Welcome to Relaxed Redefined ~ a better, healthier way to care for chemically relaxed hair. This is a personal hair journal created to share easy, do-at-home tips and techniques that have made my hair stronger and longer. I hope you'll learn something here that will enhance your healthy hair journey or better yet insprire you to start one. Happy Hair Growting!

5.28.2010

My How Time Flies!

I just looked at the calendar yesterday and realized I'm already 5 weeks post my last relaxer. I can not believe how fast that time went by or how easy my hair is to manage right now. There was a time when 5 weeks post was almost hell, by this time in the process I was tired of my new growth and counting down the days to my 6 week relaxer touch-up. It seems my hair has adjusted quite nicely to this new stretching schedule and tames easily usually well into the 7th week. Even though I'm 5 weeks into this stretch I still have 10 weeks to go, so I'm not even half way there yet, but if things keep going the way they have I'll make it with no problem.

I have been washing my hair every six to seven days with a sulfate free shampoo or gentle cleanser  (Shea Moisture Raw Shea Restorative Shampoo or Hairveda Amala Cream Rinse) and co-washing on day three or four of the week with Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner. I know a lot of people only use cheap conditioners to co-wash, but I feel like the co-wash is just as important to the health of my hair as the regular wash so if I don't use cheap products for one, I shouldn't use them for the other. I haven't been deep conditioning my hair all that much lately but I'm going to try to work it in over this holiday weekend. I'm still wearing a braid-out as a daily style with I moisturize and re-braid nightly. I should probably consider wearing a bun for a week or two at some point during this stretch just to give my ends a break from the warm weather, but I'll probably hold that off until the end. I'm so looking forward to seeing my progress at the end of this stretch, I'll already be past the one year mark of my Relaxed Redefined journey and it will be just in time for me to celebrate my success and my birthday! YAY ME!!!

5.18.2010

Length Check



The picture on the right was taken just the other day and is the current length of my hair. It is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches past my shoulders, and has grown a little more than 2 inches past the point of the last picture which was taking in early March of this year. I had to have my husband hurry up and snap this pic late last Sunday night because that was the last time I'll have my hair straight for while. I plan to wear braid-outs and buns for basically the entire summer until my next relaxer touch-up in August. I'm hoping for full arm pit length by then which is about 3 more inches, if it keeps growing at the current rate and I don't have any set backs I'll get there easily. Wish me luck and Happy Hair Growing :)!

Myths My Hairdresser Told Me

Over the years I've had several different stylist do my hair-- some very good, some not so good. And in my many encounters with these stylist I was always given plenty of advice and information on how to care for my hair, again--some very good and some not so good. But since I've started my hair journey I've learned that some of the advice and information I was given is a little off base and some just plain not true. I don't think the stylist were trying to purposely steer me in the wrong direction, I just think they sometimes had some pretty antiquated ideas regarding hair and hair care especially relaxed hair. Here are a few of the myths that my own hair experiences and research have made me rethink.

Myth 1) Washing your hair too often (more than once a week) makes your hair dry.
Yes and no. Water is wet and therefore adding water to something regularly can not make it dry (my over saturated flower beds know this all too well right now thanks to far too much rain these past few weeks). This myth can only be true for two reasons, the first is washing your hair frequently with regular shampoo, this can indeed make hair dry and brittle due to sulfates stripping all of the needed natural oils from the hair and scalp. The second reason has to do with how the hair is handled and styled after its washed, roller setting hair frequently is far too much manipulation and will eventually cause breakage. I currently "wash" my hair every 3 to 4 days and it has been softer and more manageable than its been in a long time. I do not use regular shampoo only sulfate free cleansers or just conditioner. My regular style right now is a braid-out which requires only light manipulation and air drys.

Myth 2) All hair grows the same amount at the same time.
Not true. I once told a new stylist that my hair seemed to grow fastest at the crown of my head, he told me that  couldn't be true because "all hair grows the same". But actually the thousands (about 150,000) of hair follicles on our scalps each have their own growth cycle. It is true that neighboring follicles may have a very similar growth cycle, but it is also true that follicles at the crown of my head may be on a different cycle than follicles at the front of my hair line. Learning and understanding how the hair growth cycle works and what the cycle of my own hair is has been an informative lesson and one they obviously did not teach at that stylist's cosmetology school.

Myth 3) Cutting hair makes it grow longer/faster.Again, yes and no. Cutting the ends of hair will do nothing to change the rate a hair grows from the follicle. As I noted in #2, follicles have their own cycles and there is very little (internal or external) that can be done to change that cycle. Cutting hair however, will remove the oldest part of hair strands leaving "younger" more viable hair ends behind. The healthier the ends, the less likely they are to split or break, which means more length can be retained allowing growth to be more visible. Keeping ends dusted/trimmed is an important component of healthy hair.

Myth 4) The only way for relaxed hair to stay healthy is to have it done regularly by a professional.
A big fat lie! A stylist once told me that allowing him to do my hair once a week or at minimum bi-weekly was the only way to keep my hair healthy. I almost believed him and made a follow up appointment after my relaxer touch up, but when I arrived for the follow up he kept me waiting too long so I left. I'm glad I did because I might have been sucked into believing that I had to pay someone else for what I've done for free (well my time is free--the products not so much) on my own.

Myth 5) Relaxer touch-ups must be done no less than once every 6 weeks or hair will break off.
Again yes and no. Stretching a relaxer takes practice and knowledge. I tried it before I was officially on the Relaxed Redefined bandwagon and it was a disaster, my hair was dry and breaking all over the place. However, once I took the time to learn how to properly stretch my relaxer with conditioning and lots of TLC I made it to 13 weeks with few problems.

Have you learned the truth about myths stylist have told you? Leave a comment and let me know!

5.13.2010

Healthy Hair Quick Tip: Air Drying

A great healthy hair practice for me is air drying, I believe it has been an important component in my hair success. It keeps my hair from direct heat damage and helps to retain much needed moisture. After my final conditioner rinse, I add leave in conditioners, detangle and let my hair hang free or braid (which helps reduce further tangling) and let it dry for a few hours or overnight. If I am walking around the house with hanging damp hair I put a satin scarf over my shoulders to protect my ends from rubbing against my shirt. My hair sometimes takes longer than I'd like to actually get dry when air drying, but in the end I know it will be better for my hair so its worth it.

5.06.2010

Could It Be I stayed Away Too Long?

I've been a little busy lately so I haven't been posting the way I should. But I'm trying to get back on track, I'm working on some new and exciting posts for next week. I have still be reading other hair blogs and recently a fellow blogger wrote that she is no longer deep conditioning her hair weekly because she feels her hair is healthy now and does not need it. I guess I'm on the fence about this, I understand it is possible to get relaxed hair to a "healthy state" but knowing what a relaxer is and how it fundamentally changes the structure of the hair I think I'll always view relaxed hair as "damaged" and therefore in need of extra conditioning and gentle treatment. Maybe I also feel, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" my hair has been doing very well with weekly deep conditioning so until it stops doing well I see no need to change my routine. I guess economically I can see the benefit of using less deep conditioner since they do tend to cost a little more than regular conditioners. But right now I am willing to make that investment in my hair to get the results I want.
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