I am currently five months pregnant. I maintain a home, a business, a husband, and our three children. I volunteer and minister as well...and I'm natural. Pregnant...with all of this...and natural.
I found myself recently washing my hair for almost five weeks. What I mean is, for five weeks, I've told myself to wash my hair and it never got done (emoticon: see-no-evil monkey). Before you think I'm nasty and living with a birds nest or loc'ed, my hair was once butt crack length (would we naturals call this BCL?). I cut some inches and was maybe bra strap length (BSL) or slightly shorter but I am almost back to BCL.
When I'm not drained, I can maintain my natural hair about every 1-2 weeks with a little pep talk. The longer I take not to clean my hair, the drier it is, and the longer it takes to deal with, specifically detangling. It can take me anywhere from 1-4 hours to do from start to twist (my typical last step). At times, this will last over days as I ran out out gas during the conditioning step and just left it in there with every intention to wash it out, at some point.
Being pregnant, wash days are far and in between...as long as two months! I guess that's why during my last pregnancy, I was shocked to be BCL. I hadn't really seen my hair much, and it looks that way again. But I have to remember all of the hats I wear, and I must represent each role well with properly maintained hair.
So because I am a low maintenance kinda girl, I don't like to put much thought into anything I wear nor any style of hair. I mean, going to the salon is even a chore for me (you try finding a good natural stylist, at the right price, who won't have you there eight hours, with my schedule!). So braids, wigs, weaves, or any pinups just won't work for me. Plus, I do like to change it up a bit, so a set style where I have to use my imagination (or a YouTuber's) isn't for me. Maybe I'm just lazy when it comes to my hair? 🤔 I wasn't always...not until child number two and then life got crazy! (That's another story.)
So, as I prepared to start thinking about what to write for this article, I was faced with two dilemmas: my hair is always super dry and I NEED TO WASH MY HAIR!
So I've decided to take you on my 'natural and pregnant journey'. I've seriously (this time I'm serious...maybe) decided to do something about this super dry frop I have (yes, I said frop).
I recently (last year) decided to stop faking the funk and start using heavier oils in my hair. Gone are the days of jojoba and coconut oil (which I loved as a relaxed girl...seven years ago). Now I'm an extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and extra virgin avocado oil (would we call this EVAO?) kinda girl. I've also incorporated rosemary and peppermint essential oils because after baby number three, my hair line looked worse than Lebron James's. it was completely gone. It's back now, but even my hubby asked if my hairline was receding back then! These oils worked better than the lighter ones because I have mostly high porosity hair, or hair who's follicles are typically lifted for no apparent reason (hence why it's always tangled). These oil lasted longer (although not much longer) and allowed me to have moisturizer hair for longer periods of time.
If you read in my last natural hair care article in the January 2017 issue, I've been studying (again but will follow through this time...most likely) moisture retention. And while that article was about maintaining moisture during the cold winter months, it's something I learned about when I first did my big chop (BC) back in 2010.
Having high porosity hair AND at least three hair types on this lovely head of mine (maybe we'll talk about hair typing one day), means I've got to seriously figure out what works and and in which part of my hair.
For instance, I've recently moved away from products with coconut as much as possible. I've been a Hello Hydration fan for ever. Before this line, I used the moisturizing line (pink bottle) from Herbal Essence and not did my relaxed hair love it. It loves the Hello Hydration conditioner as well (I'm sulfate free when it comes to shampoo), but the coconut oil.... So I've sought out new things. After using Castile shampoos (lavender followed by peppermint), I've walked away for these for moisturizing shampoos. Used some for the first time in awhile today!
So, today I used Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) Shampoo. Why? For one it has JBCO which does wonders for your scalp and mine has been flaky and itchy all pregnancy. Second, it has in apple cider vinegar (ACV - we naturals have a heck of a lot of acronyms don't we) which is great for girls with high porosity hair because it not only resets the pH balance, but also closes the follicle down during washing. It also clarifies the scalp and hair. It's packed with peppermint as well, which I love. The rest of the ingredients are assets with no coconut oil. I gently finger detangled and twisted my hair in three twists: two on the side and one in the back (for no special reason. I normally do four.).
I followed that up with an hour long grocery bag and towel deep conditioning masque using Shea Moisture's Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture Seal Masque. I've had this awhile now but haven't found the perfect combination to work with it, until hopefully now!!
I washed that out with warm then cold water, and moved to my last step. I took my EVAO (which I've poured in A LOT of peppermint oil and normally use on my body to tighten and tone skin, or bring stimulation to this growing belly in hopes of combating stretch marks) and rubbed that along my hairline and into one section and followed that up with Shea Moisture's Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner. After doing each section, I left them loosened to determine how I wanted my hair to dry.
I haven't found the perfect method to let it air dry loose, so I twisted my hair in eight twists and violá! Minus the time it took me to deep condition (one hour), I am ecstatic to report it took no more than 1.5 hours! And detangling was a breeze! (I typically finger detangle with a light combing if needed.)
What I did notice is the right side of my hair, which I always referred to the feminine side because it's always been the most manageable and healthy side, was way softer than any other part. My fingers just glided through it. This could be because I used the shampoo along the entire length of the left side, the masculine, thicker, typically shorter, less manageable side. The back was it's normal unruly, 'don't do anything with me' normal self, but it detangled better than expected throughout the process. Overall, my whole head of hair was softer and well moisturized (and very peppermint-y!).
I feel that each section has a different need and hope to figure this out over time, and pray that my post pregnancy hair doesn't change much (if people, men, only knew what a woman's body goes through to produce life). It's taken me all this time to really take my hair seriously. Makes you wonder how it got this length in the first place...or maybe it doesn't require much and I'm over thinking this? 🤔
It is my goal to condition and moisturize my hair every three days, or Tues/Wed and Saturday. This will help me maintain my moisture during this pregnancy that's zapping every bit of water I have (plus, you know...lifted follicles and moisture loss).
I really need a support team on this! Will you help me? If so, go to www.justmekjg.com and locate the message called 'Pregnant and Natural'. I'll make sure it's pinned on the side. I'll post this article there and we can swap tips and trades on the natural journey while pregnant. I'd love the feedback.
But until then,
Keiyia JOYet George