I sure do hope your week is going well! Today's post is dedicated to a question I get a lot: "please tell me the secret, how did you grow your hair so long?" So I thought I'd dedicate a post to revealing my biggest length retention secrets (more like tips and tricks, because I've shared loads on the blog already:-) ).
Here are some length and health retention tips I've discovered over the past 4.5 years of being natural:
1. Give it time. Lots of naturalistas write to me in utter desperation as they are yet to see any significant hair growth after 3 months of being natural. While I understand their frustration, the truth is, growing out our hair to commendable length takes time. It wasn't till after my third year of haircare that I saw considerable length retention.
2. Products CANNOT grow/accelerate your hair growth so don't be duped! I get lots of questions on the products I use to grow my hair. I wish I had some, but I don't. Products support our hair's growth by keeping our hair moisturised and sealed. But that's about it! The speed of our hair growth is determined by our DNA. There's no known way to "accelerate" hair growth, at least not with hair products that are applied topically.
3. Doing just one thing, once, will not grow your hair. Now this is a big one. A very big one. I get asked, "what did I do?" Well, truth is I did (and still do) many things, not just one. Before I went natural, I would try a hot oil treatment just once and then expect my hair to magically transform overnight. I've come to learn that in order to see length and hair retention you have to consistently and repeatedly nurture your strands.
4. Its all about building a set of hair practices. Following on point 3 above, in order to see length, you have to practice several techniques, and together they contribute towards healthier, longer hair. Hair techniques are usually referred to as hair regimens in the natural hair community. For an in-depth step by step guide on how to build yours, see my Back To Basics Series here.
5. Eat healthy, live well. Contrary to what most of us believe - our hair is part of our body! I know this may sound odd for some of my readers, but growing up, I somehow thought my hair had a life of its own and that I couldn't nurture it just like I could the rest of my body. This isn't true. Just like the rest of our body, our hair responds to our lifestyle - so eat healthy and live well.
6. Learn to do your own hair. This might be intrinsic to the nature of "being natural", but it hasn't always been the case amongst black women. Before I went natural, I had a stylist to whom I'd entrust ALL my haircare. I've come to learn along the way, that no one knows my hair like I do. I started to see some considerable length when I paid attention to my hair.
7. Do your research. Read every article online on haircare, if you can. Okay, I'm kidding. That's probably not possible! However, do take your time to learn about haircare. It takes a while to accumulate and sift through all the information online, but take your time to read other's opinions on haircare. Other's hair journeys will inform your own.
(The next three are probably THE MOST important in retaining the health and length of your hair!!)
8. Moisturise. This simply means: add water to the length of your strands, focusing on the ends as these are the oldest. Plain old water is the best moisturiser. You could also opt to use several other moisturising products including leave-in conditioners, deep conditioners and hair mists. Whatever you do, keep your strands moisturised regularly - deep condition at least once a week.
9. Seal. This simply means: keep your hair's moisture locked in by adding an oil to the length of your hair rather than to your scalp. Sealing is a crucial step in ensuring your hair remains moisturised long after wash day.
10. Protect. This simply means: Avoid combs, heat and invasive hairstyles that require a lot of manipulation and products. The less you do, the better. Our hair thrives when it's left alone. Keep the ends of your hair tucked in buns or if you're hair is still in TWA stage, coated with a heavy oil. Wear your hair in protective styles such as two strand twists or wigs. Protecting our hair means it's less prone to damage.
Oh and please feel free to suss my blog for lots of posts on my best hair practices. Search using the calendar bar to go back over time or simply type in a key word "protective styling" into the search bar for posts I've written on "protective styling". As always, feel free to leave me a note down below, if you have a hair secret you'd like to share or if you have questions. :-)
Lots of LOVE & SUNSHINE,