Ok, we all know the difference between a broken hair and a shed hair, right? If not, a shed hair is a hair that naturally falls out the scalp (with the root bulb attached) at the end of its natural life. A broken hair is broken at a place along the length of the hair. Hair can be broken anywhere along the hair shaft where it has been weakened or simply because the hair was pulled too taut i.e. rough handling. It’s rumored that everyone sheds (not breaks) around 100 hairs a day standard.
I’ve been eyeing the hair I lose since I cut my hair in February. Let me tell you I am so pleased (in a southern voice)! I’m pleased because when I was permed, I shed like a cat. I know that’s a common saying, but I’m for real… Like… strands of hair was all over the sink and counter and floor and shower and wall (not really but you get my drift) every.single.morning. I know most of these were BROKEN hairs because there were no roots attached and the hairs were different sizes. I used a wide tooth comb and hardly brush it, so I can’t say it was from rough handling. It was breaking because it was essentially damaged (perms work by breaking down proteins along the strand and all that jazz I don’t want to get into right now), on top of that I have microscopically thin strands and perms made it that much more fragile. I also learned that this chronic shedding was my hair rebelling against the perm, it was dry, and grease wasn’t my friend. What a recipe for a mess! I’m surprised I had bra strap length straight hair actually… It was getting nothing that it needed on a regular basis *clears throat* umm water and good oils! I think I retained length because I never wore my hair down (so no damage from the environment), wrapped it up nightly, and I wore ponytails that I didn’t pull too tight. Low manipulation saved my hair.
Now a day, my shredding has been massively reduced and it consists mainly of shed hair instead of broken hair. I see the lost hair when I finger detangle during cowashes during the week for my wash and go’s and when I comb by hair when deep condition every other week. In between these times, there is no hair on my shirt, on my pillow, or on the floor like before. I’m sure I still lose hair, but it’s caught up in the curls and can’t easily fall out. This is why when I do detangle, I expect more than 100 hairs, maybe even double this, but even then I don’t think I get that much.
This is my shed hair. ATTENTION: If you don’t like hairballs, this may be graphic!
The hairball is after I detangled with a comb when I lose the most hair. Does this look like 100 hairs to you? This is a serious question. I have no clue. I thought about counting them but I chickened out because that may be a tad insane. I did audit 10 hairs and only 2 of the 10 were broken! This says so much! I handle my hair, in my opinion, way more than I ever did when I was permed and the shredding is zilch compared to then. The individual hairs on my head are super thin, even though I have a massive amount of them, and I would think they would be more susceptible to breakage no matter what kind of tender loving care I gave to my tresses.
This difference in shedding alone has been a huge payoff in going natural. If I retained length when my hair was fundamentally unhealthy, what amazing things are in store now that I am actually more concerned about the health of my hair this time around?
Have you noticed any difference in shedding since you’ve become natural?
Yea… So I ran out of gel yesterday and this morning, mid cowash, I suddenly remembered. There was an eerie hush and the water ran cold… What do I do? I’ve never done my hair without gel. I’ve heard ladies on Natural Hair Nation trying conditioner only Wash and Go’s when testing out products, but never have I styled my hair with only conditioner! I live in Florida… High Dew Point Central!
I had no choice in the matter. I used the corner I had left of my beloved Darcy’s Botanical Pumpkin Seed Conditioner. I used this instead of the Oyin Hair Dew, which I’ve been favoring of late, because the dew has a lighter lotion-y feel whereas the DB was heavier. It was 5 am and made sense to me: The oilier, the stronger the hold.
No sooner did I shake my hair out did the fluff start. Which was coo’. I want big hair. It actually reminded me of good third day hair. My worry was that it would fluff to the point of no return by the time it dried.
It’s 4pm now. It did not fluff out. It is fluffy and a tad frizzy like I’ve had my hand in my head and unraveled most of the corkscrews, but very wearable. But lawd, the shine! My hair is shinier than a waxed 2015 Covette at a car show. It looks oily! Oily to the point that it could possibly drip oil or **gasp** Jheri Curl Juice at any moment!
