2014 Length Check #1, Setbacks, Hair Growth, and More – ღ Natural Hair ღ

Length check on natural hair
* 2014 LENGTH CHECK #1 *

January 24, 2014 Length Check
☑ Front Right Side: 17.5 inches
☑ Front Left Side: 17.5 inches
☑ Back Side: 16.5 inches

Next Length Check and update will be in about 8 weeks!

The Plan To Retain Length Length for the next 8 weeks:
I will be wearing Senegalese twist for 4-8 weeks.
I am hoping to go the full 8 weeks with the twist in, but I don’t know how long they will last.
So, we will see. I will give an update on the twist soon!

Click HERE for more of my hair growth videos!!!

My Top 10 Tips To Grow Long Healthy Kinky Curly Natural Hair

Four Years Natural Hair - Alicia James

1. Acceptance:
One of the most important things in the journey is to accept the hair that is on your head. There are people who have hair that shines like the sun, it is soft, the curls bounce back into place no matter what, and they can slide a comb through their hair like it was made of nothing but sand. Then there are those of us who have dry, coarse, kinky coily hair that does not always behave the way we would like. It is easily broken, It can sometimes be difficult to retain moisture, and the truth is it has the reputation of being the least desired hair type. (sad but true) It just has it’s own personality. Once you embrace whatever it is you have, you start to want to build a relationship with your hair. You want to find out what it likes and what it doesn’t like. You want to play around with different hairstyles and see what makes you feel sexy. You’re more open to the experience and little things like a little shrinkage and frizz don’t stop the journey!

2. Clean Hair & Scalp:
Healthy hair starts at the root and scalp. You scalp are basically the home for your hair follicles. Your hair follicles are the little tiny holes that your hair grows out of. You want to create a healthy environment for your hair follicles so that you are able to grow healthy and strong hair. When you don’t clean it,  it leads to product build up on your hair and scalp. Product build up causes dry itchy scalp. The same way you can clog the pores on your face, you can clog the pores in your head leading to no hair growth.

3. Condition / Deep Conditioning
When we wash our hair, our hair is stripped of its natural oils. You want to replace the oils so that your hair remains healthy and moisturized. Hair that is not conditioned can become dry and highly porous. This means it will have difficulty holding on to moisture. Dry hair becomes very brittle, rough and eventually just breaks. Now, everyone’s hair is different so how often you do a regular quick conditioning and a deep conditioning depends on your hair. For my thick, kinky hair, I prefer to deep condition each time I wash. Especially because I am someone who uses heat regularly.

4. Hair Porosity
Learning about porosity was a very important part of my journey. It completely changed the way I looked at moisturizing my hair. I went through almost two years of my journey wondering why all of the water and leave ins were not moisturizing my hair. I remember a really dull appearance and overall just dry feeling to my hair. After learning about hair porosity I changed the way I moisturized my hair and watched my hair transform into soft manageable, naturally shiny hair.
What is hair porosity? The way your hair absorbs moisture
How To Test your Hair porosity? Fill a cup with water. Pull one strand of hair directly from your scalp, make sure it has the white bulb. Take the strand of hair and dunk it into the cup of water, make sure it is completely drenched. Then take the strand of hair and sit on top of the water. If it sinks immediately you have high porosity hair. (hair that soaks up moisture quickly) If it takes a long time to sink or doesn’t sink at all, you have low porosity hair.
What is my porosity? I have low porosity hair
What is low porosity hair? It means your cuticles are tightly closed making it difficult to absorb water or any moisture.
How do I manage my low porosity hair? I utilize a little heat during my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I always sit under a heated dryer so that my cuticles open up letting moisture in. Then after I finish my deep conditioning I rinse my hair with cold water to make sure the cuticles are closed. If I am not deep conditioning I will rinse my hair with warm water and do an oil rinse.

