Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to make your setbacks be a thing of the past!

For as long as I can remember, it seems like I've constantly battled setback after setback. In fact, on my way out of a set back as we speak. This time however, I really fell strongly that this will probably be my last setback ever (at least I hope so). I feel confidently about the state of my hair going forward because I've learned some really valuable lessons along the way. Today I'll be sharing with you some of the learnings that will keep me away from future setbacks. Hopefully, you too can apply some of my experience in your hair journey.

Don't get discouraged. Whenever I find my self dealing with damaged brittle, breaking hair, I lose any and all sense of complacency and get determined to make changes. It's really important, if you're going to change your hair situation, that you refocus yourself to implementing specific actions that will bring about the results you desire. Just remind yourself "my hair is still growing regardless. My job is to make sure I maintain the health of my hair while it continues to grow."

Figure out what causes your setbacks. Although it may seem like it, damaged hair doesn't suddenly appear out of no where. It's a result of our daily or weekly actions. You have to take some time to reflect on what is the cause of your dilemma. I was able to narrow down several of my past set backs to the following:

Thinning hair
  • Too many visits to the Dominican Salon. The excessive heat, along with, the hair lost during the manipulation of the round brush left me with a thinner head of hair with every visit. If I continued to keep this as a part of my routine, my hair would suffer dearly.
  • I also realized that my poor detangling methods were also contributing to the thinning of my hair. Every wash I would lose so much hair with improper detangling. If I kept loosing loads of hair week after week, my hair would be see-thru in a few months.
Damaged Sections
  • For me, damage begins to appear in certain sections. This can be both good and bad. Good, because I don't have to deal with a whole head of damaged hair all at once. Bad, because this means that one area is not receiving what it means to thrive. If I don't act quickly to get the damaged area back to health, the damage will spread to other areas. Next thing you know, I'll have to cut healthy hair just to make it even with the struggling areas. That is something I never want to do.
Breakage. Breakage. Breakage.
  • My absolute arch enemy. What more can I say about hair breakage? Unless it's addressed - fast, my hair is in deep doo doo. I literally inspect each lost strand to determine if it's lost or broken. Too many broken hairs causes my anxiety levels to rise. Because my hair doesn't enjoy being bathed in protein treatments, I can't wait for the breakage to become excessive. By the time it's excessive, I'm know I'm headed for a setback. This is why I have to formulate all my actions to support hair strong, resistant, hair.
Identify. Remedy. Prevent.
I'm confident about my ability to avoid future (major) setbacks because I've identified the major causes to the hair damage I've experienced in the past. After identifying the issue, I think long and very hard about the absolute best and most effective way to eradicate my hair's malady.

That's when I begin to remedy the problem. The remedy usually involves incorporating a new step or product into my routine. One realization I had to make was that whatever I was doing for the past few weeks, months, was contributing to what I was experiencing at the moment. This meant that something had to change. Either what I was doing to my hair or what I was using on my hair. The worst thing you can do when you've suffered a set back is to keep on the path of insanity that created your result in the first place.

When you're thinking about remedying the problem, the question you must ask is "what is causing my breakage, thinning, etc?" One piece of advice I'd give you is not to accept the first answer that pops into your head. You also have to sit back and reflect on your habits. For example, when I have a lot on my mind, I tend to start playing with my hair. So basically, I'm manipulating my hair without even thinking about it. Doing this once or twice isn't a big deal, but if I do it day after day (which I did), I end up with areas thinner than the rest of my hair. The longer you think about about the cause of your hair situation, the better your chances of really getting to the root cause and eliminating the problem once and for all.

Prevention is really the final step of coming back from a setback. To be completely honest with you, the only way to get to the prevention stage is to make sure you've mastered the remedy to your problems. You'll know if you can move on the the prevention step only if you are seeing consistent, real, progress from your actions. If you're not seeing progress, then don't move forward. Currently, I'm in the prevention stage of my setback cycle. I feel that I've effectively addressed my shedding and excessive breakage. I know this because I see that I'm retaining length in areas that once struggled mightily. My job now is to continue on this path so every centimeter of growth is capitalized. I also know that a fine line exists between prevention and remedy. There's a delicate balance of maintaing a strong routine while adjusting ever so slightly if the signs of damage begin to reappear. Even though my hair is in a good place right now, I still know better than to step into a Dominican Salon for a very, very long time. Even the thought of using a flat iron right now gives me the creeps. Now is the time to make it all happen. Now is the time to gain the length, thickness, and health I so desperately desire.

So those are some of my thoughts on addressing setbacks. My prayer is that a year from now I can really see the fruit of all the this hard work and contemplation. I also hope that you too can see your setback as only a temporary glitch that can easily be overcome. Some of you have already found yourselves on the other side of a set back. I'm curious to also hear from you on what you did to make it happen.

Leave a comment....

  1. I had a set back, almost 1 year ago. I was definitely in panic mode. I was afraid to go to my regular salon because I thought all of my hair would be cut off since I wasn't sure of the extent of damage there was in other areas of my hair was. I found out the source and stopped it. Went to my salon, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It's been 4 or 5 months since that visit and my hair is back on it's path to greatness.

  2. u are right... i have noticed that whenever i am on the computer, i play with the hair on the left side of my head and as a result. the two spots i play with the most are damaged... now that i am acknowledging this fact. i know what to do to move forward.

  3. Very nice article. Really you have posted nice tips for hair solution. Thanks you for sharing.

    Clear Nails

  4. Girl I feel ya! A few months ago I suffered a major setback that left me feeling very down. Like you I think part of the problem was poor detangling methods and ironically stretching too long. I've adjusted my routine and have been monitoring it like a hawk. About 3 weeks ago I noticed breakage and immediately sought professional help.
    Great tips you have shared here.

  5. Nadege, I absolutely had to nominate you for a Sunshine Award. Both your blog and you rock!!

  6. I admit that now is the time to make it all happen.

  7. Right, it is the time to make it all happen, right now!

  8. I admit, very interesting post. Really you have posted nice tips for hair solution.

  9. I totally agree that preventive action is the most preferable way of treating hair-related problems.