Though I’ve been natural for almost five years, I haven’t seen any astounding growth or length in my locks. I started with about two inches all round and have about eight inches on my longest strands so getting long hair has been a major concern for me. When I discovered the online natural community in 2009 or so, you couldn’t take me away from my computer for anything! To this day, I spend hours upon hours longingly drooling over naturals on the web who experienced such lengths  in less than two years that I have only dreamed of attaining! I wondered to myself what could be responsible for their length retention and made it a point of duty to always ask any fabulous natural who cared to listen, what her secret was. The common response from almost all of them was “extra virgin coconut oil and unrefined shea butter”. It was almost like a mantra, turning into a broken record the way I heard these  two ingredients all over the place. Then one fine day last December, I just couldn’t hold back anymore: I went to Whole Foods because I was determined to give these wonder oils a trial…them and almost every other oil I heard mentioned on You Tube!  Once I got there I was like a little kid let loose in a candy store and there was no stopping me: I got several oils, essential oils and aloe vera juice; I went to town!  At the end of the day I was excited about my purchases, but after the adrenalin rush died down, I turned frantic with worry about what I was going to do with all that stuff! Then I figured: it was blogs and You Tube that got me into this “mess” in the first place; I might as well turn back to them for a solution so that’s exactly what I did. The response I loved best was Lola’s (of the blog Lolazabeth)  :

me on December 23rd, 2011:

“Alright Ms Lola,
I think I’m in trouble over here: in my usual extremist ways, I done broke the bank and bought me every oil I’ve ever heard mentioned on You Tube or I’ve read about in blogs, and now I’m so overwhelmed with all this stuff that I don’t know where to start…I have me some evoo, evco, almond oil, avocado oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil,castor oil, jojoba, neem oil, mustard oil, vitamin E and I think there’s one more…do I use them all mixed together? will they be as effective?do I use one today, another tomorrow and a third the day after??or do I use up one oil then start on the next???Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I got small sizes, but no, I had to go get the biggest sizes of everything that the companies carry(except the argan oil, that was a bit too expensive for my itsy bitsy pockets)! HELP, PLEEAAASE!!!!!

Lola on December 24, 2011:

“…Hey Princess! Take a deep breath, it’s gonna be alright :) I’m actually excited for you—think of how fun it will be getting to know each of these oils! I would start by trying one oil at a time, maybe to seal in your moisturizer. Use it for 2-3 days and make note of how your hair reacted, the good, bad and the ugly. Then move on to the next oil until you’ve tried them all. By then you should have a pretty good sense of what your hair likes best. After that maybe try mixing one that you like with one that you don’t like so much. It may be a winning combination, maybe not. But don’t toss them out! Oils that your hair may not like for sealing may be perfect for pre-pooing or for a hot oil treatment. The oils your hair didn’t like may be fine when whipped into your fave butter. But whatever you do, write down the results. Also experiment in small batches so that you’re not left with a large batch of something your hair doesn’t care for…”

I think she liked the question too because she actually dedicated an entire article to it, which made me feel famous :-):

http://www.lolazabeth.com/dear-lola-i-done-broke-the-bank/

I’ve been following Lola’s suggestions for just a little over a month now  and I think  the advice she gave me was the best thing I could have heard at that time. In retrospect, I would say the reason I was overwhelmed was that I kept feeling like I was under pressure to finish everything up at once! (and this is an area that I struggle with whenever I buy in bulk, I don’t know if anyone else can relate?). But I think I’ve calmed down now, I feel better now(lol) and I have a plan now, so yay Lola!!!

I tried each of the oils and my hair loves them all, but my nose could do very well without some of them thank you very much (monoi de tahiti comes to mind: pee-uuu!!!)! So when my supply runs out, I see myself replenishing extra virgin olive oil, evco, almond oil and maybe mustard oil. Everything else has been nice, but I don’t know if I really need them all…

For whipping my shea butter I find the coconut and olive oil has been the best combination. I didn’t particularly care for the texture of my shea aloe  mix, not even when I added avocado oil to it so I ended up putting a few spoons of amla and brahmi  along with vegetable glycerin into it and that’s how I use it now (I forgot to mention the vegetable glycerin was also purchased during my Whole Foods expedition, and I’m not too sure if it’s very helpful to my life). I can’t wait for that to finish because I really don’t like it even after all the mixing, measuring and matching. Thankfully it’s just about 3 ounces left…

Sooo: what’s the verdict? How has using the oils benefited my hair in terms of length? I’m on my blog so I think I can be as honest as I want: I really don’t see any change. Not. One. At. All…So does that mean I won’t use them anymore? No, I plan to continue using the oils I mentioned earlier because  they seem to be of benefit to the texture and quality of my hair, even if I’m not seeing any fantastic length(just yet). My hair is certainly healthier today than when I first started, and I have heard it said time without number that health should come over length, and length would have no other choice but to surely follow. Well I’m willing to wait and see, since at the very least, I have the rest of my life to find out!

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After spending the dying weeks of last year studying the topic, I started 2012 diving headlong into the previously unfamiliar world of ayurvedia. I must admit to being consistent with this for the month of January, so first off, yaayy me!!! for keeping a commitment as time consuming as this one…the usual me would have lost zeal after a few days but I am determined to see some growth in 2012 for a change, so any remedy or suggestion that offers the hope of BSL for me this year will get my full attention and dedication till it is proven beyond doubt not to work for me!

One thing that seems to be happening is that my curl pattern appears to be changing. My hair seems somewhat straighter, especially around the circumference, and I’m still not sure if the herbs are responsible for this. I have asked around in several hair forums, and the only response I’ve got so far agreed that the herbs might be responsible:

me:

“…do you notice that ayurvedic herbs change your curl pattern? I have been using fenugreek, amla, brahmi and shikakai once a week since January 1st, and I think my hair is getting straighter. I have done some research and nobody seems to associate ayurvedic herbs with changing curl patterns…any thoughts?”
her:
Originally Posted by Lita View Post
“@princesskaha Hi! Yes, when I was using henna paste on a regular,I started to lose my curl pattern, my hair became stronger/thicker but I was losing my natural curl pattern…I started mixing Amala/Brahmi/little egg powders with cond,every week & my curl patten returned in about months time…..I stick with hibiscus, Brahmi,fennel & marshmallow root…With no problems…I do this 2xs month…*Try to limit your use to every other week or once a month & see what happens…”

I’m not too sure if it will be as effective if I use it less often, so I have decided instead to leave it in for shorter periods: instead of 4 to 6 hours, I will wash the paste out after 3 hours and check the results. Today was the last wash day for January 2012, and I think I have developed a regular pattern thus far. I am also improving on my heavy handedness such that I don’t drip so much anymore so that’s a good thing, but what will really make me happy is when I am able to finally find a streamlined list of treatments that work for me so that I can keep it real simple.

Despite the weird, lingering smells (at least to my nose!) which most of the ingredients exude, plus the length of time I have to spend rinsing everything out at the end, I think this regimen is a keeper. My hair really seems stronger. I really don’t know if it is making it any longer, or darker since I was told that amla helps darken hair, but I will give it some more time. I started using the herbs on January 1st, and I want to continue till June 30th, when I will assess the overall results of this entire experiment. Until that day I hope to keep up with this…and hopefully I can achieve that with no more complaining!!!!

The very first Friday of 2012 is finally over and I couldn’t let it pass without thanking God that brought me through!

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