2012 Hair Journey Update in Pictures (Whoa! My Hair Was a HOT MESS!)

It’s been about a year and a half since I “officially” started my hair journey, and OMG! Looking back through old pictures for this post, I realized I just didn’t know how jacked up my hair was. It was hot a** mess! Lol!!!  To fully illustrate my point, I am gonna take you guys all the way back to 2008.  It’s as if the hair growing out of my scalp now is completely different hair!  Let me be an example to you…heat damage is real!  I can’t really speak to the damaging effects of a relaxer because I’ve never had one, but I’m willing to bet money that there are relaxed women out there whose hair is healthier than mine was after years of thermal styling.  And, y’all know I still love wearing my hair straight from time to time, but these pictures are a reminder to keep the heat styling to a minimum, and use the right techniques and products to protect my hair when I do straighten.  I CANNOT let my hair go back to the disaster that it was…nope! I just can’t do it.

2008

This picture was taken in 2008 at my 26th birthday.  At this time, I was wearing my hair exclusively curly because I was working out twice a day, and straight hair was pretty much pointless. This was also three years after I cut my hair to my collar bone in 2005 to get rid of damaged ends from heat styling and dying my hair while I was in college.  I think this is actually when I first started really wearing my hair curly, and it just happened to work well with my workout schedule, too.  At the time, I lived for my wash’n and diffuser.  When I did straighten my hair, I used an electric ceramic flat iron.

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Sometime between 2008 and 2010, I stopped working out (shame!) and resumed straightening my hair, but after wearing my hair natural for so long, it wouldn’t get as straight as I liked with the ceramic flat iron, so I took it back to what I knew would give me the bone straight press I was looking for, and revisited my old friend — the pressing comb!  And, it was all downhill from there.

2010 (my early blogging days!)

Believe it or not, at this point, I wasn’t even fully aware that there was a problem (SMH!).  I knew that my hair wasn’t as curly as it used to be, but I didn’t care because I preferred to wear my straight anyway (looking back, it wasn’t curly at all. Lol!!).  I was also living in ponytails at the time so traction alopecia and breakage were creepin’ on the come up!

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Late 2010

I started reading hair blogs like MopTop Maven and Curly Nikki, and I started to get the feeling that I wanted to do something with my hair, but I just wasn’t ready.  I tried a few things here and there, but I hadn’t made a real commitment to change my hot combin’ ways.

The first thing I tried was a bantu knot out…my first attempt on the far left was very interesting. Lol! the curls were SO tight! Lol.

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Next, I tried a set of wave clips from Conair, and I actually really liked the look…

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After many failed twist out attempts, I started doing chunky braid outs by cornrowing my hair in two or three big braids…it wasn’t the cutest, but it worked.

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Early 2011 (the day I realized my hair was jacked!)

I don’t know what it was about moving to Atlanta — the water? the climate? the stress of moving? Or maybe it was a coincidence, and my hair had just reached it’s max, but it became incredibly dry and started to shed like crazy. I thought I was balding, and my edges got so thin that I was embarrassed to wear a ponytail.  I also realized that whatever remnant of a curl pattern I had left was gone!  Seriously, I remember taking pictures on this day wanting to cry!

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Mid 2011 (the day my hair journey began!)

The picture above was taken in March, and that was the day I knew my hair was so over me and my hot comb.  My birthday was coming up and I was at my wits end, so I straightened my hair for that, and continued to wear my hair straight until June 6, 2011.  That was the day when I finally swore off straightening and ponytails, and made a commitment to suffer through the bad hair days until my healthy hair returned.  I was inspired by my friend Toia, actually!  She took me to the world natural hair show, and her natural hair was soooooo gorgeous, and healthy, and full…all I could think about when I was with her was “I want my hair to be healthy again.”  At the time, she was actually rocking a flexirod set on her natural hair, and after we left the hair show, she took me to the beauty supply and I stocked up on flexirods.  And, that is how I started my hair journey…with a flexirod roller set.  It totally camouflaged my dead, lifeless hair.

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I loved my flexirod sets, but they were a lot of work, and quite painful to sleep on.  Since I didn’t have a hooded dryer, it would take all day or all night for my hair to dry.  In search of something a little easier and a little less painful, I revisited my old bantu knot outs, and that became my go to for most of my journey…

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Usually, I did my bantu knots on wet hair, but occasionally I’d try them on dry hair for a different look…It was different, but I liked it!

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Even though the bantu knot outs were MUCH easier than flexirod sets, they still took FOREVER to dry, so when I didn’t have time for that, I’d rock a chunky flat twist out which I achieved by flat twisting my wet hair into two or three chucky twists, air drying, and unraveling every day.

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2012 (I Love My Hair Again!)

