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?