Category Archives: bald spot

Be Encouraged

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Be encouraged

I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning and I’m over four plus years into my natural hair journey. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about protective styling – those who are against braids/weaves/wigs, and those who are for them. I’m very pro-braids and protective styling, as I sit here with micro braids in my hair now. But I do agree that overuse of braids/weaves/wigs can be very detrimental to your hair and should be used sparingly. What I don’t like is the negative bashing toward those who do like to use protective styles.

There have been many conversations about wash and go’s and how they can be done on 4c hair. I’m not disputing that at all. I did wash and go’s when I big chopped and barely had an inch of hair on my head. That was super easy to do! My hair isn’t what I’d consider to be long right now, but it’s long enough to become time consuming. Wash and go’s also entail the use the several products for them to work such as leave in conditioners, moisturizers, and some type of gel. All of those things cause flaking and white residue in my thick, coarse, 4c hair. From what everyone says, you have to find the right combination of products for a wash and go to work. There’s my red flag. I don’t want to have to buy a bunch of products to have a style that will only last a day and a half for me, or at the worst, leave a flaky residue in my hair. I’m not a product junkie, but trying to achieve the perfect wash and go will definitely turn me into one.

I’ve set a personal goal for myself to stop being lazy and to do a better job at keeping my hair moisturized and well conditioned. I think if I start there, the rest (healthiness and growth) will follow. The thought of doing another big chop have crossed my mind, but we’ll see. I’m not quite ready to give up on my hair. I’m saying all of this to say that I read a lot about natural hair because I love reading other women’s experiences, struggles and triumphs. But we all have to remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Many of us wear protective styles out of necessity or convenience. Not everyone have time in the morning to do a wash and go, and quite frankly, not everyone wants to – and that’s okay.

Reading some of these blogs will have you feeling like the world’s laziest, loser, slacker natural. No one should feel that way. Recognize where you need to make improvements and then make them. My laziness towards my hair resulted in bald spots and breakage, and it’s been well documented in this blog. Now I’m investing more time in my hair. I’m paying closer attention to leave in conditioners, good deep conditioners, and protein treatments. And I’m still looking for good DIY ideas so I can keep my coins in my pockets. ¬†ūüėČ Be encouraged and keep learning. Give your hair the TLC it needs so it can thrive and grow.

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Gabrielle Union Twists Update

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Tamar

Hey, lovelies! So a few weeks back I posted a picture of Gabrielle Union with her gorgeous, free flowing twists with the hopes of getting them myself. Well, that didn’t happen. I¬†thought¬†my braider could re-create the look with the same or similar hair used for Gabby’s twists, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up getting my usual Senegalese twists. Yes, I’m totally bummed about that. However, a few lessons (and reminders) were learned from this experience:

  1. Not every hair braider can do every style you want. Have a backup plan in place, and by backup plan I mean other hair braiders and stylists. It’s ok to shop around and keep an eye out for other talented braiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a very loyal customer to my beautician when I was getting relaxers, and I’ve been very loyal to my hair braiders over the years. When I find a good one, I stick with them and follow them wherever they may go…unless they go overseas which is what happened to one of my very talented hair braiders. That’s when the following stops, lol. But seriously, keep this in mind. There are other options out there.
  2. Braids are not cheap, and every woman who gets them can attest to that. That being said, we pay too much money to not be satisfied with the end product. That’s why it is so important that you find a braider that listens, not one who simply wants your money and gives you what THEY want you to have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If they can’t recreate a style, are there any alternatives? Perhaps using a different type of hair or technique? If the shop provides the hair and they don’t carry the hair needed to do a certain style, offer to bring your own.
  3. There is no reason for your hair to be braided so tight until your scalp is in pain for days or weeks afterward. If your hair is constantly being braided tight, even after you tell your braider that it’s too tight, it’s time to look for a different hair braider. Heavy hands and tight braids will leave you bald around the edges and with bald spots throughout your scalp, and that is totally counterproductive (and unacceptable) to having braids in the first place. Braids are used as a protective style to us naturals to preserve what we have and to protect it from the elements and over manipulation. Keep that in mind when getting your hair braided. DO NOT allow a braider to damage your hair and scalp by braiding your hair too tight.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask other women who did their braids. Trust me, that’s how I’ve found my hair braiders over the years. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Just the other day at the grocery store, I complimented the cashier on her eyebrows. They were beautifully shaped and her make-up was beautifully done. It looked very natural and it wasn’t caked on. What I loved the most was she was a dark skinned young lady and she used all the right shades of makeup to compliment her beautiful skin tone. Anyway, she thanked me, and before I left with my groceries she handed me her business card. It turns out she’s an African hair braider and cosmetologist! She also has a YouTube channel that I will be checking out soon. But do you get what I’m saying? I now have another option to look into for my braiding and styling needs.

