12 Tips for Growing Long Natural Hair

Monday, February 27, 2017



This is an update to my previous post on growing long natural hair. Since I've gotten to waist length, I've been tweaking my regimen here and there so that I can keep growing my hair to hip length. I'm happy to say that it's working (though it took about 2 years to really figure it all out). So, here are 12 tips that have been helped me and continually helping me to grow long, natural hair.
  1. Find a regimen that works for you: First and foremost, this is the most important thing to figure out. Along with hair care, a regimen should fit the amount of time you can devote to your hair, money for products and hair stylist (if you choose to go to a stylist), and your styling experience (I'm not good at styling my own hair, so I stick to the basics, lol).
  2. Moisturize and seal daily: Self explanatory, but moisturize and seal daily. Moisturize with water, aloe vera juice, or a water-based leave-in (water or aloe vera juice will be the first ingredient), and then follow up with an oil or butter. Since the ends are the weakest part of the hair, I like to really make sure I get the ends wet so that they absorb the most moisture. 
  3. Cut knots out of hair (don't rip them out): Ripping knots out can cause damage to otherwise healthy hair by fraying and splitting them. Instead, cut them out with a pair of hair scissors.
  4. Trim ends when necessary: There's no reason to set up a time schedule for trimming ends. Just trim them when they are damaged, split, or have a lot of knots.
  5. Detangle gently and slowly: Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. Detangle gently and slowly so that you aren't ripping through your hair, which causes damage. Detangling in sections can help slow the process down.
  6. Sleep with a satin scarf on (or use a satin pillowcase): Cotton scarves and pillowcases can absorb moisture from hair, as well as create added friction. So, it's better to use satin.
  7. Keep hair and scalp clean: Don't be afraid of shampoo. Shampoo is more effective at removing dandruff, dead skin, and build-up compared to a cleansing conditoner or cowash. 
  8. Protective style often: I will need to do a more in-depth post on this, but protective styling is subjective. First, protective styles can be long-term or short-term. They don't have to be for a month, and for many women, this is actually not a good idea. Their hair may need to be moisturized more often, and they may not be able to put so much tension on their scalp. For some (including myself), a simple low bun for a couple of days is a more effective protective style than 6 weeks of braids. Second, you need to care for your hair while protective styling. Protective styles aren't automatically protective if you aren't keeping your scalp clean, if the style is too tight and pulling out the hair, and if you aren't moisturizing the hair. So protective styles can be helpful for retaining length, but you will need to find the right protective style for you. 
  9. Deep condition often and with heat: Deep condition every wash day and use heat, which helps the product penetrate the hair, better making it more effective. You can deep condition under a hood dryer, or use a microwavable deep conditioning cap. If you don't want to buy either of those, wrapping hair in a warm towel is just as effective
  10. Do a protein deep conditioner once a month: Protein deep conditioners can help strengthen hair and prevent damage. But, too much protein can have negative effects, making hair dry and brittle. Do one every other wash day, or once a month. 
  11. Do everything in sections: Wash hair in sections, deep condition in sections, moisturize and seal in sections, style in sections. Sectioning hair prevents breakage and damage.
  12. The ends need extra TLC: Of all the advice I've given on growing natural hair, pay attention to this one. This is the one that's really helping me get to hip length. Because the ends are the weakest, most fragile part of the hair, focusing on the ends really goes a long way. When I apply my leave-in conditioner, conditioner, or deep conditioner, I apply it to the ends and work up the length of my hair, and then apply more to the ends. 

What are you doing to grow your natural hair? Has it been difficult? Let me know in the comments!

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Pomegranate and Pear Salad

Sunday, February 12, 2017


In keeping with my New Year's resolution, I've been working hard to get my daily five servings of fruits and vegetables. While I'm not successful every day, I have found that I can get, and even surpass, the five if I have a salad or a smoothie. A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing Pinterest and saw a really yummy salad recipe with pomegranates, pear, craisins, and feta cheese. It had four servings of fruits and vegetables, and I thought it was the perfect salad to ensure I got my necessary servings.

