Natural Hair Wash and Set Experience

I've been wanting to get my hair blown out for the longest time! I wanted to try something different with my hair. I haven't had my hair professionally done since I was relaxed in 2011, and I wanted to see how long my hair was and get these raggedy ends clipped. So, right before the New Year, I sporadically decided to get a wash and set at my friend's mom salon.

Her mom owns a Dominican salon, which I was a bit skeptical of because of prior experience. Now ya’ll know how it is when you get a wash and set from the salon— they roll your hair up, sit you under the dryer, blow out the hair so it’s nice and straight and flowy and then pass a flat iron through your hair for an extra touch of silkiness.

I was just thinking about all the heat they use back when I was relaxed—that made me a bit
nervous because I didn’t want heat damage all throughout my head. But, one of my other
friends, a fellow natural, goes to get her hair blown out sometimes and her curls have been
fine. What the heck, I thought. Whatever heat damage I incur can just be snipped out—after
all, it'll grow back!

Natural Hair Blow Out

I think it came out pretty good. It took me a while to get used to seeing my hair straight because I was so used to my hair either being in a puff or just my two French-style flat twists. A couple of hours later, it started to grow on me.

It looks good, but the process to get it where it that straight was terrifying for me! 

I won't go into too much detail cause that'd make this an extremely long post. Let's just say my hair was handled in a way I wouldn't ever handle my hair, from detangling to the roller set, and to the blow drying/flat ironing. Thinking back, wish I would have brought my own products—shampoo, conditioner, deep treatment, leave-in, and heat protectant—to better prep and protect my hair for the heat styling. My decison to get a wash and set was impulsive, so in a sense I blame myself for not taking those steps to make sure my hair was protected, especially knowing that there might be an excessive amount of heat applied(all Dominican salons are not the same).

My hair strands are very fine, making it very susceptible to breakage, so when doing my hair at home, I try to make sure to handle my hair gently so I don’t have any unnecessary breakage. The manner in which my hair was handled in the detangling and blow drying process caused some breakage throughout my hair as well as a bit of heat damage primarily in the back corner of my head and a few strands up front.

Heat Damage

The amount of breakage from that section was significant. I would just run my hands
through my hair to smooth in my conditioner and hair would just break off instantly. That just lets me know how weak and damaged my hair has become due to the blow-out.

Don't get me wrong, the stylist does beautiful work and I loved the way my hair came out. However, I don't think I'll be getting my hair blown again any time soon. If I do decide I want to go for the straight look, I think I'll opt for doing it myself. That way, I can control how much heat is being applied to my hair. But, before I even think about wearing my hair straight again, I need to treat it and restore it back to health.
Plan of Attack

I thought about just going to a salon that caters to natural hair for a consultation so they
can assess the amount of damage done and suggest methods of cutting my hair so it can
grow back healthier being that the health of my hair was definitely compromised with this
wash and set. However, I don’t think I have enough courage to take that big of a leap and
chop off what might possibly be a significant amount of hair.

Instead, I’m going to treat my hair myself for the next couple of months and see how my hair responds. My hair feels less dense from all the breakage and heat and it's super fragile. I did a
protein treatment a few nights ago to restore the strength in my hair with an egg, mayonnaise,
olive oil, honey, and I mixed in a tablespoon or so of some leftover ORS Hair Mayonnaise I
had in my closet. I followed up with Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner  as to add moisture back into the hair (left it on for about two minutes).

My curls were popping after yesterday’s protein treatment, but it wasn’t feeling as strong
as it usually does after a protein treatment. Hair is made of protein, and I know my hair needs more of it based on how it reacted yesterday (mind you, I haven’t done a protein treatment in almost two months, so it was time). It’s going to take a few protein treatments to restore strength back to my hair. I plan on doing protein treatments every other week (light protein treatments just to make sure I’m not overloading my hair with protein and cause more breakage), and then a heavier protein treatment—maybe just eggs and mayo alone, or Greek yogurt—every 4-6 weeks.

The weeks I’m not doing a protein treatment, I’ll do a regular moisturizing deep condition to give my hair a balance between moisture and protein. I'm looking into some Shea Moisture Products to help with breakage, either the Yucca and Baobab line or the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line....any suggestions?
Lessons Learned
  • Bring your own products // As I said before, I wish I would have brought my own products with me to the salon, no matter how crazy I might have looked with a bag full of products for the stylist to use. At least I know my hair is being treated properly before heat styling, which could possibly eliminate heat damage.
  • Speak Up // I wish I would have spoken up a bit more, but it was a bit difficult because of both the language barrier and me not wanting to make the stylist feel offended. I've been in salons where I've said something about the way a stylist was doing my hair and they'd get offended about it! Of course, there's a way to say something, but even if something is said nicely, they may feel as if you're telling them how to do their job. I especially didn't want to say anything because it was my friend's mom's salon, and I didn't want to make much of a fuss.
  • Blow Out the Roots Only // I think my roots probably needed just a zap of heat and the rest of my hair could have been flat-ironed on a low-medium heat setting. That would have easily done the trick, especially since my hair was pretty much stretched after the roller-set. 

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