I sure do hope that your week/month is off to a smooth start! Mine sure is, these next ten or so days will be jam packed with activities around my graduation and relocation - I'm soaking it all in! My hair is, quite literally, soaking in the moisture!! I tell ya, my shrinkage is down to about 60% of my true length! Gotta love our 4C tresses!
Today, I thought I'd share some of the most fundamental tips for length retention. As I shared last week in my BIG REVEAL, I have maintained 16-17 inches of growth - which for me is waist length - over the past 4 years of natural haircare.
These are a few questions to ask yourself on your journey to long natural hair:
1. Where are you right now?
Before we plan for any future, we must be willing to examine our current situation. Is your hair relaxed/texlaxed or permed? Is your hair coloured or texturized? If your hair has undergone any processing, it is highly unlikely that it will last long enough on your head in order for you to see any significant length. I strongly believe that natural haircare is the most efficient means through which most women can achieve long healthy hair.
2. Is your hair healthy?
If you've been braiding your hair excessively or flat-ironing it on a regular basis, your strands are damaged. You might have long-ish hair, but your strands are uneven, of varying length and weak. You might need to trim your hair significantly to get rid of split ends/over-processed/highlighted hair. Healthy strands do not break easily when combed or manipulated and they also have a slight sheen and lustre. If your hair is chronically dry and lifeless, you won't be able to retain length.
3. What is the state of your scalp?
In as much as the ends of your hair are the most crucial to length retention, your scalp has to be healthy too. Do you have lots of dandruff? Or bald spots? Is your hairline receding? You might need to up your vegetable and water intake to make sure that your scalp is healthy. If you have skin conditions such as excema or even ringworms, you'll need to have these medically treated before you begin your healthy hair journey.
4. What styles are you wearing?
Take some time off styles that put too much stress on your strands. This might include microbraids or even those "pencil" aka Ghanian lines. Give your tresses some time to breathe - your edges will thank you for this. Instead wear thick box braids or learn how to do crotchet braids. Take the tension off your strands for at least 6 - 12 months at a time.
5. What's your hair regimen?
This is a tricky one for naturals who are new to this game! Lol! I have my hair regimen here. A hair regimen is a healthy hair routine that you stick to on the regular. It is the ONLY way to see length. You can't take care of your hair for three months, then fall off the bandwagon for 6 months then jump back on for 2 and so on and so forth. If you're faithfully taking care of your hair, you'll see results.
6. Where do you want to go with your hair journey?
My dad always says, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Believe it or not, natural haircare is no exception. You must have an idea of your problem areas, and what you would like to do to overcome them. Some ladies suffer from excessive shedding - you might need to up your sulphur intake. Some ladies suffer from an itchy scalp - you might need to up your water intake intensively. Some ladies suffer from weak hair at the nape - you might need to take a break from styles that tag at your hairline.
7. What do you know about haircare?
While natural haircare is a fun endeavor, you will need to have your facts together hunney!! ;-) Take time - like you're doing now - to read articles on haircare. I'm sharing lots of tips right here on Craving Yellow, so feel free to wander through my blog! Check out my instagram account here, for daily tips and tricks on haircare (and awesomeness)!
Go on, take a few minutes to think through these questions. Once you have some answers, you'll be able to carefully plan for your hair growth. Long natural hair is not the outcome of a one-off action, neither does it happen just by flukes! Rather, I'll tell you this: it starts with looking at your hair in detail and then charting your journey!
No need to get overwhelmed though! That's what I'm here for!
In part two of this series, I share my most cherished secret to keeping my hair growing loooong...! ;-)
Love love love!