So I guess I'm still learning

I will introduce this post by saying: It's funny, because I've been natural for two years now, yet at times I imagine that my hair is something that it simply is not.

This weekend I purchased my first e-book...and it was hair-related!!! Sidenote: I love my hair books!  I purchased Curly Like Me by Teri LaFlesh.  I have two other hair books (Ultra Black Hair Growth and Grow It). In comparison, this book had a lot of great content: hair science, great pictures and an awesome story to tie everything together.  Teri is witty and honest - she offers a fresh perspective on products; really getting to science of things.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hair science or wants to know more about products.

Naturally, when people write these hair books they always offer a fresh perspective on something style-related.  Teri's "new" styling option focused on leaving your hair conditioner in.  I mean leaving a regular, plain 'ole conditioner IN.  However, only certain types of regular conditioners "work" for her method of styling.  In the end, using her method, you should be left with defined non-frizzy curls/coils.  I loved this idea because there is no "solve-everything" product to define the curls - just the conditioner and your natural curl.

I decided to give this method a try since it cost me no money.  Thankfully, I already had a conditioner on-hand that had the necessary characteristics to HOLD my curl, and it also did not have characteristics that would make me want to rinse the conditioner out (think sticky polymers). *Teri discusses these specific characteristics in her book*   I give these coil-defining methods a try because with product applied, I do appear to have some defined coils.  It's always a different story when my hair the end of the day, my hair came out in afro-form.

Don't get me wrong...I like my afro, but I look at a couple of facts: 1. Outside of a FRESH braid/twist-out, my hair does not hang down-PERIOD. 2. Oil and water don't make my hair feel any different. Honestly, I think I've just been adding the stuff because it works for others, and I feel like something may be happening on a microscopic level even though I physically notice no difference, LOL. My final conclusion is just that my hair is STILL JUST DIFFERENT!  This leads me to wonder....Do those WITH AN ACTUAL CURL/COIL TO DEFINE have different "rules" than those of us with hair like cotton?  If so, what are our rules for retention & moisture? I'd love for you all to weigh in on this one...


  1. lmbo. this was a fail! I have days like that too where I think I can do braidouts and it is just not an option mainly cuz my stuff is so thin, it takes forever to even get the braid out and not leave any definition.
    I feel like I can include myself in your category because although I have coils, my hair is def still cotton. I realized that my hair loves coconut oil and castor oil. Oil sheen does not stay, neither does just plain ol olive oil.
    I'm still trying to find a summer-heat-proof protective style. I just keep to my wash and gos and afros, but my ends are always exposed! My other usual protective style is wigs or weaves, but it's just been too darn hot. But I really need to find something to keep my ends in so I can retain length. I've tried the trusty kimmaytube method but my hair is so thin it looks kinda crazy (but I still managed to pull a number with it lol)
    Luv ya!

  2. Teri's method really works for spiral hair, I tried it too and only the ends of my hair clumped up.

    My hair does have some hang to it when it is dry. It is more of a weight thing, the hair just has reached a length where the fro droops. However if I wet it it will fro up and shrink to about an inch.

    Retention rule - Keep it braided (own hair) for 3-4 weeks at a time. Any hair that touches the shoulders needs to be kept off. Second rule, always use conditioner when detangling (patience rule applies too) to stop hair breakage.

    Moisture rule - None really. I think that for my hair, some dryness is acceptable. Trying to find that special product which makes hair feel like it was conditioned 5 hours ago is pointless. I accept that my hair will always have a dry feeling. I only bother about moisture when I intend to handle it. This means a small mist of water and 5 minutes to let the water soak in before trying to handle the hair.

  3. I consider my hair "coily/ curly" for the most part (there is a decidedly cottony portion in the top center of my head) and honestly I am one that likes to follow the directions that come with the product. If the conditioner says rinse I want to rinse, if it says leave in I leave in. There is no logic other than irrational fear, and elementary training to follow directions that makes me do this, and I generally get the results I am looking for. I would be willing to try her method because she certainly doesn't look like she has suffered any damage as a result of her practices.

