style their hair, b) help those who are transitioning but really don't know how to style their hair other than straight, and c) keep a log of my hair styles so that when I get deep in this transition I have something that I can reference. Either way it's a win-win

Now with out further ado, here are the first 6 months of my transition.

Months 0-3: The "This Is No Different Than A Regular Stretch" stage

This stage of my transition was really, really easy because I really just started out stretching relaxer like I usually do. During this time, I wore my hair straight but opted to keep my hair in buns the majority of the time ( I'm a teacher and most mornings, I'm all for styles that don't take too much time and won't irritate me by the middle of the day).

* Some of the styles I wore at the beginning of the year. I wore buns for the most part*

As far as a regimen goes, I washed my hair weekly with Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and did a protein treatment with Komaza Protein Strengthener. I would follow up with a moisturizing DC, would moisturize, and air dry my hair (except during the times I would straighten my hair). My hair pretty much thrived with this regimen and I noticed no significant difference in hair shedding or breakage.

Months 3-6: The "New Growth is Making Itself Known" stage

This stage of my transition really marked the beginning of me really taking the time to learn with my new growth responds to. Style-wise, I wore buns but twist-outs began to have a special place in my heart during this time. For me, twist outs are a style that blend my 2 textures flawlessly and it's a pretty easy style to get together on wash day. Every now an again I would do a bantu knot out or a braid out but I always come back to twist outs. In June, I decided that my hair needed a break and got box braids that should last me until August. I generally stay away from direct heat because I don't want to be bothered. However, I did have to blow dry my hair (on low heat) prior to getting brads.

*I'm going to spare you the multiple photos of me with a twist out but that was my main style. Other pics are of the box braids I am wearing currently*

My regimen has not changed (still wash, protein treatment, and moisturizing DC weekly) and my hair is still doing good with that. I'm thinking about doing a protein treatment weekly for the duration of my transition. I think that is was is minimizing any breakage that could occur along the line of demarcation (point where my new growth and relaxed hair meet). I'm finding that my new growth is easy to comb (when wet) but my relaxed hair gives me the most grief because it tangles. During this time, I found 3 hair products my hair loves: Oyin Hair Dew, Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade and Oyin Juices N Berries. I've found that my new growth responds very well to these products (I mean they keep my hair moisturized for days!!). I do realize that as my transition progresses, I may need to shift my products to ones that benefit my new growth vs. those that benefit my relaxed hair.

So all in all, this transition has been pretty easy. I know once I'm out of these braids, I need to have a strong game plan in place for what I want to do to my hair and be open to any potential adjustments that I will have to make. Stay tuned to see how that turns out!