Salad Ingredients:
Canned pears
Dried cranberries (craisins)
Pomegranates
Feta cheese
Mixed lettuce greens
For the Salad Dressing:
3 TBSP dijon mustard
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP honey
Pinch of salt

Directions:
I left the measurements vague because, depending on your preference, you may want to add more or less pears, pomegranates, cheese, etc. It's really up to you. I mixed equal amounts of pears, craisins, and pomegranates, and a little more lettuce. For the dressing, depending on how much acidity you prefer, you can add more or less balsamic vinegar. Mix all the salad ingredients together, mix the salad dressing together, pour salad dressing on salad, and voila!

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

Listen to My Interview with Afro Hair Solutions

Friday, February 10, 2017


Last Saturday, I was honored to be interviewed by Louisa of Afro Hair Solutions. We talked everything natural hair care, such as:

  • Why I started my blog
  • What made me go natural
  • How I really felt about my big chop
  • My favorite thing about being natural
  • Tips for new naturals
  • My current hair regimen
  • Why you shouldn't oil your scalp
  • How people respond to my natural hair
  • Getting kids to love their natural hair

Check it out when you get a chance (you'll have to download iTunes).

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

My Take on the Perception Institute's "Good Hair" Survey

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Header image that reads "My Take on the Perception Institute's "Good Hair" Survey"

I've been blogging about natural hair now for almost 4 years, and I've been natural for almost twice as long (8 years in July). And I can tell you that I still face discrimination against my hair. It's not always overt and obvious, but stares, odd questions, and "uniquely" timed compliments are good indications that my hair is not always accepted. So, I wasn't surprised when a survey (Just really quickly, this is NOT a study, it's a survey. So if you see a journalist or the media calling it a study, they're wrong) came out about how natural hair is still discriminated against.

The survey from the Perception Institute called "The 'Good Hair' Study" involved 4,163 participants, including 3,475 men and women in a national sample recruited via an online panel and 688 self-identified "naturalista" women who are part of an online natural hair community." The survey "suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their hair." Just like water is wet, this is no surprise to me.

Some key takeaways include (I will elaborate on the last two):
  • On average, white women show explicit bias toward black women’s textured hair. They rate it as less beautiful, less sexy/attractive, and less professional than smooth hair.
  • Black women in the natural hair community have significantly more positive attitudes toward textured hair than other women, including black women in the national sample.
  • Black women perceive a level of social stigma against textured hair, and this perception is substantiated by white women’s devaluation of natural hairstyles.
  • One in three black women report that their hair is the reason they haven’t exercised, compared to one in ten white women.
  • One in four black women have difficulty finding products for their hair—more than half have not been able to find products for their hair.
  • The majority of participants, regardless of race, show implicit bias against black women’s textured hair.
None of these are surprising, but it is nice to see something that validates the experiences of black women who wear their hair natural. But there are some things I want to talk about.

One in four black women have difficulty finding products for their hair—more than half have not been able to find products for their hair.

I sort of question this one. Not question it in the sense that I don't believe it, I do. But more so the question is why haven't black women found products for their hair? I get it's hard, I get it's frustrating. I've been there and done that. But, I've also talked to so many black women who come to the natural hair table with preconceived notions about how their hair should look and feel. Not how their hair does look and feel.

We all have different hair textures, curl patterns, frizz level, thickness, and so on. My hair is a completely different texture compared to two of my best friends, Kendra and Kylie. Kendra's hair is tighter, but clumps and doesn't frizz as much, while Kylie's is very wavy and seems to never get damaged. My hair is kinky curly, but it is just naturally frizzy. Three different hair textures, three different regimens. I could never fully adopt Kylie's regimen (mostly because her braiding skills are on point), nor could I Kendra's. We can trade tips, maybe swap hair products, but we can't just trade regimens and hope for the best. It won't work.

I've said this once, twice, and thrice, but if your hair isn't breaking, you don't have split or damaged strands or ends, your hair is probably pretty healthy. Everything else isn't necessary. Hair isn't shiny, some of us don't have naturally shiny hair. Hair doesn't feel "soft," well we aren't going to have faux fur soft hair. Hair doesn't have a "nice curl," learn to love it or get a texturizer or relaxer. Find products that work for your hair, not what you want your hair to be.

