I love styling my hair. I love discovering new products and new methods of getting my hair to behave the way I want it to behave. I also love watching it grow and move through the different phases of each style.
The love of my hair leads me to wash and style frequently in an effort to maintain its health and beauty; and as much as I love the process I sometimes need a break. Lately I've been looking at my hair and feeling like it isn't growing as quickly as it did the first time I was natural. I get my hair straightened and trimmed every three months and I've been able to clearly see growth, but when my hair is in its natural coily state it just doesn't seem like I've made much progress in the area of length retention.
In short I've come to a point where I am overly concerned with my hair and picking apart every little aspect of it. As they say "a watched pot never boils" so I've decided to tuck my hair away for a while to give myself a mental and physical break from my hair.
Preparing My Hair
To prepare my hair for long term styling (I plan to keep my braids for at least four weeks) I wanted to be sure to infuse moisture into my strands while also strengthening my hair for my first attempt at a home blow out.
Shampoo & Condition
I began by first shampooing my hair twice with Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea Shampoo. I chose this shampoo because I would be applying heat and I wanted the additional infusion of keratin to protect my strands from the blow dryer. After shampooing I applied my moisturizing conditioner (Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle) and thoroughly detangled using my paddle brush. I rinsed after 3 minutes than applied my Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask and sat beneath my steamer for 30 minutes.
I allowed my hair to cool down after steaming, then rinsed and proceeded to moisturize and prep for blow drying.
Moisturizing & Blow Drying
To moisturize my strands I used my Jane Carter Solutions Curls To Go Untangle Me Leave-In Conditioner as well as the Mist Me Over Hydrator from the same line. Where I would typically use a quarter-sized amount and simply finger comb the product throughout my strands, this time I sectioned my strands into four quadrants and added a quarter-sized amount to each section. I then brushed the product through with my paddle brush to ensure even distribution. Because I intended to use heat to stretch my hair for the braiding process I also applied a dime sized amount of Kera Mineral's Smoothing Leave In Conditioner to each section as a heat protectant.
I used a combination of the tension method, the comb method, and the flat brush method to blow dry my hair and ensure maximum straightness. Working with small one inch sub sections within each quadrant I applied the tension method by gently pulling the section downward and running the blow dryer (with concentrator nozzle) downward to stretch and dry the section. Once the section was about 90% dry I then used my flat brush to apply greater tension and further straighten each section. I honestly could have stopped here but I ran the blow dryer one last time down my strands and chased it with my wide tooth comb simply to be absolutely positive that my hair was dry, stretched, and thoroughly detangled.
This entire process took me about 40 minutes and I realized that my hair is not nearly as coarse and unmanageable as I have always thought it to be. I have always been somewhat intimidated by the density, thickness, and tightly coiled nature of my strands, and assumed that because it didn't 'look' easy to manage in the same way as my relaxed hair that it would be difficult to blow out and straighten the way I did my relaxed hair. I was clearly wrong and have a new understanding of my hair and what it is capable of.
Once my hair was completely dry I added a dime sized amount of Jane Carter Solution Curl Defining Cream to each quadrant for extra moisture then secured each section with a ponytail holder to keep it stretched and prevent tangling. Due to my preparation the braiding process was quick, easy and virtually painless.
How do you prepare for a protective style?