5. Oils:
Oil is a very important part of my regimen. I started using oil around my second year of being natural. I use extra virgin olive oil, but there are also other great oils like coconut oil (considered to be the best oil for hair). I am not big on products, so anytime someone asks me what products I recommend I just say always say invest in a good oil. I use my oil during my deep conditioning. I mix the oil with my regular conditioner and I sit under a heated dryer for about 15-30 minutes. I also sometimes do an oil rinse. Oil rinse is just when I completely drench my hair in oil and then rinse out most of the oil leaving a small amount in. This keeps the hair extremely soft and shiny. I also will apply a small amount of oil onto my hair after styling to add shine.

6. Proper Detangling
We all know that kinky coily hair can be very difficult to detangle. It is often one of the main reasons people give up their journey, because the hair seems to be completely unmanageable.
I have hair that is very coily and shrinks up to I believe 70% or more of it’s length. MBL length goes to less than shoulder length hair. What I like to do is detangle under a shower head, as the water runs down my hair. This helps to stretch out the coils a bit. I always have loads of conditioner on my hair to add slippage, making it easier for the comb or brush to slide through my strands. I always start off with my fingers tackling the tangles at my roots and then go to the ends and finger comb up. After my finger combing is complete I follow with a wide tooth comb. Also, the smaller the sections you detangle in the easier it will be. I usually divide my hair into two sections and then break those sections down into smaller pieces.

7. Low Manipulation and/or Protective Styling
Our hair is very fragile and easily breaks. I have found the less I do to my hair the happier it is. The less styling and manipulation the more length I am able to retain. My favorite low manipulation / protective hairstyle is two strand twist. During the time when I was really focused on length retention I wore mostly two strand twist for over a year, and retained so much length. During this time I went from bra strap to waist length in about a year in a half. It is an easy style you can do yourself and you can style them so many different ways.

8. Minimizing Heat and Proper Heat Usage
I am someone who uses heat regularly. I do what I call heat stretching. It makes it easier for me to personally maintain my hair and also retain length. I try to keep my heat usage down to 2 times a month. When I do use a flat iron I use only minimal heat. My goal is never to get bone straight hair it just to stretch the hair out. So always watching the temperature on your heating tools, use them as little as possible. I also do a protein treatment before and after using heat along with a deep conditioner. This helps to add protein and moisture back into the hair which can be taken out during the use of heat.

9. Fitness & Health
This is probably one of the least favorite tips, but we already know whatever is going on inside the body reflects on the outside. It shows up in bad skin, brittle nails, and weak hair. I have a consistent workout regimen. I am not the perfect eater, but I try to always be aware of what I am putting inside of my body, saving any bad items for the weekend trying not to go overboard. I also make sure to drink plenty of water. Believe me I am not someone who loves to drink water, but when I don’t drink water I break out really bad and my body feels extremely tired. So, water is a requirement for me!

10. Patience & Realistic Expectations
The truth is not everyone can grow their hair down to their feet in a year. There are some of us whom it takes longer to retain length, we struggle and have setbacks etc. What it takes someone to do in one year, it may take you two or three. Also, having realistic expectations about how long you will get to your desired length and the appearance of your hair. My daughter has a completely different texture from me. What I have noticed about her hair is it easily detangles, it retains length better and withstands rough treatment a lot better than mine. I know a lot of people don’t like to discuss that one word that I feel has an affect in how your hair retains length (genes), but the sooner we except this the easier it will be. This does not mean you can’t have waist length hair, it just means it may take you longer, and you may have to go through a few more trials.

When I first started my journey I never had the expectation of growing my hair longer. I had never had hair longer than shoulder length. I just knew my hair was badly damaged and relaxers was causing my hair to break off. It took me almost two years to discover that my hair could actually grow longer than it had ever been my entire life. It was amazing. I did it, and hopefully using some of these easy tools you can do it too. Don’t give up! Good luck on your journey!

MY HAIR GROWTH JOURNEY!

Watch My Hair Growth Journey Here!

