or years you have treated your hair the same way and expect to get better results. You wash it once in a blue moon, you sleep on it bare, you hate to trim so you don’t lose the length you’ve achieved or you barely spend the time to give your hair some tender loving care. So when you’re made to believe that our hair cannot grow past a certain length, you believe it. It seems so true but all you’ve done is manipulate your hair into stuntedness. So to make them liars you extend it with braids or you add a wig or you even process it. The real truth is that many naturals have achieved waist length hair over time and have done so with discipline and diligence.
Irrespective of the type and texture of your hair there are a things you can do to ensure that your hair is treated properly and so stimulate growth and maintain length.
1. Your hair needs to be kept clean
You need to wash your hair every 7-10 days; once per week is just fine. Natural hair usually has a lot of build up both from the natural environment as well as from the products you put in it for styling. You need to continuously cleanse your hair, especially your scalp, to remove any buildup around the roots of your hair. This is the area where growth is stimulated. Keeping your hair clean allows your hair to breath and better absorb the necessary nutrients and moisture it needs to grow.
2. Your hair needs moisture
It is very important that your hair is moisturized at all times. Depending on the texture of your hair, you may need more than just water to keep your hair moist. Try to accomplish as many of the following as possible.
- Add water to your hair. This can be as simple as lightly spraying your hair with water from a spray bottle to soften your hair. Let the water soak in to your strands for a few minutes before moving to the next step. Bear in mind that adding too much water may make your hair shrink.
- Massage your hair with a water based moisturizer. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of products specifically suited for African textured hair. I would suggest you use one of these as opposed to just buying general hair products.
- Add an oil or butter to seal in the moisture. You can use any natural oil or butter like, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, or shea butter. Moisturizer on your hair without a sealer will make your hair dry out much quicker. When you add you favourite oil or butter to lock in the moisture, you are able to hold the moisture in your hair much longer hence eliminating the need to moisturize as often. This is a step you should never skip.
- Another way to maintain moisture in your hair is to sleep with a silk or satin covering. This is necessary because the cotton fabrics used on pillowcases normally pull the moisture from your hair and cause your hair to dry out. When you sleep with a satin or silk covering, the moisture is retained in your hair rather than leaching out on your pillow. .
- You also need to be careful of heat. Using heat on your hair can cause your hair to dry out as well. If you do use heat, coat your hair with a good amount leave in treatment and or a heat treatment before applying heat to your hair.
3. You need to treat your ends like a baby
Your ends are the oldest, driest and most delicate part of your hair and as such they need special care. Care for them very tenderly like you would a newborn baby.
- During the moisturizing process, ensure that your hair ends get as much and sometimes even more attention. Moisturize your ends first so you won’t forget them.
- When combing or detangling your hair, start from the ends and work your way gently towards the roots. This way, your ends will get detangled first and stay detangled while you deal with the rest of the hair. The less manipulation the ends get, the less pressure you have to put on them and the less likely they are to get brittle and break easily.
- Trim your ends at least once per year. Many women tend to shy away from trimming because they do not want to lose the length they feel they have worked so hard to create. But not trimming your ends is doing more harm than good. Remember that your ends are the oldest, driest and most delicate part of your hair. You can do as much as possible to baby them and keep them healthy for as long as you can but at some point they need to go. Some of your ends may be so old and dry and so have started to split and break. You will need to get rid of those damaged ends so that the damage does not spread to the rest of the strands.
The basic strategies that will simulate growth and maintain length include moisturizing, retaining moisture and paying keen attention to your ends. Once you follow through with these strategies, you will stimulate hair growth and maintain a healthy head of hair.
So tell us, what do you do to grow and maintain the length of your tresses?