Hairspiration and My Progress

A lot of people who go natural are scared that they won't be accepted with their new hair.
I've never really been accepted, never considered myself pretty, and never really fit in, either. So, going natural wasn't that hard for me to commence.

I just embraced it.

Feb 2012 (17 yo): My Last Perm

(Yay for finally taking charge of my own hair!)

May 2012: The Day I Declared PERM NO MORE

(Graduation Day)

Summer 2012: Mom cut off quite a bit of my hair. I remember hating the length.

(Rare Sighting of an Early Completely Natural Moment)

Fall 2012-Spring 2013: I continued to straighten my hair my entire first year of college.
(Ah! So short! Hard to believe my hair is straightened in this *shivers*)
(It started growing, though!)

Summer 2013: First summer home from college and the first time I started embracing the idea of non-straightened natural hair.

(Poofy straightened hair!)

(Not straightened!)
(I even tried my first [failed] braid out)


(I kept trying though!)
(And trying...)
(and trying......)
(and trying some more!)
Fall 2013: Back @ college and I wasn't very comfortable there as I was at home, so I did lots of buns, instead. I also started slowly chopping ends, thanks to the researching I'd been doing.

(Last braid out my hair would see in a while)
(Hello, buns! I would be so well acquainted with the side bun for this semester)
(I did do that twist/braid out for Halloween, though)

Winter Break 2013: Went back home for Christmas and started getting comfortable with my hair again. Straightening was no more!!!

(I started a full twist out and realized I loved it much more than braid outs)
(My hair was also growing, but, with that, I noticed some hair grew longer than other parts)
Spring-Summer 2014: Let me just call 2014 - The Year of the Twists

(Oh hey, look, it's a bun!)
(Quick progress check! Look at that asymmetrical growth... smh)

Fall 2014: Growwwwth. Holy Moly when did my hair get this long?! I stopped chopping my ends so often, so my hair actually started retaining length.



 
(Halloween '14!)
(Experimenting with *ahem* color)



(First straightening since 2013--Good gracious it's so long)

Winter 2014: "Wash n Go"s and lots of experiments

(The first time I actually walked out to class with my natural hair out--not in braids or in a bun[although it was under a hat]--Still trying to get comfortable with 'princess fro fro' at college xD)


I'm still learning! My wash and go's were so dry and brittle just a month ago and now, I've already gotten better.
January 2015: I chopped off quite a bit. Not necessarily a big chop, but I got rid of a good 2 inches of hair. I think I'm finally done transitioning! I've realized a lot about my natural hair now that the perm is gone and have been continuing my experiments to make my hair happy.
(Finishing up my deep condition)




Length Checks!
My hair is so crazy! Selective shrinkage, multiple textures, and multiple lengths... lol. But, I love it!

Late Winter-Early Spring: Went back to brush outs and twist outs for a little while, since that seemed to be the styles my hair grew the quickest in. Growth became a priority, so I started doing the inversion method.

 
Day 1 of Twist Out Experiment (Normal) 

Day 2 of Twist Out Experiment (Re-twist)

Day 3 of Twist Out Experiment (Satin Cap--also note the red strand)

Day 4 of Twist Out Experiment (Ponytail--I was pretty much done with it at this point lol)

Doing the "inversion method"

 
Brush Outs and Braided undercuts (note the green strand)

Spring/Early Summer 2015: Mini twists became my bae for protective styling and I experimented with Wash n Gos again.

Mini Twists!

 Some WnGs turned out better than others (note the unintentional WnG created by using red paint, sorry not sorry)

Here's a "length check" I did right before Summer Break (excuse the early morning stank face):

 
After about 6 months from the length check I did early January... it's pretty much what I expected! 

Summer 2015: Best believe if I was swimming, I was breaking out the mini twists. I also started using way less gel in my WnGs. Continued doing "extended" twist outs (twists outs that last longer than a day or two).

 Mini Twists During Vacation 2015

  
Llama Wash n Go


 
 Day 3 of a Twist Out I forgot to document

Also... Buns came back... in TWOs. Then I started trying to extend Wash n Gos.

Gotta love those double buns

This one was also to check how long a chalk coloring would last. By day four, the red was a light brown.

