I believe the biggest hurdles to overcome when attempting to grow and retain longer hair are:
1) believing that you can grow and retain your desired length of hair
2) finding a regimen that aids in hair retention.
Once you’ve achieved these goals, you’re pretty much on cruise control, until you reach your goal length. Or are you? While maintaining a particular length is generally easier than growing the hair to that length, you still have work to do when you get there. I want to highlight three pieces of advice to consider once you reach your goal length.
Learning When to Let Go
Just before I began to write this very paragraph, I paused and ran my finger through my hair, only to discover a sizeable knot at the end of my hair. My hair was in a moisturized bun all day, so I have no idea where this little rascal came from. However, I do know that I lost a little hair by the time I removed the knot. This is not the first nor will it be the last time this happens. As you draw closer to your goal, consider taking into account the smaller set backs that may arise from time to time. Once you reach your goal length, you might require more frequent trims in order to maintain healthy length retention past your original goal. You can think of this as an insurance policy, for your hair. If your texture is kinky/coily like mine, trimming 2 inches won’t make a visible difference but trust me, you’ll feel better if you need to cut off 2 inches knowing you’re still technically at your goal length.
Returning to Bad Habits
Let me preface my next example by stating that I am not rigid when it comes to hair products. If something works, great! However, if it doesn’t, move on. Not long ago, I noticed a number of women advocating the use of hair grease. I have had my fair share of dark blue and dark green hair greases laden with mineral oil applied to my hair and was left neither unhappy nor bald. Still, I didn’t understand why some women returned to those products even while admitting how mineral oil free products benefited their hair. I use this example to illustrate the point that it can become tempting to be more careless or open to experimentation once you’ve reached your hair goal. My advice: It’s “just hair,” so experimentation is fine. However, if you are actively seeking to maintain your length, don’t return to practices that you’ve previously ruled out just because it’s the latest bandwagon .
Take it a Little Easier
I used to deep condition my hair ever week, alternating between moisture rich and protein rich conditioners. I have not done that in years. You shouldn’t return to negative habits but you can cut back a little on time consuming good habits. You may find that using your steamer once a month, instead of every week allows your hair to receive a moisture boost, while shaving 30 minutes off your weekly routine. You might also find that a $10 conditioner yields results that differ very little from your $30 salon brand conditioner. I found that reaching my goal meant that I could simplify my regimen by keeping the most important parts of my weekly routine (thorough pre-shampoo detangle, moisturizing my ends several times a week) and eliminating or reducing other practices. As a result, you might be surprised to find that your longer hair is a bit easier to maintain than shorter hair.
What have you learned as your hair has grown longer?