HOW TO GROW LONG THICK HEALTHY NATURAL HAIR (IN GHANA) FAST; LESSONS FROM MY FIRST YEAR

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How to grow long, thick, beautiful healthy natural hair, in Ghana, oh what a journey we’ve had.

The first time we tackled this topic, we did an insightful interview with Mavis, aka Natural Journal, where we learned all about how a fellow Ghanaian lady is achieving her amazing natural hair. (You can click here to read that interview.)

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(two years natural)

Then I wrote about turning two years natural, and some of my secrets to the health and growth of my hair. That was two years post my second big chop, and I was so in love with my natural hair at two years natural. It was beautifully thick, strong and healthy, or so I thought. The haircare then was the most minimal you could possibly imagine. I washed and followed up with a conditioner sometimes, but I only deep conditioned when the planets and stars specially aligned and the mood struck me like ha! Deep condition time! I mostly wore it in chunky braid outs in all its messiest glory possible.

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(2 years natural chunky twist outs)

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Then the hair grew thicker, longer and my level of care did not evolve with it, so alas, then came the texlaxing. That was fun as it lasted, but I knew almost immediately that a cut was in my future.

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(My texlaxed hair)

And that leads me to the first lesson I’ve learned; which is:

  1. Man, know thyself.

You’ve got to know your hair.

You know, it’s easy to think that all die be die, all hair is hair and you can do whatever style someone else is doing, but alas, that’s not the case. Hair comes in so many types. Some hair strands (single/individual hairs) are very thick (otherwise described as coarse), some are normal strands, and others are thin (known as fine). I belong to team fine hair. I’ve been eyeballing others’ hair, and oh my, my hair strands are thinner than thin. They are virtually little coily/curly wispy things, almost invisible on their own when viewed singly.

Getting a relaxer will damage most normal hair, but to hair like mine, that is the kiss of death. It is already way to thin to withstand relaxers, or even texturizers. It starts to break off at the very suggestion! It can hardly take even braids. After my texlax, it looked very dull, and it begun to break off in chunks. It was traumatizing. I begun to care very properly for it. I deep conditioned every week. That helped but not much. After every deep conditioning session, I noticed how my undergrowth (which was my natural hair coming in) would look moisturized, shiny and curly, so in December 2016, I had my last touch up and big chopped in January 2017. It was very spontaneous, on a whim really.

I remember I was meeting Milos (my partner) and a work colleague of his (it was his first time in Ghana) on a lunch date and I cut all my hair off that morning! (By myself! Hacked away with a mirror and shears until it was all gone. No barber) It was a shock to them, to say the least. Ha! (To be fair, I had thrown around the idea of a chop a few times and Milos had encouraged me to do it if I truly wanted to.)

And that leads me to my second point:

2. Deep condition like crazy, and with heat.

For a while then, I had toyed with the idea of a short cut, and seeing how amazing my coily new growth looked after deep conditioning helped me take the final plunge. And I loved it. The feeling of water on the scalp every morning is priceless. And I enjoyed that everyday. It was so nice! I cowashed mostly, and deep conditioned at least twice a week. The hair looked great; never a bad hair day. Aaaah now I miss my short cut, seriously! Even now, one year after, deep conditioning doesn’t do me wrong. It’s a great way keep hair looking and feeling its best. What’s made it even more amazing is the addition of a heat cap. Girl, trust me, deep conditioning will change your hair game! I can’t stress it enough. Deep condition with heat, ladies! In a course of one year, I’ve tried a lot of deep conditioners I’d love to review here. (Fingers crossed, that I get the time!)

3. Divide the hair and conquer!

You know, you hear some things so many times and never do them, but once you start, it’s virtually life-changing. Such have been deep conditioning; and working on the hair in sessions. I’ve found it especially useful to divide the hair in five parts when I’m moisturizing and sealing. Trying to get moisturizer in all the strands is easier done in smaller sessions. And that lead to better care for my crown and nape areas, which had been my problem areas.

Leading to the next lesson I learned.

4. Different curl patterns, one head.

Different colours, one people, different colours, one people. So yeah, it’s very possible to have many different curl patterns on one head, and that is my case! I have different sized curls in the front, different at the sides, at the crown, and at the nape. The crown area feels very thick and dry. It’s the driest part of my hair. I like to treat it differently from the rest, but I shall write more on that later. The nape is the softest and curliest part of my hair (as opposed to the other coily parts). It’s the part easiest to keep moisturized but also easiest to break. This has been a very interesting discovery for me.