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

My Five Year Healthy Hair Journey – Natural Hair! *Photos / Video*

Five Year Natural Hair Journey

This has truly been an amazing journey! I still can’t believe that it has been five years since my big chop! Craaaazy! It’s been bigger than hair for me. I’ve transformed so much, not only on the outside, on the inside. I’ve had an opportunity to meet and be inspired by so many wonderful people. I appreciate you all for following me on my journey. There is so much more to come, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. 🙂

Thank you!

Check out my journey here, and watch how my hair transformed!

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

Struggling With My Natural Hair & New Hair Growth Journey!

Various hairstyles on natural hair

I’ve experience so many different things with my natural hair! I’ve enjoyed the entire experience. It is so funny, because most people think that I have this perfect journey. The reason I’ve been able to learn so much throughout my journey is because of the struggle. There are those things that work perfectly, and then there are those times when everything seems to be doing the complete opposite of what you want it to do. I know most of us have gone through that. The difference is, some give up, and some continue to work at it and figure it out.

I’ve never been one to just give up….

Watch the video to find out more about my recent struggles and also me starting a new hair growth journey!

Hair Growth Update & Length Check

Twist Out On Long Natural Hair

The hairstyle in this video is a twist out with about 3-4 bantu knots. I have a video coming up soon to show the method. I am usually a braid out girl, but I love this twist out.

The shine in my hair happened over time. I am very consistent with doing my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments each time I wash. I have been doing this for over two years. I use my regular rinse out conditioner and mix with my extra virgin olive oil.

*Helpful Links*

Previous Length Check (Reaching Waist Length):

http://youtu.be/h0JV0YDztOY?t=2m32s

My First Flat Iron:

http://youtu.be/bJAmSA1HlL0?t=3m31s

Cutting My Ends:

http://youtu.be/RudQMRGLF4s

Different Buns I Like To Do:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcUeTqEG2SWInT2ttYllnHTzD6cSG4-0n

Why Is My Hair Not Growing? How I Examine My Hair Regimen

Flat Ironed Natural Hair - Alicia James

The good news is……

Your hair is more than likely growing, unless there is some underlying medical condition. If so, seek medical advice.

The bad news is…..

Your hair may be breaking off as fast as it is growing.

Why?

There are so many reasons why you are not retaining length, or your hair is breaking.

I have not had a perfect journey, there were times when I felt like my hair was breaking, and I was not retaining the length, I wanted to retain. Below is the method I created to examine my hair regimen.

Know Your Porosity:

How does your hair absorb moisture? Is your product just sitting on top of your hair? Is your hair just soaking up moisture as fast as you add it? Are you able to get moisture into the hair?

This just became really important to me. I never knew how important it was, until I tested my porosity, and was able to truly understand how my hair absorbs and retains moisture.

I have low porosity hair:  This means that my hair cuticles are closed tightly, and it makes it harder for moisture to get in. Products and moisture can sit on top of the hair instead of being absorbed. I always wondered why my hair took 24 hours to completely dry.  This is also why my hair started to retain length once I started doing consistent deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I use heat for my treatments, and heat helps to open the hair cuticles so that it absorbs the moisture and product.

Moisturizing:

How often do you moisturize your hair? How often do you NEED to moisturize your hair? What do you use to moisturize your hair? How do you seal in moisture?

So, again porosity is going to be important when determining how you moisturize and seal. For years before I knew my porosity, I found myself moisturizing every day. I would spritz my hair with water and then seal with an oil or a leave in. Now that I know my porosity I limit moisturizing to only 1-2 times a week.  What I have found is that my hair stays clean and my styles last longer. I never understood why my hair got weighed down so fast until I learned that I had low porosity hair, and most of the product I was adding daily was just sitting on top of my hair.  If you have high porosity hair, you are going to find yourself needing to moisturize a little more, but also layering on thicker products to seal that moisture in.

Products:

What products could be affecting your hair? (make a list of the products you are currently using)Have you changed products recently? Are you using any chemicals including color, relaxers, etc.?  How effective are your products?

