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