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4 Tips to Maximize Your Length Retention this Summer

Avatar • Jul 19, 2014

summer hair

Not too long ago, I wrote a post on how to reduce breakage and retain length this summer from the standpoint of protecting one’s hair from the sun, chlorine, etc. Well, now I want to talk more about maximizing your length retention and from the standpoint of manipulation and moisture this season. If you are all about keeping those few inches before autumn arrives, then read on:

1. If you are washing/co-washing more often, don’t sleep on the pre-poo

Some of us tend to wash or co-wash our hair more frequently during this time of year. If that is the case for you, don’t skip the pre-poo step. Why? Well, our hair strands undergo manipulation and some protein loss each time we wash. Just think about all the touching you do to your hair on co-wash/wash day. What is less of an issue but still relevant is that gradual damage can also occur as our strands swell and de-swell upon the penetration and evaporation of water during the wash routine. (As some of you probably already know by now, this is called hygral fatigue.) If you go from washing once every few weeks to two times a week, you are potentially speeding up that damage. However, pre-pooing with certain penetrating oils, such as coconut, can mitigate that issue as well as reduce any protein loss you may incur during the remainder of your wash routine.

2. Stick with staple styles that worked during the other seasons 

Summer can be a time to experiment with color, bleach, heat, loose styles, etc., but if you want to maximize your length retention during this period, stick with what you know. It may sound boring, but no pain, no gain, right? I find that I get the least length retention (if any at all) during summers in which I veer off of what has worked for me. If buns were your thing in the spring, keep them as your thing in the summer. If braids worked for you during the winter, then stick with them. If you want to maximize your length retention this summer, you’ve got to sacrifice or, at the very least, limit your experimentation.

3. If you are experiencing a humid summer, befriend humectants 

Though humectants (e.g., glycerin, aloe vera juice) are bad for if you want to avoid frizz, they are great for when you want to absorb moisture. That leads you to make this decision: Do you want to avoid frizz or do you want get as much moisture as possible from the humid air? Remember that moisture is a natural’s best friend because it translates into soft, supple, flexible strands that are less likely to break. Check out Jc’s earlier article on how glycerin can help to strengthen your hair: “4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Stronger Hair”.

NOTE: Frizz can lead to tangles and knots in high-shrinkage hair that is worn in loose stretched styles, so consider going the protective route when using humectants.

4. If you are experiencing a dry summer, keep a spray bottle on deck

Even though you were able to go days or a week without re-moisturizing your hair, dry summer heat may have totally changed the game for you. You may find yourself slapping on moisture every time you walk to a water source! Well, don’t be afraid to keep a spray bottle filled with water (and oils, if you wish) in your purse so that you can whip it out when needed. Again, moisture is a natural’s best friend because it translates into soft, supple, flexible strands that are less likely to break. Check out Christina’s earlier article for more tips in the dry heat: “4 Essential Tips for Keeping Natural Hair Moisturized in Dry Heat”.

Ladies, how are you maximizing your length retention this summer?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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Alanood
Alanood
6 years ago

I liked the article i really needed thoes tips to regain the inches i lost due to breakage .
Wish me luck i’m just 1 year natural and still experimnting . I’m from saudi arabia and here there is not enough products for natural hair and not enough natural haired ladies so i’m totally alone with no support

Isabelle
6 years ago
Reply to  Alanood

U should try and order products online curlmart is having a huge sale on hair products

D
D
6 years ago

I’ve been wearing marley twists of different sizes for the past several months (thank God for reusable hair) and I just can’t take it anymore! Any protective style suggestions for a 4c long term transitioner (19 months and counting!) who works out every day?

Elodie
Elodie
6 years ago

The true question is : Is summer the period to retain lenght ? My point is that “lenght retention” is this gigantic concept over our heads that makes the nappy journey so painful at times especially for 4B/4C hair. I live in Martinique, a French Caribbean island…we go to the beach pretty much all year long but Summer (even if we don’t have summer per say) is a period where we can rest, enjoy parties, see cousins living in France or other parts of the world…and the last thing we want to do is to be stressed/focused on projective styles, lenght… Read more »

kitso
kitso
6 years ago
Reply to  Chinwe

I do agree with you that people go on this journey for different reasons and that is ok, we are humans and we are individuals and we are unique in so many ways,
But do we really HAVE to PROVE that our hair can grow? Prove to who and why?

