Photo Credit: Ivie Enoma
This is my second time returning to natural hair and I am happy to say that I am far more patience this time around then I was the first time. This can be attributed to my hectic schedule and exhaustion or my overall desire to not focus too much on my hair. Either way, I’ve noticed tremendous growth in my hair and so have others! It’s so easy t
o convince yourself that you’re not making any progress in your hair journey (if it’s geared towards length) because shrinkage is the ultimate form deception! However, once you slow down and begin to notice the little things like finally being able to do a bun without needing bobby pins (I have yet to reach there) or you’re using up your products at a faster rate, you’ll know you’re retaining length. Some people like to have routine length checks but at this point in time I’m not too concerned to get back into that habit. However, every once in a while I will stretch my curls whenever I do notice growth. Just within 5 months I’ve noticed great growth! The last time I straightened my hair, I was struggling to do my signature flip with my bangs and couldn’t hold on to my ends very well. 5 months later and my bands are flippable and significantly longer. I could possibly be at the same length from when I relaxed again in 2015 in the next 5 months.
With longer hair comes changes. I’ve experienced texture change where my hair is now more wavy near my roots and curly towards my ends (I have a head full of lazy curls) and dryer ends which I have to pay more attention to or even switch up my products for. I definitely think my low maintenance and coconut oil massaged has helped a lot. If my hair isn’t in a flat twist and low bun, then it’s in mid-bun and a headband. I sometimes dabble in the occasional wash and go but I’m not a fan of the awkward length stage. I’ll dabble in a bantu knot out if I’m feeling fancy.
Now that I’ve figured out a stable regimen that works best for me, I may play around with different hair products now. Any recommendations you’d like to see my try? And that things do you like to do that you feel have helped you retain length?
See you in the next post!
If there is one feeling that sucks a lot when it comes to dealing with natural hair, one that I know too well is the feeling of your hair snagging in your nails. As an ex-chronic nail biter, my hair strands would always get caught in my scraggly nails and sometimes it would hurt. If I knew how much of hair broke due to my horrid nail-biting habit, I would probably pass out!
For all my nail bitters, I know that quitting can be a gruesome task that is easier said than done. However, if you are truly committed to taking care of your hair, you are going to have to figure our a way to stop biting your nails! When I decided I wanted to stop biting my nails, I made an effort to start doing my nails on a weekly basis. I would keep them nice and manicured because seeing them nice diverted me from biting them. I also started drinking a lot of water and rubbing coconut oil on my cuticles. I also carried gum in my bag so if I was ever tempted to bite my nails, I’d chew on it instead!
There are a variety of other things you can also do such as using an anti-biting nail polish or finding hobbies to keep your hands busy but I knew that my nail biting was linked to my nerves and stress. With that realization, I was able to train myself to do other things so I was no longer triggered to biting my nails. Finding out what triggers your nail biting will help you greatly as you fight to stop biting your nails. Your nails will look good and your hair will thank you!
Between school work, extracurricular activities, working and having a social life, going to the gym can seem to be a tedious task and having to consider your hair can also make it pesky. As someone who avidly and likes to work out multiple times a week (I try for daily but no promises), I an assure you that working out and keeping your hair clean and healthy is not as difficult as it may seem. It’s taken me a while to figure out what works for me but figuring what works out for you and your hair is always a trial and error process. Here are some things that have proven to be successful for me in balancing hair and body health:
- Stay Organized: In order to incorporate gym trips into your weekly schedule, you will need to know how your week is going to run. If you have a planner, map out what you plan to do each day and see when and where you can fit in times to visit the gym. Once you have that set up you should consider your weekly hair routine and what hairstyles will last the best throughout your gym trips.
- Keep a Moisturizing Hair Mist: Your hair will be more prone to dryness due to your sweat so creating a DIY or buying a moisturizing spray is highly recommended. If you want to make your own spray, mixing water, your favorite hair oil and a cheap conditioner to mist your hair with after each workout will keep your hair hydrated and fresh.
- Tie Your Hair Back: A loose bun or ponytail or even braiding or twisting your hair back to keep it out of your face will prevent your hair from getting frizzy and tangled from your workouts. It will also stop you from playing with your hair or constantly brushing it aside which causes breakage. I personally like to keep my hair twisted back into a low ponytail because the style that I wear my hair in most of the time since it’s shorter now. When my hair was longer I would always go with a bun. Be sure to use ouch-less ponytail or satin ponytail holders!
- Hair Rinses: The most that I ever wash my hair, whether with shampoo or with conditioner, is once a week. If I find that my hair has gotten really dry or just needs to be completely refreshed after a workout, I will simply rinse my hair with nothing but water. This helps clear my hair of sweat and restores moisture into my curls. After a hair rinse, I usually style my hair in bantu knots or flat twists with a light conditioner and style my hair the next day.
