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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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