Friday, July 15, 2016

My Hair Story || How I Went from a TWA to Waistlength (2008-2013)

For as long as I've been writing on here, I don't think I've ever shared with you how my natural hair journey began.  With a new determination to grow my hair back to waistlength, I will start with that background information.  Here it goes:

I big chopped in February 2008 down to a one-inch shrunken TWA (about 4-4.5 inches stretched). I big chopped because I was tired of my relaxed hair. To me, natural hair looked healthier, stronger, more beautiful, fun, and versatile.  I was also sick of having short hair.  My tresses would constantly thin out and break at the ends due to the chemical treatment of relaxers.  I wanted to have long, healthy hair of my own ... and seeing other women with my kinky texture reaching that milestone made me believe!

During my first year natural, I wore mostly wash-n-gos, fros, puffs, and twist outs and eventually moved towards protective styling in twists. My hair was super low maintenance initially (because it was short), so I could co-wash/wash multiple times per week and condition with inexpensive instant conditioners. Early on, my products consisted of VO5 Moisture Milk conditioner, LustraSilk Cholesterol conditioner, Crème of Nature shampoo, oils and shea butter.

After a couple of years, my regimen became more suited to my growing hair. The switchover was to a mostly low manipulation routine, which included less detangling (and thus, less breakage) of my longer hair and longer protective style periods. My goal was length retention and health, so I did the research beforehand on what exactly I needed to do to avoid any major mistakes. Circa 2010/2011, I eventually settled into the routine of wearing twists monthly, detangling monthly, and washing + conditioning weekly or bi-weekly (while in my twists). My staple products also changed to extra virgin coconut oil, Desert Essence Lemon Tea Tree Shampoo, Suave Naturals Conditioner, and shea butter mixed with oils (coconut, olive, safflower, etc.). For my twist routine, check this “twist series” label on my blog.

It took me about 5 years to reach my goal of waist-length in early 2013. Though I avoided some major mistakes along the way, I did learn some valuable lessons about my hair. For one, my hair and the salon are not a good mix. (I had a setback – an unwanted and uneven cut – after visiting a salon a few years into my journey.) For two, protective styling and super low manipulation are my hair’s best friends.

Stay tuned for the next chapter - The Difficult Balance of Enjoying My Hair While Growing It  Out (2013-now) ...


  1. I'm definitely staying tune for part two.

  2. Wow, I need some tips from you! I'm nowhere near waist length and I've been natural 6 years now...I didn't do the big chop though, I grew it out, and I've been coloring it now the past two years now. I love the color. I do deep condition it 1-3 weeks depending on the style. I also wash or cowash in twists too. I'd love for my hair to be waist length. I'm trying to loc up my hair in about a year's time, I'm told it's going to shrink up first even with all this precious length (down my back when stretched) but I want to loc up my hair for at least a few years or so, then big chop one day and start all over again! LOL

    1. One of the beauties of going natural ... we can have it out, loc it, then start all over again. I've been toying with locking too. :o)

  3. You make it sound so easy!
    I have to admit, I love reflective posts like this. You should have put yourself in the inspiration series you did a while back...