All about my hair
A highly requested topic is about our hair! You want to know what we do with it, when and why. But in order to fully grasp our hair as well as to be able to compare it to yours (making it easier to care for it based off of ours) is if we tell you our story (photos included, which is always fun, as well as our mistakes which teach you quite a lot).
I was born to fully black African (Angolan) parents (in case you may ask) and I had a head full of hair as a child and up to now I’ve always had very thick hair. My mum used to make the same hairstyles as every black kid, although my mum made sure never to really put pressure on our edges, our hair was usually in box braids (without extensions) and that’s how we grew up. The longest my hair ever was, was probably a long shoulder length if stretched (which never was).
(At around 3 months/ At around 4 or 5 years old with box braids)
By the age of 14 my mum allowed us to do whatever we wanted with our hair (up until then she took care of it every sunday by braiding it, we had never entered a salon) and we decided to relax our hair. I remember the first, second and third time I relaxed my hair, my relaxed hair texture looked exactly the same as my natural one. I have very course hair and since it was my mum that relaxed it she was very careful (which is a good thing) so my hair did not have any apparent changes. After those failed attempts, we called it quits so I went to a salon where the salon lady relaxed it bone straight. By then it was the 4th attempt and since I didn’t do anything to my hair it quickly broke off.
(Me at 16 years old- this was my length during all of my teen years)
I didn’t really mind that much, since girls around me (Angolan fully black girls) didn’t have their hair any longer than mine so I just thought it was how it was supposed to be (although I always liked and wanted long hair). So I kept up with my hair routine of relaxing my hair every month (usually the first of the month) and going to the salon weekly for a blow out. I also always trim my ends since they told me that it would make my hair grow (not necessarily true as talked about in this post). I did this from 14 to 19 and from that time period I also added to my routine dyeing my hair black. So in that time gap I managed to become obsessed with hair salons (aside from the fact that I loved going there, which was nice, to the point that I actually would be embarrassed to go to school if my hair wasn’t done, which wasn’t nice) and my hair just broke off. I didn’t understand why every time I went to the salon my hair got trimmed and how every month or so when I would think I saw a bit of growth and then on the next day at school people asked me if I cut my hair (which I lied I did, who else has done this before? lol).
I kept these habits all through high school and then I came to the UK for university. I heard scary stories from other girls how their hair would fall off when they went to study abroad because apparently the water in Europe was very bad. So I googled profusely for good hair salons and just prayed that my hair wouldn’t fall off. After six months in London, I managed to find a Dominican salon (in Brixton, very good if you guys are interested) and kept my addiction of going to it once a week!
When my parents and sisters came to visit me at around Christmas time, my parents, like most parents that come visit their kids that live abroad, did a financial retrospect on what I was spending since I was just 19 then. When we finally understood how much I was paying at the salon (a dominican blow out was 25 GBP and I went weekly, so I was spending around 100 GBP just on hair every single month!). My mum was so shocked because salons in Luanda (Angola) are way cheaper than that, so she told me to just take care of my hair at home.
Telling a black girl to take care of her hair at home is like telling a city girl to make fire with rocks and a stick (lol). All my life other people took care of my hair (my mum when I was younger and hair stylists in my teens) and by that time I didn’t even know how to hold a blow dryer, let alone blow it out!
But whatever, I was now on a student budget so I just had to shake it off and deal with it! Daisy stayed with me when my family left (in Angola school starts in February) so I asked her to help me google how to blow dry and flat iron since I thought that was all that would be online for hair care. Little did we know, that when Daisy googled black hair care, that not only there wouldn’t be any posts on blow drying (since that is not taking care of your hair, it’s actually the opposite) but there would be a large amount of ladies with super long hair telling us how to cater for it!
From all the links, we got most interested in this girl called ulovemegz on youtube and after binge watching every video she posted in like a week, we were hooked! My sisters and I, we have this thing where we get hooked on things collectively and since we are so many, things get extreme very quickly. So by the end of the week, we had hair products, threw out bad ones and started taking care of our hairs, starting our healthy hair journey on January 20th, 2013 (I was 19 then).
(Me at 19 years old Jan 20th, 2013 first hair of hair journey/ Me the day after)
Although I was frustrated with my hair all my life, my only worry was how my length was bad; it was only when I started my hair journey that I noticed just how damaged my hair really was. I thought length was my only problem until Daisy took the pic above (so ladies make sure you take pics of your hair when you first start out, you will see so much from it) even though if I was really honest with myself, anytime I took a pic prior to taking care of my hair, I would cringe at how my hair would look so bad in pictures in comparison to what I saw in the mirror.
So we started our extreme hair care journey (here) of taking very good care of it by stretching our relaxers, deep conditioning, protective styles and so forth. After about 6 months, when we went back to Angola people were very shocked. I guess hair really makes a big difference, since people were so shocked that we were not straightening our hairs anymore and always (alwaaaaays) had our hair in buns. Basically that’s when we understood how annoying (lol) people can get when they are shocked by your decisions (even if very minimal).
(Hair after my first setback in 2013 / Hair at the end of the first year on a hair jurney on Jan 2014)
By the end of the year I was a bit sad since my hair didn’t grow as much as some girls on youtube and we had a lot of setbacks (protein overload, matted hair, etc) so I ended my first year starting at damaged neck to a respected shoulder length.
The second year was a better year, people’s comments finally started to die down since they noticed that our buns were here to stay. We finally started seeing growth and in August 2014 our hair was APL (ArmPit Length)! By the end of year 2 (end of 2014) our hair was a full APL and was noticeably longer, not only to us but for everyone around us (that’s when the first requests of describing what we do to our hair started coming in)!
(End of second year Dec 2014)
Our third year was a breeze really, we already knew what we needed to do and what worked for us and our hair was growing like weeds! By our 3 year hair journey anniversary (Jan 20, 2016) our hair was BSL (Bra strap length)!
(Hair at middle of year three Oct 2015/ At end of year three Dec 2015)
My sisters and I were getting loads of requests and combined with the fact that we wanted to start a blog (combined with our other purposes) this just felt like the right time to do it! Our hair is currently BSL and super healthy and we still take care of it religiously, even though, for this year, as we’re entering the fourth year we want to be a bit less strict.
(January 2016- most recent length check!)
Future hair plans?
Due to my very obsessed nature, I can’t have a length goal because I would be looking at my hair until I got it at that length (lol) so I decided to do a time goal instead. I will stop my journey on my 4th year anniversary (so Jan 20th 2017) and whatever length it is then, it will be what I will take and I won’t stress over my hair anymore. But obviously even though I will stop being so severe with my hair I will not go back to my past habits (I now know better), so I will still be taking very good care of my hair just not on a very strict schedule.
Hopefully by knowing all about my hair you get a sense of how your hair may react. That’s what I love about following everyone (from naturals, to mixed girls, to caucasian girls) you compare your hair to theirs and kind of see how yours will turn out.
My sisters and I will now follow up on posting about all we did and still do to keep our hair in healthy shape, so don’t worry!
But for now, comment down below what you are really interested on learning and we will do posts on that first!
Follow us on Instagram for more hair porn (di.elle.ci) and twitter for quick tips (@dielleci)!