Calling All Naturals: How to Retain Your Length While Growing Your Hair

Natural hair brings many advantages but some complexities.  There are many methods that will help you keep the length of hair that you have grown while you are trying to reach your hair goal but I want to talk about the method I use.  With this method I only have to trim my hair once a year.  It works that well for my hair and being that I have hair that is a mix of different textures and just crazy to deal with overall, I feel that it should work well for most of you out there.  But first, I will discuss a few of the problems that keep you from retaining most of the hair that you grow. So let’s get started.

The Problem:  Dryness

Dryness is one of the enemies of ethnic hair.  If there is not a proper moisture-protein balance then no matter what you do you will constantly have setbacks and have to chop off your ends, or worse.  Dryness can lead to breakage or it may seem to you that you hair is at a stand still and it is not growing.  Trust me, your hair is growing but you have not retained your length due to improper care.  Later, I will show you how to combat dryness to maximize your time and tresses.

The Problem:  Breakage

Heat is not our friend.  Please keep that in mind.  Also, consistent effort must be made daily towards our hair.  I am not saying that you have to do a long drawn out process but you should not go a day without hair care.  You cannot slack when you have hair goals.  Breakage is a major problem.  Both natural and relaxed hair can have breakage issues but they happen for different reasons.  For natural hair, breakage usually comes because of combing or styling methods.  We talked about dryness earlier but that is also a factor that leads to fragile hair.

The Problem:  Unlawful Usage of Stuff

I phrased the title the way I did because some of you want to wear a wool scarf around your neck all day, decorative hair pins that look like forks diving through your hair, rubber bands and sleep on pillow cases whose fabric looks like it is made of straw.  All of this is just wrong and should be illegal to do to ethnic hair.  The only thing I use in my hair is a bobby pin and I never wear it while sleeping.

The Steps

I will outline what I do to my hair that allows me to go without a trim except for once a year, usually around the beginning of the year.  If you follow the steps that I will talk about below, you should be able to cut down on your trimming needs drastically and see the rewards of your hard work.

Step 1:  Protein

Once a week I do a protein treatment using Pro Con gel, this is otherwise known as brown gel.  Aphogee Treatment is usually too harsh to be used weekly for naturals.  The reason I do a protein treatment weekly is because I give my hair so much moisture that there needs to be a protein-moisture balance and weekly is just the right amount of time to produce results.  Put an ample amount of gel on the entire length of your hair, including the roots and let it dry until it is completely hardened.  Apply extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil on your hair and rinse.  Condition, rinse and comb while you are in the shower using the water pressure to separate the strands.

Step 2:  Moisture

Apply your favorite water based moisturizer.  I use activator spray as my moisturizer but some of you may not like the smell.  Remember back in the day, a lot of young black girls had S-Curls or Jerri Curls and their hair reached lengths that it had not been able to get to before.  That was partly because of the low maintenance of a curl and the constant moisture that the activator spray provided.

Step 3:  Seal

It is critical that you seal your moisture in.  I typically use Jamaican black castor oil to  seal because it is one of the heavier oils and I like the shine and softness that it gives my hair.

Steps 4:  Protective Styling

Pull your hair back towards the nape of your neck and collect in a ponytail. Twist your hair around.  It should look similar to a towel that is twisted.  Once the hair is twisted, wrap it around itself and pin the ends on the upper side of the twisted/wrapped bun.  Tuck the ends that are sticking out from under the pin into the bun itself.  Tie down for at least and 15 minutes to let your hair set.  You can wear this style or you can put a wig over it (make sure you have removed the wig combs).

Nightly

Take your bobby pin out but do not untwist your hair.  Spray you hair with your favorite moisturizer and put evoo over your hair, concentrating on the ends.  Wrap the twisted bun around itself again and tuck your ends away.  Put a satin scarf over you hair to make sure there is not much movement of our hair during the night.

