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.
Trim 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?