5th Natural Hair Anniversary: 20" LONG African Hair, Washed & Blow-Dried!!

Heya lovely!! 

I sure do hope your week is going well! My 5th Natural Hair Anniversary is well underway..wohoo!! Now I know many of you have been asking me to spill all the beans so as promised, here is my full process!! 

As you may well be aware, I only use heat on my hair once a year as my type 4 hair is very fragile and prone to damage. As my hair has grown over the years, here's a few pointers I've picked along the way when it comes to my annual hair anniversary: 

1. Prepare your hair for heat use. 

Make sure your hair is primed, prepped and at it's best before you apply heat. Only apply heat to clean, freshly deep-conditioned hair. To find out more about how I prepared my hair for heat use, click here. 

2. Find a stylist and a salon ahead of time. 

This part is especially tricky as it's difficult to tell how talented a stylist is prior to working with them. But if you want to be really cautious, make sure you do your research. Ask around. Get suggestions and leads. Not everyone knows how to work with natural hair and leaving your hair in the hands of an amateur can lead to a major growth setback. I found my stylist through word of mouth but I'd honestly give her a 6/10. While I was really happy with my final result, the truth is, I had to walk her through much of the process and to be honest, I wouldn't recommend her to naturals in Melbourne! :-/

3. Pick a style ahead of time.

Now that my hair is 20 inches long (squeallll!!) I am being super duper careful with my styling. The ends of my hair are getting old and if I want to retain length, I need to minimise heat use. So this year, rather than go for a blow wave like I did here in 2014, I decided to go for a more textured, bodied look. If I do choose to fully straighten my hair later on this year, I'll do it myself with the right tools. 

4. Speak to your stylist as they work.

As I mentioned, my stylist knew little about black haircare. Melbourne is a DESERT when it comes to black hair stylists. As in SAHARA DESERT of black hair care. (Yes, in capital letters!) I asked around and couldn't find any black hair stylist. This particular one was recommended to me as she had worked on one Ethiopian client. One. *Insert eye roll* Smmmhh! Well, let's just say if I wasn't a hair enthusiast, she may not have been too sure what to do with my hair. I had to walk her through every single step of the way, I took no chances. Feel free to speak up and guide your stylist through their process. Afterall, it is your hair!

5. Congratulate yourself!

Who would have known that this is what lay ahead for me when I started my hair journey?! (See pics here!) I've come from soooo far and in just 5 years of being natural, I've maintained 21 inches of type 4 kinky, curly hair! It took a lot of time, patience, handwork and consistency to retain this length. If you're new to haircare, feel free to suss my blog for hundreds of articles on growing out healthy hair! 

..just a few more pics of the process! :-) 

I hope that as you read and watch my journey, that you'll be encouraged to nurture your hair (and yourself)!! 

Be sure to look out for my BIG REVEAL tomorrow!!! I'm sooo excited!!! 

In the meantime, I'm sending you lots and lots of love and sunshine, 

Tabitha.