Too often because something is the “norm” we accept it. That should never be the case when it comes to our health, and it should never be the case when it comes to the health of our scalp and hair. Just because braids are typically done tightly doesn’t mean they should be. It also doesn’t mean that we should accept it. Remember, there are other options out there so don’t be afraid to explore them.

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. ūüėČ 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 na√Įve about some things, but experience is definitely a teacher! Lesson learned.

 

2015 Natural Hair In Review

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2015

 

Looking back on¬†my natural hair journey for 2015, I noticed, and you’ve probably¬†noticed too, that I was fixated on protective styling. That quickly got trumped when I discovered my bald spot and breakage. The bald spot, though traumatic, ended up being a blessing in disguise. It made me take a closer look at how I treated my hair. It made me realize that I was being too rough on my hair and on my daughter’s hair. I had to rethink my hair care regimen. I was also forced to look at the products I was using, even though I take the minimalist approach to my products. I’ve incorporated more natural oils into my routine,¬†and I deep condition more. Positive changes definitely came from my bald spot scare!

Since starting this natural hair journey, it’s always been about learning and embracing. You have to take the good with the bad no matter what. I will admit that when my bald spot was discovered, the thought of cutting off all of my hair did cross my mind. I felt this would only be an option if the breakage had spread to other parts of my head, and it never did. I’ve read many blogs and watched many YouTube videos on breakage and the steps some have taken to deal with breakage, and cutting off all of their hair is one step some have taken, depending on how severe the damage was.¬†Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to that extreme, but I was prepared to do so if push came to shove.

Overall, I believe 2015 was a good year. Towards the end I got hit with the¬†bald spot¬†drama, but it all worked out once I got a solid hair care regimen in place. I love the natural hair community because through me sharing my experience with my bald spot, fellow naturalista’s rallied around me and let me know that I wasn’t alone. They’ve experienced breakage and bald spots, and they’ve gotten through them. I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful advice and constant support and encouraging words, and I will forever be grateful for that. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I pray it’s full of positivity. Here’s to healthy hair!!

XoXo

 

Sonya

 

Bald Spot Update

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Hello again! Since my last update, I’ve seen much more growth on my bald spot. It barely looks like a bald spot anymore, which is very awesome! It’s definitely been a slow process, but I’m seeing progress and that keeps me hopeful!

I’ve added some things to my hair care routine:

  1. Pumpkin Seed Oil
  2. Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  3. Olive oil

Pumpkin seed oil promotes hair growth and helps with dandruff, among other things. I’ve been using it on my scalp mixed with the JBCO. In a spray bottle I mix olive oil and water and I spritz my hair/scalp with it every night before I go to bed and then twist or plait my hair up for the night. Lately I’ve only been plaiting up my hair because I like how it naturally stretches my hair.

I’ve always had a problem with dandruff and itchy scalp, which leads to me scratching my scalp (and I have naturally long nails, and we all know that nails are the DEVIL for our scalp!) which can cause sores and scabs if I scratch too hard or too long in the same spot. I haven’t done this in a while, but I know it can happen. With the weather turning colder and drier, I’m experiencing the itchy scalp again. I think it’s time for me to switch up my shampoo and use a dandruff shampoo (i.e. Selsun Blue, Sulfur 8, Head & Shoulders, Neutrogena T/Sal, etc.) and sooth my scalp with pure, organic Aloe Vera juice.

Dealing with breakage has definitely taught me gentleness and patience when it comes to my natural hair. I have not been over-styling, combing, or pulling on my hair. I let my hair be as much as possible. I do need to get more creative with some protective styles that don’t involve having braids being installed.¬†Currently I’m stuck on rocking the head band, to my husband’s dismay,¬†lol!¬†(See photo collage) However, with the cold winter months upon us, I need to tuck away my hair more versus wearing it out.

