How do you do?
THE number one desire for both those who have had natural hair for years and the newbies is GROWTH! I get asked for tips and advice a lot and I promised one of my readers I’d post about it a$ap ROCKY!
I’m going to share my top tips, the important stuff you gotta know. If you have further questions for me, we can open a dialogue in the comments. Let’s talk about it! Sounds good? Awesome.
Without further ado;
THERE’S THIS AMAZING PRODUCT!
Psych! There is no one magic product that’s going to give you the growth you are looking for. Nope. Sorry homeslice. Products are amazing, yes, they help us clean our hair and achieve certain styles and so forth and aid in growth, but they are not the be-all-end-all and no one can pay me enough to sell ya’ll stuff like your life depends on it! Ya hear!
HOW MUCH GROWTH CAN YOU EXPECT?
According to studies, humans grow an average of about 5/6 inches (12cm) per year. We’ve all seen those natural hair “before and after” growth comparisons (I’m guilty) on Instagram. Well, when you think about this 12cm per year statistic, then all that growth is indeed possible innit?
You’re thinking, HELL NAWHH, ain’t no 12 cm coming out this scalp homie!! Well, even if it’s 6cm lol, is it possible it’s ending up on the floor? on the comb? endless breaking? Highly possible! Let’s get into it.
HAIR GROWTH RETENTION
The KEY in seeing growth is RETAINING growth. Keeping it…and doing this can be WORK. How do you retain growth you ask?
There’s some work involved:
- Finger detangle to avoid creating knots and tangles. Traditional combing creates knots (which you then have to snip off), combing itself also breaks hair.
- Don’t comb dry or very wet hair. Only damp. And by comb I mean a super WIDE TOOTH comb or my personal favorite, brush with a denman paddle brush. This avoids breakage.
- You know your hair is breaking if your ‘shed hair’ is not the full length of your actual hair. Check how long the strands are. Shorter bits are a clear indication of breakage.
- Take care of the oldest part of your hair, the ends. Make sure they are well moisturized to avoid them breaking off.
- Check your ends every now and then for split ends. Don’t be afraid to trim them – this will actually aid in the health of your hair and result in more growth. I trim maybe 3 times a year but again, this number depends on your hair and its health.
- Reduce hair manipulation. Give your hair a break sometimes by putting it in a protective style i.e. braids. See this post on how I take care of my hair while in braids. Or if you find you are really prone to breakage, you should try keeping your hair in a protective style made with your own hair lasting you all week till the weekend/ your wash day. Instagrammer that immediately comes to mind for style inspiration on these protective styles is @limitlessbloom. Check her out.
HYDRATION – IN & OUT
Well, we all know that the hair needs to be washed and be moisturized, yes? However, we take it for granted that hydrating ourselves is actually good for cell health and production. Our bodies are composed of 60-80% water, and when we’re dehydrated, this is no state for the body (and hair) to thrive. If you’re not drinking enough water, all other efforts (products etc.) will be near impossible to help your hair.
Drinking water also helps with dandruff and scalp health – a happy scalp that isn’t irritated is essential for hair growth.
KNOW YOUR POROSITY
This one may need it’s own blog post (long overdue). Forget hair type – i.e. (3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4C), what’s more important is your hair’s porosity. Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, It’s simple really.
Hair cuticles on low porosity hair are closed and so moisture does not enter easily. Products feel as though they are just sitting on your hair. Key for this porosity is to use heat to open up the cuticles to let the moisture in (so warm water washes, and warm deep conditioning sessions).
As in the pic above, high porosity hair has cuticles that are lifted and so absorbs moisture quickly but also looses it quickly. You’ll find that your hair dries really quickly, looks dull and feels especially dry. Key here is using leave-in conditioners and heavier products such as castor oil and shea butter to seal the moisture in.
Both low and high porosity hair benefit from ending your washes with cold water to seal in the moisture you got from the water.
Normal porosity, well, generally no issues here. Your hair feels good and looks healthy.
REGULAR & CONSISTENT DEEP CONDITIONING
Deep conditioning every week and at the least every 2 weeks is very important when your aim is to keep the hair healthy and optimize growth. Deep conditioning helps replace lost moisture, add strength and vital proteins to the hair. The process is especially important for dryer hair (high porosity), and those with color treated hair.
There are two different types; moisture deep conditioners and protein deep conditioners – so take a moment to read the package when selecting one. The moisture types are great for both low and high porosity, while the protein could be too heavy for low porosity and only beneficial every couple of months.
GO HEATLESS MOST OF THE YEAR
It may be nice to straighten hair with heat every now and then but if your aim is length and health, you may want to reduce as much as possible to see how your hair reacts. Go on a break and go heatless for most of the year if at all. Experiment with heatless stretching methods such as the simple braid-out method (I love them one by @bbksupernatural, or other methods like threading.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE SATIN SCARF/PILLOW
Sleeping with a satin scarf or pillowcase really does help to retain the hair’s moisture and prevent knots i.e. cotton fibres really do absorb the moisture in your hair. For those in South Africa, have a look at sis @_marley.grey_ offering. She has some cute head wraps too.
I believe it doesn’t hurt to take a daily multivitamin for overall health – you may be lacking some vitamins in your diet without noticing. Some essential vitamins that aid in hair growth are Vitamin C, B and Zinc among others. Speak to your healthcare provider first and have a look at natural options over at my favorite natural organic store Faithful to Nature. I don’t have any experience or thoughts on Biotin, if you do, share in the comments pls homie.
SIMPLE AS THAT!! There’s a lot of nitty gritty and preferences when it comes to ones own hair but I believe the above are the most important considerations. If you fully understand all the above points and follow these consistently in your regimen, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Let me say that again, FOLLOW THESE CONSISTENTLY.
& LASTLY, PATIENCE.
You already know. Don’t fret, don’t stress, let nature do it’s thang!
Got questions or have tips you’d like to share with other readers? Let’s chat in the comments below