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 :-):

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!