Collage2

In the black and white photo my hair was in a true mega shrinkage/afro state, and I loved it! The top left photo is more recent (ok I took it today!) and you can see the difference in how it’s more stretched out from me plaiting it. So yeah, I need to get more creative with my hair styles like some cute updo’s. I’ll keep you posted!

I’ve also found some wonderful information regarding the different causes of hair loss and solutions¬†from a website I stumbled upon called Hair Sentinel. Check it out!

http://www.hairsentinel.com/itchy-scalp-hair-loss.html

 

 

The Benefits of Using Red Palm Oil

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Red Palm Oil

As I take on the battle of breakage, bald spots, and very dry natural hair, I’ve gone back into research mode. I’ve stumbled upon Red Palm¬†oil. There are so many benefits of using this rich oil from cooking with it,¬†using it¬†on your skin,¬†or what I’m more interested in, using it on your hair.¬†It contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. The common form of vitamin E, tocopherol, has long been used to treat many skin ailments and is found in many anti-aging products.¬†Here are some of the many benefits of Red Palm Oil:

Red Palm Oil is loaded with the following phytonutrients:

  • Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)
  • Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  • Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids

Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:

What about the benefits for the hair, you ask? Well, it is a wonderful moisturizer especially since it’s loaded with vitamin¬†E and other healthy vitamins.¬†Red Palm Oil¬†can be used as a pre-poo, deep conditioner, or a daily moisturizer. To use as a pre-poo,¬†wet your hair with water from a spray bottle. Make sure you wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty because Red Palm Oil will stain. You do not need to use a lot of the oil unless you have really long hair. A little of this oil goes a long way. Section off your hair and work the oil through from root to tip, finger detangling as you go along. Make sure to massage the oil into your scalp as well. Continue this process until your entire head is done and then put on a plastic shower cap and let it set for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo with warm water 2-3 times to ensure that you get all of oil out and then proceed with conditioning.

Others use it as a daily moisturizer, some mix it with their favorite shampoo, while others mix it with their favorite conditioner. Either way your hair will reap the benefits of being very moisturized, soft and have a lot of body. Your hair will stay this way for at least a week or until your next wash.

I plan on incorporating the regular use of red palm oil in my pre-wash routine and then following up with the L.O.C.¬†method every night. Consistency is key!¬†No more being the lazy natural that I used to be. I’ll keep you posted on my results.

If you’re interested in purchasing Red Palm Oil, it’s available on Amazon and in most health food stores.

A Change in Plans

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Change is

With the current state of my hair, I’ve decided not to have crochet braids installed. Instead I’m going to focus on getting my hair healthy again. I don’t¬†think the¬†tension and pulling of my hair is the best idea right now. One of the top things on my to-do list is to find a natural hair stylist who can give my hair the full treatment it really needs. If it means cutting off more hair than expected to get rid of the damage, then so be it. Next I have to find a really good moisturizer that is specifically good for the 4c hair that I have. If any of you have any suggestions please let a sista know in the comment section!

I have a funny story to share! Well, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it scared me to death! Last week I dreamed that I went to a shop and got a relaxer put in my hair. *GASP* The horror, right? There was no rhyme or reason for me doing it. All I remember from the dream is looking at myself in the mirror with all this hair on my head that was straightened and styled, and I was so upset because my afro, kinks, and coils were all gone. When I woke up I felt so upset and stressed as if this really happened!

If that dream isn’t proof that I’m in this natural hair journey for the long haul, I don’t know what is. Just as in life, there will be bumps in the road. There will be highs and lows, but they don’t last forever. My hair woes are of my doing, but they are fixable. It’s simply going to take time. So while I won’t be having another protective hairstyle installed just yet, I’m going to work hard at getting my hair healthy again.

Thank you to¬†my fellow naturalista’s who have reached out to me with¬†your encouraging words here on my blog or via Facebook! Thank you for your positivity and support. That is so needed in our community, especially for the newer naturalista’s like myself. Let’s keep encouraging one another and lifting each other up ladies. ūüôā

xoxo