Also, seeing as everyone has different hair, not everyone’s hair routines and products might work for you. Even one product might work for some parts of your head and not others. I experimented a lot with mixing up my own deep conditioner concoctions and using multi-conditioning in one deep conditioning session.

5. Educate yourself on product ingredients. Not only “natural” products for my natural hair.

When I went natural before I was so adamant at sticking to so-called “natural” products only, but this time around, I’ve experimented a lot. It’s okay to use so-called “commercial” products as well. Just be aware of whatever you put on your head. After a while you notice that a lot of products have basically the same ingredients. I also noticed that products with certain ingredients worked better on my hair than certain others. I really learned a lot from reading labels and researching on ingredients, and that’s something I’ll encourage you to do as well.

Okay, last and bonus point!

 It’s probably not the best idea to go bald right before you get pregnant!

LOL. Just had to add this one in here because I struggled with this quite a bit. Might write more on this later as well, but for now, will just have to say that one shock to the system is enough! haha. But that was just my experience. Of course everyone’s is different.

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(my big chop)

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(Hair Jan 1st, in two buns)

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(my afro)

In conclusion, I big chopped for the third time last year, and I’ve learned a lot.

Follow good hair practices, treat your hair like your crown, and it will grow fast, long, thick, healthy and beautiful.

Sharing the top lessons with you has been fun, and I hope that not only did you enjoy the read, but that you learned something new. If you did, please let me know by liking the post, and commenting whatever you’d like to see next on the blog.

Also, sorry it’s taken so long to post again.

Shout out to my dear reader, Freda, for the constant reminders to post! Also to Audrey, Aimee, Scott, Biki, and Nadine for the warm welcome on my previous post. I appreciate you all. Thank you all who read as well.

It’s been quite a difficult month nurturing my little ones through vaccinations, little illnesses and the general busy-ness of life. I’m hoping for calmer times so I can be updating as much as I’d like (I’d be here everyday if I could, guys, you’d get sick of me 😛 )

Thank you for reading! I really truly deeply hope you’ve been inspired and more enlightened on your own natural hair journey.

Loads and loads of love,

Cara.

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AHOJ

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Shall I whisper, or shall I shout?

Feel like Tom Sawyer’s Becky Thatcher, lost in the caves, calling out with the walls reverberating with sound.

Except I whisper gently, …are you there?

Ahoj… Hello…

Sorry I left you in the cold…

Will you forgive me? I’m back here and I promise to do better…

Is that a joyful “ahoj” I’m hearing back from you??! Or is it the echo of my own voice?

Ahoj from me, in an outfit I loved, that brightened my day. Felt like a Spanish Senorita, and Alex’s friend Yasmine told me I “had shape and looked like a Black American”. Her sister Jada on the other hand, firmly decided and made me promise to do her makeup on her wedding day because I do mine “so nice”.

Well… baby weight for the win? (Yes, I have one more little bundle to cuddle and hold close. Adam, all bright eyes, cute little smiles, and searching/nudging rosebud lips. Eleven weeks old on Saturday!)

Seeing as Valentine’s day is right around the corner, consider this a little Valentine day outfit inspiration!

What are doing this Valentine? I think I might cart off the family for ice cream out, or simply stay in and read a nice book. But ha, who am I kidding! Read a sentence of a nice book is more like it, with the activity and exhaustion level around here. No complaints though. #blessed (Also, my birthday approaches; 4th February, so excited for that!)

Happy new month, my loves, and happy new year!

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Top : Thrifted from @twice_new on insta

Skirt : mrp fashion

Shoes : Tesco Slovakia

Earrings : Odara

Lips : Mac Ruby Woo

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Thank you so much for being here, for reading, for all the positivity and support; everything.

Love, Cara Mamacita!

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WHY I WENT FROM NATURAL TO TEXLAXED (TO TRANSITIONING) HAIR

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(The story of how I went from natural to texlaxed, and back to natural…)

A few months ago, yanking at my hair while Milos and the kids hollered at me to HURRY UP, because we were going out, something in my head just snapped, and the very next chance I got, I bought a tub of relaxer, and went from natural to texlaxed hair. And then, I proceeded to chop off half of my hair.