  4. I've been feeling the same way, but I know a lot better than to try Teri's routine on my hair. It's just not going down. I think the natural community is great and all but there is too much focus on getting "curl definition" and not enough on accepting the cotton candy fro situation that a great many of us call our hair. I have been wearing my hair natural for 15 years now, but most of that time I was in locs. Trying to get my real cottony 4b hair to work has been a challenge but the bigger challenge has been accepting it as it is. Let's start figuring out what becomes a fro best!

  5. @ Jazz - lol, it def takes some trial & error w/ this ish, plus finding cute & sassy protective styles at shorter lengths is a DEFINITE challenge.

    @ Jc - thanks for the tips, perhaps I can also accept that my hair isn't going to feel super soft/'s just not her personality. I was twisting last year, been bunning recently, but I'm starting to worry abt my hairline. I will find another cute protective style!

    @ jhenny - when you look at the conditioner ingredient (at least for the one I used) - I would apply all of it right to my hair w/o washing it out. It's all about finding the right product and straying AWAY from conditioners w/ sticky stuff esp!

  6. My first round of being natural, I particularly enjoyed these two books: The Black Woman's Guide to Beautiful Hair by Lisa Akbari. This one was more science oriented and I learned about pH values in products. Seriously I wanted to do the hair strand testing to see if I was missing something in my diet. The thought still crosses from time to time. The other book I enjoyed was Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair by Diane Da Costa. Both of these books give different strategies and techniques for the different hair/curl types which is good because I'm generally leery of books whose covers show images of people with hair very much NOT like mine.

    The experience you outlined sounds very familiar to me. lol I'm still learning what my hair likes, but the journey is always ever changing. It seems that my hair needs change as the length changes. And for me, my hair seems to thicken quicker that it grows longer. Maybe one day it will be long enough or heavy enough to fall "down". Until then, I'll just keep experimenting and reading your blog. You go first. :-)

  7. Jazz....Weaves are probably contributing to thin hair!!!!! I always had a healthy head of Thick hair & once i became obsessed with weaves...I noticed lots of length, but my hair was OBVIOUSLY THINNER!!!! so now, I HATE!!!! Weaves!!! with a Passion!!! i'd recomend you stay away from them & see if you get any improvement?!

    Braids (used for weaves) and Individual extensions as well as Glue (used for weaves) THIN OUT OUR HAIR (i've heard the same complaints from many ppl)!!!! so, yeah...just be careful.

  8. I tried leaving in conditioner --a while back, like Vo5 mixed with water and it softens my hair, but definitely does not define coil patterns.

    But I've been using only sulfate conditioner for about 2 months now when I wash my hair and I notice my texture has a more defined look.

    I actually noticed that as the weeks go by, my texture is becoming more defined, but I think it's the conditioner.

    Oh and Grow It was okay, I wish it was less focused on the author, the book was a little too thin for my liking.

  9. @Camille Acey - I always imagine how much easier my natural hair journey would be if I had a diff type of hair. I'm accepting it as is, however, I also recognize locs will probably be in my hair's future...this ish is just too much work sometimes! lol

    @ Libby - Thanks for the book suggestions, I have more hair reading (which I love, yay), and LOL at me trying first!

    @prettydarkthing - As my hair continued to grow and I learned to detangle better, I started to see more of a coil pattern when it was wet. However, it obviously still dries like cotton. I definitely think it's a good sign of proper hair care & growth!

  10. @Shandra E.- I wish my explaination was just that easy. Stop wearing weaves :) But the thing with my texture is not that my hair is "thinned out" it is just naturally thin. Like smaller than a piece of thread thin. I love my hair anyway and just have realized that i can't do everything that thick hair can do, but I'm sure that advice is true for A LOT of ladies out there.