Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Strand Ceremony: Your Key to Fuller Thicker Hair

Thickness. For the past year or so, thick lush hair has been a goal of mine. Too many visits to the Dominican salon, along with excessive shedding due to an ailing scalp, and my incessent need to over-manipulate my hair for absolutely no reason, have all combined to create a thinner head of hair than I would have wanted. That's when I decided that I would shift the focus my hair journey to taking actions that promote thickness rather than length.

Well I'm happy to report that today, my hair is so much thicker and fuller than a year ago. This, of course, was no accident. I took some really intentional steps geared specifically so I could produce this result. If you don't mind, I'd like to share some of these with you today. So here we go...........

It all goes back to some time ago when I was strolling down the shimmering walkways of one of my favorite malls. I got there early and was waiting in front of the closed doors of Sephora waiting for the clerk to open for the day. As I waited, I looked around at the storefronts of some of the other businesses when something immediately caught my eye. It was an image of a woman of color modeling the latest fashions for passers by. I couldn't even tell you what she had on because my eyes were fixated on her hair. She had these full, lush, healthy loose curls. Her hair flowed effortlessly in every direction, probably with the help of a wind machine on set. It felt like I levitated towards that image and landed just inches away from the poster. I got as close to it as possible without actually putting my nose to the glass. The more I stared at it, the more I began to realize something that would change my life forever. The reason why her hair was so healthy was because each individual strand of hair on her head was healthy. Each strand of hair on her head was healthy.

For me, this was huge! Why? Because, at the time, I had sections of hair that thrived, and I had sections of hair suffering from breakage and/or thinning. Brining health to each strand was my key to thicker fuller hair. Not long after I received this epiphany, I stumbled upon this website and watched their amazing intro. Notice the amount of care and purpose he put into treating the woman's hair. I watched that intro play over and over again and was inspired to make some subtle changes to my routine because of it. On that day, I decided that I'd no longer just be doing a pre-poo, I was now creating my "strand ceremony." The strand ceremony would be my opportunity to impact the health of my hair on a micro level. My focus would be to apply conditioner with the intention of reaching each strand of hair with my nourishing products.

Before my strand ceremony was enacted, I'd apply product to large sections of my hair for compliance, just to say I did it. Suffice it to say, there were probably tens of thousands of hairs that probably didn't even come in direct contact with the product. Those hairs are then left vulnerable to the harshness of daily styling and manipulation. Those are the hairs that probably don't make it. Without them, I can not create a head of thick, full hair. So I literally, invested hours of time parting my hair into the smallest sections I could, then proceeded to spread that tiny section open so I could feel each strand of hair individually. It was then I would apply product, only after I could feel the strands. This process went on week after week, month after month, and still continues today. Yes, it's highly labor-intensive, but let me tell you, it's made a huge difference in the overall strength of my hair. You see, as each strand began to receive the benefits of the products, it could now stand on it's own. The strand had it's own strength that allowed it to withstand my crazy manipulation habits much better than previously. I should also mention that I prefer to do the strand ceremony on dry hair during the pre-poo step vs. on wet or damp hair after shampooing. Dry hair gives me more freedom to part in small sections without the concern for extra breakage caused by over-manipulating wet hair.

Along with the strand ceremony, I have also opted to use a mild relaxer vs. super strength. I've done this for a couple of reasons. For one, I feel that my texture has shifted slightly ever since I've adopted healthier eating habits. Super foods have really made a difference in the quality of my hair. I also believe that using a mild formula over super is like having your pasta al dente vs limp, lifeless pasta. This is definitely a secret weapon in my battle for thicker strands. Finally, I really had to address the issue of shedding I once had. I've written about this topic in several other posts so I won't bore you with the details. Long story short, I once accepted my shedding as "normal" until I decided to look into the possible cause which turned out to be my dry, flaky scalp. The moment I saw close-up pictures of the damaged scalp of people experiencing thinning hair, I knew I had to do something.

There was one last thing I did to help promote thicker hair. This one is kinda silly but I'll share any way. Every day when I was in the mirror or while I conducted my strand ceremony, I said to myself, "I have thick, healthy, full, luscious hair!" "I have thick, healthy, full, luscious hair!" I said this even when my hair wasn't anywhere near what I said it was in the affirmation. But I kept saying it anyway. This really helped me to remain consistent with what I was doing. The affirmation also motivated me to keep searching for solutions beyond just the strand ceremony. I invite you to try that sometime. It's much more inspiring than if I were to look at my hair day after day saying, "I hate the way my hair looks" or "My hair looks so thin and lifeless." That type of thinking gets me nowhere.

My journey to thick hair hasn't ended but I'm so pleased with the progress made thus far. As I mentioned in my last post, my ends have now become the focus. I'll continue to be open to the possibility of creating "amazingly thick full, strong ends." I can't wait to come back and report the details.

  1. Love this blog! I need to start a strand ceremony of my own. When you say you've thickened your hair you don't mean that each strand thickened do you? Am I right in understanding it as you've increased the health of each strand so there is uniformity in length among the strands? Basically, can you explain what it means to have thick hair?

  2. Great Blog, I recently started my own Long hair journey but it is very easy to get distracted as it is time consuming and the results are not immediate. Youve inspired me to keep it up :)

  3. Hi Nix! To answer your question, yes, the thickness is mainly from an increased uniformity in length. When there's more uniformity in length, fullness is created.

  4. I just wanted you to thank you for this article, but when you pre-poo you said you go through your hair in sections. what are you using to nourish every strand. I usually don't pre-poo so I was wondering how to do this and with what? Please respond.