I for one know that my hair grows, and if other people doubt that then i really think that is their problem not mine. Basic science proved it long before i was born so i really do not have to prove it to anyone including myself.

mary
mary
6 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

Finally Elodie, someone who feels like I do. Length retention and curls have become the new relaxers. I lived under wigs and braids while transitioning and in April I just couldn’t take it any more and just started wearing my hair. I don’t know why there is such an obsession with these two things but that’s all you see in the blogs. On the websites you see them glorifying sisters who rock short, faded or tapered cuts, just long, curly hair. The discussion is always about how to get it, keep it long and/or curly. What is the point if… Read more »

Elodie
Elodie
6 years ago
Reply to  mary

I actually wrote some posts on this curl obsession as well on another article…Funny! The blogosphere always writes on tips to have long hair, curly hair, “5 ways to regain long hair”, “10 ways to curl hair with tools”…how about ” 10 ways to be pretty with natural hair” or 7 tips to enjoy your nappy hair with no pressure”…On my island, I never heard of any conversation about “defining curls”…no offense but I believe it’s a North-american thing and I find difficult to understand it. I bigchopped in February and I ‑unfortunately- experimented a huge loss because of an… Read more »

Nabelle
Nabelle
6 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

What you say is totally true about the french caribbean but let me highlight something about the hair in your island, there are many girls who are naturals but do not have beautiful hair cause in fact they dont care enough about their hair, and there are many girls who are relaxed even if it is still a bit curly it is not totally natural. Even if there are beautiful curly girls with very long hair who do not do much stuff. The US History about hair is different than in the caribbean island and than in France where we… Read more »

Eléonore
Eléonore
6 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

I agree with Elodie. I am French too and I live in Paris. I have come to the conclusion that French Naturelles do not have the same focusses as US naturals. None of us is interested in defining curls ; Andre Walker hair typing is just a tool to help to recognize a naturelle sister to refer to ; and the one among us who has long hair just has long hair (and she is Lucky). Maybe this relates to cultural différences, but I feel like US naturals put a lot of strain on themselves. This can lead them to consider summer… Read more »

mary
mary
6 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

My response has a typo. I mean to say you don’t see them glorifying sisters with short, faded or tapered cuts. Mostly the same old twist outs that everyone does.

Yeshna
Yeshna
6 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

I agree completely that curl definition, fro size, low shrinkage and obsessions with length and length retention have replaced long straight hair as the way for naturals to be. The most popular youtubers have those journeys that seem smooth and show great progression in this department or have low shrinkage therefore show their length. Happily, I think the obsession with length is now shared with an interest in having a cute cut that fits the face and lifestyle of the modern natural. I’m grateful for that as it removes the pressure of having to have that perfect journey plus newer… Read more »

DEE
DEE
4 years ago
Reply to  Elodie

WELL THATS YOUR CHOICE WHY ARE YOU ON A HAIR BLOG? BLACK WOMEN ARENT THE ONLY RACE THAT LIKE LONG HAIR… AND I THINK THAT ALOT OF BLACK WOMEN LIKE MYSELF ALWAYS THOUGHT MY HAIR WOULD ONLY GROW TO A CERTAIN LENGTH. BUT THE TRUTH IS I DIDNT KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY MAINTAIN MY HAIR. LONG HAIR IS NOT YOUR GOAL.

AnaDion
AnaDion
6 years ago

I’ve just realized that my hair is finally APL and can make a decent bun, so I decided that this summer, not in school, I was going to keep my hair stretched and loosely bunned for maximum length retention. Before I started the regimen, I bleached the front of my hair, that way if I experienced breakage I do so before getting too attached to my new found length.

Sheryl
6 years ago

I’m not really in for any length retention style. Just enjoying my hair twa 2 inches hair from my BC 3 months ago. I’m still learning my my hair. I’m aiming for healthy hair.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Great article. I tend to like to experiment during the summer. I haven’t determined if my wash and go “phase“is damaging or not during these months but I will find out soon!

F2usacib
F2usacib
6 years ago

I’m not really doing anything to maximize length retention. I’ve been doing wngs, wet buns and twists. I like to shampoo 1–2 times a week (also cowash w/cleansing conditioners). My 6yo has waist length hair which I cut back frim hip length. I’m doing wng puffs w/her hair bc I want to give her a break, as well, and have cut back on her shampooing to twice a month.

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