Have you ever stumbled upon someone with similar hair texture and length as yours only to find that when you check back a couple of years later they seemingly have gained 3 times more length than you have managed retain? Many naturals will attribute this difference to an assumption that the other person may have more breakage resistant or perhaps thicker strands. I will put it out there, this assumption is actually quite often true but it is very rarely the single or main reason why one person can retain length while another struggles. Here are four other reasons.
1. She makes her own rules
There are many people who do not tow the line of convention for example former style icon Cipriana advocates dry detangling which many people dread. Meanwhile, Teri La Flesh of tightly curly encourages using a rinse out conditioner as a leave in styler, something that some manufacturers advise against. The point is that Cipriana’s method would lead Teri’s hair to break and equally Teri’s method may cause serious shrinkage and tangling for Cipriana’s hair. Religiously following the routine of your hair twin/ style icon/ favorite youtuber may simply just not work. Your best bet is to experiment with techniques until you find the right one for you. This applies to every step of hair care from detangling method and frequency, washing method and whether to protective style or not.
2. She leaves her hair alone
Many naturals with long hair will in general have a very simple routine that will involve very little daily styling. Length checks will also be done on an intermittent basis, perhaps every 6 months or once a year. The same will go for trims which may be done equally on an intermittent basis instead of hunting for split ends every other week. The basic principle that all these actions confer is that the more you leave your hair alone, the better it will thrive.
3. She understands and avoids breakage
The girls with long hair understand breakage and do everything to avoid it. I recall when Kim of Kimmaytube stated that she takes several hours to detangle her hair properly, some people thought this was excessive. However, prior to taking the step of really being patient with detangling, her hair was a medium length. In order to pass this mark, it was necessary to really nip all breakage in the bud. You need to understand what causes your hair to break, whether it is a case of being more patient, handling it when wet or dry, being more diligent about restoring moisture, avoiding heat, not overstretching but at the same time not allowing full shrinkage etc. You need to identify every cause of minor and major breakage and take steps to eliminate them.
4. She experiments with products
I cannot name two long haired naturals with identical product recommendations. This may lead you to perhaps question the importance of products in contributing to hair length retention since it appears anything might work. Therein lies the truth, ‘anything might indeed work’. If you take the time and effort to learn about ingredients and what they do, you will soon find yourself being able to discriminate between products that work for you and those that do not. You may be lucky enough to stumble upon your staple products with the first trial but this is rare. Experiment all through the growing phase of your hair, what you use in the beginning may not work when your hair is down your back.