Tqwana Explains…Straightening My Hair

I really wanted to love this product. Really, I did.

My hair had other ideas…

20140408_211322I heard about this thermal straightening kit from my friend Nappy Nikki. She tried it and her results were fabulous! Of course, I had to follow suit. Let me give you some background on my hair before I get to the review.

I’ve been chemically processing my hair since the age of 8, first with the jheri curl (shut up! It was the 80s), then with relaxers. By the time I made the decision to go natural, my hair was a hot ass mess. Wearing sew-ins nonstop didn’t help either. Damaged, thin, broken. I had a bald spot in the middle of my head. I’d dealt with scalp infections. It was past time to start over.

I haven’t had a relaxer since April 2012. I transitioned for 8 months, which means I stopped processing my hair and let the natural texture grow out some. That was a frustrating process, dealing with 2 different hair textures. And God – the shedding! I decided to just cut off the relaxed part of my hair in December of 2012 and I’ve been completely natural since.

But, I don’t wear my natural hair out, mostly because dealing with it is so time consuming. Nor am I good at all those twist-outs and bantu knots, and natural styles in general. I inherited my mother’s hairstyling skills, which means I have none. I’ve been wearing Senegalese twists and wigs since cutting my hair, which was only about 4 inches long, and I wasn’t comfortable with that length.

Now, the last few times I tried straightening my hair, it did not go well. Before I could even finish blow drying one section, it was reverting and shrinking. Shrinkage sucks! You’ll see why in a minute.

This is what my hair looked like today when I took out the twists that I wear under my wig. Dirty, frizzy, icky.

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This is what my hair looks after Step 1 of the kit, which is shampooing with the clarifying shampoo. Drawn up tight! This is shrinkage people. Didn’t I tell you it sucks?!

20140408_214936I really don’t like the way my hair feels when I use shampoo of any kind. It always seems brittle and stripped of its natural oils, but I’m rolling with this kit ’til the end.

Steps 2 and 3 of the kit are simple. Divide your hair into 4 sections, apply the foam, detangle, let it process.

I used 4 pumps of foam from step 2 in each section of my hair and let it process for 12 minutes under a plastic cap. At this point, I wasn’t feeling so optimistic. Detangling was difficult. I didn’t like how my hair felt, but I had to keep going.

You go right from processing to the leave-in conditioner in Step 3, no rinsing. My hair was feeling a little better by then. I combed the product through and felt a bit more slip.

Then the blow drying. And look at this!!

No shrinkage! No reverting! But, this is where my happiness stops.

I tried flat ironing using my InStyler thingy (only 2-3 passes), but my hair needs a professional trim, so that didn’t make much of a difference. Okay, that’s not necessarily true; it polished the hair shafts somewhat, but not much else. Maybe a little more softness. After playing with it for a while, trying different styles, it still didn’t revert or shrink! But, it wasn’t straight like I expected either. There might’ve been a futile attempt at wrapping my hair, but I won’t admit to any such thing.

It is now the next morning, and I’m disappointed. It’s back to looking like the above pic, as if I didn’t flat iron it at all. It feels dry, and I’m sure there’s some heat damage. My scalp also feels a bit sore. I’ve put some tea tree oil on it, hoping that will help. I’m not optimistic… My hair and scalp are special cases, though. They’ve been extremely sensitive my whole life, so that could be part of the problem. Don’t let my issues stop you.

My results are nowhere near as good as Nikki’s, whose hair looks like she has a fresh relaxer. I still say, with caution, give this kit a try.

On a positive note, I can’t tell you how great it is to finally see how far my hair has come in 2 years, to finally see what a year and 4 months of growth looks like. It can be so disheartening going back natural, especially when your hair shrinks up as much as mine does.

before_and_afterHAIRI have no real choice but to stick with this blow out for a week. I’ll also update this post after give it a hot oil treatment and deep conditioning to try fixing what I’m sure is heat damage. Needless to say, I won’t be straightening it again anytime soon.

Until then…

UPDATE:

I let a week pass before washing. Actually, I didn’t wash. I co-washed and did a hot oil/deep conditioning treatment. Helped a lot with this dryness; so did the Isoplus Hair and Scalp treatment I started using. And no heat damage like I thought. Blowing out was still very easy. So, was detangling. In fact, I think it was easier to detangle this time than when I used the kit originally, but I’m sure that had more to do with the conditioning that the straightening products. Despite my previous claim not to, I tried again to flat iron it after blow drying, and had really good results – for about 5 minutes. I didn’t even bother taking a picture. So overall, this product works, when your hair is in really, really good condition. But, I doubt it’ll last the 4-6 weeks like ORS claims. Your hair reverts back when you wet it, albeit with a little more relaxed curl pattern. But, after a day it shrinks back as if you hadn’t used the kit at all. I will give this a try again in 6 weeks, for better manageability if nothing else.

P.S. I’ve also started the Manetabolism hair vitamins. Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

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