Coarse Hair, Long Hair is now...

Coarse Hair, Long Hair is now...
Click above to join me on the new blog.

My Growth and Setbacks 2003-2010


How I Blow Dry with Comb Attachment

Cut 7" in one year?

Yep, I'm going to go ahead and get another hair cut.

I think I need to cut another 2" to regain my thickness.  I have an appointment to see Reniece in October for my next relaxer and haircut.  This will make a total of 7" that I've cut this year.  I go through different phases with my hair - length obsession, shape obsession (ex. V shape vs. U shape) and now I'm in the blunt ends obsession phase.   

After my last relaxer, I went back and reviewed all my progress pictures.  There is a stark difference between when my stylist, Reniece, relaxed my hair and when I self-relaxed.  I take great care of my hair between relaxers, so when its time to relax, I've always been able to retain all my length and thickness. 

 January 2007 (Relaxer and cut); finger at top of bra strap

May 2007 (Relaxer)

Reniece did my relaxers in the pictures above and I retained about 2".  Please note that I didn't stretch for 4 months, she also did my relaxer in March 2007.  When I look at these pictures and then compare them to my self relaxer results here, its clear that self relaxing caused me to lose thickness.

Relaxer day is critical to your regimen and even stylists can cause damage (see below).  My last setback was the main reason I decided to try self relaxing.  Why pay someone $130 to leave me with thin ends when I can do that myself for free? (LOL). 

     December 2008 (Relaxer hair loss caused by a new stylist) 

I still believe that self relaxing can be done successfully without adverse effects.  Although I can probably change my technique to avoid breakage, I decided that it isn't worth the risk of losing progress.  Not to mention that it takes me 8-10 hours to self relax, blow dry, and flat iron (that includes taking breaks to eat and watch my shows lol).  So after doing the cost-benefit analysis, I decided to stop self relaxing for now (I may try again in the future).

Throwback Hair Picture - September 2004

Hi friends,

In an attempt to make myself feel better about my self induced thin ends (can we say "cry baby"? LOL) I decided to review some of my old hair pictures.  If you feel silly about taking pictures of your hair, this is exactly why pictures are helpful.  You can always look back, be proud about your progress, and motivate yourself to keep going. 

Here's a picture of my hair on September 14, 2004.  This is when I officially started taking care of my hair and my goal was to gain length and thickness.   

September 2004 (Thin left side)
 September 2004

Here's a picture of my hair at waist length in November 2009.  This is the longest my hair has ever been. Keep in mind that I've suffered numerous setbacks and was constantly trimming to gain thickness.  

 November 2009

Five years may be a long time, but guess what? Five years are going to pass regardless of what we do.  I hope this serves as an inspiration for those of you who are just starting out.  If I can do it, so can you.  

Where will your hair be in 5 years?

How I Get Curls without Heat

Relaxer Day Pictures

Hi friends!

Sorry for the delay.  My internet has been malfunctioning all week; it is reminiscent of dial-up service circa 1998.  Anyway, without further adieu...

Here are the pictures of my blow dried and flat ironed hair. 

                                      July 2010                                      

 May 2010
I'm inclined to say that in the July picture, my hair was more spread across my back, thus making my ends appear thinner.  But I'm not sure if that is me trying to rationalize in order to feel better (lol). What do you think?  

On a positive note, I'm excited that my July flat ironed hair, has the same sheen as the May flat ironed hair, when my stylist did it.  I'm getting better at flat ironing my own hair.   

I already told my stylist that if my next relaxer causes thinning, then I'll be making the trip to DC every 3 months so she can do it.  She agreed that if I'm losing progress, then I should go back to her.  Isn't she awesome? Few people comprehend my hair journey.  But, I've been going to her since 2004, so she has witnessed my progress and setbacks.

Q&A: Why the shedding on relaxer day?

Reader S.B. asked a great question on my Facebook Page that I thought would be helpful to everyone.

Q: Why do you think your hair sheds so much more when you do your relaxers?

A: It wasn't shedding. It was breakage from the manipulation of making small horizontal parts to apply the relaxer. The relaxer sort of makes the strands stick together, so when I go through and make diagonal parts, it caused breakage.


I hope this clarifies what I meant in my last post about losing hair while relaxing. The relaxer itself didn't cause me to shed. I suspect that's what happened the last time I relaxed also. Lesson learned.

Relaxer Day!!!

Hi friends,

I did my relaxer today, and I blow dried and flat ironed to check my length and thickness. I'm not very pleased with the outcome :( I do notice length increase but I lost some thickness. On a positive note, the relaxer application was successful - no over processing and no scalp burns.