This is the last look I need. I’ve been asked “Do you have a ‘curl’?” more times than I care to answer in the past, so today’s hair is not doing me justice. If someone ask me today, lawd know, it’s going to be hard to deny.
I heard all the hype on Natural Hair Nation (YouTube) about natural haired people using silk pillowcases in lieu of bonnets and scarves. Like, really? Were they better? Is it like sleeping on cotton? Will my hair be protected like I have on a bonnet/scarf? This sounded edgy… Even a little dangerous. The first videos and articles I came across were of naturals of the longer haired variety who literally couldn’t fit all their hair inside a bonnet and opted for this alternative. I don’t think I met that prerequisite, but I had to see what it was all about and ordered me one! I decided on an ivory 100% charmeuse silk variety (ivory because I’m leery of dye). It came and it was so soft and silky! I was excited to use it.
Thinking back, I can count on one hand how many times (IN LIFE) I’ve slept without a scarf. I’ve stayed up for hours looking for it if it were lost. I’ve even come home super late (not being in my right mind) and still had enough sense to wrap my hair up… Yes, it was that serious. The times I have slipped up was either because; 1. I slept somewhere I didn’t plan on sleeping, or 2. I couldn’t find it and I was going to be getting my hair done in the morning anyway. In either case, I grinned and beared even though I found it super uncomfortable to sleep without it. My scarf was my security blanket.
I washed the pillowcase and did a fresh wash and go the morning before I slept on the pillowcase for the first time. In testing the silk pillowcase, I wanted to see if; 1. it stripped moisture from my hair, 2. the previous day’s wash and go was salvageable, like could be when using a bonnet, and 3. it was comfortable to sleep on.
I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, I had bedhead as I usual but a little more so. My hair was more free to move and it had spread in various places revealing my scalp, instead of my hair being flatten on itself like when it’s contained in a bonnet. There was no matting though. I attribute that to my hair being able to slide back and forth on the pillowcase as I moved during the night instead of bunching. After retreating from bed, I was able to refreshed my hair with my spray-bottle-o-water as usual. The curls sprung back to life around the exposed scalp area with no problems. I got good second day hair and my hair dried soft. I don’t use a moisturizer when refreshing my WNGs so, to me, that meant I kept the moisture I had from the day before and that the pillowcase didn’t strip my hair of the moisture. I was very pleased!
On the comfort tip, it was so-so. On the one hand, the silkiness next to my skin felt like heaven! It was very nice to snuggle up to. I’ve read that others thought that it felt hot during the night and some even sweated, but I didn’t have that issue at all! Actually, it thought it stayed rather cool… like the other side of the pillow
<<see what I did there? I made a funny! Everytime I changed positions I was greeted by a chill that you just can’t buy in Florida. Very nice.
On the other hand, laying on it, I felt err… naked. It was generally uncomfortable not having anything on my head. The habit and the feel of having something on my hair at night (for DECADES!) I don’t think can be shaking in one night. Every now and then during the night, I actually woke up looking for my bonnet thinking it had slipped off. Weird, right?
I slept on it for about 3 days and, to my surprise, I did become slightly more comfortable sleeping without the bonnet and aside from the discomfort of being naked-headed, I was happy I had bought the silk pillowcase. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror and examined my face that I noticed I was starting to breaking out! There weren’t pimples, but these heat bump looking things I get when my face isn’t exfoliated often enough. I have severely oily skin so good skin care is a must. I know I hadn’t been slipping on thoroughly cleaning/exfoliating as usual and the only thing changed and had contact with my face was the pillowcase!
Thinking about it, it made perfect sense. Silk pillowcases works so well for the hair because it doesn’t wick away moisture; the weave of silk just can’t absorb it. Here’s an excerpt of a great visual about how silk behaves against moisture from EboniCurls (heck, watch the whole thing! Great info on satin vs silk). And as you can see, any deposit of oil/water/conditioner/whatever from the hair (however little) sits on the surface. Over time, the silk will start having that translucent look to it we’ve all seen with old silk scarves. Yea so… My face was laying all up on that pillow with the oil residue and I broke out. Gross!
