The ends of your hair tend to be the most fragile since they are the oldest section of your hair shaft and they need to be hydrated properly to prevent breakage and splits. Be sure to moisturize and seal your ends regularly for maximum length retention. Water and water-based products are the best moisturizers, while oils and butters are great for sealing in that moisture. Cocoanut oil, castor oil and sheer butter are the top sealants among many naturals.
Choose Low-Maintenance Hairstyles
Daily styling and excess combing of natural hair can lead to less than ideal length retention. Many naturals swear by “protective styling,” which means they choose styles that keep fragile ends tucked away such as braids, twists or updos. Low-maintenance hairstyles are those that don’t involve daily styling such as a topknot that you’d only need to touch up two to three times per week.
Protect Your Hair While You Sleep
Yes, those 500 thread count cotton pillowcases feel oh-so-cozy, but they could be the culprit behind your stagnant hair growth. Cotton is a highly absorbent material that robs your hair of moisture while you snooze. Furthermore, the weave of cotton fibers can cause individual stands to tangle and break. Satin scarves and pillowcases provide a smooth barrier that hair strands can glide across sans hair damage and friction.
Take Inventory of Your Hair Accessories
While clips and headbands can add pizzaz to your hairstyle, these accessories could also pose a threat to your precious strands. If you notice any broken clips or teeth on your accessories or bobby pins, these sharp edges could literally tear your hair out or cause nicks and scratches on your scalp which could lead to follicle damage. Plastic headbands can also cause hair loss around the edges, so be sure to use cloth-covered headbands when possible.
Beware of Too-Tight Styling Habits
Braids and twists can be ideal as length retesting styles, but they defeat their purpose if they’re done with excess tension. You should never feel headaches or soreness during or after getting your hair done. Another red flag is if you see bumps or have irritation along your hairline. These are tell-tale signs that your hairstyle is too tight and could lead to hair loss or breakage.
Wash Your Hair in Sections
Shampooing the hair in small to medium sections is the best way to avoid tangles that can cause breakage during washing. Prior to washing, detangle and section your hair into two-strand twists or by using large clips or hair ties. While in the shower, take down one section, add your sulfate-free shampoo or co-wash, scrub gently and secure the section back into place before moving on to the next. Yes, this process takes more time, but it is guaranteed to lessen breakage and tangles while cleansing.
Treat Your Scalp with TLC
Healthy hair growth starts with a healthy scalp. Ensure optimal scalp health by avoiding sharp pins and clips that could cause scalp scarring and damage the hair follicle. While cleansing your hair, make sure to massage your scalp with your fingertips instead of using your nails. You can also stimulate hair growth with weekly scalp massages.
Get Rid of Split Ends
If you’re holding on to scraggly ends for the sake of longer length, stop it! Stop it right now! Split ends will continue to split up the hair shaft and can even begin to tangle onto nearby hairs which will cause even more breakage. And don’t buy into claims that split ends can be magically repaired by creams, pomades or conditioners. The only way to make them disappear is to cut them off.
Be Gentle When Detangling
If you grew up having your mother yank and tug your kinky hair into little elastic bands with balls on the ends, those days are over and done. It’s now time for you to treat your curls with tender, loving care. Always detangle your hair in sections while it’s damp or wet, making sure to start at the ends and work your way up to the roots. Using the proper tools to detangle is imperative, so be sure to use a seamless wide-tooth comb. Some naturals also see amazing results with just finger detangling as well.
Be Patient With Your Growth
While this is not a “hair growth tip” per se, having patience during the grow-out process is imperative. Without it you may feel that your hair is not growing fast enough or get frustrated with your growth. Keep in mind that we all have different rates of growth and your hair can and will grow with proper care. Savor each stage of your journey and find inspiration from other naturals with hair the same length as yours. There are so many styling options for hair of all lengths which are equally fierce and fabulous!