You might think it was a bit of a spontaneous decision, but actually it wasn’t. I had been contemplating a change in hair style ever since I entered my second year of the natural hair journey post big chop. My hair grew so much that it got increasing more difficult to manage (especially as I eschewed combs or heat tools, one of my major mistakes!). To spice up my pot of trouble, braids which are supposed to be a “protective style” broke my fine-stranded hair and weaves were worse. Grrrr. It looked like I was stuck with wigs as my only alternative and I was beginning to hate them! So that was it, it was either  time for another big chop (which would fit in well with my pattern of a big chop every couple of years, ha) or  something had to give. So a texlax and a half chop it was!

Even as the regret singes my soul (but not so much, because setbacks are all a part of the journey, right?) and I wail at my bloody hands (oh why you scissor-happy hands, whyyyyy) , I decided to write this so as to warn you fellow natural (and a future me!) should you ever be so tempted, perish the thought.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against relaxed/texlaxed hair, BUT I do miss my curls, and I wish I had changed my hair in a less drastic fashion, because a relaxer is PERMANENT, till you grow your hair back. Relaxed/texlaxed hair is also more prone to breakage as the relaxing process weakens your hair shaft and results in raised hair cuticles, making your hair more prone to dryness (as we needed more of that, hmph) and hence breakage.

Deciding to grow out your natural hair can be a bit of a rocky journey. Certainly not everyone around you is going to like it, and some are going to be pretty vocal about that dislike (from your security guard to random people you meet on the street, as I found out to my chagrin, gaaah).

Anyway, you have to take precautionary measures; you have to have some strong tools in your survival bag. So here I am, sharing my mistake, and I hope this helps enlighten someone out there.

If you know you’ll miss your curls too much, then please DON’T relax your hair.

There are alternatives out there, like a new protective style of weaves or braids, or if your hair strands are too fine for that, then consider a blow out or a silk press. A silk press involves the careful use a blowdryer and a flat-iron to straighten natural hair which has been thoroughly washed and deep conditioned. The new hairstyle can last even a month or more, which is great!

Did you know that there are such terms as blow-dried naturals and straight-haired naturals?? Don’t you just love how many options we have even as we go chemical-free?

It’s the chemical-free hair for me y’all, let the transition begin! (Again…)

And this time, it’s a yes to blow-outs, combs and brushes. That’s nothing wrong in easing the journey, n’est pas?

What say you?

Aaaah, it’s a glorious love affair with my locks, growing and learning through my own mistakes; loving every inch of the journey! I highly encourage you too to continue to self-care for your locks! Let’s continue to live,  love and learn, my loves!

Thank you for reading, loads of love to you!

xoxo, Cara

PS. This is a photo of my transitioning texlaxed hair a little blown-out. It’s growing back in nicely, despite so many frequent trims these days, or perhaps because of them!

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PINK GLOW

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Living in Ghana is absolutely a blessing weather-wise. It’s blue skies, refreshing breezes, beautiful coast lines and coconut all day long if you so wish. Perfect summer weather and summer dresses all year long. Literally paradise.

Aren’t we the luckiest souls alive?

So add some vibrancy to your day and indulge in some perfect statement-making magnificent pops of colour, even if they are old favourites… Escape into colour!

Also, some good news…

At the end of the third week of July, clad in long flowing gowns reminiscent of Harry Potter, and a cap that kept slipping back down hair slicked into a bun, I sashayed up and down the graduating aisle and got declared as an Alumni.

It’s all over. Done with. And my life is now my own, yippeee!!!! Literally so thankful and over the moon. It was the perfect time to go spend some time with my mom and be fattened up in celebration. (And what a wonderful time and learning experience it was! Especially for the boys, they enjoyed living on a farm of sorts so much.) And now I can fully devote my life to the second stage of my apprenticeship – mastering Creative Writing. Wish me luck!

What you been up to these days? My, how I have missed you!

As always, thank you for reading, love you muchos!

Cara.

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TROPICAL BURST

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Given the amount of weekends we spend at the beach (almost every one), this mama has had to get a little bit creative with the outfits in order to keep things interesting.

I believe my favorite combo when it comes to beach outfits would be pretty shorts and a cute top.

Last time it was these favourite embroidered white shorts of mine paired with an ntoma top.

A basic but pretty strong combo, no?

 

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All the vibrant hues of green and blue just about made me feel like I was in heaven.

What a beautiful world we live in!

Now tell me, would you rock this combo to the beach yourself? The weekend is coming up! Wink wink.

Loads of love,

Cara.

PS. Say a warm hello to my new texlaxed tresses!

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Did I mention this was also a perfect outfit for hot chases through the sand as well? Check out my instagram for what I mean… haha

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Have a blessed weekend!

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