How to Retain Length with Natural Hair

The two most common questions women with natural hair ask: 1) How do I get my hair to grow faster? and 2) How do I retain length?

Most of question #1 is out of control. Although you can influence hair growth through a balanced diet and supplements, much of hair growth is genetic. On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch a month. For some it grows faster, while for others it grows slower. But what do we have a lot more control over? Retention. I will admit that natural retention can be a challenge. Our hair has many tight spirals, which makes it difficult for natural hair sebum to reach the ends of our hair. Furthermore, our hair is flatter and less oval than other races’ hair. But if you keep these things in mind as you care for your hair, retention is possible.

long hairTrim Your Ends
I’ll start with what seems counterintuitive to hair retention, but is a necessary evil… hair trimming. We’ve all had hair horror stories where a trim turned into a cut, but that shouldn’t deter you from a trim. There is no set time frame for a trim, but if you notice many split ends… it’s time. For some, it is 8 weeks, while for others it is every 3-6 months. But no matter the time frame, it is important for you to remove split ends so that they don’t split further up the shaft… and curtail length retention.

Limit Manipulation of Hair

The more wear and tear your hair is subjected to, the more likely it is to weaken and break. Protective styling — braids, buns,twists, weaves — are popular means to limit manipulation of you hair, but it is not your only option. In daily styling, try to limit how much you handle your hair. Don’t “comb” your hair excessively, limit use of heat tools, and be gentle when you handle your hair. It’s a mindset. Whenever you handle your hair, remember that every snag, every burn is a loss of retention.

Condition! Condition! Condition!

Conditioning your hair has many benefits. When you condition your hair, you replenish your hair strands. Conditioning hair can moisturize your hair –which is important since dry hair breaks. Conditioning hair also adds nutrients back to the hair. But remember, when you deep condition hair, you must use a conditioner specifically labeled as a deep conditioner or mask. Also, deep condition with heat for optimal benefits.

So there you have it! Get rid of those unhealthy ends before they make the rest of your hair unhealthy. Treat your hair with care and limit mechanical damage so that you can retain more length. And finally, condition your hair so that you have a good moisture/protein balance to retain more length

What are your tips for length retention?

Author: Latoya

Latoya is an academic advisor by day, natural hair enthusiast//writer by night, and wife and mom 24/7. Her last relaxer was in April 2010 and she big chopped in October 2010. Join her as she shares tips and techniques for your natural hair.

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  1. I want to know why black women have to sacrifice the truth. I am soooooooooooooooooooo sick of looking at mixed women regarding my beauty regime. Listen our hair looks nothing like the models you are showing. If this is about black natural hair kinky hair, please stop showing me manageable hair for the mixed chick. WHERE ARE THE SISTAS AT????????????????????? Yes, I am angry and sick of this.

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    • I’ve signed up to check it out real advice on kinky hair! Xx

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    • I can’t believe someone is actually upset about the picture being used. It has nothing to do with the actual tips that are listed here. Get over yourself. Mixed chicks have hair struggles too. I’m mixed (like 3rd generation)with a combination of kinky, curly and wavy hair that is dry and limp and I’m here to tell you the struggle is REAL.

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