Have you ever participated in a challenge of some sort? For example, a fitness challenge, or, a beauty challenge, or, even a writing challenge?
From mid-October to mid-November, I participated in a 30-day hair challenge. It is called The 30-Day Hair Detox Challenge. You can read more about it here.
As with anything, The 30-Day Hair Detox Challenge had its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the pros:
- I have stopped using coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil – both as stand-alone products, and, as elements serving as the primary ingredients in the hair products I purchase.
- I realized the importance and necessity of clarifying my hair and scalp on a monthly basis, and sometimes, twice per month.
- I discovered some wonderful new products for my hair.
- I joined a fun, committed, welcoming and supportive community of natural hair enthusiasts.
- The owners of the program are responsive to answering questions, and providing assistance.
- I re-learned some basics about hair.
- I did improve my hair by arriving at a better understanding of the effect that certain ingredients can have on it.
Now, the cons:
- Perfecting the “wash and go” hair style seems to be the primary focus.
- My hair is currently a short Afro, or, more affectionately known as a “TWA” – teeny weeny Afro. Therefore, much of the discussion re: hair styles and hair maintenance doesn’t apply to me.
- Not much guidance re: hair care for those of us who exercise regularly.
- Focusing on hair typing is discouraged. I, on the other hand, feel otherwise. For me, arriving at a better understanding of my hair type has helped me to become more responsive to its needs.
- Not much assistance for those of us suffering from extremely dry hair and single strand knots, i.e. how to hydrate and moisturize Afro hair beyond applying product to soaking wet hair, and using styling gels, puddings and custards.
- Placing a sleep cap on my head when I shower did basically nothing to revive my hair, or to impart moisture, the day after a wash and condition, and beyond.
- I need and like to keep my hair neat. Applying styling product and not combing it for seven days is not a good look for me.
Although I still lurk on the Facebook group page from time to time, I recognized when the 30 days of the challenge concluded that I had not fully resolved my two main issues: extremely dry hair, and single strand knots. And, when one’s hair is as described, one is led to purchase products that are much heavier than one’s hair actually needs in an attempt to combat the extreme dryness and the knots.
I kind of gave the hair project a rest during the holidays. Mainly because I was at a loss, and, I had become weary of the whole thing. But, as soon as the New Year arrived, I was back at it, and did, in fact discover some techniques that I am currently trying. Actually, they are techniques that I had discovered back during the summer, but, for whatever reason, was hesitant to try. They seem to be working, and my hair feels less hard and there are fewer knots. I still have some distance to go, but, I think I am now on the right path.
I certainly don’t regret having participated in The 30-Day Hair Detox Challenge, and for the reasons I outline above. However, I still wasn’t happy with my hair, and, I was not going to resolve its remaining issues had I continued to invest time, energy in money in wash-and-gos, which my hair doesn’t seem to really like, anyway. I learned a lot about myself in relation to persistence, perseverance, and listening to and following one’s gut instincts.