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Transition Update/Reflection: 19 Months [Pic Heavy]

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As I used some of my allotted "social media time" (the BF and I are doing a social media mini-detox) to flip through Instagram last week, I saw a lot of #transformationthursday photo collages...and they were absolutely inspiring. Like, gorgeous fros and manes. I started thinking, and decided to come up with my own collage. Then it dawned on me:

I haven't done a transition update in a while.

I've been so busy doing features, reviews, and dispensing hair care tips that I neglected to return to the launching point of it all - my journey to fully natural hair. So let me get cracking with a few items -- where I am in my transition, frustrations, successes, tips, and more. FYI: for those just catching up, I'm transitioning from heat damage, not a relaxer :)

Transition Status: Almost Natural
I rocked my very first wash n' go on Friday, May 31st. I remember it to the day. I had just finished an EXHAUSTING End of the Year Celebration for my program staff and students, and was literally running from pillar to post. Normally I'd take some time to "cutsey" up my hair for Friday date night with the BF, but on this particular Friday, I didn't have it in me. So I decided to venture where this transitioner had never ventured before -- wash n' go status. My very first wash n' go looked a lil' something like this:

 
I set this particular wash n' go with Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Conditioner and As I Am Smoothing Gel. I sealed it off with a lil' Apricot Oil. My curls were in the building, and I was feeling myself.

Then, I got a little antsy about my scraggly-looking ends, and this happened:


After my hair dried and everything, this was the end result:

 

That first snip session led to a slew of others. Some were caught on camera. There are at least 3 other times where I didn't gram my snippage.

 


The picture above (yes, that is a Shea Moisture jar...don't judge me) is about half of what I recently snipped about a week ago. In totality, between Late May/Early June and Early October, I've taken off anywhere between 2 and 4 inches of hair, depending on the area of my head. I've been on kind of a search-and-destroy mission, but instead of looking for splits and knots, my main objective (haha) was to eliminate stringy/tapered ends.

Fast forward to late September/Early October, and my wash n' go looks more like this:

 

My hair has definitely grown out, but it has also grown in length. Instagram tends to crop out most of my heat damage, making me look further along than where I actually am. So here's what my heat damage looks like right about now:

 

As of now, I've got anywhere from 1-3 inches of heat damage left, depending on where you look in my hair Before I get into my tips/lessons learned, here are a few quick stats about my hair at this point:

Hair Length: Stretched or straightened, the longest part of my hair (around the sides and back) is about mid-back length. I do have layers in the front, which are below my chin and going toward shoulder length...if not there already.


Hair Type: As someone who is still transitioning, I don't particularly place too much stock in hair type/texture. But I must admit, that I do find it helpful when it comes to determining what types of products (mainly for wash n go's) will work for me. That's about it. I don't let it deter me from trying out a different product just because it is designed for a certain type of hair. But with that being said, The majority of my hair falls in the 3c category, with some 3a/b near the back and something on the fringes of 3C and 4a in the crown. I've got a lot texture-wise going on, but I'm able to manage with a few tricks. As far as density and porosity are concerned, I don't concern myself too much with either. My hair is thick. It dries out when I don't moisturize enough, but at the same time doesn't care for a ton of heavy sealing product (I can't go oil and butter crazy). Take that however you wish, lol.

Hair Regimen: I've never been once to concretely embrace a regimen or routine, but I do have a general situation that I stick to. Fair warning: I am a product junkie, therefore I refuse to stick to one particular product in each area. You've been warned.
  • Pre-Poo, Detangle & Cleanse: I go through this process about twice a week, maybe more or less depending on how my hair feels. I pre-poo and detangle with my trusty Q-Redew, and a product of choice (right now I'm digging Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment, Soultanicals Knot Sauce, and Trader Joe's Nourish Spa. After detangling with product and the Q-Redew, I allow it to sit under a plastic or shower cap for 15-20 minutes. I cleanse my hair in the shower, using any number of shampoo bars. I don't do too much in the way of co-washing or using regular shampoo now. I prefer poo bars, and you can read all about why here. My favorite choices for shampoo bars are Obia Natural Hair Care Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar, Brown Butter Beauty Rhassoul Herbal Tea Shampoo Bar, and AfroVeda Carrot Seed Clarifying Shampoo Bar. Whenever I can remember to (which usually is about once a month), I will do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse on my hair. I'll probably up the ante on that pretty soon.
  • [Deep] Conditioning: I use a deep conditioner every time I cleanse now. If I can leave it in longer than the duration of my shower, then I do. If not, I settle for 15-20 minutes in the shower steam while I handle the rest of my shower business. Regardless of which method, I never skip this step. It is vital to the overall health (moisture and elasticity) of my hair. To get my hair right, I rely on Alikay Naturals Honey & Sage Deep Conditioner, Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, Shescentit Riche Moisture Masque, Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioner, or All Things O' Naturall Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner. 