I learned a new relaxer technique: By making bigger parts and apply more relaxer to each section, I drastically reduced tangling (and thus broken hairs) and saved 6 minutes during application. Fortunately, I figured this out in time to apply this new technique to the front of my hair. Unfortunately for the back of my hair, I didn't make the realization until after I relaxed the back. Here's a picture of the amount of hair lost from the back vs the front. So I lost some thickness in the back and on my "weight/hem" line.

Hair lost from the back (left) vs front (right)

I wouldn't call this a setback per se. But if I have the same problem the next time I self relax, then I will go back to my stylist in DC to do my relaxers.  I might need to hide the scissors for a while too, I'm very tempted to cut another 2".  I will probably wear curly styles until my next relaxer.  Curls give the illusion of thickness, so I'll be less tempted to cut.

It's after midnight and I'm beyond exhausted. I will post pictures of my hair tomorrow.

Wedding Day Hairstyle

Hi friends!

This time of year is wedding season.  I know someone who has attended as many as 10 weddings so far.  One major consideration when it comes to planning a wedding is the hairstyle.  Whether you wear your hair up or down, the most important thing is that you are happy with the hairstyle.  If nothing else, you want to look like yourself, the best version of yourself, on your big day.  No guest should have to think "I can barely recognize her."  If you are not comfortable with your hair, it may affect your confidence and that will show in the pictures.  

Here are my tips for having a great hair day on your wedding day.
  1. Stay true to your personal style.  If you normally wear simple styles, consider an elegant yet simple hairstyle for your wedding day.   
  2. Don't make a "radical" change just because its your wedding day.  This is not the time to venture out and try a new hair cut or color.  You may not have enough time to recover if you decide against it.
  3. Bring pictures of different styles to show your stylist.  Words can fail you, but a picture is self explanatory.  Confirm with the stylist that they can deliver what you want.  
  4. Do a trial run before the big day.  This will give you a chance to see how the style will hold up throughout the day and your stylist can make changes if needed (ex. use more hairspray).
  5. Be firm about what you want and don't let anyone bully you out of your heart's desire. This is your one and only wedding day.  So get exactly what you want.
I wear my hair down 90% of the time, so naturally I chose to wear my hair down on my wedding day.  I rarely wear updos, and I knew I would be self conscious wearing an elaborate updo on my wedding day.  I wanted to feel as comfortable in my skin as possible.  There were more than enough things to be nervous about - remembering my vows, not tripping down the aisle, and not doing the ugly cry (that last one was a lost cause lol).

Here are some pictures of how I wore my hair on my wedding day.  My hair was waist length when straightened, and I wore no weave or extensions in my hair. 

Hairstyle in Ceremony Dress

Hairstyle in Reception Dress

10 Weeks Post Relaxer Update

I'm currently 10 weeks post and my newgrowth is actually manageable right now.  I planned to do my relaxer this weekend but my scalp started itching, and I'm sure I scratched it while I was asleep.  So in the interest of not having scalp burns, I'm going to wash my hair today and then apply my relaxer next weekend.  That will put me at 11 weeks post, which is well within my goal range of relaxing every 10-12 weeks.

I also bought a new length check t-shirt, so I can better track my growth progress.  I'll take lots of pictures and will try to record some video as well.

Splitting with Split Ends

 Hi friends!

I'd venture to say that split ends are a reality for anyone who uses heat, combs daily, or has chemically processed hair (relaxed or colored).  You might even have split ends when you don't do any of the above.  My sister is natural and doesn't use heat, yet her split ends have split ends of their own lol (I'm sure she won't mind me putting her ends on blast).

When it comes to "repairing" split ends, don't fall for product marketing.  No product can permanently repair a split end.  Think of your hair like corn in a husk: once it starts to unravel, there's no going back.  So the best thing to do with split ends is to trim them off.  There is some debate about whether split ends will travel up the entire hair shaft, and split the entire strand of hair.  Personally, I think some split ends can travel up the hair but not all will.  Also, the hair can split along the length of the strand (see picture below).  Either way, in the interest of aesthetics, it is best to trim off split ends.

Shedded strand with splits along the length of the hair.
(click on the picture to enlarge)

To remove my split ends, I do a search and destroy method.  Which means that I comb through my hair and only trim off the split ends and leave the healthy ends.  This way I am able to remove the damaged ends without losing overall length.  I don't have a set schedule but I usually do search and destroy on wash day, but will trim any split ends I find during the week. 

 Split ends I trimmed off this week.

Coupon Alert!

Hi friends!

Here is a coupon for free shipping at Sally Beauty Supply.  This might be very helpful if you live in a remote area without a Sally's, or if you local Sally's does not carry the products you need.

I'm considering getting the Eco Styler Gel because my local store doesn't carry it.  I might also get some more Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor.

Enjoy and Happy Independence Day!