One thing we should all be very clear on is that it is easy to grow natural hair. Our hair grows at a steady rate, and while we can improve our diet, take supplements and take care of our scalp so that it grows well, there isn’t much more we can do about how it grows.
Where we see results and achieve the length that we want is in retaining the growth that we get. How we care for our hair is the only thing that controls how much length we retain as it grows. Follow these guidelines to make sure that you are retaining the maximum amount of length as your hair grows.
Natural Hair Care Tips: Handling Your Hair to Retain Length
You’ll see many lists with tips and advice on how to retain your length but there is really only one thing you need to do and that is to take care of your ends.
- Don’t brush your hair. Comb sparingly. – Curly hair and especially kinky hair was just not meant to be combed and brushed. The friction from combing and brushing causes breakage. Tightly coiled kinky hair, especially, tends to respond very badly to brushing. If nothing else, the resulting texture after brushing is just a poof. Brushing takes out all of the natural spirals and coils that make kinky hair styles look great. Finger combing is the best, but if you want to get out the knots and tangles make sure that you use a very wide toothed comb.
- Deep Condition and Moisturize – You’ve got to keep your hair from drying out if you don’t want it to break. Just like a dead leaf or twig, your hair will literally just snap off if it gets too dry. Keep it pliable and happy by adopting a rigorous conditioning and moisturizing routine. The resulting manageability and softness will be a great reward in addition to helping you to avoid breakage and retain length.
- Wear protective hair styles – Unfortunately, wearing your hair “out” and exposed to the elements is not great for it. I don’t think we ever really take into account the damage that the sun can really do to our hair and skin. Also just wearing it out and free lends to the possibility of your hair rubbing against things like the headrest in your car, your collar, any hood or other garment that is near your hair. This friction and rubbing can cause breakage. Keeping your hair moisturized and worn “up” in styles where it is protected from all possible sources of friction is the best way to avoid breakage and to protect your ends.
- Sleep with your hair covered – This is another friction issue. You don’t want your hair rubbing against pillows and bed sheets and getting tangled and matted as you sleep. Its best to wrap it loosely in a satin scarf and sleep with it covered to avoid unnecessary friction while sleeping. Bonus Tip: Cover the headrest of your car with a satin cover to help keep the ends of your hair from snagging when you drive.
- Get your hair trimmed, but don’t trim too often – This is a major sticking point for me. Many will advise that you get your hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks. My counter point is that if I’m taking excellent care of my hair as far as conditioning and protecting it, then why would I need to cut it so often? Keep an eye on your ends for splits and especially for knots, and have it trimmed when it looks like it needs it. Don’t wait until it is terribly frayed and raggedy, but you don’t necessarily need to trim healthy hair. It should be at your discretion, not on a set schedule. On the other hand, if your ends are splitting it is in your interest to get them cut off completely, even if that means cutting off more length than you want to lose. Ultimately, starting out with cleanly cut ends is better for your hair because just like a piece of fabric or a finger nail, once your hair starts to fray, it just continues to get worse until it breaks off or the entire strand becomes damaged.
- Take care of your body – Watch your stress levels, eat a healthy diet, drink enough water and get enough exercise. These are just lifestyle basics to keep everything from your hair to your skin to your love life in balance. These are also basics to keep your hair from falling out. We know that stress can cause hair loss, but this is different than breakage, obviously. Neither scenario is ideal, but if you are seeing chunks of hair falling out from the roots%
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