Fall 2015: I stopped really doing anything with my hair. All I ever did were WnGs and even they, at this point, were gelless and I hardly ever detangled. Moisturizing became a 5 minute post-shower thing. I was trying out low-manipulation.


 Yet another Length check! This was after a trim, btw:


I can definitely see growth! And, as you can see, my hair was starting to loc, lol

December 2015: Low manipulation was great for a lazy girl like me but I'm never doing that again. My hair started locking up and I couldn't enjoy a twist out or any other style like that. It took almost 5 hours detangling that mess out. NEVER AGAIN. With that said, I detangled my hair but decided to pick up on some pet dreadlocks. I was reluctant to do it at first because I couldn't find black girls with partial dreads FOR THE LIFE OF ME. But that just makes it all the more unique, right? So I did it.

Here we have (the names of my dreadlocks from left to right) Kur, Fafnir, Nidhoggr, Jormungandr, Toothless, Nomgraeczr, Norbert, Midgardsormr, Draco Malfoy, Kal Myhk, and Quetzalcoatl... yes those are all names of dragons (in some form or shape)

And here's a glimpse of them now (December 12, 2015) under some mini twists (yes I decided to go with a week long protective style even after the whole low manipulation scare)

Late Winter/Spring 2016
I straightened my hair for a quick spell. This was the first time that my hair got longer but it felt like it hadn't. This straightening would be the last time I *obsessed* over length.

And when it was over, boy was I glad to see my curls again.

The first time I straightened with my dreads, it was weird.

I loved this little style and was amazed at how ridiculously fierce my ponytail was!

You guys... *sniffles* on the 28 of January, 2016 I finally GOT AN UNDERCUT!!

I said, eff it and went all the way to the scalp

So when it grew back out it looked amazing! 


 Late Spring/Summer 2016
 
Probably my fleekiest twist out ever     Stretched curls--look at the difference! .


 My first "blowout" in a while!

Fall 2016
A similar "blowout" just a couple of months later

Never will stop experimenting with temp color

A couple months later in a stretched style; Again, not obsessing with the length of my hair so I wasn't selfie-ing as much
                                    
Undercut next to a "frohawk"



Braids for Halloween (I went as a Dark/Demon Fairy)


And the moment we've all been waiting for: Length check 2016
Left bottom
Left behind ear

Left in front of ear
Right bottom
Right behind ear
Right in front of ear
Front

Top
I think the reason why I was so much happier this year as opposed to last year was because I stopped obsessing over length! I used to do bi-yearly length checks and this last one was exactly one year later and look how much more progress there is! So if there's anything I learned this year, it's that I shouldn't worry about whether or not my hair is growing--IT IS!

Late Winter/Spring 2017 




I found a new way to tackle the Wash N Go! With the amount of busyness and laziness that accompanied my final semester of college, I washed and detangled in the mornings and immediately slicked them back into a ponytail. This created this stretched wash n go and I actually loved it.


Oh, what do you know, temp color!


I still did regular Wash n Gos, though!

Mini Twists, of Course! My Go-to style when I don't want to do anything to my hair. But this time... I tried to lay my edges, oh lord. This would be the first attempt of many. (Also Note: Punk+Igari Makeup)


Another Hairstyle I got obsessed with is the double bang buns! I actually did this hairstyle first in late 2016 but I never snapped it.


I did mini twists for Graduation. Unfortunately didn't get any (good) pics of me in my cap and gown.


Summer 2017
I'm finally a free bird! No more classes, no more teachers, more school! At least until I have to start work (and eventually go to graduate school; I need to go to an actual ART school for ART). 


So remember when I started doing the stretched wash n gos early this year? They're baaack. In three of my favorite styles: Messy bun, Double bun and double front bun. With my new circle glasses, of course.

Rockin a bush (or at least my version of one)

Had to return to the mini twists for a quick spell





 Double front buns, I'm tellin you, they're my new thing



And then I kept the double front part for a while. The drumsticks (instead of chopsticks) in my hair was just... pure genius, I assure you.

 
A "Blowout" leading up to a....

