Monthly Archives: January 2016

Coconut Oil is Back in my Life

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coconut oil

 

Last year I read a lot of blogs and articles about why coconut oil is suddenly bad for your hair and scalp. It made me raise an eyebrow because I know of the many health benefits of coconut oil, especially for your hair and scalp. However, I did take a break from using coconut oil – but not because of those articles. During the summer I took a short sabbatical from using coconut oil in my hair care regimen and used mostly my mango butter mixture (which actually had coconut oil in it still 😉 ), Jamaican Black Castor Oil, pumpkin seed oil, and olive oil. I took the break from coconut oil because I’ve found that during the summer, the hot temperatures made my hair feel crunchy, dry, and hard when I used coconut oil on it. But during the winter, my hair LOVES coconut oil and it NEEDS it to keep it soft and manageable.

So I ask the question: How can something that’s been used on the hair and scalp for thousands of years by men and women alike, from various cultures all over the world suddenly be bad for your hair ? If you wash your hair regularly (and by regularly I mean whatever schedule you have set up) and use a clarifying shampoo that will get all the oils out, you should be fine! There are too many health benefits to your skin, scalp, and hair to completely dismiss coconut oil, but you must do what is best for you. The naysayers are saying that oils, heavy oils in particular, are bad, they clog your pores, they stump your hair growth, but this is only true if you use these oils excessively and you don’t wash your hair regularly with a clarifying shampoo. It is a known fact that African American hair NEEDS OIL of some kind. I know there are naturals out there who swear by not using oils on their hair, and their hair is thriving and growing. Kudos to you if you’re one of them! As someone with 4c type hair that is kinky and coily and naturally dry, I need oil. And for me, I can’t have just any oil. I need the heavier oils.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t be afraid to switch up your oils or to try new oils. Natural, organic oils have many benefits. If you’re not allergic to any of them, use them. Don’t let blogs and other people’s personal opinions or experiences keep you from using something that has always worked for you. Your 4c hair may not like what my 4c hair likes. Her 3c hair probably can’t tolerate the heavier oils like her 4b hair can. Our bodies are made up differently, and our hair will never be “one size fits all” when it comes to products and oils. With that being said, coconut oil is definitely back in my life. As a matter of fact, I just ordered some from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Carrington-Farms-Organic-Virgin-Coconut/dp/B008P0BG7I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454005764&sr=8-2&keywords=carrington+farms+coconut+oil

And I finally purchased some aloe vera gel!

http://www.amazon.com/Aubrey-Organics-Pure-Aloe-Vera/dp/B00013YZ0C/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1454005968&sr=8-17&keywords=aloe+vera+gel

Yes the gel is a bit pricey for that little bottle, but it’s supposed to be a really good quality product so I’m giving it a try! My scalp needs all the healing help it can get!!

Lessons Learned

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Lessons learned

I’m  coming upon my third year of being natural, and boy have I learned some things! The number one thing I’ve learned is that being a lazy natural is not the business. You will cause yourself a lot of unwanted damage to your hair and grief to yourself. Let me help you not make the same mistakes that I made with some suggestions:

  1. Do not ignore your ends! Get regular trims or give yourself regular trims. I cannot stress this enough. This was the biggest mistake I’ve made since being natural. DO NOT ignore your ends. Just last night I cut A LOT of damage off of my hair, and I’ve been doing so every so often to try to get rid of the damaged ends – and there’s a lot. I have no one to blame but myself because I did not take heed to a lot of the advice given by other natural’s and professionals.
  2. You must come up with a regular hair care routine and STICK WITH IT. If you wash your hair once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, stick to your plan and do not be lazy about it. Moisturize, deep condition, give yourself regular scalp massages. I saw much better results when I started to stick to a regular hair care routine.
  3. Do not be afraid of trying different protective styles. Braids are not the only protective style out there. Try wigs, crochet wigs, sew ins, etc. There is nothing wrong with braids, but if they are done too tightly then you’re defeating the purpose.

This past year I experienced scalp irritation (unexplained pain and a bald spot, and breakage in one concentrated area) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It made me more aware of how I was treating my hair and scalp, and I was actually being too rough on it and scratching too much. I began to use a dandruff shampoo to help with my dandruff and itchy scalp issue, and I’ve now included pumpkin seed oil into my hair care regimen.

I’ve bought myself a pair of professional scissors to cut my hair, and I’ve been doing my own trimming. I’ve been gently flat ironing my hair just enough for me to see what my ends looked like, and then I cut. Eventually I will find my way to a professional, but in the mean time I like taking responsibility for my hair whether if it grows or breaks off. I know that may sound crazy, but that’s how I feel. I know my hair is super uneven, and I’m ok with that. I don’t care about uneven hair right now. I care about HEALTH. If there’s one thing about hair, it will always grow back (unless you have a condition like alopecia or some other condition that causes permanent hair loss).

I’ll be honest, I’ve had my freak out moments, moments of self doubt wondering “Should I just cut it all off again and start over?” Matter of fact I thought about cutting off all of my hair and starting all over just last night! I shared that with my husband and he said “You’re overreacting.” He was right. Sort of. 😉 Even though I’m three years in, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a journey. It has it’s highs and lows,  but you have to keep going. You have to make the best of whatever situation you’re in. It’s funny to read my earlier blogs from when I first went natural to where I am right now. I was very naïve about some things, but experience is definitely a teacher! Lesson learned.