I've finally reached the end of my self-induced year-long protective style challenge :o) At the beginning of my challenge - August of '08 (see blog post here) - I had big plans of keeping my hair in protective styles for an entire year and achieving 6 inches of growth ( the average person's hair grows about 6 inches a year) added to the 4 to 5 inches I had at the time. I also had plans of taking vitamins, exercising, eating right and paying close attention to my ends during the challenge.
Well, now that the year has ended I am ready to examine the results. In the beginning, the first few months I did exercise some and tried to eat right, but those two things slowly died away - not to mention I have yet to take vitamin the first :o( - In the beginning I also took special care with my ends, but as the months rolled on I found myself getting a little lazy and not moisturizing them as often as I planned, but for the last 3 or 4 months I did pamper them. And in-between styles, I started washing my hair in 6 to 8 loose braids which has helped tremendously with breakage.
I think the fact that I got 'lazy' with overall moisturizing and paying closer attention to my ends and not taking the vitamins, resulted in me missing the total 6 inch growth mark. But in the end, wearing the protective styles did help me achieve much healthier hair, and the crown area of my head that seemed to not grow as fast as the outer areas - is actually healthier and therefore retaining more length. Overall, my hair has grown 4 to 5 inches longer - the crown measuring a little over 7 inches and everywhere else between 8 and 9.
This challenge has taught me the importance of moisturizing and setting aside time to take down and style my hair - which resulted in retaining length. It also has gotten me used to frizz. I was able to keep styles in for a month or more at a time - frizz and all.
In the beginning of my challenge, I wasn't able to put my hair in a bun without using clips to hold some of the shorter hair in place. Now, I am able to wear it in a high pun and actually have hair left to fold over.
My last protective style - big box braids.
I had big plans to do some finger coils, but decided to put my hair in two-strand twists (another protective style ;o) - I will wear these twists for two weeks and then unravel for my first twist-out in one year!
Front - my signature cornrows in the front. The front of my hair is thinner and straighter. Because it is thinner when I do two-strands there are a lot of 'holes' parts showing unless I do them really small. Because it is straighter the ends of the twists unravel, so I prefer putting the front in cornrows or flat twists.
I did these on freshly washed hair. I was surprised that there were not many 'holes' since I did them so big :o)
I plan to were this style for the entire month of August. The first two weeks like this, although I may put it up in a pony tail next week, and the last two weeks I will unravel to wear in a twist out. I will be back in two weeks to post pics of the twist out.
Peace and Blessings...