by Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl (pictured above)
Hey everyone! I hope your summer is going well and you’re staying cool in the heat. Personally, Izzy (my hair) is loving the warmer weather and the humidity, even if it’s making her huge. And this year, I decided to have a little fun with my hair and take part in a good ol’ fashioned grow out challenge! While my hair is already fairly long, I still want more hair (ya know, to block people out of pictures even more) and thought that a break from the harsh winter weather would be the perfect time to refocus on my hair health, growth and retention.
At the beginning of June, I started a grow out challenge with my readers at QFTPC, and we’ve been having such a grand time that I wanted to share it with you all and invite you to join as well. Well, I’m not sure if I have totally had a grand time…but I’ll get to that nitty gritty in the update. My starting point was 20.5 inches and in addition to my hair vitamins, my goals were to concentrate on my nutrition, keeping my ends moisturized, detangling on a regular basis, and working out at least 4x a week. So how did my first month go?
Well…it was great, and not so great. When I measured my hair at the beginning of July, I got approximately 21.5 inches, which is great, right? That’s an inch of growth in a month! However…it was not without sacrifice. Shortly after I began my challenge, I switched my vitamin to Manetabolism. I was intrigued by the ingredients and amount of biotin in the product. I had never taken that much biotin before, but I have been taking biotin for years (even before I stopped relaxing and knew jack about hair) and never had any issues with it.
For about two weeks, I seemed to be okay, but then…I noticed a blemish, then another…then another. Now, I am not immune to the occasional breakout due to stress or a night of too much fun (they say that toxins in the liver can cause forehead breakouts), but this was odd and spreading beyond my usual trouble area. I use a Clarisonic and am adamant about taking care of my skin (I am the moisturizing lotion shero, I attack any sign of ash in my presence!), so I suspected this had something to do with my vitamin. I initially increased my water intake, but that didn’t seem to help, so I did a little research online and read that a B Complex vitamin can help balance the effect of the high dose of biotin. Enter — my Super B Complex vitamin that I ran out to buy immediately. I also started splitting up my dosage of Manetabolism so I wasn’t overloading my body with all of the biotin at once. Oh, and MORE water. I was so full from water — I would already have consumed at least 32oz before noon, which for me, is a feat. I was also using a toner mix with aloe vera juice and tea tree oil (and rubbing alcohol for spot treatments as needed) to help ward off a really bad breakout, which seemed to help, but I was getting tired of looking in the mirror every 30 minutes to see if my skin was freaking out.
After another week passed, I was torn. I would think my skin was getting better, then worse, then better again. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when a friend (I’m paraphrasing this part to be civil, haha) even suggested that I stop taking the pill because it was “ruining” my skin. I thought, “OMG, PEOPLE CAN NOTICE THIS?!” Nope. No way. No how. So my bottle and a half of Manetabolism is now sitting quietly in my cupboard and I have gone back to a regular multivitamin that I’ve taken before (Alive! Once Daily Women’s Ultra Potency). My skin is still smoothing out, but I’m confident that I will be able to get it back to normal (and thankful that I didn’t keep taking it, because I read more than a few biotin horror stories while I was researching).
It really stinks too, because otherwise, I was having great success. My shedding decreased by about 75% — when I would comb my hair previously, I was surprised I still had any hair left, and it decreased to a small handful when combing and barely any hair came out when I did a quick finger comb in the shower. My nails also grew a significant amount for a month (I cut my nails before I started my challenge) and I seemed to have more energy throughout the day when I took Manetabolism in the morning. It may not have been the pill, but who knows? Oh, and I also LOVED that the pills were caps rather than giant horse pills that can potentially make you nauseous if taken without food.
You can check out more updates and info from my first month in my one month update here:
So what about you? Are you taking on any growth challenges this summer?
If you’d like to participate in the challenge with me (we’re going until September), hashtag #qftpcGO when you update. I love reading and seeing the updates! xoxo
P.S. I’d like to send a special thanks to my readers who gave me additional suggestions on how to balance biotin. I want to try the pills again based on your input, but right now I’m just too scared. But I really appreciate your help. 🙂
About Elle: Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.