In conclusion, this pillowcase is a no-go for me. I need the oil wicking properties of cotton to keep my skin clear. I have nothing bad to say about the silk pillow concerning the hair, it held up nicely to the hype when it comes to retaining moisture and such and I can definitely see how other naturals love it, but me and my oil-sensitive skin Can.Not. I don’t know what I will use if I ever outgrew my bonnet.
Back to the drawing board. Maybe pineapple and a regular scarf? Or a mushawa sleeve? Is that what it’s called?
What do you do to protect your long hair at night?
It took me FOREVER to learn to finagle my natural hair. While getting used to having curly hair, after having straight hair all my life, I felt that anything I did would mess up my curls. It was like I had a curl complex. Maybe because every time I got my permed hair curled it never lasted for more than a day between me being a head sweater (not like the clothing “sweater” people, like sweat sweat — perspiration geez) and me not knowing how to wrap my hair up properly at night to preserve those curls. It never stayed looking good so it was a waste and a hassle. So when I started on my curly hair journey, every time I did things like sleeping, cowashing, spraying it with water, etc., it gave me a slight anxiety (can you have “a slight anxiety”?) and a voice in my head always said “they’re not going to coming back… Watch!” or “you ruined them!”. Oh and you should have seen me when I decided to incorporated combs back into my regimen after being an exclusive finger detangler; I would handle my hair like stemware because I didn’t want my curls to fall! Talk about having a permed mindset!
I had to get out of that fast. Even after my curls bounced back repeatedly (right before my eyes), day after day, after washing and going or reviving a WNG from severe bedhead by spraying with some water, I still wasn’t convinced. I had to literally sit down and make myself realize that this was how my hair is now. This is its natural state and nothing short of using chemicals or mistreating it, like withholding moisture or not managing split ends, could prevent it from not curling. When I finally got that through my thick skull (it is so hard to UNLEARN!), my hair and I made a deal; if I did my part and gave it what it needed everyday (moisture and creamy nutrient-rich leave ins), then it would continue to show out!
I can do that!
Did you walk on eggshells while manipulating your newly natural doo, too?
When I was permed, I only remember once or twice that my beautitian deep conditioned my hair. When she put conditioner in after shampooing, she would let it sit for a minute or two, but only once or twice did she actually put me under the dryer for a DC. The only time I heard people even mention deep conditioning was when someone had severely damaged hair, like edges that were thinning or hair that was falling out. I came to the conclusion that that was the only time you used one. It was not until I came into “the natural hair world” that I found out it was use for general upkeep of healthy hair! Blew me away.
When I Big Chopped, I deep conditioned every week. My hair needed it because my hair looked “wiry” (as a stranger called it). It was dry. After wetting my hair daily and a couple of rounds of deep conditioning, it felt softer and looked better. Ringlets started to come through! The benefits of DC’ing were noticeable almost instantly.
Now, 4 months in, I deep condition every other week, but my hair doesn’t feel as vastly different after DC’ing like it did since the initial turn around from my BC, no matter the method, dry or wet, 10 mins or overnight. It has stayed very soft and manageable. My thinking is that I don’t get those same raving results is because my hair is seemingly never without moisture, now-a-days, as I wash and go so much. With my routine, I am constantly introducing water to my hair under the shower head, and I use water based products. My leave in’s (whether a cream, custard, a regular leave in conditioner, or a deep conditioner that I use as a leave in, such as Curl Junkie Curl Rehab) are rich in oils and extracts in addition to being water based. Actually… thinking about it, I’m essentially deep conditioning all the time! I just figured it out! Eu-flipping-reka! I’ve been keeping my hair a its optimum moisture level consistently by using quality conditioners with great moisturizing capabilities and my hair has shown out! And maybe that’s why after deep conditioning, I don’t feel these miraculous everyone talks about.
I’m not saying that deep conditioning isn’t beneficial to my hair. NOT AT ALL. But I can see that if I was one to style my hair once a week, like in a braidout or twistout (which I have yet to do) and maintained it or other protective styles for any length of time, I would imagine the moisture levels of the hair dramatically faltering and a good DCing yielding immediately noticeable results.
