By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
2012 is nearly over and today it is time to reflect for the black girls who want long hair. The big question is.….….have you met your hair goals? Is your hair longer than it was in January? If your hair is not gaining length or if you have had less than stellar results this year, this article is for you. These are 5 simple steps to reverse stagnant hair into long thriving hair
1. Accept that what you are doing does not work
You are doing it all, protective styling, moisturising and deep conditioning but still you have not managed to move your hair an inch. It is time to face the facts — your current routine despite having all the good stuff really does not work.
It is time for a critical assessment. Do you keep a protective style long enough to ensure that you gain benefit from it? Do you moisturise at the critical points when moisture is needed (when taking down a style and when handling free hair) and do you avoid handling your hair at its weakest state (soaking wet)? Could you be doing too much to your hair therefore causing it to wear away and compromise length?
If you do not see results within 2–3 months, you need to make this critical assessment again. Do not wait for 1 year to go by. You should be able to see small increments in your hair length every 2–3 months.
2. Know when your hair breaks
The reason for hair staying at a stagnant length is because it is breaking just as fast as it is growing. It is really important to know when your hair is most vulnerable to breakage and this varies from person to person depending on your individual strand thickness and choice of styling. The most common breakage points are:
-during takedown of a protective style (especially at the ends)
-during detangling (both conditioner combing and dry detangling)
- while wearing hair free (due to tangling, shrinkage, knots and regular handling)
Once you identify why and when your hair is most vulnerable to breakage, you will be able to know exactly when you must protect your hair from damage.
3. Try something new
Having accepted that what you are doing does not work, it is time to try to do something new. If you have been conditioner combing, try dry or damp detangling for a little while and see how it works for you. Compare your results after 2–3 months and decide which one really works best for you. If you have never deep conditioned your hair, try doing it for 2–3 months and see if your hair improves or not. If you only use heavy oils or butters on your hair, try light oils and see if your hair would equally be happy with those. Do not write things off before you actually try them.
4. Know when to stop
I am really all for trying something new but equally you should know when to stop. If a technique causes immediate breakage, stop using it. Do not think perhaps your hair is shedding more than usual, assume that the technique is not working for your hair and must be adjusted to suit your curls and kinks or not used at all. If you are deep conditioning 2–3 times a week and your hair is not moisturised, stop and reassess how you are conditioning (is your conditioner working, do you need to warm it up first, could you do with some protein, do you use a leave in/moisturiser/oil after washing).
5. Have realistic expectations
Finally hair takes a long time to grow. Many naturals cannot retain 100% of their growth. If your hair is susceptible to split ends then cutting them off will impact retention but provided at the end of the year you have kept some length, do not be disheartened. There are a small proportion of women who can keep all their growth but I feel that it is more reasonable to expect between 3–5 inches per year with a regular trimming or dusting routine.
Ladies, what are your hair goals for 2013? Will you be trying to grow your hair out?