When it comes to products, I always try to keep it simple. This way, I always know what could be affecting my hair. When I switched products once in my journey for about a few months, I instantly noticed a difference. My hair was a lot drier than normal, and harder to detangle on wash day. I instantly switched back to my normal products. I don’t use any chemical on my hair, because due to past experience my hair broke off, and I was not able to retain length.

Styling:

How often are you styling? What kind of styling are you doing? What kind of styling tools do you use, heat, wide tooth comb, brush, etc.  Do you use heat? How often? How do you protect your hair during heat styling?

When it comes to styling for me low manipulation and protective styling is key.  After my second year and into my third year I wore mostly two strand twist. I am not saying you have to wear twist to retain length, but it was something that kept me disciplined and really kept my hands out of my hair. It was also helpful for those times I didn’t know what to do with my hair. I was able to retain the most length during this time in my journey.

When it comes to combing, I do like to finger comb. I find that I lose less hair during the process, but after finger combing I like to use a wide tooth comb to smooth the hair down. I always detangle my curly hair when it is wet only. Detangling is very important when trying to retain length, because that is when a lot of naturals lose, break, or rip out their hair. I do use heat on my hair, but my normal regimen is only once a month. I blow dry my hair as a normal part of my regimen. I’ve only flat ironed my hair once during my natural hair journey, but maybe more in the future. Using heat makes my hair more manageable for my lifestyle, and I love it, but I do understand the risk that comes with the use of heat.  I always blow dry my hair when it is freshly washed. I do a deep conditioning/hot oil treatment adding moisture into the hair, because heat pulls out moisture. I also do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.

Washing:

How often do you wash your hair? How often do you NEED to wash your hair? Do you use shampoo? How does the shampoo affect your hair? Do you co wash? How does co washing affect your hair?

I cleanse my hair every 2-4 weeks. In the beginning it was weekly, but the longer my hair has gotten and the further I am in my journey, certain things in my regimen have changed. In the beginning it was more about following a routine, because I was looking for certain results. Now, it is more about doing only what I need, so that it does not become overwhelming. I use to conditioner wash, when I was washing weekly. Now, that I wait so long in between washes, I feel my hair benefits more from a good shampoo. I find now that my hair does not feel dry and brittle after a shampoo. I also make sure to mix in a little conditioner during the shampoo. After my shampoo I do my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. This adds back any moisture that was lost during my shampoo process.  When my hair is not properly shampooed and cleansed it starts to feel rough, and styling is almost impossible. These are things that can lead to breakage.

 

Conditioning:

Do you condition your hair? What type of conditioner do you use? Do you deep condition your hair? How does your hair feel after your conditioning routine? How often are you conditioning your hair?

Conditioning is a must for me. I ALWAYS do a deep conditioning after I shampoo or wash my hair. Deep conditioning over time has made my hair soft, manageable, and also has given my hair a beautiful shine.  I use a moisturizing conditioner, Herbal Essence. There are also conditioners that have protein if you need it, which would be great for high porosity hair. For my deep conditioning I use my regular rinse out conditioner, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, and I mix it with my extra virgin olive oil. Then I sit under the dryer with a plastic cap/bag on for about 15-30 minutes. Conditioning is very important to my hair regimen. It refreshes and strengthens the oldest part of the hair and also minimizes breakage and excessive shedding.

Trimming:

Do you trim your hair?  Do you do your own trimming or do you go to a professional? How much are you trimming?  How often are you trimming? What are you trimming your hair with? Why do you trim your hair? How do you know your hair needs to be trimmed?

Trimming for me is Important, especially because I use heat regularly in my regimen.  Heat can dry out and cause split ends. My ends are not horrible, but I like to make sure I take care of them. I trim my own ends with hair shears. It is important to not cut with regular scissors, because they are usually dull and can cause more damage to the ends of your hair. I trim my hair every 6 months, so that is usually about twice a year. I only trim when needed. My hair grows about ½ an inch a month, so trimming monthly would definitely be an issue for length retention. I usually trim about ½ – 2 inches of hair. I know that my ends need trimming when they start to feel rough or I notice more shedding than usual.

