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8/25/10 update:

I took a recent break from the Nioxin vitamins (after using them every single day for over 3 months) b/c I wanted to track whether they were causing some side effect. After asking my doctor about it, she said I would be fine to keep taking them. So, to be cautious, I'm taking them like every other day now. And if all goes well them I'll go back to taking it daily.

I'm doing this b/c I really like the vitamins. They drastically decrease my shedding, and I believe (based on others observations) have even thickened my hair up some. I am also attributing an increase in growth rate to my summer growth spurt and the help of the Nioxin. I am cautiously reclaiming mid-back length at this point.

I had planned to straighten my hair for a length shot, but with the summer humidity that seemed to be asking for frustration. So hopefully as the weather cools in the next few weeks I can straighten my hair and get a true comparison to how my hair looks now vs. after the hair cut I got in March.


**5/16/10 update**
1. Okay, so the extra Biotin supplementation only lasted a hot second due to the breakouts it caused.
2. My preliminary review of the Nioxin after taking it for 6 weeks straight now (I don't think I've missed a day at all):
--I noticed after the first 2 weeks that my nails were stronger, and it greatly reduced the amount of shedding I had. I lose less than a 1/3 of what I used to lose on wash days (and I never even felt my shedding was excessive).
3. I feel like I've gained at least an inch in hair growth, maybe (*maybe*) even a bit more. I don't want to post new progress pictures until I'm done with the 90 day supply. I'm 1/2 done, so just another 6 weeks and I'll be done. At that time I plan to flat iron my hair and gauge how much growth I've gotten since my hair cut. And I'm feeling really optimistic about it. :-)


Update (4/17/2010):
- After another recent "trim" turned into a 6 inch hair cut, I am no longer waist length and am currently back at bra strap length. But I *do* fully intend to return to my previous waist length. I'm not sure how long that will take, but I am currently taking vitamins to try to spur on my growth. I was never big on growth aides before, but "desperate" times call for desperate measures.
- I'm currently taking Nioxin Intensive Therapy Recharging complex and also supplementing Biotin. Hopefully in a few months (I have a 90 day supply of these vitamins, and I've been taking the Nioxin for 2 weeks already) I'll be able to post some updated pics and be much closer to my previous length.
- I'm not vain, but it is a big shock to go from planning to hit hip length in the next few months to aiming for MBL again. But hair journeys have their up's and down's and I've learned from this experience: LEARN TO TRIM MY OWN HAIR!! Lol. :-)


Below are some questions that I answered for I thought I'd go ahead and share them here as well.

CN: How long have you been natural?
I stopped getting relaxers in February 2005, and cut the last of the relaxed ends off August 2006. So August 2009 made it 3 years since I've been natural. I really can't believe how fast the time has gone by. I can still remember failing at my first attempt to transition and wondering if I would ever truly go natural.

CN: What is your current regimen?
My routine is fairly simple. I shampoo* my hair 1-2 times a week, and deep condition as I feel it's needed (1-2 times a month maybe). I usually “pre-poo” before washing my hair by misting it with water and adding an inexpensive conditioner. I clarify my hair as needed, to handle any product build-up on my hair (which works out to be every other month roughly).

I try to manipulate my hair as little as possible, and only comb my hair in the shower when my hair is completely wet. I use a Jilbere shower comb for most of my detangling and do this holding my hair under the water spray (which I've found makes detangling much easier). I still use my Denman brush to detangle, but have started using it less (because I find I loose less hair without it).

Once my hair is shampooed and conditioned, I put in my leave-in moisturizer by smoothing it onto my hair in sections (no parting or combing is done during this part—only finger styling/manipulation—to minimize frizziness). After that, I make sure to seal the moisture in by using a nice oil (which I smooth over my strands, concentrating it at the ends).

My current favorite products:
Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe Shampoo (esp. nice in hard water)
Roux Porosity Control Shampoo (helps my hair retain moisture better after I use it)
Dove Intense Moisture Conditioner (all time favorite conditioner)
Aussie Moist Conditioner (for my pre-poos)
Lustrailk Shea Butter Cholesterol Plus (I use it both as a deep conditioner & occasionally as a leave-in)
Africa's Best Liquid Hair Mayo (my staple leave-in)
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (from GNC)
Proclaim Olive Spray-On Glosser (smells wonderful and works great)

* Sometimes I use more than one shampoo while washing my hair (one for the first lather and a different one for the second lather—it just depends on what I feel my hair needs).

CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
For me, I've retained most of my length by not cutting or trimming my hair anymore. I try to prevent split-ends and care for my ends well (so that I won't need to cut them off). I know this approach is not for everyone, but it has worked well for me.

To maintain moisture, I try to be really vigilant about sealing my hair with oil. It helps to lock the moisture in and keep my hair from getting dry. If I'm not being lazy, I try to mist my hair with water and re-apply my leave-in and seal with oil everyday, or every other day. I've also found that using Roux Porosity Control Shampoo really helps me maintain moisture in my hair. It lays down the cuticle of my hair (and raised cuticles lose moisture faster), and my hair feels much softer and more moisturized after using it (even though it's a shampoo and you would expect that effect from a conditioner).

CN: How do you protect your curls a night?
I always tie my hair up with my satin scarf or bonnet at night. And usually my hair has been put into a ponytail or bun. This works well for me since I wear a ponytail or bun on most days. When I get up in the morning I just re-fluff things as needed and maybe add some more moisture and oil.

CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
I would tell them to seek advice and encouragement from people who will support them (wherever that is). I found a lot of that initially through online hair communities I'm apart of. When I first mentioned going natural to some family members they seemed at a lost as to what I thought I would do with my natural hair, and weren't very supportive (one of the reasons my first transition failed—I lacked information and confidence).

But being able to talk to naturals, and other hair enthusiasts, online (I didn't know many naturals in real life during my transition) helped me to figure out what to start doing with my hair. And seeing their success motivated me.

Now my family and friends are very supportive and complimentary. My mom has gone natural herself, along with a number of my other family members and friends. I think they just needed to see someone else be successful at it (to quiet their doubts).

CN: What's the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
I love the versatility of my hair, and how easy it is to care for. I wear it curly most days, but it's nice to be able to straighten it every once in awhile and shock people. I also love that I can look cute with my hair down, or in a ponytail, with minimal effort. I especially like this since I don't really enjoy styling my hair.

CN: Anything else you want to add?
I would say that on a person's hair journey it's helpful to learn from the mistakes and successes of others. But everyone's hair is unique unto themselves (even if they share a hair type with someone else). It helps to experiment some and find out what your hair likes, and it doesn't matter if anyone else is doing it too. If it works for your hair, go with it.


***Bravo if you actually read through all of that. I'm flattered that you were interested in what I do to my hair. And thank you for stopping by my page. Feel free to add me as a friend. The more the merrier. :-) :-)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007
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