By Chinwe of Hair and Health
So you’ve made it to armpit-length (APL) or maybe even BSL, but your journey to mid-back length (MBL) is arduous and never-ending. You’ve tried conditioning more, changing your products but even that doesn’t seem to help. Well, sit tight and put your reading glasses on for these six tips that may help you reach MBL.
1. Make oils your best friend
Avocado oil. Coconut oil. Olive oil. Grapeseed oil. Make oils your best friend. You do not have to own every type of oil on the planet, but you can benefit from using oil on a regular basis. Pre-poo overnight with oil. Apply oil to your ends before taking down a set of twists or braids. Put some oil on your strands prior to combing, detangling, or any other manipulation. Also, use oils as part of your moisturizing method AND conditioning routine. If you make oils your best friend, your ends can suffer less breakage and splits.
2. Keep your hair up – and not just at night
Many of you probably already practice putting your hair up and in a satin bonnet or scarf at night. However, keeping your hair up during the day is just as important if you are striving to reach MBL. This is where regular protective styling comes into play. Make updos, buns, or some sort of pinned up look your staple style on stretched, twisted, or braided hair. It is okay to wear your hair out and free once in a while, but overdoing it can wear down your ends and prevent you from retaining more length.
If you are stuck at APL and use a brush and/or fine-tooth comb, then take those tools and toss them. Again, this is not to say that no natural can reach MBL with such tools; this is to say that you yourself probably cannot. So I suggest letting those tools go. Brushes and fine-tooth combs may be preventing you from retaining more length and thus may be keeping you stuck.
4. Invest in a good protein conditioner – for your ends
If you have not being using a protein conditioner yet, you may need to start. Use a good one, too, like ApHogee Keratin 2‑Minute Reconstructor – a favorite of mine (not to be confused with ApHogee 2‑Step). Why protein? Because, as you’ve probably heard me mention before, the ends of your hair about 2–3 years old now and need some reinforcement to reduce breakage and splits. Oils (as discussed in #1) and a good protein conditioner can help with that!
5. Keep trims to a minimum
If you find yourself getting trims on a set schedule, such as every 1–2 months, then you may want to reconsider that. Rather, trim only when necessary – that is, only when damage is apparent. Additionally, focus on tips #1–4 so that you can reduce damage, and thus reduce the need to trim.
6. Stop fussing with your hair
Lastly, stop fussing with your hair. When you had the teeny weeny afro (TWA) or were in the awkward length stage, you may have tried every natural hair style in the book on your new curls, coils, or kinks. You probably did a puff one day, a fro-hawk the next day, twists the following day, then a twist-out, then a blow-out, then a rod set, etc. You were probably really excited about playing in your “new” hair, and I get it. If you want to reach MBL, however, continuing with that kind of experimentation can cost you some length retention. That being said, it helps to stay out of your hair as much as possible.
Ladies, are you stuck at APL or even BSL? Have you finally reached MBL after being stuck? Share below!