In 2012, I continued with my bantu knots and flat twist outs until about April.  As my hair grew longer, I was really starting to struggle with terrible knots and tangles with the bantu knots.  So, after seeing what appeared to be the return of my curl pattern when washing my hair, I decided to brave a wash’n go for the first time since that disastrous day back in 2010.  I was a little leery because I could tell my ends were still pretty much straight.    My hair had grown a ton since I started my journey, and I’d been slowly cutting the ends off 1 – 2 inches at a time throughout the year.   What remained was so dead, I knew the only solution was to cut them off, but I wasn’t ready for a big chop yet.  So, I tried the wasn ‘n go, straight ends and all…and wouldn’t you know, it didn’t look half bad.  From then on, it was bye bye bantu knot-out… I was a wash’n go girl, again.

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I also introduced the top knot into my hair rotation this year…it was one of my go to styles for the summer!

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This year was also when I really saw the fruits of my labor in terms of growth.  I was straightening my hair about every 3 months to trim the ends, and while I could see major progress in terms of thickness and overall health, it didn’t seem to be growing all that much.  I guess retention can’t really be expected when you’re cutting so much to alleviate the damage.  Fast forward to June, when I straightened my hair for the second time in 2012, and I was blown away! My hair was so much thicker, and it had grown several inches.

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Straightening my hair always revealed how bad my ends were!  And, even though I loved seeing my hair graze my bra strap, I knew that eventually I’d have to let go of the dead ends…but, I still wasn’t ready, so I held on to them for another 5 months. Lol!  As the year continued on, my straggly ends were keeping my hair from being great. Lol!  As I was cutting the dead ends little by little, my hair was growing at different rates, and I’d gotten to the point where the straight ends were completely gone in some parts, and in other parts I still had 1 -2 inches left.  Needless to say, my hair started looking really crazy! And, I started to depend more and more on top knots, which wasn’t ideal.  I saw myself heading back down the road to traction alopecia.  So finally, just before Thanksgiving, I accompanied my sister-in-law to the salon, not fully committed to the idea of getting my hair cut…but strongly considering it.  A couple hours later, I walked out of the salon with 4 inches less hair and a head full of long layers.

You guys know the rest of this story…I lamented about the cut for a week or two before admitting that my hair looked 1000% better than it did before.  I know, I know…silly me!

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So, there you have it, my friends — My Healthy Hair Journey (in pictures!)…the good, the bad, and the ugly! Lol.  I am super excited to be entering 2013 with a head full of poppin’ curls!  I think we can all agree that our hair does something to our self esteem.  When our hair is not right, we just feel all out of sorts.  I can tell you guys that writing a personal style blog with jacked up hair totally takes your swag down a notch. (I kinda hate the word swag, but it works here! Lol).  I can’t tell you guys how many times I’ve decided against taking pictures because of a bad hair day…or even worse, how many times I took pictures, and didn’t post because my hair looked a hot mess!  I know that bad hair days are not completely behind me…we all have them sometimes, but it is nice to know that they’ll be fewer and farther between…and they won’t be the result of totally fried, dead, unhealthy hair.

What’s Your Hair Story?

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22 Responses to “2012 Hair Journey Update in Pictures (Whoa! My Hair Was a HOT MESS!)”

  1. Tasha says:

    Omg I’m totally inspired by your honesty. I am completely struggling with my hair too! It’s really become stressful & makes me upset some days. I’m really been looking at YouTube videos trying to figure it out for 2013. Want my hair to be healthy. Question what did you use to help your edges? I think I need stop putting heat on my hair too

    • oh! I should have talked about that. Might have to update this post, but I also swore off gel. I think it was just a combination of no heat styling, minimal ponytails, and no gel…my edges just started to come back over time……and girl, it is a constant struggle. But, for me, the key was truly suffering through the days and not giving into the temptation to go for the easy fix, which would have been to go back to straightening and slicked back ponytails. The “transition” isn't going to be easy, but in the end, it is totally worth it!

  2. Tasha says:

    Thanks my dear. I don’t use gel but ponytails are my thing. When I lived in Atlanta I did the Bantu knots & no heat for 60 days. My hair was doing well & then I got tired of doing the knots. Lol.

    Thanks for the honesty.

  3. I haven't seen not one bad look in all of these photos girl! lol I'm very impressed by your journey and your hair looks amazing! Lots of love and I hope you're doing well Eb! Hope to see you again soon!

  4. Danielle says:

    Woo hoo! Nothing but some good old fashion patience and consistency. You look fab either way :)
    My recent post Happy Holidays!

  5. Debby says:

    How inspiring! I JUST got a grasp on my hair and it was looking perfect until this Holiday season…I've straightened my hair a LOT! But something that helps me a TON is the Tresme' split end remedy and Aphrogee leave in conditioner. I swear by those two products. Of course a regime is the ONLY way to heal damaged hair but I need to start back up my routine again.
    xoxo Debby
    My recent post 12.22.2012 OUTFIT: I Love H&M!

