02 August 2011

END of summer styling challenge! :)

i know i said i'd do two more posts in this series but this will be the last one! i planned to do a coil out today but this was the only morning my braider was available to do my hair, so i had to take it. i did start to break apart my coils; i figured i could at least take pictures to share. but as i started separating them, i realized it was gonna be way too much work to not even wear out. and it was late and i still had to wash my hair so i said whatever, lol. 

it's only been three weeks but this personal mini-challenge was really great! i had fun trying out the different styles (wish i'd done more!) and learned a lot about Izzy. it's crazy how much perspective i was able to gain in such a short time that i'm really not sure of where to begin.

while i enjoy trying out all my conditioners and steaming, wash days had never really been my favorite because i could never figure out how to style my hair afterwards. furthermore, i never want to dedicate the 2-3 hours to styling that my hair often demands. all i knew is that i had problems - dryness, tangling, a matted fro - and no apparent willingness to try anything new to fix it. i became reliant on braids and began to dread having my hair loose.

i did a post in june where my feelings toward Izzy were lukewarm at best. :( i was resigned to the awkward in-between phase and prepared to hate it. but i've learned a pretty huge secret that's changed my entire outlook on maintaining my hair and natural hair in general, especially for tigher curls and coils.


it's really that simple. the past three weeks of this challenge, i made a point to keep my hair stretched and my goodness, it makes a HUGE difference. twistouts are way more neat and defined, styling time is cut in half, and sections make sure i moisturize and seal every inch of my hair. beforehand, i would just run some moisturizer through my hair and let it dry, let it curl up, which was the source of the dreaded matted morning afro (and single-strand knots). when i keep it stretched, all i need to do is fluff in the morning and maybe spritz with something moisturizing. i don't have to walk around dripping all day, nor does doing my hair take more than five minutes. THANK GOD!

it's taken me two years to learn this about my hair and i'm pretty sure if i didn't, i would still be contemplating a third big chop. i'd often read on hair boards that many ladies kept their hair stretched, which can be difficult with a twa. having little hair to grip takes longer and really tires your arms out. it's just long enough to give you a hard time, yet too short to make styling easy. i finally decided that this phase was something i was done with, so i decided to stop cutting my hair and it's been sprouting so far! :) the back is a solid shoulder length while the sides reach slightly past my chin.

this revelation seems like it's a long time coming, and i'm so grateful for these past three weeks. it's like Izzy is brand new and i've fallen in love all over again. i still love and adore my braids and will continue to get them. they're a great protective style and look good for weeks. in-between work and traveling (i'll be out of state three weeks this month!), it's the perfect low-maintenance style and anything that leaves me time in the morning for two months is a friend of mine.

i may do another post, maybe detailing some pointers for those who need it (and myself) because i know how brutal the growing-out phase is. i'm still in it now and i'm continuing to learn more and more each time. it's amazing how much tweaking one aspect of how you care for your hair can completely change how you feel about your hair and by extension, yourself. learning to keep my hair stretched has been a miracle! styles last for days and styling time is maybe an hour and a half for most things; i can get up and go in the morning and feel good about my appearance, which is especially vital with natural hair. i have been loving everything about everything during this challenge and it's all due to keeping my hair stretched!