As always when the year is about to end, it is a time to reflect on how much progress your hair has made. I truly salute every single person who has seen their hair flourish this year and I do certainly hope that it will continue over the next years (plural!) to come. If you are struggling and have not been able to see progress, then here are 4 mistakes that you may be guilty of and knowing them may help you see a real gain in the next 2–3 months and beyond!
1. Throwing everything and the kitchen sink at your hair to solve stagnant hair
Here is an example, Miss A used to dry finger detangle, deep condition, wash her hair once a week and style her hair in twists for protective styling. She decides that dry finger detangling may be causing breakage to her hair as she notices the most hair loss during that process. Miss A should therefore attempt to finger detangle with conditioner/oil or conditioner comb in order to assess if her hypothesis is true. However, if Miss A decided in addition to switch to sulfate free products, deep condition for 1 hour instead of her usual 20 minutes, trimmed her hair, decided to include a co-wash every 3 days and decided to try bunning her free hair instead of twisting all at the same time, how would she really be able to know whether finger detangling was the problem? If you decide to throw everything at your hair and hope that one of those things solves a problem, it will always be hit and miss. If you do however, revamp your routine by strategically change 1 or 2 things at a time, you will be able to quickly eliminate techniques that do not work and learn what your hair really does like.
2. Forgetting about your previous mistakes
You may have fully revamped your hair routine and adopted techniques that start helping your hair gain length before all of a sudden your hair inexplicably starts to break. Faced with this situation, it would not be unexpected for anyone to think that the new routine is no longer working, however, this may not actually be the case. If you mishandled your hair 6 months or 1 year ago, the wear inflicted on the hair may come back to bite you 1–2 years later rather than instantaneously. This is very often true when hair is less sensitive to heat or rough treatment. Therefore, if you have managed to sail along happily with few to no trims for 1 year or more and then get unexplained breakage, do consider trimming some inches off your ends and see if it makes a difference.
3. Allowing your hair to stagnate for over 6 months
You should be able to see some progress in your hair length every 2–3 months. If you do not see even a small gain in that period, you should know that you need to reconsider your routine. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that it takes time to gain length so just keep being patient. This statement is true but only if you are actually gaining length. If you are not, then you need to go back to the drawing board and reassess what you can do over the next 2–3 months to get a gain in length.
4. Over reliance on products to fix breakage problems.
Often when the question is posed that hair is shedding/breaking more than usual, the almost immediate answer that forums and many bloggers will provide is that a protein treatment will fix the issue. The problem with this answer is that protein treatments are temporary and simply slow down the inevitable conclusion which is that the hair will break. If you are serious about solving breakage issues, look first for a mechanical reason (combing, styling, manipulation frequency, detangling, trimming requirement) or a chemical reason (bleaching, permanent colour, change of environment). Your hair may well benefit from protein to help strengthen and moisturise it but breakage issues are very rarely solved by products alone.
Ladies, have you been guilty of any of these mistakes? What would you add to the list?