All in all, your hair health shouldn’t take precedence over your overall health. Working out often has caused me to keep a simple hair regimen that doesn’t require a lot of time or products. Let me know which tips helped or what you found to be a better alternative!
Let’s rewind back to 2009. If you would have asked me if I would ever get a relaxer and big chop again after my first time going natural, I would have scoffed, rolled my eyes and replied with a simple, “never!” Here I am, 5 years later, natural for the second time: short hair, a good amount of products and confused by the follicles growing out of my scalp. Surely by now I should be used to this but I’m not. Last September I made the decision to relax my hair with the desire for something new and the need to start all over again. I loved it. My hair was straight and flowy as I twirled my signature flip in constantly with a hair straightener. I felt sassier than ever. As the months went by, my relaxed strands became dull and my natural hair more prevalent. “Oh yeah,” I remember thinking, “my real hair!” After 10 short months of transitioning, my scissor happy hands found themselves snipping away at my color-damaged orange and brown strands 10 minutes before I had to leave for work. What on earth was I doing? If you were to ask me this question every time I did something with my hair I would probably tell you the same thing each time: I have absolutely no idea.”
Starting over is difficult. When I first started to cut my hair for the second time, I was terrified and immediately stopped after snipping off a small section. However, my desire to start over was overwhelming. My relaxed hair was nothing but a memory of all the hurt and difficulty I encountered in my sophomore year and since my junior year was only weeks ago, I told myself that it is only right that I start new with no attachments. So for the second time, I started over.
My second cut may not have been as drastic as my first cut back in 2009 but I am going through the same struggles that I once faced. Seeing myself as beautiful, working out which styles I can do with my hair (I may be African but my braiding skills are not the best) and playing with products and figuring out how to maintain moisturized strands. Coupled with my hectic life schedule and school load, returning to natural again is a lot more difficult than I initially imagined. But day by day, I am getting through it. I am becoming more accustomed to what my hair likes and what is a recipe for a disaster. Remembering what I once did and finding out new tips and tricks have led me to a place where I am more comfortable with my hair. I definitely won’t be returning to my pastime favorite of playing with hair colors. My accumulated damage is what led me to start all over. Instead, I want nothing less than healthy, happy virgin hair that I can grow out to my goal length and more importantly, enjoy! However, hair is an accessory after all and I will still be experimenting with some natural dyes and treatments. I hope that you all can join me on this roller-coaster ride of ups and downs as I ride towards my hair goal of waist length. Stay tuned to my posts on CurlyinCollege and follow me on my personal networks if you want to see more of me! I am a golden unicorn of magic so expect to see a lot of me!
Name, College, Graduation Year
Hi! My name is Ivie Enoma and I am a proud Marketing major at Temple University set to graduate in Spring 2016!
When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?
This is actually my second time going natural! The first time, I transitioned for 8 months before big chopping. That was in the summer of 2009. I was natural up until September 2013. I got a relaxer and transitioned once again for about 11 months. I big chopped in August 2014 and here I am again 1 year and 4 months post relaxer!
What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?
The first time I went natural, I wanted to do something different with my hair. I am pretty tender-headed so I was experiencing a lot of burns and sores from relaxers and I was fed up with it. I hated everything about the relaxing process and did not want to continue my discomfort. The second time I went natural, I wanted to start all over again. After experiencing with a lot of color, heat and just not properly caring for my hair, my hair health had fallen greatly. My curls were limp and frizzy and I hated it. So I got a relaxer to transition and go natural once again. This time I would keep my hair healthy and I am successfully doing so!
How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?
Now that I have short hair again, I definitely look a lot older than I actually am and that occasionally gets to me from time to time but my perception of others has not and will never be affected by a choice that I make for myself regarding how I choose to look.
Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?
Not really. I just have this one sorority sister who loves my hair texture. She always plays with my curls whenever I do my hair and I love it. Other than that,I have noticed that I get a lot more compliments when my hair is straight which is ironic to me because I’m not a big fan of straight hair.
What is your favorite part of your hair routine?
I love washing my hair to bits! It’s the most relaxing part of my routine and I look forward to it throughout the week. Call me weird but I love it!
What are your top 3 must have hair products?
Definitely a conditioner with tons of slip to make dentangling a breeze, a great leave-in-conditioner and some type of sealant. I like to use Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration, Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew and raw shea butter.
What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?
Other than my basic comb and soft bristle brush, I have the Hair Therapy Cordless Turban that I like to warm up and use for deep conditioning.
Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?
My Man Crush Mondays are constant and cannot be limited to one man! I will forever and always fall head over heels for Idris Elba, Seung-Hyun Choi (T.O.P) and Charles Michael Davis. I have a ton of other side baes but those 3 will always be my top #MCM. My #WCW changes constantly but right now I am totally in love with NaYeon (@Naye0na on IG) because her makeup skills are incredibly enchanting!