Thursday, June 21, 2012

Relaxer Update #5

So much for a long stretch! After my last wash day I was tired of dealing with the two textures. Add to this the heat wave in DC this weekend, which made my head feel like all that thick new growth was suffocating it! Also, I was also told that its best to avoid chemical processes a week before and up to 2 months after having surgery, and figured to be on the safe side I should relax now and then do a 8-10 week stretch after having surgery. So here are the results of my last relaxer,

I am definitely (and finally) past APL, but I'm not sure if I can claim BSB yet....What do you guys think?

My One Year Comparison 

Feb heat pass: June relaxer comparison 
(From APL to almost BSB!)

I think I had good retention, especially since I got a half inch trim in March. My hair is also retaining its thickness, and my ends held up pretty well. My 'V' is back in full force because the hair at my front grows o so slowly. Overall I am very happy with the progress I made over the last year and am psyched that I am on track to hit BSL by the end of 2012 (barring any setbacks). 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Texture Shots

I am currently 9 weeks post. The collage below shows my texture when air dried (top two pics) and when blow-dried straight (bottom pic).

Although it was an accident my texlaxed hair is starting to grow on me, and I kinda like the texture I get when I air dry. I have been doing a lot of that of late as well, as I know that I am not going to be up for rollersetting while I'm recovering from surgery. Also, since I'll be starting med school soon I needed a more no-fuss way to dry my hair as its highly likely that I will have less time for myself once school starts in the Fall.

This was just a quick 'check-in', will hopefully be back soon with a longer post :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sometimes....It's 'just' hair

The relaxed vs natural debate has been popping up pretty often in my life these days, so its only fitting that I blog about it. Quite a few people I know have gone natural, even my mother has broached the topic with me, nevermind that she is relaxed. In her words,
'Now that you know how to take care of your hair why don't you just go back natural'.

To give some background to this statement I was natural up until about 13 years old when my mom finally gave in to my begging and pleading and let me get a relaxer. At that point I had been taking care of my natural hair by myself for about three years and was totally fed up with all the time and energy I had to put into detangling and styling etc. Not to mention that for me natural hair was very limiting in how I could style it for school, so I kept it in plaits or twists. Now bear in mind that this was before the 'natural hair movement' so twistouts and tips on wearing 'loose' natural hair were not available to me. Also, I was still in high school, and Catholic high school at that so my hairstyles had to be simple.

I have been happy with my relaxed hair ever since and honestly don't see myself ever going back natural.
1. My hair is easy to manage
2. I spend 3-4 hours a week max washing, detangling and drying compared to the hours that my THICK natural hair required
3. I think relaxed hair suits me, as I mentioned in my last post I love wearing loose hair with a lil body wave

4. Its my hair and I will do with it as I please regardless of what society (or friends and fam) think I should do

Number 4 is really what inspired this particular post,
This one girl went natural nazi on me for awhile. One of the many times she brought up the subject, she told me she went natural because she didn't want to conform to what society thought her hair should be like, that God didnt make her hair like that so why should she keep relaxing it, and something about not knowing herself or not having a sense of identity...

I joked around and played devil's advocate for a bit, asking her if that meant she was also going to stop shaving and wearing makeup since God put hair on our legs etc etc lol .. But then I gave what she said some thought.

1. In my humble opinion by letting society tell you that if your hair is not in its natural state you're not black enough going natural arent you still conforming to what society wants?

2. Your self identity should be based on waaaay more than just whether your hair is natural or not

3. Why keep your hair in a certain way or style if you're not happy with it? Its YOUR hair! (and this goes for any hair style, cut or color)

She's not the only person who has made the above statements to me, and strangely enough one of the grls who went natural for the above reasons has expressed that she's not happy with her natural hair, yet she doesn't want to look like a 'sell-out' so she won't relax. :S

In a nutshell, sometimes hair is just hair. Do whatever you want with it, cut it, grow it, dye it, texturize, go natural whatever. But do it for you and not for anyone else. Do what makes you happy!

Examples of people doing 'them'
Solange Knowles rocking her natural me it makes her features and style pop more than her relaxed hair

There's something about Halle Berry's pixie cut that just rocks!

DISCLAIMER: I know people can get hot and bothered over the relaxed vs. natural debate so please note that I never said anything anti-natural hair :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hair Survey!

1. Are you relaxed or natural?

2. How long, on average, does it take you to style your hair in the mornings?
About 10 mins max, something I plan to change since I think my hairstyles are boring

3. How long does it take you to wash your hair on wash days?
Between 3 to 3.5 hours, which includes drying time

4. Favorite product (just one!) ?
ORS Replenishing Conditioner

5. Biggest Hair challenge? (breakage, dryness, thin, balding, etc)
Getting used to not having blunt ends all the time. It makes me feel like my ends need trimming even though they're perfectly healthy

6. What is your favorite thing about your hair?
Its thickness!

7. Who is your #1 hair inspiration?
At the moment its Jen from Just Grow Already

8. What is your overall goal for your hair
To be a thick, healthy MBL.

9. Worst hair day story
This one time years ago that I tried to flat iron my hair and the humidity in the club made it go 'poof'. I looked like I had been electrocuted lol

10. Favorite Hair style
loose hair with a body wave 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hair Updates

Just a peep into what's on my mind these days in terms of haircare.