The majority of participants, regardless of race, show implicit bias against black women’s textured hair.

I feel like this one requires its own blog post or maybe even a video, but those in the natural hair community perpetuate this all the time. We love 3b and 3c curls. We love defined, shiny 4a curls. But when it comes to frizzy, 4b, and 4c hair, we have difficulty celebrating women with that texture. Natural hair companies have a habit of only using models and ambassadors with certain hair textures. We may not overtly say "I don't like 4c hair," but how we celebrate it, or lack thereof, is a great example of that implicit bias.

Along with texturism, here are more examples of implicit bias:

  • Assuming someone's hair is dry or tangled because it doesn't look how you think it should look
  • Detangling your child's hair and saying "your hair is so rough" (yes, your child internalizes this)
  • Asking if someone is mixed because their hair is long or curly
  • The term "good hair"
  • Placing more emphasis on genetics than hair care (I get this a lot after explaining my regimen to someone)
  • Automatically assuming they're wearing a wig

While implicit bias is hard to personally acknowledge and break, I have some tips. First, be honest with yourself. A lot of women get defensive when someone points out that they have some sort of bias with different hair textures. Stop, swallow your pride, and look at it from their point. Do you regularly and negatively critique those with kinky/coily/woolly textures? Do you only like photos of women with looser curls? Do you say things like "I couldn't be natural if I had her texture"? Stop and start thinking about how you view natural hair, instead of just making blanket statements like #TeamNatural or "I love all hair textures." Because trust me, if it's just smoke and mirrors, people can see through them.

Second, make the effort to support those with kinky, coily, and woolly hair textures. Make a Pinterest board for just women with 4b and 4c hair. Watch youtubers and read blogs from women with that texture of hair. Putting in the work to support those women and learn more about their hair can help you start to appreciate it.

So, any who, those are my thoughts. I have a few more, but none that I really had to write about. I encourage everyone to read the results of the survey (remember, it's a survey) and take the survey yourself (I got "your data suggest neither a preference for textured hairstyles nor a preference for smooth hairstyles"). It's very interesting and eye opening.

Did you read the results of the survey? Agree or disagree with my points? Let me know in the comments!

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!

So I Became an At-Home Vegetarian

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Late last year, I made the decision to keep meat out of my apartment. While I'm sure some may think it's the yoga, and others an epiphany about animal cruelty, I have to admit it was a lot more simple than that. I was just plain wasting food.

Whenever I bought meat, I always spent time trying to figure out what to make, which meant that it would sit in my refrigerator for an indefinite amount of time. If I already knew what I wanted or figured it out in a couple of days, the meat wouldn't go to waste. But if I didn't, it would almost always go bad. This happened time and time again, until I finally decided to put an end to it once and for all by going meatless.

Fast forward three months and I'm doing pretty well. I don't crave meat at all, but to be fair, I also allow myself meat if I go out to eat. And on occasion, I will buy bacon or sausage for a specific recipe, like carbonara (though this has only happened once so far). Because I don't really rely on meat for calories, it has increased my fruit and vegetable intake; instead of averaging three servings of produce a day, I'm at five to six, and sometimes even eight or nine. Not to mention, it has allowed me to be more creative with my meals, with the help of Pinterest of course.

Even though I'm eating well and not craving anything, I have had some dietary concerns. I've been educating myself on vegetarianism and have found that many vegetarians lack specific vitamins that are mostly found in meats, so I will soon be taking a vegetarian vitamin or taking a B12 supplement. I've also been doing HIIT workouts again at a boutique gym, meaning lots of high intensity workouts. I enjoy them a lot, so I plan to continue, but that means I will have to eat more. When I was doing HIIT workouts before, I ate a lot of meat, so without it, I'm a bit concerned about being exhausted and even passing out. Hopefully, the vitamin will help.

But all in all, it's working out well. I'm really happy with the change. I haven't had any weight change or any miracle in my workouts, so there really aren't any other benefits for me besides the fact that I cut down on food waste.

Are you vegetarian or vegan? Let me know in the comments!

Got a question or just want to say hi? You can connect with me on my social networks!