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Curly Nikki

The Definition of Progress

By January 27th, 202121 Comments

Tia writes;

I’ve been doing the same routine for the past year. I oil rinse and wash every week. I follow up with a heated moisturizing treatment and style, usually a wash and go. I have a few staple products that I don’t stray from very often. My hair is growing but so very slowly. I guess you can say I’m seeing progress, but I’m just so frustrated.

My question for the curlies is after all your hard work, research, and time spent, are you seeing progress?

How do you define progress? What do you think is attributing to it?


  • Ai says:

    I've been transitioning for 10 months and recently switched to all natural products and use heat only once per week. My hair was growing at a wonderful speed as soon as I stopped using heat, but since I added all natural products my hair has never been healthier or happier. I really think that I've made great progress.

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    Health is progress to me.

    My hair, since my transition, feels better than it did in my relaxed years. It's fuller, thicker, and in better condition. Thus, I have progressed.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with "atribitt" that it is so important "to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT through pictures." Had I not taken pictures of my hair over the course of the last 10.5 months (that's how long it has been since I did the big chop), I too would have sworn that my wasn't making progress. Yet, it is and up until recently, wash-n-goes have been my staple style. I recently blew my hair out and I was so shocked at how much it has grown as I have about 60 percent shrinkage. I also agree to just care for your hair, cutout on all bad practices, and just apply a "less is more" approach.

  • Anonymous says:

    My 4c ends feel like brush broom sometime because it's the oldest and has been beaten up for so long.

    I get sloppy with my handling and detangling and soon see broken pieces in the sink.

    I've been natural for 2.5 years and can't make it past 5 inches length:

    Progress for me is not having to clip my ends because my hair gets crispy and jacked-up

  • Milan says:

    Its so funny that Im seeing this post now because today i just felt soOo FRUSTRATED with my natural hair. I know that its growing and it has only been two months since my natural journey has begun but i am so eager. I really feel like i have been taking great care of my hair, washing and conditioning it once a week as well as co washing it with my own natural recipes however when I looked in the mirror today I felt like no progress was being made. Nevertheless i am staying positive and hoping for the best. 😀

  • Anonymous says:

    That's some GREAT knowledge atribitt, thanks a bunch 🙂

  • atribitt says:

    I am 4a/b. I have been doing wngs the whole time since my bc… and I have seen growth. The biggest thing is to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT through pictures. I would have sworn that i had not seen much growth if it wasn't for my monthly pics. i have noticed, with having curly hair, that the times i most notice growth is every 3 months… that's when i can tell just by looking at it. also, try not to think of growth as in how long your hair looks (because shrinkage is deceptive). instead, think of it in terms of how you can achieve styles. when i was a shorter twa, my puff wasn't much to smile about, but now that i'm 8mo post bc, i can pull my puff holder smaller and smaller… pretty soon it will be a pony tail! good luck on your journey curlfriend.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love this hair styl!!!

    Does anyone know where I can watch a tut on youtube?

  • Iamsonotmyhair says:

    I can see a progress in growth based on the things I continue to learn on a daily basis about my hair. Once you find out what works for you, stick with it. It's a constant process that has to be carried through out your journey. Don't do what works for others but what works for you. And take pictures. From month to month you can document your progress. Some times you may need to try a stretched style for reasurance of growth. You can check out my channel (iamsonotmyhair/youtube) if you'd like. Good luck on your progress:)

  • Anonymous says:

    I call it progress when my hair FEELS great most of the time–soft and moisturized–whether it is out or in a protective style. I believe I have finally found the right mix of products and techniques that yield great feeling hair–98 percent of the time.

  • Anonymous says:

    To me, progress means:

    1) My ends feel smooth and supple, rather than dry.
    Spritzing with aloe/water/oil mix daily and sealing ends with a light oil 3x/wk helps maintain this.

    2) Avoiding product buildup and sweat /salt buildup
    Rinse hair after workouts (2x/wk, although I workout 6x/wk) and apply a leave-in conditioner.

    3) Length of hair feel well moisturized, but not greasy

    4) Ends are not creating knots on themselves

    I find that if I measure progress this way, I notice significant hair growth over time.
    I guess what I mean is that I measure progress in smaller increments (than looking at simple length)that lend themselves to positive encouragement in trying to reach a bigger goal- healthy hair. This translates into longer hair- unless I decide to cut it! Lol

  • Unknown says:

    Protective styling during the week has made me see the most progress. Shana a.k.a Kinky Curly Queen and Nikki both give great examples on twisting as a protective style. The only time my hair is ever loose is on Sunday's or when I co-wash. As long as your hair is healthy regardless of the style it should be growing.