  6. Ashlei says:

    This is so awesome, Eboni! So happy to see you were able to turn things around without totally chopping everything off, very inspiring! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    xx
    Ashlei

    My recent post {Outfitted}: A Fur Stole

  7. My hair story is long and sad but basically it grows, then falls out, grows then falls out. :( This year, I have to get serious about it again.
    My recent post Merry Christmas.

  8. Cramel says:

    Well let me tell you this first, your worst hair days are nothing compared to mine! lol! But I definitely respect your hair journey, I'm actually at the point of "Okay I really need to do something about the health of my hair" So we'll see :-) Great post!
    My recent post Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! from Boutique Freak

  9. Tammie says:

    Amen…
    My recent post Haul! Be your OWN Santa…

  10. I really appreciate you doing this post because it's so inspiring. I struggle with the decision about whether to grow out my relaxer and growing natural, but I'm afraid of that chop. My hair could stand to be a lot healthier and I to see full natural curls. I might have to get myself on YouTube and natural hair blogs to get that courage and inspiration.

  11. Angela says:

    I love reading about other people's hair journey. I could probably write a book on my hair journey, starting from age 5 lol (no exaggeration!) So girl, I know the journey and the struggle, especially as it relates to heat damage since I too am a lover of straight styles. But patience is key….if there's any "miracle" product that is going to work wonders and "make" your hair grow, it's patience. It's understanding what works for YOUR hair. I can honestly say that it wasn't until this past summer when I finally had a solid grasp on what my hair needs and the best regimen for me, and I've been natural for over 4 years. I know the routine of experimenting with different products, watching a million and one YouTube videos, getting frustrated because my hair didn't turn out like Curly Nikki's (LOL), etc….but that's all part of the process. Now, my hair is finally at a point where I can say it's healthy in both the curly state and when it's straight, and best of all, free from heat damage :-)

    So with that said, congrats on pushing through the journey. Your hair looks GREAT, especially with the new cut!

  12. Em K says:

    Our hair is very similar except I’m still in the growing out the damaged parts stage! I try and use the flat iron minimally at lower temps which has helped. My main cause of damage was having blond hair – it’s taken forever to grow out!

    Your hair looks great, healthy and full!
    Em K recently posted..snow day!
    Em K recently posted..snow day!

  13. Toni says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey! I particularly like the pics of your hair after the first Bantu knot out and the flexi rods. I've been natural for 6 years after transitioning for about a year. I've chronicled my journey via Fotki..I loced my hair a couple of years ago and wore them for two years til I combed them out earlier this year. I have since created a YouTube channel to share hair tips and other personal areas of interest, I love my loose natural hair but find myself missing my locs lately. "Going natural" has helped me to embrace my hair in its natural state and inspire others as I've realized how versatile natural hair is!

  14. Dre Day says:

    Eboni! I applaud you for sharing such an honest post about your hair journey. I too have experienced thinning hair and edges in the past couple of years, so reading you talk about it made me feel like I wasn't alone. Seeing such detail, in your words and your pictures, really helped me to see everything that's been going on in your journey. It is very inspiring to say the least!!! Thanks for sharing your journey with us =)
    My recent post Reflections: 2012 in Review

  15. Great post! I totally get where you're coming from, as I'm currently right at that 2011 mark that you mentioned above. Hopefully this time next year, I'll be happy and looking great…just like you! ;)

    xoxo

    Reign
    My recent post Reign’s Style: Gleeful in Gold

  16. MissKiss says:

    Hello Miss Eboni! After reading this post I feel a boost of motivation to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm struggling to between doing what's quick and easy vs doing what's best for my hair. And don't get me started on struggles of going to the salon to get the "trim". I think I'm going to do it…As always I love reading what you are willing to share. Keep doing you. Much love to you gorgeous! Thanks for posting. – MissKiss

  17. elleseesyou says:

    My hair is very dry, coarse, and has a slight wave. And I went completely gray by 30 (hereditary) so I constantly dye my roots. it's been not-so-nicely described as horse hair. EEP! I cannot embrace it as it and it takes lots of product, but I love then! ;)

  18. So you're a curls girl. Looks good on you always. Happy new year! :D

    Adiya
    My recent post Trine Lindegaard SS13

  19. Alaya Sheardon says:

    Great post and journey! My hair is permed and my daughter's is natural. Dealing with natural hair when you have no clue is rough!! I'm looking to get her hair healthy and curly. Get inspiration!

  20. […] so that I have actually embraced my curls. It was actually because of Eboni’s honesty in this post that made me feel better about it. I am 90 days without heat, which is huge for me. I shall see my […]

  21. […] so that I have actually embraced my curls. It was actually because of Eboni’s honesty in this post that made me feel better about it. I am 90 days without heat, which is huge for me. I shall see my […]

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