Notations

If you wash you hair daily, repeat the steps above.  Either way, you must make sure that your keep protein treatments are done as there is a lot of moisture going into your hair and you do not want your hair to become too soft, causing breakage.

The key formula is protein + moisture + sealant + protective styling = retaining length.

Try not to comb your hair when dry.  I only comb my hair while in the shower.

Author: Miandria Powell

Miandria Powell is currently a student at Purdue University, majoring in Information Technology. She is a web enthusiast with interests in writing, internet marketing, film making, metaphysics and all things beauty. Miandria has a love for healthy living and believes in taking care of the body inside and out. Living life consciously with a constant mind-body-spirit awareness is one of the most important things to her. Feel free to friend request her on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/miandriapowell

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13 Comments

  1. How do i know what constitutes too much breakage? Today when i styled my hair into a french updo i lost about 12 strands to breakage. My ends have been flat ironed a lot over the course of the last 2 years, and my hair is also bleached. Would this amount be normal, considering my hair alterations?
    I’ve been wondering about this for some time. I normally lose about 7 to 10 broken hairs a day in the styling process, using my fingers only. And i lose about 20 broken hairs on wash day when i comb and wash my hair.
    Is this too much?

    Post a Reply
    • It sounds like you hair may be a little brittle/dry. Tone down the processing of your hair. I do not know if you have a perm or not but if you do, stretch your relaxers. I wouild not say that its too much shedding, but I dont like the broken strands of hair that you speak of. You may need more moisture. You also may have to leave the bleaching alone for a while. The breakage may not be much now but dont let it prgress, and it will if you do not bring it all back in, in terms of your hair care.

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  2. Norma, have you started any new supplements or medications lately?

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  3. What is a pro con gel??

    Post a Reply
    • It is “brown Gel” that comes in the black jar that you find at any beauty supply. I usually has a white lid.

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  4. Could you explain how to seal in moisture to hair?…

    Thanks in advance!

    Post a Reply
    • I will write an article on that. Thanks!

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  5. I need help with my hair. I am a natural black woman. I use expensive shampoo and conditioner and moisterizer. However,I notice my hair is breaking badly. I don’t understand what is happening. Help!!!!!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Norma,

      I would like to ask you, if you sleep with a satin bonnet on your head or not?

      Your hair could break because of too much moisture, which makes it too fragile. It can also break from being too dry.

      DO you use heat in your hair?

      Are you sure it is breakage or is it shedding?

      It doesn’t matter that you use expensive products, those might not be the products that your hair likes. My hair is picky as well.

      It could be so many things, please provide more details.

      Thanks

      Post a Reply
      • Iam having the problem of hair breakage especially in the top and at nape of head. my hair was very healthy and thick and long, after high lights and new relaxer my hair was sheddding like crazy by the handfuls i was told that we shed 100 hairs per day. and it could be medicines.went to a doctor still waiting for results. but would like to keep reminder of hair until the rest grows back.help how to keep hair growing and healthy? put a tempority weave in to cover spot had professional to do it.any advice you could give to cover and style my hair. salon did color my hair again dark brown. i dont want to use any other chemical products. just natural.i do use wen products are they really ok? they did help with frizz problem.

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        • I was in a similar situation many years ago, the last time was because a perm was not washed out of my hair properly. What you want to do is have a very low maintenance style. I would clip the broken ares down to where the breakage begins, then keep it moisturized and sealed. After that, you don’t want to touch it until it’s time to moisturize and seal again. The perfect hairstyle for this is a bun. If your hair is long enough, slick your hair back with a combination of a light oil (jojoba), a moisturizer and a touch of light weight gel on top of the hair. Make sure the gel has no alcohol. Wear this style daily. I would NOT put a weave in to camouflage the breakage, as this will do nothing but add more tension to hair that has already been traumatized. I would wear the bun daily for the next 4 months minimum. You must choose to forgo the look of straight hair, in order to repair your own hair.

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          • Oh, and the products that you use are fine. At this point, it is more about repairing in the form of low manipulation than it is about the products.

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