17 months natural and a whole year since my second BC (Big Chop), it’s gone so fast. I feel like I’m entering a new phase of my natural journey and saying goodbye to my TWA. So what lessons have I learnt on this journey:
The following is what I have learnt and advise from my own personal experience.
DON’T BE A PRODUCT JUNKIE!
When you first go natural it’s almost like being a kid in a sweet shop, you sit down and watch YouTube and want to order everything that is suggested. I’m not saying don’t try out different products, but there is no need to try out a new product every single week. I would say, that you need to stick with a product for at least 4-6 weeks to know if you hair likes it or not UNLESS, you have drastic results from the first use then, just say bye.
STAPLES ARE GOOD
Find the products that work for you and stick with them (this may contradict my 4th point, but oh well). Have the standard staples, the old friendlies that you can return to and won’t let you down. From a retail point of view my old friendlies are (these are products that are not used regularly but I know when desperate they’ll work, even if they’re on the bathroom shelf gathering dust!): African Essence hair gel, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap, Garnier Fructis repair and shine, Faith in Nature Conditioners. My staples (products used regularly): Afro Shampoo Bar by Shea Butter Cottage, Twisted Mango Custard by BeUNIQUE, my own leave in, my own curl definer and my own hair spritz. I use natural oils and herbal infusions, some oils regularly used jojoba, avocado, coconut, black seed, sapote, poppy seed, rice bran and castor.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re hair isn’t growing that’s why it’s important to take pictures, not to be vain! But to document your journey, when you look back you’ll realise actually your growth was normal for you. Remember everyone is different you are unique, take time to get to know your hair, love your hair and it will love you back.
AS YOUR HAIR GROWS YOUR ROUTINE WILL CHANGE
As your hair grows you may to adjust what you do to it and what products you use, the products you used to achieve curls for your TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro) may not work as well as your hair gains length.
Be aware of every single ingredient in your hair care products, I’m hoping you all know the basics, no mineral oil, no petrolatum and no parabens. Now cones, that’s another thing, me personally, I’ve learnt that my hair doesn’t like products with silicones in them, but they agree with some people, I would advise if you are going to use them make sure they are water soluble so that they don’t build up on your hair. Researching can be time consuming but you’ll start to get used to some of the frequently used ingredients and then it will become like second nature. When you research this is when you’ll realise that you maybe able to source the ingredients yourself and start making your own stuff.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
It’s not just what you put on your hair that’s important but also what goes in your body. Case in point I personally do not take in many liquids on a daily basis I can actually go a whole day and only have one drink with my evening meal. How my hair survived I DON’T KNOW. I have now started to drink more water and can see improvements in my hair and skin. Look up foods that improve hair health.
CONTINUE TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR HAIR
I’ve gotten to a point now where I know what my hair needs, but as it grows longer I’ll have to continue learning about it. I haven’t trimmed it yet so that’s something to learn, learning how to balance moisture and protein and knowing when your hair needs what, monitoring shed hair and differentiating it from hair loss. This can be time consuming, or maybe that’s just me being anal, and having to check the plug hole to see if the hairs I’ve lost have got roots attached or not!
In conclusion this journey not only has allowed me to fall in love with what God naturally blessed me with, but has also allowed me to use gifts he has blessed me with by taking a big step and starting my own hair care business although still in it’s infancy it’s something that is challenging me to what to improve myself and not to give up.
Just before I sign off for this post I want to give thanks to some people who have helped this past year. Obviously number one, the big G, God for giving me the vision to use what I was doing in the kitchen and turn it into something bigger. My husband for being patient when I spend hours in the kitchen creating products and then more time in the bathroom trying them out, my Mum for always asking how plans are going and not totally disowning me after my 2nd BC! Zoe Penny aka ReviveUK, purchasing her online 'how to guides' helped me to learn the basics to produce my own products, and last but not least Ronke Ige (Emi & Ben Natural Skin Care), for being an inspiration, igniting my entrepreneural fire and giving excellent advice.