30 Apr 2016
April 30, 2016

Hair length check April 2016

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Hello Curlies, I have another hair length check update for you.  If you frequent my blog, you will know that I am on a journey to grow healthy waist length natural hair.  At my last length check back in September 2015 my hair came in at mid-back length, despite my best efforts. I have discussed the reasons for this in a earlier blog post, but to quickly summarise, my dismal hair performance in 2015 was primarily due to neglect and lack of consistent hair care. However I am not going to major on my 2015 hair failures because it is a new year with new possibilities and as I discussed in my last post, healthy length retention is my main hair goal for 2016.

Planning for length retention success in 2016

So how do I plan to retain length? Well, I have found that protective styling is by far the easiest, stress-free way for me to retain length. In fact, I have noticed the most success when I have consistently followed a protective styling regime. My protective styling regime/challenge usually consists of set periods of protectively styling followed by periods of rest (free hair) throughout the year. My aim is to have my natural hair in protective styles for the most part of the year. My period of free hair usually involves undertaking hair strengthening, hot oil and other beneficial hair treatment which are not as convenient when wearing protective styles.  This is basically the tried and tested system I plan to use to retain as much length as possible this year, and hopefully achieve my hair goals.  I believe it is a simple formula, protective styling, persistence, consistency and patience. No magic potions or expensive lotions for me!

Sticking with what I know works for my hair

Although I do retain length without protective styling, I choose to protective style my hair because I have a busy schedule and I always opted for the route of least resistance.  As I always say, “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it”.  I definitely retain more length when I stay consistent with my tried and tested methods, products and regimes.  In my opinion, it is pointless jumping on the newest natural hair bandwagon, or any other bandwagon just because everyone is doing it. If you have already found a tried and tested system that works for you, why not stick with that until you achieve your desired results. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t try new things – I’m forever experimenting.  I am simply saying, why not try new regimes and/or products in the area where you are still not seeing results while sticking to regimens/products you know work.  Remember you don’t have to follow every natural hair craze that’s trending on YouTube, just find what works for you.

Tracking my hair growth progress 

I plan to make my protective styling regime even easier this year (as if crochet braiding wasn’t easy enough).  Either way, as I mentioned in my New Year’s blog post, it is important to track your progress when you set goals.  I believe that one of the best ways to track your progress to waist length hair (or whatever length) is to take photos in a length check T-Shirt so you can clearly see your progress (see my photos below).

Front hair length check photos April 2016

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 Back hair length check photos April 2016

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Tracking and recording your progress visually is important, especially if you have super shrinkage like myself, notice how my hair without pulling looks like it is about armpit length.  This visual aid will help me to keep track and record my progress giving me that much-needed motivation and confirmation that my hair is actually growing.  Kinky hair, especially tightly curled Type 4 hair, has the tendency not to show it true length even when stretched. Only by actually pulling my already stretched hair can I actually see my true length.  It is important for Type 4 hair women to closely monitor their hair growth and not to give up on the journey wrongly believing it is “not growing”.

What method do you use to retain length?  Do you do regular hair length checks? Have you found your tried and tested length retention regime? Comment below to let me know what is your go-to protective style.

Happy hair journey

Colleen xx

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog,

Hello ladies, how are things going?

If you are anything like me when it comes to your hair you may find yourself wanting length, length and more length!  I’m not quite sure why I am so obsessed with long hair but as far back as I can remember I have always wanted long hair. In fact my desire for long hair was one of the main reasons why I chemically straightened my hair in my early teens. I somehow believed that if I relaxed my hair it would be “easier to manage” and I would therefore grow thicker, longer, healthier hair. Little did I know back then that this was a lie and I would actually experience damaged, thin, breaking hair!

Today after soldiering on my natural hair journey I am now at a healthy mid back length MBL (see chart below) and I hope to achieve waist length hair by 2016/2017. Despite my healthy MBL I have not progressed as far as I would have liked to in 2015.  It is safe to say that I have not retained as much length as I had hoped and consequently I have not progressed much further towards my goal length.

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The truth is I have been inconsistent with my hair care regime and that’s putting it lightly.  In between working full-time, studying part-time, participating in my local church, having a social life and trying to blog, my natural hair has suffered and languished for want of real care and attention. To make matters worse I have not maintained my healthy eating and exercise regime. It’s not all bad though, since I have retained a couple of inches and my hair is still relatively thick and healthy despite using random hair products (ran out of my staples) and stupid attempts to wash my hair in super quick time on the odd wash day!

Photos from my last hair length check (August 2015)

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Despite what I believe has been a dismal hair year so far, I am still positive about achieving my goal of waist length. I know for a fact, that when I am consistent and religiously stick to my hair care regime I retain practically all my length. I plan to be militant especially when it comes to practices that matter most, like protective styling. If I can break through my MBL plateau I know I’ll definitely make it!

looking back at my 2015 hair related goals

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…………..”

The bible says “where there is no vision, the people perish………….” and you may have heard it said, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. Many of us plan for most things but for those of us who are on a healthy hair journey, we often fail to plan how we will go about maintaining healthy natural hair. I am a keen goal setter and I strongly believe that goal setting and planning is important for success in any endeavour (even your hair).  At the beginning of the year I decided to set myself different goals including hair related goals and I also identified some of the most important habits and practices which I felt would be important in my hair growth journey. These were my hair related goals at the start of the year:

  1. Get back on my healthy eating and exercise plan
  2. Be consistent at all times with my hair care regime
  3. Wear my hair in crochet braid protective style for 70-80% of the time
  4. Make sure I don’t run out of my must have staple hair care products
  5. Retain as much length as possible

So my goals were set and I had hoped to make much progress but despite my best efforts (well sort of best efforts) I have actually made very little progress “sigh”! To make matters worse I actually believe I have lost some length through damage and I don’t want to admit it but I actually really badly need a trim – shock horror!!!!! I’ve carefully analysed the situation and I know for a fact that certain practices have contributed more than others to my current hair state. For example I have not consistently finger detangled my hair before cleansing, I have not detangled my hair with a wide tooth comb when wet, I certainly have not deep conditioned after every wash, I have not crochet braided my hair for 8 weeks at a time, for 7-8 months out of the year.  I have not kept my hair moisturised at all times when in crochet braids, I know I did not stick to my basic staple products and I don’t recall having any hair strengthening treatment between crochet braid installs – all bad news. Despite my poor hair care performance I still managed to maintain relatively healthy hair which is probably because I have not ignored every rule in the natural hair rule book. I still followed low manipulation principles and I still take my time on the majority of wash days (although not all) which I guess has counted for something. You can see that my hair still looks pretty decent in these photos from a recent wedding I attended where I was a bridesmaid (below). Yes, it’s all my hair with no extra hair added!

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naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

naturalcocodoll, hair length check, uk natural hair blog

Going forward I definitely plan to do better, especially after I have seen the obvious consequences when I don’t. My first step on my road to getting back on track to healthier hair and far more length retention will be to contact my faithful African hair lady and get my hair crochet braided. This has always been my hassle free way to improve my hair health and retain length. Crochet braiding also makes it easier for me to maintain some of the other practices that I feel work well for my hair (see how I do my crochet braids blog post). If I stick to my guns and actually remain consistent with my hair care I may actually break through my MBL plateau.

I know I have not been a very consistent blogger but I am planning on doing better with blogging too so you should be seeing more blog posts from me. In fact I may do a blog post on how I achieved my mega empress bun in my bridesmaid photos.