I do deep condition every other week on shampoo day using Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner in the dry formula. I love the ingredients and it has a heavier thicker consistency than my regular everyday rinse out’s and leave in’s. I get tons of slip in my ‘everydays’, but I only choose to finger comb my hair with them in the shower (this is where I do my hair, I don’t have to actually be in the shower to finger comb using these products, though). But when it comes to a thorough detangle using a comb (which I do every other week after shampooing), I LOVE the AO coupled with EVOO.
I’ll continue doing my DC on a regular basis with the purpose of giving my hair the nutrition it needs to grow up big and strong. I might not feel a whole lot of difference, but maybe that’s a good thing; maybe that means I’ve been keeping my hair at its paramount? Who knows, I just know it feels good at the moment and it’s growing from what they tell me.
Until next time…
I’m was in Miami Beach for an impromptu get-a-way this weekend and I had a bawl!!! I sooo miss living there… I had so much fun!
Anyway, I was all up in the Atlantic Ocean! The water was warm and the sand was hot!
I was afraid of the salt water getting all up in my hair’s cuticle. I thought it would make my hair explode from what I hear about swimming and natural hair. It bummed me out because I figured being a natural head would make me run for the water faster because I can rinse/wash/condition/whatever at a drop of a dime. The advice online said I should saturate my hair with water OR oil, or water AND oil, or JUST oil before I got in, then rinse as soon as I got out, and apply conditioner promptly after that. Girl, bye!
Let me tell you what I did do… I hopped right in that there ocean and swam like a fish! I mean I came prepared with my spray-bottle-o-water to saturate my hair before getting in (the idea is to fill the hair up with regular water so it couldn’t absorb much salt water), but umm yea right. That clear water was calling me. I mean it just salt right?
I stayed out in the water like I was a marine biologist. My friends couldn’t get me back to the shore. I was all in, out, and under the waves. I was so deep in, that the lifeguard came by on a Jet Ski to tell me and others that we needed to go in some. There were other girls in almost as far as me trying to keep their hair clipped up so it wouldn’t get wet but it kept coming down. I even saw a girl with a shower cap! I don’t remember being that concerned when I was permed. I mean, you can’t be that far into the ocean and expect to not get your hair wet. You embrace it. You either wade with the kids by the shore and keep your hair dry or get in, get wet, and fix it later. I wasn’t even bothered. I was bobbing in and out of the water, keeping it moving. The girls eyed me a few times, which was cool. Women are curious about natural hair and I was all like “Look what I can do!” in my Stuart voice from MadTV (remember him?).
After I was finally dragged out, I didn’t run straight for the shower. I LOL’ed and BS’ed with my friends for however long before I made it over to the spout. When we finally did mosey off the beach, my hair hadn’t quite dried so it couldn’t have been that long. I proceeded to rinsed my hair very well. It didn’t feel dry. After I rinsed, I applied a couple of quarter sized amounts of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner I had brought with me. I left that in my hair and let it dry while we did other things around Miami. My hair felt good and it was super curly!
I didn’t actually plan on shampooing my hair after the beach to tell you the truth. I didn’t think it was necessary. In my mind it’s just salt and salt is water-soluble, right? I planned on just re-rinsing and cowashing to get the rest of the salt out as soon as we got back to the hotel. What was a bummer
and probably a bad move, was that I didn’t do a cowash when I got in the shower because we got back so late and I refuse to sleep with wet hair. I didn’t like that. I was up with the birds the next morning, though, singing under the shower head.
All and all, my hair feels good. It was Saturday when I went to the beach and it’s now Tuesday. It’s soft and still über curly even though I’ve WNG’ED twice since then. I’m definitely keeping a close eye on my hair to see if there are any negative effect of the salt water, but so far so good.
I’ll update if I notice anything.
Until next time Miami…
This is how I’ve learned to incorporate a Denman in my detangling routine. I use it after I detangle with a wide tooth comb. It settles my curls down faster after I’ve ruffled them during shampooing, deep conditioning, and detangling with the comb. I does not GIVE me curls.