 

FINAL NOTES:

Make sure to check every part of your regimen. Ask yourself questions to figure out how the different processes benefit or hurt the health of your hair. You are basically dissecting your regimen to find and figure out what is and isn’t working for your hair care regimen. You can create your own questions or use the ones above from my process. Again these are the things that I do to improve and stay consistent with my hair care. This comes in handy when you are noticing changes with your hair, breakage, etc.

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

Trimming My Natural Hair

Trimming My Ends - Alicia James

OOOOOOO Aaaaaaah! Trimming LOL!

I just had to start this post off by saying that! It seems trimming or cutting is a scary word in the “natural hair” community. I’ve watched videos where someone is trimming their ends and everyone in the comment section is falling over and fainting. LOL!

What I have learned is everyone has different methods on how to trim ends. There are some who trim monthly, some who trim twice a year, some once a year, and some not at all. I think it depends on the health of your hair and also what you like as far as appearance.

Why do I trim?
I trim because my hair breaks when the ends are split and damaged.  It is hard for me to retain length without healthy ends.

How often do I trim?
I usually trim about every six months, usually twice a year.

How do you know your ends need trimming?
I usually know my ends need trimming when they feel rough and dry even when I am consistently moisturizing.  Also, when I lightly rub my fingers down my ends and they shed or break.

How much do I trim?
I usually trim about an ½ – 2 inches of hair. It really depends on what my ends look and feel like

What do I use to trim?
I trim with hair shears. Shears are usually a lot sharper than regular scissors that can sometimes be dull. Dull scissors will fold and gnaw at the ends of your hair causing more damage.

How do I trim?
What I like to do is put my hair into medium sized two strand twist all over my head. I take each twist individually and trim off as much hair as needed.  I repeat these steps until all two strand twist have been trimmed. This is a method that is easy for me, and I’ve done myself since being natural.  I don’t blow dry or flat iron my hair specifically to trim my ends. I have also trimmed my ends on wet hair. I prefer dry stretched hair.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope this helps someone!

Go to MSALICIAJAMES.COM to watch videos for more quick and easy natural hair tips, hairstyles, and more!

Blow Drying Natural Hair – My Experience

Last Minute Hairstyle on straightened long natural hair

When I found Youtube I decided that I would NEVER use heat on my natural hair. I developed this big fear of damage and a whole lot of other things. Once I became a little more comfortable with my hair and started to develop my own personal regimen my opinion regarding the use of heat on my natural hair changed.

I did not start using heat in my natural hair journey until I turned two years natural.  When I turned two years I did my first blow out.  After blow drying my hair for the first time I found that I really enjoyed the stretch and the benefits I got from the stretched hair.

Blow Drying Method I Use

  • Tension Method:
    • I shampoo my hair to make sure it is thoroughly clean.
    • I do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.
    • I do a deep conditioning using my rinse out conditioner and my extra virgin olive oil to add moisture into the hair. (heat will dry the hair out, extra moisture is a plus)
    • Detangle the hair thoroughly.
    • I add my leave in and heat protectant and put the hair into twist or braids so that the hair air dries. I wait until it is about 75-90% dry.
    • After the hair dries I then section the hair off into smaller sections and start to blow dry each section.
    • Without using the comb attachment stretch the section of hair and start to run the blow dryer up and down the section. I hold and cover the ends of my hair. I don’t find it is necessary to add heat directly to my ends. I am not going for super straight hair. You can do so if needed.
    • Continue this movement until that section of hair is stretched and dry.
    • Repeat this process until the entire head is complete.
    • You can also do a cool shot at the end. The cool shot is supposed to lay the hair cuticle back down after the use of heat.

*Tension Blow Drying*

How Often:

I blow dry my hair now 1-2 times a month. Now that my hair is much longer, I’ve limited the amount of times I am washing my hair. I blow dry after each wash. I have seen a huge difference in my hair since decreasing my wash days.

