Year-Long Protective Styling Challenge Update // Month 3


I am proud to say I have been going three months strong with my little marley hair protective styling “challenge.” I’ve gotten into a rut with styles, admittedly, but it doesn’t bother me; I’m far too focused on the overall health of my hair. The use of new products, consistency of routine, and the convenience of marley hair have coalesced into the best hair days ever. The wash day to style transition, as a by-product, is no longer a hassle for me in combination with a few tricks I’ve developed.

Goddess bun

Goddess bun

Despite the lack of imaginative styles, I’m so happy with the state of my hair that the rotation of the same styles is a non-issue. My hair has never been softer, silkier, shinier, more manageable, or more resistant to breakage since I transitioned nearly five years ago. I attribute this significant drastic turnabout to my willingness to step outside of the box, moving beyond the use of traditional products and blurring the lines of kitchenista criteria. The glycerin-based soap has added lasting moisture to my hair I didn’t know I was missing. I find myself wondering how I ever thought my hair was in good shape when the current state could put its prior condition to shame. I can’t sing the soap’s praises enough, I love it so much, but I do want to try out different brands of glycerin-based soap, namely, Whole Foods. I would love to purchase an artisan scented glycerin soap just for kicks to add a different fragrance to my hair.

Flat-twisted and braided Marley Hair

Flat-twisted and braided Marley Hair

Although I enjoyed the Cantu Shea Butter For Naturals Co-Wash Conditioner for all it was worth, the disparity between it, my baking soda/green tea solution, and the soap is too blatant to ignore. From great need are great and desperate measures taken and I am profoundly glad I tried all three of them, but I will no longer be utilizing the CSB co-wash or the trusty baking soda wash (unless as a last resort). The Creme of Nature with Moroccan Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment stays, however. While I don’t appreciate the less than natural ingredients and the strong artificial, nearly repugnant argan oil scent, I can’t deny my hair loves the stuff. The combination of the argan oil Eco Styler, glycerin soap, and conditioner has virtually eliminated frizz and shown me my hair’s true soft and fluffy texture while giving me the same definition I was getting while using the CG or the Conditioner-Only Methods.

I also want to note another practice that has contributed to the successes of my styles; raking. I’m sure I have made, at least, a cursory mention of this product application method before, but I didn’t really pay it much mind until now. I think it’s because results with my hair were hit-and-miss due to my previous methods and products, which inevitably overshadowed its value. I now rake product through my hair, from glycerin soap suds to my creamy shea butter mix, mostly because it’s so easy to do now since I’m finally using the right products for my hair, which keep it superhero manageable. Raking product through helps my hair remain detangled and my curls clump. The end result is braids and twists that practically separate themselves perfectly with virtually no frizz. You can’t beat that..

Twist and pompadour

Twist and pompadour

Going on the evidence that my hair likes argan oil, I will be purchasing a small bottle of CoN argan oil soon. It’s not pure argan oil (which is ridiculously expensive for just an ounce), but I was able to get my hands on a sample and my hair responded well. I only had enough to apply to the ends of my braids on right side of my head and narrowly stretch to the left, but I noticed that the ends on the right side were shinier and coiled up better than the left and held firmly while remaining soft to the touch. It was enough to make me want to give it a shot as extra protection for my ends alone

I am getting the itch to wear my hair out, not down, but out in a some sort of updo lately. Basically, I miss my hair, but it’s starting to get chilly here so I’ve been reminding myself that it would behoove me to continue protecting my ends with marley hair throughout Fall and Winter, Winter especially. I am determined to protective style with marley hair until next June. I will continue updates throughout my challenge and at the end of the year-long challenge, I will do a length check and compare. Protective styling has proven to be necessary for

Flat-twisted and braided pigtails

Flat-twisted and braided pigtails

me to retain length, but I wasn’t doing enough to maintain moisture and would wear my hair out and manipulate it too often after extended protective styling, which resulted in loss of the retained length. This time around, I would like to think I have learned from my mistakes and accepted that my hair can no longer be exposed and manipulated as often as it was when I was transitioning or after my BC. I expect to see decent results.

I’m extremely happy that I’m finally back on track with my hair. It hasn’t felt or looked this good since my transitional period and shortly thereafter when my one and only mission was to maintain moisture. My hope is that my hair will eventually retain length with the consistency of this routine, based on the improved preservation of my ends and increased moisture retention. Washing weekly has proved better for my hair and scalp than monthly or bi-weekly. The inclusion of mild silicones (silicones that can be removed with gentle cleansers), argan oil, and glycerin has caused my hair to do a complete 180. I thought I knew my hair and what it responds well to, but adopting the wash day schedule and steps from The 5 Hair Archetypes and revamping my products has shown me I didn’t know squat. I guess I’ll have to update my regimen and products page again. Peace & Love

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