A little background about me; I've been doing my own hair since I was about 9 years old. I got my first relaxer around 13 years old (I'm 31 now). Currently my hair is relaxed, and at tail bone length. However, my ends aren't the greatest (I never ever trimmed
) so I've been working towards slowly evening out my ends.
Earlier this year I started doing research about transitioning after my mom stopped getting relaxers from damage since she also has a permanent color, and in only 3 years her hair has grown from shoulder length almost to tailbone length (she never big chopped, and still does permanent color, just no relaxer now). I sort of wanted to try go natural as well since I couldn't really remember what my natural hair looked like. I only remembered that it took hours for me to detangle when I would wash it. Granted, back then I probably didn't care for my hair as I should since I was so young, and I only recently (this year!) really started paying attention to my hair and it's health.
I tried transitioning for 4 months, but gave up when it started becomming increasingly difficult to detangle my roots. Since then, I've gotten better at being very gentle with my hair and making it easier for me to detangle (leaving conditioner on for at least 10 mins helps sooo much. Wish I knew that when I was trying to transition!).
So here I am, 2 months after my last relaxer, seriously considering transitioning again. But here's my problem! As I was going through old pictures of me before I got a relaxer... I notice that my hair was considerably shorter than it is today! At 7 or so, my hair was just past shoulder length. At 12, it was around BSL. After 13 after I got it relaxed, it was just a bit past BSL, but very very thick, healthy, and even length even though I never trimmed back then either. I believe I had to relax the entire length twice for the relaxer to take, since it was still very poofy. Around my low 20s, it seems my hair was just above waist length, and from pictures a few years later, looks like I achieved near tailbone length back in 2004, however its nowhere near as thick as before. Today, my relaxed hair is tailbone length yet I never took care of it. In fact, i'm surprised I have hair on my head with all the crap I have done in the past... such as not completely rinsing out relaxer etc.
What exactly does this mean?? Did simply getting a relaxer make my hair so manageable that it allowed my hair to grow this long? Is it simply due to the passage of time? (I noticed also that my mom's hair is longer than it was when she was natural as well, however her hair is undeniably more damaged from 2x chemical treatments). Or can it be that I have just unknowingly gotten better at taking care of my hair (even though I never really tried to until this year).
Now I'm seriously torn. Do I really want to try transitioning or do I want to maintain my relaxed hair, but start from now on trying to keep it healthy? There's so much I could have been doing over the years that I did not do such as deep conditioning, regular trims, gently handling my hair, properly RINSING out the relaxer(!!), moisturizing, etc. I have only recently started doing all of those. My goal is to have long, even length hair (I'm doing gradual trims... cant bare to chop off too much at once!) Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!!