Here we are, 3 weeks later. I am happy to be back writing again, and this week I thought it would be great to share with you some milestones as a precursor to my 3 year natural hair anniversary that will be coming up soon. This is my one year of no heat, no braiding.

A year ago, I made a decision to stop braiding my hair, along with application of direct heat. Read on to discover my motivations.

When I started this hair journey, similar to many new naturals, I believed the best/only way to grow natural hair was in braids. And indeed, my hair was braided 80% of the year. I did this for about 1.5 years after which I realized I had a very delicate scalp; because of this, I experienced so much hair loss, and my hairline suffered the most.

As earlier mentioned, my hair was in braids 80% of the year. For the 20%, if I wasn’t smothering it with endless Bantu knot-outs, it was worn semi-straight (“blow dried”). Naturally, this caused my hair to wear out faster; at the time, my best solution was to completely cut out the mistreatment my hair endured. In came my one year of no heat, no braiding.

I am extremely aware of the fact that most naturals prefer to blow-dry their hair when it’s out because it’s “easier that way”. My goal for this post is to enlighten you that it’s possible to wear your hair out for a prolonged period of time, without the necessity of the usual crutchheat.

Some of my experiences


The first thing I realized is how often I needed trims, every 6-8 weeks. I know this seems counterproductive, but keep in mind that my hair was fairly worn out from previous abuse. Towards the end, I needed far less trims as my hair regained the health I had initially denied it.

Unapologetic natural

I learnt to accept my hair fully. By this I mean texture, density, length and all that! Sometimes we get so caught up in achieving a particular set goal (usually Cinderella length hair) that we forget to appreciate our hair in its current phase. I soon become frighteningly unapologetic about my hair.

All hands on deck

I had to learn very quickly how to take care of my hair without running to a salon every week! Remember, being natural doesn’t mean you have to break the bank! I learnt better ways to wash, moisturize and detangle all on my own.

Product junkie be gone

Wearing my hair out rehabilitated my product junkie tendencies. It’s a little ironic, but I realized very quickly I didn’t need all the numerous products I owned. First it started out as simply not having the time to use then all, to just simply not needing these products at all. Many naturals seem to realize this as they progress on their hair journey.

Length retention

My hair “grew”. In reality I just retained more length over these past 12 months. Wearing my hair out encouraged me to take care of it. I will be honest that sometimes all I wanted to do was just go to sleep, and sometimes that’s exactly what I did! This taught me to identify the optimal time to go over my routine.

Here is a “before and after” photo of the course of my one year of no heat, no braiding. These photos were taken one year apart.

Natural hair growth

My hair doubled in volume, fairly.

This post was getting incredibly long so I decided to split it. Here’s a post on my go to hair styles during my one year on of no heat, no braiding.

About the author: Felice

I’m Felice, a self-taught ‘Pictographer’, writer and lover of the arts. I cannot get enough of the beauties of the earth, music, big large life and history. I used to drink way too much coffee, but those days are over! I currently live in Kampala, Uganda.

Many years natural (not consecutively) and I’ve got a lot of tips to share. I am also a super awesome programmer. What?! Oh yes. 🙂

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  Comments: 10

  1. Thanx for the amazing tips. Heat is not necessarily a bad thing. We just need to learn how to use it properly without damaging our hair.

    • Phelis Nakato

      You’re welcome Sharon. You are right, heat is not that bad with the necessary precautions. I choose to take a break from it because I had misused it and was causing my hair to break off.

  2. I’ve always lived by blowdrying my hair believing it’ll always be neat that way….ill change and try the natural hair ……thanks to you for that

    • Phelis Nakato

      You’re welcome Lynnn :). Blow drying is great and convenient, but excessive usage does cause some sort of hair damage, even with a heat protectant.

  3. Naggita Mary Magdalene

    Dear,thanks for the wonderful tips.Am also trying to maintain my hair without heat.

    • You’re welcome Mary. Some days will be a little taxing but keep going! You’ll notice such a difference in your hair. Let me know how it goes and if you need any tips as well 🙂

  4. I would like to go natural what products do I need to handle

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