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Relaxed Hair Health Update: August 2014

Have you ever watched a reality show that's focused on the journey of a person trying to improve themselves and after the episode ends wandered where are they now? I know I do. That's why I am starting a monthly post series on the health state of my hair. In several previous posts I've mentioned some of the issues, setbacks, and triumphs I've had with my hair, but I haven't provided a good update on what happened next.

This post is the first one in my Relaxed Hair Health Updates. In this particular post I will provide an update on the following:
  • Hair goals: Where I am with my hair goals for the year
  • Shedding: How my plan of attack on my shedding is going
  •  

Hair goals

In my very first post I listed out six goals to help me achieve healthy hair by the end of the year. Let's see how I've done thus far.

1. Stretch my relaxers for 10-12 weeks versus the 6-8 I'd been doing
Result: I am one for two here. For my relaxer touch up in April I had stretched eight weeks. For my most recent relaxer touch up I stretched 16 weeks.

2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
I planned to do this by using my leave-in conditioner every other day, using moisture focused products during cleansing and pre-pooing and deep conditioning each time I cleansed.

Result: I totally achieved this. I have been moisturizing and sealing at least every other day. I've done hot oil treatments and steamed during my wash days. I've also been using products that are moisture focused. I found that sticking to a moisture based routine was important during my last relaxer stretch of 16 weeks.

3. Do protein treatments every other week

Result: I failed at this goal. I haven't really searched for any type of protein treatment that I could use. The only protein I provided my hair was from protein ingredients in the hair care products I used and the food I ate.

4. Clarify once a month

Result: This is my second full goal achievement! I've found I need to clarify my relaxed hair at least once a month or my hair throws a fit.

5. Listen to my hair and cleanse it when it's asking to be cleansed

Result: I've been pretty good about staying consistent with weekly wash days, which seems to be working. So I've only had to do a mid-week wash once or twice.

6. Only use products with natural, hair healthy ingredients
I've been trying to stay away from hair products with petroleum, parabens and sulfates. I believe using consistent use of products with these ingredients played a roll in the hair issues I had before I started my healthy hair journey.

Result: I've pretty much stuck to this goal though I have to admit I'm more of an ingredient scanner versus reader. I've bought a few products and then returned them once I really read through the ingredients.


Shedding

Back in June I started to notice that I was shedding more. And I wasn't happy about it so I sat back and thought about what could be causing it and narrowed it down to three issues:
  1. low water intake
  2. low iron levels
  3. ouchless bands pulling out hair

With the three issues in mind I put together a plan of action:

1. Increase my water intake
My goal was to drink at least 10 glasses a day versus the maybe four max I'd been drinking.

Result: In July I did well. During the month of August though I was back to the four or sometimes less glasses of water a day.

2. Up my iron levels
To do this I purchased some iron supplements and planned to add at least one high iron food item to each meal.

Result: I've been eating lots of leafy greens such as spinach and collards, as well as eggs and meats.

3. Start doing hot oil treatments

To incorporate hot oil treatments during my wash days I was going to do them for pre-poos. I hoped they would also help with detangling before cleansing.

Result: I did hot oil treatments for pretty much all of July and will be starting them up again during my last wash day. The oils I gravitated towards were sunflower and coconut oil.

4. Stop using hair bands on the ends of my braids and use hair clips or barrettes
When I was my hair I section it and braid it. This helps with getting the shampoo closer to my scalp and navigate my new growth. When I put in the braids I had been tying my ends with a hair band, but I found the bands were tugging and pulling out hair.

Result: I stopped using hair bands and started using clips. Since then I haven't had issues with hair being pulled out.

5. Make green tea rinses a part of my relaxed hair regimen
Result: Done and Done. I've really liked the results so far. I don't know why I didn't start doing the green tea rinses sooner.

6. Decrease hair manipulation
By doing protective styling and only cleansing my hair every one and half to two weeks I hoped this would cut down on the manipulation. Especially during relaxer stretches.

Result: I did only the first half of this by wearing protective styles. I just couldn't bring myself to do the second half. I found I didn't like going longer than a week between wash days.
 
Now that some time has gone by I am doing an assessment of how I did with my hair goals plan to reduce shedding of my relaxed hair. | arelaxedgal.com

All in all, I think I'm well on my way to having healthier hair by the end of the year. I have noticed that my hair is softer, stronger, shinier, and easier to manage. Most recently my shedding has decreased. Also, I have started to get a handle on my new growth by increasing my use of moisture focused products.


How are you doing with your hair goals?


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