I'm not sure if the lack of growth is a farse because I use my body as a measurement tool, or if it's a fact because I've had some serious breakage, or if it's a fact because I've reached my hair's break point AKA critical length (Jc talks about it here and here). I measured my hair with a ruler and got the following measurements:
Front - 9.5"
Side - 9"
Back - 7.5"
Check the side-by side January/April comparisons...
I don't know exactly what the deal is but I do know that my hair has never been longer than the length it is currently at. The last time it was this long was when I was a freshman in high school - over 10 years ago. The books I've read highlight that when hair reaches this break point, it needs extra TLC, perhaps even a change in regimen. The lack of progress has led me to frustration...and to wear my hair out last week - I know counterproductive. Additionally, if I still plan on participating in Loo's hair challenge, I need to keep my hair in 2-week sets of twists until baby Naja comes.
So, what's my plan? Here's a quick recap: Weeks 9-10 I wore a flat twist updo, weeks 11-12, I wore two-strand twists, and week 13 I wore a series of out styles. I'm moving into week 14 of the 6-month challenge. Saturday night I two-strand twisted my hair, after a fresh wash, with the intention to start locs moving forward.
I decided to do this because I don't want to spend hours on my hair at this point in my life. I want to be presentable, and I want to have long hair. I cannot seem to achieve all of these things without committing a significant amount of time to my hair (4+ hours a week). And to be frank - I'm tired of dealing with it. I really just want easy hair right now, and when you have hair like mine, managing it to be healthy is WORK!
I mentioned locking my hair in previous post here. While I don't love everything about locs, I also don't love everything about being a free-strand natural. Thus I decided to go with the style that gives me the least amount of grief, paired with the most satisfaction for my current wants and needs. Technically speaking, I should really be able to continue with the challenge if I stick with my plan of locking my hair. In short, that's the plan. I have more details below for those of you with more questions.
Answers to other questions for my hair enthusiasts
Why did you start with two-strand twists (in contrast with comb coils)? Because of the length of my hair. I called a salon to ask them what they normally do to start locs on shoulder-length natural hair, and they said they would do two-strand twists.
Why didn't you go to a professional? When I called the salon and they told me they would start my locs with two-strand twists, I thought it would be wasteful to pay them to do something I do well. Why pay them upwards of $120?
Are you aiming for free form locs? No, I used a comb for all of my parts and plan to keep my parts separated and neat.
Do you plan to go to a professional for re-twisting/styling? Nope.
How many twists did you do? About 80 in total. The first two times I loc'd - I went for really small ones, now I realize that I'd prefer medium-sized locs, about the size of a pen.
What products did you use on your twists? A mix of flaxseed oil and aloe vera gel. I plan to use this mix for re-twisting.
How long did it take you to twist your hair? 2.5 hours
How often do you plan to re-twist your hair? Monthly, perhaps every 2 weeks for the first couple of months.
Are you REALLY SERIOUS about this? I can't say for certain that I won't change my mind, but I will say that I have a lot of things changing in my life now, and I feel like now is a great time to make this move. My hair has been very symbolic of what is going on in my life. I feel like transitioning into a low(er) maintenance category is a good move right now. There's something about locs that are low-key and beautiful. Locs require patience and waiting...there are definite parallels to my personal life.
If I missed something - feel free to ask a question in the comments.