This is a bit of a different post for me but I've had some inquiries and I thought it might be good to share what I've learned so far in my own hair journey. And I loaded this post with photos, just for fun. It has been 15 months since I cut my dreads off. I was ready at that point, it was so good and I felt so fresh and new. You can read more about that here. When I cut them off I didn't really have a plan. I was really tempted to shave them right away but it took a month before I got to that place, fully. Shaving them was seriously one of the most powerful moments in my life. I felt so brave and strong and true to who I am. I have never regretted that moment and I can see doing it again at some point in my life.
After shaving it I didn't feel like I wanted to continue keeping it short and so I set out with the intention to let it grow. This last year has been a process of that and I want to share some of it with you. It's been fun to look back and see all that changed physically AND mentally in this growing out process. For me, hair holds power and symbolism and I've found that true especially in shaving and then growing it and now having dreads again.
For the first four months after shaving I didn't trim it or color it at all. I let it do it's thing and would run my hands through it several times a day just to feel the freedom in that. We spent some of this time in Florida where it was warm and I'd wear a baseball cap sometimes but mostly I just let it be.
When we got to Wisconsin it was cold and I spent the next few months in a hat. I even slept in one because my head was so freaking cold. It did help to just be able to put on a hat and not think about it growing or even styling etc.
In March I got my first trim. I told my stylist that I was growing it out and just needed a little attention to the beginnings of it looking like a q~tip. At this point it was just basically a pixie cut. When it would start to get unruly I'd add a little coconut oil to the palms of my hands and warm it, then rub it just on the wild stray parts.
In May I bleached it again and went back to platinum. I did it myself like I have in the past and continued to just let it do it's thing. It got wild and I just embraced that. It felt good to let it do it's own thing, I think that's one of the best lessons I've learned in having dreads AND growing it out. Don't fight what it wants to do.
In this middle stage I started to use a lot of clips, bobby pins and headbands. Sometimes I would just twist the bangs back and secure them with a couple bobby pins, criss crossed. I also love headbands. I love stretchy fabric ones and thin ones that you can wear boho style. It's also really fun to tie a bandana with the ties up on top.
Again I waited as long as possible in between trims. When I would want to cut it all off I would go into my pinterest and look at photos of the hair that I was working towards. I started a board on pinterest called "growing out my hair" and I'd spend time adding pins to it. It helps to remember that every person who has ever had short hair and then grown it out has had days where they thought it was never going to happen. It's a sisterhood really ;)
During the whole time of growing it out I would wash it about once a week. I have done the no poo thing about 10 years ago but after having dreads I just really wanted lather and shampoo. I used an organic shampoo that smells like lemon and I used the tiniest amount. That bottle lasted me almost a year. After bleaching it I did use conditioner but I hadn't before that. Again, a small amount was all I needed.
In October I was able to get my hair into two tiny pigtails. There was much rejoicing.
In December I got my hair cut again. When I went to the salon I was actually in a cut it all off mood. However ;) I persevered and told her that I only wanted a trim. The mullet was getting a little out of control at this point. It felt good to have it trimmed and I knew that I could push thru after this stage.
That was six weeks ago. Last week my hair was long enough that I felt ready to dread it again. I may leave the dreads in for a long while or it may just be a part of the growing out stage. I also dyed my hair a bit darker blonde and have let the gray in my roots stay. For now. We'll see what happens. (No photos of this yet ;)
I've learned a lot about myself thru this process. And in looking back through the photos I realized that I really have loved most of the whole growing out process. It's been good. It's taught me to to be kind to myself and that you can always throw on a hat. It's taught me that while there is a lot of power in your hair and how you wear it, it does not define you.
If you're in process with you hair and have any questions I'd love to help. If you've come through this stage OR if you've decided you're never going to grow it out, I'd love to hear about your journey too.