How to retain moisture and retain length with natural hair
- Clean hair and scalp: The first step to retaining moisture and ultimately retaining length, [if that is your goal], is to work with a clean canvas. The scalp and length of the strands must be kept clean in order to give it a better chance of absorbing the well needed moisture to keep your hair soft and manageable. Weather you follow the no shampoo method, also known as the girl method or you have a twa, at the in between stage or have waist long hair, hair must be kept clean. You may have to spend a little time figuring out what works for your hair depending on the porosity, density, length and texture by researching and experimenting. Depending on your preference and life style you may wash your hair as often as every day, every week or once a month. It is important to find out what works for you and stick to that method, although it may change from time to time.
- Styling choice: There have been many debates whether one should adapt protective styles or not to retain length. Once again it is a matter of choice and goal set. For me, my hair prefers to be in protective styles such as buns and twists because it is prone to drying out leading to knots and tangles, so I rarely have my hair loose. But for other, they are able to wear their hair loose and still retain length. One thing is certain is that too much stress must not be placed on the strands and especially the edges which or easier to break. Choose your styles based on your preference and daily activities.
- Tracking length: Note that although the average growth of hair is ½ inch per month, that does not mean that you will retain that amount. It is important to remember that everybody has different growth rates and you have to find out at what rate is your hair growing and how much of that growth you are retaining. If you are retaining much less than your hair is growing then it may seem like your hair is not growing. If that is the case, you should investigate the reasons why you are not retaining length and put steps in place to correct or change as needed. It is also important not to compare your hair growth with others, if you are doing all that you can to preserve your strands, length will come, so don’t obsess over it [because it is pretty over rated ;-)]
- Health: Physical and mental health are often over looked factors in hair growth. Hair and nails are the last parts on the body to receive nutrients. So it is essential that you are eating well and exercising both your body and your mind regularly. Stress plays a big part in retaining length, whether it is positive or negative stress. You should know your stress level and find ways to manage it effectively if it is having adverse effects on your health and state of mind. Remember to check with your doctor or health care provider if you have an existing condition and are planning to make drastic life style changes.
- Handle with care: Natural hair, especially naturally curly-kinky hair, is very fragile with all the twists and bends in every strand. You could be doing all of the above but if you are rough with you hair, you will be sabotaging the hard work that you put in over the months. It is advisable that if you are having a bad day or not in the mood to do your hair, just leave it alone, gel it down or wear a scarf for example. You may cause more harm than good by venting on your strands. Leave your hair until you able handle your hair with gentle hands.
- Patience Patience Patience: Hair does not grow over night, so it is imperative that you exercise a little patience. Sometimes we get caught up with seeing growth or getting to a certain length to achieve a hair style that we have been wishing to try, that we don’t enjoy the length we have at the time. Hair grows, it breaks or we cut it, then it growth again. Enjoy the stage that you are at until you get to the next stage then enjoy that stage, so in the end you are enjoying every moment without missing a beat. You may enjoy a particular length and may choose to keep it at that length and that is also an option.
- To trim or not to trim, that is the question!: There have been many discussions on trimming the ends of your hair. The reality is that, because natural hair is natural curly, fragile and prone to dryness, wear and tear will come, especially the longer it gets. The ends of the hair, the oldest and weakest part of our hair, will, over time develop split ends and single strand knots. Although these can occur along any part of the strand, it is most commonly seen at the ends. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot repair split ends or unravel single strand knots. The only way to get rid of them, is to get rid of them, by cut them with a well sharpened barber scissors before they travel the length of the strand. The frequency of trimming or dusting the ends, is entirely up to you and the state of your hair. Note though that if you are trimming your hair faster than it is growing, you will not retain length.