  • Anonymous says:

    I see progress with my hair growth. It contributes to moisturizing my hair as often and as needed. When my ends are moisturized they don't break off or split which helps retain my length.

  • Anonymous says:

    also, remember that natural hair strinks…and strinks and strinks.

    so, you may want to try some products that will elongate the hair…like shea butter or some cream you like.

    i have been natural for two years now and that one year mark felt like my hair hadn't been growing…but oh what a difference a day makes!! in my case a year!!

    just hang in there because i use to see natural with this long hair after twist outs and wash-n-goa and thought when was my day coming. it came after hitting the two year mark. it has the length that i like and hangs to a nice length after both wash n go and twist outs.

    so, hold on your day of length is coming. just nurture your hair.

  • MelMelBee says:

    I agree with DIY. I absolutely see progress. I had a twa, overly porous very stingy and damaged hair a year ago. I do my best to take care of my hair. I don't do length tests…never have. I can see it growing. I can feel it's stronger and I know it's healthier. That's how I measure my progress, not by growth alone.

    Still trying to develop a solid product line-up, but I'm not stressing over it because I follow the basic rules…moisture/protein balance, moisturized, low maintenance, sealing, good ingredients, etc.

    Enjoy your hair at each stage. Do a seasonal check. In October, look back at your hair now and see how far you've come.

  • Jessie =] says:

    For me, once I stop focusing so much on progress and just do what I have to do to keep my hair moisturized and healthy, I find that growth comes in time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do agree with Anon 12:14 that the wash 'n' go can be contributing to your hair not retaining length as you'd like. For me, it's the whole watched pot never boils thing, and lack of growth seems to be mental, cause others say they see growth. For my hair less is more: washing less often, using less product, messing with it less. When I stop worrying about "is my hair as long as someone who has been natural as long," and just ensure healthy hair, I seem to have a growth spurt. Which makes me think it's partially mental, and I need to stop "watching that pot." Now, if you say you've done the same thing for the past year and your progress is so very slow and frustrating maybe it's time for a regimen change. You can probably alter one thing at a time, like styling choices. Then maybe how often you wash, etc. In everything, enjoy the journey, cause there are things I can't do with my hair now that I could when it was only 2". So, I tell myself don't dwell on "man I can't wait for my hair to be this length to do this," but wow my hair is pretty amazing right now. Phew that was long, sorry.

  • DIY Hair Care Blog says:

    For me, a watched pot never boils. I have researched every step in my regimen and try to take great care of my hair so I trust that. I don't constantly stretch my hair to look for growth b/c since my hair is curly it's hard to "see" growth before 4-6 months intervals.

    I think it just comes to trusting what your doing. If you know the products and techniques you're doing are right for your hair and make sense (meaning you did your research) just wait it out and then measure your hair in 4-6 months. You should see abt an inch or more by then.

    Even with random breakage and trims, I see consistent growth at 3 inches every 6 months. So I don't worry anymore…

  • Anonymous says:

    I also can not do wash and gos. It makes my hair to dry. I find that my hair grow more when in wo strand twist.

  • Anonymous says:

    I see the most progress when I stick to the regimen I know always works for my hair: once a week, wash w/ Trader Joe Tea Tree Tingle, deep condition w/ Joico Moisture Recovery, detangle w/ Giovanni Direct Leave-In, twist for a twistout with Shea Moisture DTM, seal last 2 inches of my hair with castor oil. Retwisted every couple of days after re-moisturizing with the Giovannni. I've retained most of my growth for the year. I know for my hair, I can NOT do wash 'n gos without experiencing too many knots/tangles for my liking. Twistouts keep my hair stretched and my ends fairly knot-free.

    Maybe the wash 'n goes are the reason you're not retaining length?? Try styles that keep your hair stretched. Keep your same regimen, but do twistouts or braidouts (or some other -out style) for a month and see if you've retained more length. Make sure to measure before and after, so that you can tell definitively!

    Or it could be that your hair grows less than the average 1/4 a month.

    ~ Ivy

  • Anonymous says:

    I just big chopped almost six months ago. I am definitely seeing hair growth at least every month. I have tried different products and have learned some things that work o.kay and well. As a nearly new natural, I think that I have can say I have seen progress. In addition, I don't see a lot of breakage, so I feel that I am headed in the right direction for now at least.

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