So, as a professional it shames me to have to write this. I feel like I am confessing sins, here! But, perhaps there are others like me who have asked themselves "why on earth am I am stuck at arm pit lenghth?!" And when I say stuck, I mean hovering around that length for six months to a year or more. We're talking a serious hair journey set back. I couldn't help but think of how my hair seemed to flourish at the beginning of my journey and then all of sudden, no progress. I mean, the second year was horrible! But then I got real and had to admit that the lack of perceived growth was because:
1. I got lazy. When I first started my healthy hair journey (not really aiming for a particular length), I did everything right! I utilized protective styles 80% of the time. I moisturized and sealed every other day. I deep conditioned every week. I avoided heat like the plague. After comparing my progress pictures for the first year, I felt like I had conquered the world! So, I became a bit lax with my regimen. I wasn't moisturizing as much, so my hair was dryer. I found myself trimming a bit more than I would have liked...
2. Which brings me to number two. Over trimming. So I realized that I had to correct the damage I was doing by not taking care of my ends. Plus, at the beginning of my journey I was working with mostly natural, but about 3 inches of texturized hair on the ends. Having done two BCs, I wanted to gradually get rid of the chemically processed hair. But, I got scissor happy. Even after trimming a couple of inches, I still wasn't satisfied. I "dusted" all of the time, or, at least that's what I called it. It's like I became obsessed! As fast as my hair was growing, I was cutting it off because it looked like I could use a trim. And this is even AFTER I got rid of the remaining texturized hair! In actuality, what I probably needed was a little extra moisture and/or a protein treatment or two.
3. Yeah, about that protein....I stopped doing it. Now I usually do at least a keratin treatment every few washes and my hair LOVES it. But again, I got lazy. I figured as long as I was protective styling, I was ok. But I wasn't. My protective styles were left in too long, and then I wouldn't condition properly when I did finally take them down. Common sense stuff, right? SMH
4. But wait, there's more. And this, I believe was a major contributing factor: my diet sucked. Now, I'm not a health nut by any means, but I do recognize the importance of a balanced diet and proper water intake for optimum hair growth. I became a total slacker, and my hair, skin, and nails suffered. Where once I was juicing and smoothing every week and taking my supplements, I slowly tapered off to a few times a month! Of course I had excuses, but really? There's NO excuse for not taking care of my body!
So, that's it, in a nutshell. Once I was willing to admit that the reason my hair was no longer flourishing was all because of me, I got back with the program. I still protective style, but only for a week to two weeks at a time. I also realized that as my hair became longer, it tangled more. So, now I use heat periodically (and very responsibly) to help stretch my hair for a protective style. Tangles and breakage have all but ceased. I am also back on my moisture and seal kick. I deep condition after every shampoo. I also use my growth stimulating oil that my scalp absolutely loves! Aaaannndddd, my diet has drastically improved! I can't begin to stress the importance of drinking plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces), eating lots of leafy greens and a variety of fruit, foods rich in protein, and, if an extra boost is needed, taking a good supplement ( I prefer liquid supplements for better absorption). I mean really, these are things we already know. The main point is to not let your new progress keep you from continuing to do the things that brought you the good results in the first place. After all, this is a journey!
P.S. I finally made it past APL!