  • Leave-In, Sealing, & Styling: Earlier in my transition, I didn't really pay too much attention to leave-ins. I would throw something water-based in my hair, and keep it moving depending upon which products I used to style. Now, I throw a leave-in in my hair no matter what I'm about to do. My favorite leave-ins include Ynobe Shop Hibiscus Marshmallow Leave-In Conditioner or my new holy grail, Shescentit Coco Creme Leave-In Conditioner. To seal moisture in, I rely on Pura Body Naturals Sapote Hair Lotion, Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream, or any of the goodies from the Kyra's Shea Medleys line. For styling (99% of the time I rock wash n' go's) I mix and match between Obia Natural Hair Curl Enhancing Custard, Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze, Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly, and Shecentit Macadamia Fixing Gel.
  • Mid-Week Moisture: Because I wash my hair at least twice a week, I don't have a need for heavy duty midweek moisture. But before bed and to refresh my wash n' go curls, I rely on two main products that I simply adore: Soultanicals Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious and Hairitage Hydration Pink Lemon Berry Mimosa. At night, I will add a little of either product throughout my hair before pineappling and calling it a night. In the morning (if needed) I will Q-Redew in large sections and apply a little more product on top. 

  • Special Scalp & Deep Treatments: As you all probably know, I have psoriasis (part of the reason I wash my hair so frequently) on my scalp which lends itself to itching and flaking. There is no cure for psoriasis, so many treatments are a shot in the dark and help with relief as opposed to remedy. For hair and scalp health through most of my transition, I've relied on Jamila Body Art Quality Henna. I normally do treatments once a month, but I've been slacking for the past few months. I need to get back on that, especially with Winter around the corner. I also love Purgasm Shop's Wild Cherry Treatment Hair Truffles as a moisturizing clay treat for hair. In addition, my scalp has taken a shining to Jar of Joe by Hairitage Hydration and Vanilla Growth Foundations by The Pomade Shop. Both products have helped tremendously in terms of slowing down the re-growth of flakes and scales. If I do scalp massages with JBCO, Coconut, or another oil, I add in a few drops of Rosemary Essential Oil and Peppermint Essential Oil. To add protein to my hair, I find myself relying on Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioner, and Shescentit Okra Reconstructor. Yes, okra!

Night Time Routine: I CAN PINEAPPLE NOW!!!! I don't think ya'll understand the excitement.

My current PM routine, 5 minutes or less: Quick scalp massage with JBCO. @edenbodyworks Peppermint Temple Balm on my edges. Scrunch a small amount (dime sized) EBW Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme throughout my ends. Pseudo-pineapple with a satin scarf; tied once at the front of my head, twice at the back. No fuss, no drama. I sleep on a satin pillowcase too, just in case :) #naturalhair #transitioner #naturalhairsistas #nightroutine #pineapple #edenbodyworks #jamaicanmangolime #jbco #keepitsimple

Because I've reached the length where pineappling isn't detrimental to retaining a pattern, I can go ahead and get my version of the sleepytime updo on. In the above pic collage, I showed IG followers how I do my satin scarf pineapple, sans scrunchie. Because I'm a PJ, the products in the first box are always subject to change - but the method is still the same. I apply a nourishing product to my edges (gotta keep those in check), apply one of the aforementioned pomades or oils to my scalp if necessary, throw on a little moisturizing product, and pineapple.

Staple Styles: As mentioned previously, I rock mainly wash n go's. They're easy, I pretty much have them down to a science, and I can make them last 3 or more days. After that, I may resort to bunning or an updo of sorts if I don't have time to wash properly. I still rock the occasional Satin Strip Braidout or Curlformers Set. Heck, I can even wear mini-twists now! The last one is huge because as a transitioner, it's difficult to get twists to stay in. But with majority textured hair and a little help from some perm rods, I can make them last forever, like Keith Sweat. Just kidding. They last about a week, because that's about all I can stand.

  Fluffed and separated final product. Satin strip braidout with @ynobeshop Hibiscus Marshmallow Leave-In Conditioner and #QhemetBiologics Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter. #naturalhair #transitioner #transitioners #transitioning #healthyhairjourney #teamnatural #natural #naturalista #haircare #weekendstyle #satinstrip #braidout #ynobeshop #supportsmallbusiness                                                   Curls, formed. Super excited about this #curlformers set! Naturalistas don't get to have all the fun, #transitioners can have luscious, uniform curls too! Products used: Paul Mitchell The Conditioner, Lottabody and EcoStyler Gel. Curlformers for Transitioners on Stretched Hair #comingsoon to #youtube! #naturalhair #transitioner #blogger #vlogger #luvyourmane #naturalhairmojo #naturalhairdaily @luvyourmane @naturalhairdaily

All in all, I'm really enjoying this leg of my transitioner jouney. I feel like my natural hair is "coming into it's own", and I am on the path to be able to rock some amazing hair and styles. Stay tuned for more tips and information - this week is ALL about transitioning!!! :-D

PS - I have some reviews done on products mentioned here. Others are on the way!

Reviews:
Ynobe Shop Hibiscus Marshmallow Leave-In
Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioner
Q-Redew Handheld Steamer
Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze, Knot Sauce & Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious
Obia Natural Hair Care Curl Enhancing Custard & Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar
Purgasm Shop Wild Cherry Treatment Hair Truffles

Do you have any questions about successful long-term transitioning? E-mail me at info@maneobjective.com!

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