Straigtening!
So Long! *0*


  
First Straightening With my side shave!
I even rocked pigtails, yo, I was having fun! I did forget to try to lay my edges, dangit
The last moments of my straight hair, I decided to do bantu knots for the heck of it, but I just looked like a straight up potato

So I said... "Why not put on Makeup and Slay these Bantu Knots Properly?" and I did

Fall 2017
Curly hair came Back! It didn't snap back immediately, but I never expect it to. It eventually gets there.

Then I was just like: Wash N Go and Makeup PLZ (Punk+Igari Returns but with korean tinted brows this time)


 I finally did a bantu knot out... and it flopped. One side was like, "Yas, I am feeling this!" but the other side was like, "HECK TO THE NO!"



 I've been growing on the bush (which, in actuality is just a very very undefined wash n go)


 I told you it would come back! I tried so hard to lay my edges... they just... don't

 I had kind of fell out of love with my side shave after giving it a trim, but doing this style made me love it all over again.
I tried to lay my edges again with 2 chunky braids but this time I used this ancient bandana to set it.
still didn't turn out great.
yeah, not great. Probably won't be doing this again. Too much work for a meh result.

I eventually took the braids out (because even if the edges failed me, the braids were great!) and got this unexpected braid out. I was super happy with this considering how I stopped liking my twists outs (did you notice I only did one twist out this year?). 

I don't know if it's because my hair has gotten longer or the grain of my hair has changed, or what, but my twist outs haven't been all that great lately. 

If I would've used some ecostyler with those braids, it probably would've turned out even better! So I have a new thing! It's Easy, it's a nice protective style, it's cute and it's replacing my twist out routine. I've definitely got to try it again next time I'm feeling a twist out.



I also started messing around with ways to decorate my dreadlocks. Yes, that is a flower. Yes, that is a Binder Ring. Yes, that is a safety pin. I never said I was normal.

And now *drum roll* Length check 2017
In front of left ear
Behind Left Ear
Left Bottom
Right in front of ear
right behind ear
Right Bottom
Front

 There's really nothing I can say about it this time! Last time, I pretty much said everything. I didn't obsess over the length, I just took care of my hair like normal and it grew a good little bit! I'm extremely happy with it. Maybe I didn't retain 6 inches like some naturals are able to do but if you look at last year's and this years... most of my hair barely went past the letters and they're so much further than that now. 

My hair is sooooo close to my goal length. One or Two more years and I'm there! 

Did I ever discuss what I'm going to do to celebrate reaching my goal? I don't think I ever did, huh. When I went natural, one of the main reasons why I decided to go natural is because I wanted my hair to be at utmost health. If you didn't already figure this out, I'm an alternative Girl (side shave, temporary color, dreadlocks I mean, c'mon). I wanted my hair to be super healthy before... dying it! I was thinking about dying it but it was so short and unhealthy that I was scared I would end up with a super short fried and dying (haha) style and I didn't want that to happen. Plus, dyed hair is so much more magical when it's LONG and FULL (in my opinion). So I decided to grow my hair out without relaxing it so that when I dye my hair, if I get any damage, I won't feel so bad about having to cut it. I'm hoping that won't happen and I'll be able to keep all of my hair, of course, but I purposely shot for a length goal longer than I wanted, so cutting it would be no big deal if I got damage.

And speaking of dying my hair
No it's not a wig, it's tracks. I was enjoying myself a little too much because I thought I looked like an anime character!


I took the left over purple hair from my Senior prom (5 years ago...!!!) and braided it into box braids (something I've been wanting to do for a while). These tracks were 10 inches... Girl, my hair ranges from 13-18 inches I was struggling! This was also my first time box braiding. It didn't turn out too bad though... I'll be leaving these in for the rest of December.

See you again, next year for another update!

 
I'm nearly 6 years natural! Feb 2018 is the anniversary of my last perm!
If you like to be more technical, I'm more like 5 years Natural, because even though I didn't perm  anymore, I still straightened my hair for about a year as a "transitioning" style.

Hairspirations/Hair crushes and people that have encouraged me to continue my journey:
Merqueen Nefertiti Bourne (of Youtube)

Natasha Oforsagd (AKA TashNaturally/NaturallyTash of Youtube)
Sabina Karlsson
Image result for corinne bailey rae
And, the lady who started it all--Corinne Bailey Rae
My Goal length is Mid-Back while Blown out! Wish me luck!

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