Style Icon Nyasha
Consistently gaining hair length is a fairly obvious sign that your routine works. However, it is also probably one of the worst signs to rely on unless you are very patient. This is because hair really does grow fairly slowly and visualizing an inch can take 2–3 months. So, what are your options if you do not want to be driven mad by length checks but still want to know if your routine is working from week to week? Here are 4 definite signs which indicate that in 2–3 months, you will likely have that extra inch:
1. Skipping a day or two does not result in serious damage
If your routine is so rigid that missing it out for even one day will result in serious breakage, then you need to reconsider it, it is not good enough. If you are a daily or bi-weekly co-washer, you should be able to skip one day and live with it. If you moisturize your hair twice daily and forget one night, your hair should survive without damage until the next session. If you wash your hair weekly but get sick one weekend and cannot wash until the next week, your hair should be able to survive that.
2. You can work with what you have
Being able to adapt is a key indicator that you understand your hair. If you go on a trip abroad but forget your favourite moisturizer, could you walk into a shop, read the ingredient labels and pick out a product to use? If you try a new conditioner and find that it is not that great but it is not that terrible either, could you fix it with ingredients that you have at home? Here is a big one, if you decide to wear a stretched style and then it begins to rain, would you have the tools to prevent shrinkage in your bag or alternatively let it shrink and know that you can deal with it?
3. You have a firm handle on breakage
A perfect routine will minimize breakage to such an extent that hair can continuously gain length. Mathematically, stagnant hair means that your hair is breaking as fast as it is growing. Your growth rate is almost always never to blame. How can you get to a low breakage/breakage free state? You must have firm rules for handling your hair when it is wet and dry. You must know when your hair breaks the most (e.g during detangling or during styling) and take active steps to reduce this breakage. Total elimination of breakage is not always possible but for example keeping half or three quarters of an inch for every inch that grows is a tangible goal. Your hair does not have to grow fast, it just should grow.
4. You know what matters to YOUR hair.
There are plenty of articles around on what is the single most important thing for natural hair. There will be varied answers from some saying moisturizing is most important yet others will say daily moisturizing is a no-go area. Some naturals credit exclusive finger detangling to producing long hair but others say finger detangling only leads to more tangles. Some naturals cannot pinpoint a single adjustment at all. Where does the truth lie? The truth is all viewpoints are correct because every head of hair is different. You should know the best way to wash, moisturize and style YOUR hair.
What are some things you look for to gauge whether or not a routine is working for you?