Saturday, January 28, 2017

My Hair Story Continued || The Difficult Balance Between Enjoying My Hair And Growing It Out (2013-2016)

In case you missed Part I: How I Went from a TWA to Waistlength (2008-2013).

So after reaching a length that I never dreamt I would, I decided to have more fun with my hair. My initial plan was to maintain the length while experimenting with styles and such. If my hair grew longer, then great. But it would at least stay waist length .. or close to it, right? WRONG. Just because I had been natural for five years (at the time) did not mean my hair was invincible to certain carefree practices.

Flat Iron Fanatic

(LEFT) Back to layered MBL after cutting thin ends (mid 2013). (RIGHT) Down to layered BSB after cutting more thin ends (mid 2014).
From early 2013 through 2014, I used the flat iron on high heat (350+ degrees F) almost monthly. I wanted to show my length. I wanted to wear styles without the limitation of shrinkage. I wanted to explore the versatility of my hair. However, the frequent heat usage resulted in thinning ends and necessary cuts almost instantly.

Color Craze

Obsessed with color
From 2013 to 2014, I also experimented with highlights, bleach, and color. First, I highlighted my ends to get an ombre effect. Of course, that was a bad idea which resulted in a couple of inches being cut. Then I selected strands of my hair (in the front) in an effort to leave the rest of my hair (and length alone). So the front went from brown to copper to purple to copper again to pink (yes, pink) to copper again. You would think that I was just ASKING for chemical damage.

Axing Protective Styling

Staple style of braid outs on super stretched (sometimes flat ironed) hair.
When I was actively growing my hair pre 2013, I was a hardcore protective styler ... but those days were long gone from 2013 to mid 2015. Sure, I wore twists once in a while. However, majority of the time, my hair was out and free ... usually in a braid out. I thought I had found a way to protective style less while still maintaining some length! Nope.

The Result

Mid 2015. Dyed hair back to black, trimmed again, and now scraping layered APL.
By the beginning of 2015, it finally hit me how much length I had lost via heat, color, and not protective styling combined. Waistlength (WSL) was far away at this point. After a fresh cut to get rid of damaged ends, I was barely scraping armpit length (APL). I almost wanted to cry but couldn't because I did this to my hair. I also knew that my hair had grown past APL in the past so I decided to return to some of my tried and true hair care techniques from that moment forward.

Stay tuned for the final chapter - Growing it All Back (2016 onwards) ...

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