 - I flat ironed my hair for myself for the first time in aaaages so I could take a look at my ends. I thought they needed a trim but I found exactly one single strand knot and that was about it. They still feel smooth and look fine so they're holding up pretty well. P.S. Why am I relaxed and getting single strand knots? This is the second one I've found!

- I have noticed a little thinning on my hairline on the right side and after about 2 weeks of some hard thinking finally realised that I ALWAYS sleep on my right side. Traction alopecia is one of my major hair fears so hopefully I can train myself to sleep on my other side or on my stomach....

 - I was debating whether or not to relax before my surgery, at approx 10 weeks post but then I saw the comment left by Tama of 'Simply into My Hair' on my last blog post. Her research on telogen effluvium turned up a tip of not using chemical dye in your hair prior to having surgery. Just to be on the safe side I think I should hold off on relaxing until a month or so after surgery.

 - I no longer take garlic supplements so I will be investing in a garlic shampoo and/or scalp mask. One of the properties of garlic is that it lowers your blood pressure, and while I was taking it I felt tired a lot. I can't say for sure that it was solely the garlic that was responsible for my fatigue, but my energy levels have picked back up a bit since I quit taking it.

 - I took advantage of my flat ironed hair to do a length check, and I seem to be right on target to hit BSB in July :D

 - My scalp has been thanking me for starting back my acv rinses, usually in the summer by 4 days post wash day my scalp starts acting up but its is chilling out of late. Anything that gets me to stretch my wash days farther apart gets a thumbs up in my book!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Telogen Effluvium

One of my concerns about my upcoming surgery is possible hair loss through Telogen Effluvium.
 Telogen effluvium is temporary hair loss due to shedding of resting or telogen hair after some shock to the system. 
In a normal healthy person's scalp about 85% of the hair follicles are actively growing hair (anagen hair) and 15% are resting hair (telogen hair). A hair follicle usually grows anagen hair for 4 years or so, then rests for about 4 months. The resting or telogen hair has a club or bulb at the tip. A new anagen hair begins to grow under the resting telogen hair and pushes it out.
Normal hair loss is about 100 hairs a day, as a result of the normal scalp hair cycle.
If there is some shock to the system, as many as 70% of the anagen hairs can be precipitated into telogen, thus reversing the usual ratio. 
Some causes of this shock are;
  • Illness, especially if there is fever
  • Surgical operation
  • Accident
  • Childbirth
  • Nervous shock
  • Weight loss or unusual diet
  • Certain medications
  • Discontinuing the contraceptive pill
  • Overseas travel resulting in jetlag
  • Excessive sun exposure

The resting scalp hairs, now in the form of club hairs, remain firmly attached to the hair follicles at first. Approximately 2 months after the shock that the new hairs coming up through the scalp push out the "dead" club hairs and increased hair fall is noticed.At first the fall of club hairs is profuse and a general thinning of the scalp hair may become evident but after several months a peak is reached and hair fall begins to lessen, gradually tapering back to normal over 6-9 months. As the hair fall tapers off the scalp thickens back up to normal, but recovery may be incomplete in some cases.
Because nail and hair growth are under the same influences, an arrest in hair growth is often mirrored in the nails by a groove across them coinciding with the time of the shock to the system. This is called a Beau's line. The time of the shock can be estimated from the fact that a finger nail takes 5 months to grow from the posterior nail fold to the free edge. So if the groove in the nail is half way down the nail then the shock must have been 2 1/2 months ago.
In some patients, hair shedding continues to be intermittently or continuously greater than normal for long periods of time, sometimes for years. The hair cycle appears to be reset so that the anagen period is shortened.
Chronic telogen effluvium often presents in women that actually continue to have quite thick and moderately long hair – this is because they notice the shed hair more than those with finer or shorter hair. Telogen effluvium does not cause complete baldness, although it may unmask a genetic tendency to genetic balding i.e. female or male pattern hair loss  
What is the treatment for telogen effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is self-correcting. It is really not influenced by any treatment that can be given. However, gentle handling of the hair, avoiding over-vigorous combing, brushing and any type of scalp massage are important.
You should also ensure a nutritious diet, with plenty of protein, fruit and vegetables.
The doctor may check your thyroid function, and levels of iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid, as any deficiency in these can slow hair growth.
Source: New Zealand Dermatological Society

Yep, you read that right. There is NO treatment for telogen effluvium. I have googled and wikipedia'd and looked for research articles but came up with zilch.  I will continue to take my vitamins, and may also purchase a garlic shampoo but that's about it. I pretty much have to just keep the faith and hope that even if I do experience shedding it won't be so bad as to cause a setback.