Growing long hair and retaining your length are not unattainable goals. Being natural for over a decade, I’ve experienced just about every form of damage: color, heat, lack of moisture, split ends – you name it. Yet my hair still grows!
After years of trial and error, I’ve finally found a simple routine that I know works and keeps my hair continuously growing. Truthfully, your hair will grow – you just have to figure out what your hair requires. While each person’s hair is different, these tips just might make your journey to long, healthy, natural hair a little easier!
Follow the “one style per week” rule.
It’s really that simple. Pick a style for the week and stick with it. Over-styling and manipulating your hair can be as damaging as too much heat or too frequent coloring, if you’re not allowing your hair proper time to relax. Preserving your style is key.
Maximize time between washings.
I generally wash my hair every six or so days. When I wash my hair, I like to use a leave-in conditioner, curl lotion (or cream) and an essential oil. Throughout the week, I refresh my curls with a spray bottle of leave-in and water to keep it soft and hydrated. Like I said in #1 – the more time you give your hair time to relax without fussing with, the better. That includes washing!
Focus on protective styling.
Your twists should last five days, minimum. Pineapple nightly, and keep your hair protected while you sleep. Think about it: you sleep eight hours or so, which means every time you neglect that satin bonnet, you’re allowing your hair to rub up against fibers that tangle hairs, create frizz, promote breakage and soak up moisture from your hair. Especially if you work out frequently, the pineapple method works wonders for preserving your style.
Balance your moisture.
My hair constantly needs moisture to look and feel its best – but yours might not need as much moisturizing. Figure out what your hair needs, and create a routine around it.
Depending on your hair’s texture and thickness, it might require more or less moisture. Bottom line, it’s all about finding the perfect balance for your hair. When hair has a perfect balance of moisture, it not only grows easily, but it changes the flexibility and strength of the hair so it’s less prone to breakage and more likely to retain length. If your hair is struggling to get to the length or texture you want, a lack of balance might be the problem.
- Signs of over-moisturized hair: Product build-up, lack of moisture retention
- Signs of under-moisturized hair: Flaky scalp, dry and damaged ends, brittle hair that easily breaks and tangles
- Signs of balanced moisture: Flexibility, moisture & length retention, softness
Get back to the basics.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and confused with products. It’s even easier to become a product junkie, meaning you have so many products you use that you might not know what’s working and what isn’t. I suggest finding a basic remedy that works for your wash and go as well as your protective styles. Here are my basic staples :
- Shampoo (One for clarifying, one for moisture retention)
- Curl cream or lotion
- Leave-in conditioner
- Gel (optional)
- Deep conditioner
Like moisture, find the product routine that works for your hair and stick to it. Don’t get side tracked by the latest products unless you’re ready to commit to adding them to your routine.
Control damage as soon as possible.
I’ve had to chop my hair numerous times because I didn’t address my damage properly. The sooner you control any damage in your hair, the quicker you’ll be on the road to healthier, growing hair. If you’re dealing with single-strand knots, or noticing that your hair is breaking and you’re not sure what to do, talk to your stylist. This journey is about learning what your hair needs – and who would know better than a pro? Consult your stylist to better understand what your hair needs and what it doesn’t, get advice on maintenance and get some great product recommendations.