Moisturizing Blown out or Straightened Hair:

Deep conditioning is a huge plus before using heat. Heat dries the hair out so adding moisture into the hair is great and minimizes frizz. I notice a big difference if I don’t deep condition before blow drying my hair. My hair frizzes and shrinks up immediately.

When moisturizing blown out or straightened hair I use a bottle to lightly spritz water, mainly focusing on the ends. I massage the water into the hair starting from the ends and then upward. I seal in the moisture with oil. I usually only add oil to my hair once a week. If I need to set a style I use water only. My blow dried hair lasts so much longer when I am adding less product. Adding too much oil or product throughout the week can cause build up and greasy weighed down hair.

I use a leave in that is also a heat protectant. This helps to minimize the amount of products I am stacking on top of my hair. Less products, better results.

Low Sock Bun On My Natural Hair

My Quick Tips:

  • Always blow dry on clean hair
  • It is okay to blow dry your ends, but limit the amount of high heat on them
  • The faster you can finish the better, which is why air drying before you blow dry is important. You want to limit the amount of heat you are using.
  • The more heat you use the better chance you have for heat damage. Try to create a regimen that doesn’t include heat multiple times throughout the week.
  • Add a good moisturizer or heat protectant that will help with minimizing frizz
  • Heat equals dry hair and dry hair equals breakage, so keep the hair moisturized. Don’t be afraid to add oil throughout the week. (when needed)
  • Air dry the hair before blow drying. I never blow dry on soaking wet hair, this can damage to the hair and also the hair can lose its elasticity. If the hair gets too dry, spritz lightly with water before blow drying. I don’t like the hair to be too dry, the blow dryer will just dry it out even more from my personal experience.
  • A trick (sort of trick LOL!)  I use to stretch my blown out hair even more is leaving the freshly blown out hair in a bun for a day or two. This stretches the hair out more with less heat and also the blown out hair lasts longer.

As long as I have been using heat I have not seen any setbacks with my hair. I started using heat in my second year and at year four hit waist length. This is not the case for everyone! As far as heat training that is not my intentions or ultimate goal, but I do understand regular use of heat can alter the curl pattern. For over two years I have not noticed a change in my curl pattern. My coils are still super tight.

The use of heat is a personal choice. Always do your research before trying any new products or methods with your hair.

I hope that this helped someone! 🙂

If you would like to discuss this more in detail or if you have any other questions regarding natural hair. Click The link below! I look forward to speaking with you! Google Helpout - Natural Hair ————————————————————————-

EasyNaturalHair.com
“easy natural hair”

Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

Stretching Natural Hair

Stretching "Natural Hair" - Alicia James

I’ve tried several methods to stretch my natural hair. I have really kinky coily hair that shrinks up to 80% of it’s length. It is absolutely insane! It is also the type of hair that gets knots and tangles easily. My preferred way to style is with stretched hair. Now, I am not against a blow dryer, because I enjoy my blow outs,  but it is not something I want to make a habit.

For my hair the key to getting super stretched hair is styling on dry hair. My hair still shrinks up a lot, if I stretch on freshly washed or wet hair. The key is after a wash, put in big braids or twist. Let the hair dry for a few hour, then twist, braid,band, or whatever method you use to stretch.
For me the older the hair the better the stretch. After pulling the hair into a bun every night the hair gets great hang time. Old hair meaning hair that was previously styled not dirty hair.

I like the results from braid outs or twist outs. The smaller the twist or braid is, the longer my style lasts.

Also, I’ve used the pineapple method for maintaining my styles in the past. It’s a great way to maintain, but it stretched out the back of my hair too much, and the top of my hair shrinks. It doesn’t really give my hair a nice shape.

These are just a few tips on how I stretch my hair.

Let me know how you stretch yours!

Here is the video where Naptural85 does the “scrunchie method”

*EasyNaturalHair.com*
“Easy Natural Hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!

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