Braids and Twists Galore!
I was so scared of further damaging my hair that I wasn’t going for any styles that put me at risk for too much tension on my scalp and hair, so I stuck with braiding and twisting my natural hair.
I would do ‘wash and gos’ during the week, and then opt for either a braid out or some flat twists on the weekend. Since these hairstyles were both low manipulation and protective, I was able to grow my hair longer as well as retain length throughout the year.
If I wanted to change my style a little bit, I would add in clip ins(affiliate link) to my ‘wash and go’ or extensions(affiliate link) to my dutch and/or french braids for length. However, I’d take the added hair out before bed to avoid any breakage at the root of my hair.
No Heat For 1 WHOLE Year
Heat was the very reason I was in this situation in the first place. No only did I straighten my hair way too often, but I got some sketchy information about “heat training” and would try to loosen my curl pattern–huge mistake.
Because I was really angry at flat irons(affiliate link)–and well, because my hair was generally fragile anyway–I refrained from using heat for one year. This was one of the reasons why I was able to retain so much length because nothing was really breaking my hair off like heat, and now it was finally out my life. My hair grew quite a few inches before the year was even up, but I still stuck to my original goal.
After the year was up, I didn’t flat iron(affiliate link) my hair for another 3 to 4 months afterward. And when I did, I prepped my hair with with a trim, protein treatment, deep conditioning(affiliate link), and then I went to a trusted hair salon and got it professionally straightened.
I experienced absolutely no damage and was a very happy camper. Now, I only get my hair flat ironed twice a year so I can still rock straight styles without all of the damage.
I Went Vegan!
Except for cutting out dairy and eggs from my diet, I never had to drastically change what I ate because I was a Vegetarian to begin with. Instead, I decided to focus more on what went into my hair. I began using “chemical free”, “all natural”, Vegan products and recipes.
Unfortunately, finding Vegan products made solely for natural hair was a little difficult at this time because they were either pricey, didn’t work for my hair, or they were non- existent. Because of this, I worked mostly with DIY recipes. I used everything from ginseng, hemp, and shea butter(affiliate link) to avocado, lemon, and honey on my hair daily.
Ultimately, the shea butter(affiliate link), ginseng, honey, and vinegar mask was the recipe that worked wonders for my hair and really jump started my growth.
After a few fails and some glorious successes, I learned that caring for my type 4 hair wasn’t a cakewalk. But instead of giving up and relaxing or continuing to straighten out my kinks all the time, I learned what worked for me–and it allowed me to begin loving my hair.