Words by: Danyelle Jacobs
I’ve been natural for four years. Four years! If you take a look at my hair, you probably couldn’t tell because I just tapered my hair in April because of heat damage. However, even if I didn’t cut my hair, you would still ask why my hair was so short, yet I’ve been natural for so long. It’s not that my hair wasn’t growing, because it definitely was. The problem was that I wasn’t retaining any length. I must say, its high time I stop being such a lazy natural and get it together! I know what needs to be done to retain length, but I need to practice what I preach! So, this isn’t only for you ladies— it’s for me too!
Here are 10 ways that will help retain length as your hair grows:
- Wash in Sections: Washing hair in sections is a must. It helps prevent knots and tangles, especially if you have #shrinkageonfleek like me. My hair shrinks up like nobody’s business! Washing your hair all at once leads to things like single strand knots and breakage, and is one of the reasons why you don’t retain length. Washing in sections also helps with detangling.
- Comb/Detangle on Wet/Damp Hair: You should NEVER, I repeat, NEVER comb your hair when its dry. You’re just asking for your hair to snap, crackle, and pop. You’re hair doesn’t need to be soaking wet when you comb or detangle, but it should also never be bone dry. You need some type of moisture on your hair so your detangling tool can easily glide through your strands. You’ll thank me when you no longer see those tiny pieces of hair all over your sink, floor, and shoulders!
- Trim as Needed: Here’s the thing: In this natural hair game, people will tell you that you need to trim every three months or whenever! Do what works for your hair! If your ends look fine after three months, do you boo! Don’t just cut hair just to cut hair. Examine your own hair, and go from there. You know your curls better than anyone!
- Protein/Moisture Balance: It’s important to have a good protein/moisture balance in your natural hair regimen. Too much of either one can cause breakage! Shocking right! If your hair is overly moisturized, it becomes weak, dull, and lifeless. It will need protein to strengthen the hair and help balance everything out. On the other hand, if your hair is snapping and popping, you need moisture. Hair that breaks easily with minimal tension or stretching means you’ve gone a little overboard on the protein and need to reel it in to the moisture side! It’s all about finding the right balance! Try alternating weekly between moisturizing and protein conditioners, and you should be all balanced!
- You Are What You Eat: Eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water is super important if you want hair that is healthy, will grow, and you want to see luscious locks. Hair grows from within, so you need to make sure that you’re eating a well-balanced diet and taking in the proper vitamins and nutrients for optimal hair growth and retention.
- Low Manipulation Hair Styles: If you want to see less breakage, you need styles that don’t require much work. Find styles that keep your hair off your shoulders so it’s less likely to rub against your clothes and promote breakage.
- Hand-In-Hair Syndrome: We all suffer from it. We can’t help it. Our hands and our hair have this unbreakable bond that is so strong that we’re constantly reaching up to twirl, coil, pull, or pat our hair. Ladies, we’re gonna have to let go of this love affair! Constantly messing with your hair causes tangles, split ends, single strand knots, and no length retention because you’ll constantly have to snip off your ends for the reasons previously mentioned.
- Ditch the Heat: If you want to retain length, you may have to ditch the blow dryer and flat irons for a while. All of that heat may be why you have breakage issues as your ends continue to be fried by the blow dryer or flat iron. It especially affects your ability to retain length if you have heat damage and have to constantly cut your hair.
- Clean Scalp: A dirty scalp just may be the root of your issues (pun intended). If your scalp’s follicles are filled with a bunch of build up, it’s impossible for your hair to grow through all that gunk! Cleaning your scalp gets rid of the product build up on your scalp, and also helps with the over production of sebum on your scalp which may be hindering your hair growth.
- Clean Hair: Some people seem to think that just cleaning your scalp with shampoo and letting the shampoo run down the shaft of the hair is the end of it all. Don’t be afraid to work that shampoo through the actual strands of your hair, ladies! Gently, of course. The “praying hands” method works as it smoothes the shampoo down the length of the hair and prevents tangles. Product buildup is real! If your actual strands are full of product, it’s impossible for anything to get in that will help keep your hair moisturized to prevent it from breaking.
Danyelle Jacobs is a freelance content creator at www.napturallydany.com
, a natural hair, beauty, and lifestyle blog dedicated to offering natural hair care advice, beauty tips, and daily inspirations.
Jacque Amadi is a marketing professional and freelance content creator, offering tips for online fashion and beauty entrepreneurs at www.jacqueamadi.com.
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