It's finally here! The second part of my post about hair growth and length retention (read part 1 here).
Like I said before, our hair is growing all the time. So if you're not seeing any growth, it's probably because you're not retaining any length, i.e. your hair is breaking off at the same rate it's growing.
The most fragile part of your hair is your ends. Why? Because they're the oldest and the most exposed part of our hair shaft, especially if you're wearing your hair out. That's why those ends are more likely to break if you don't take care of them properly. And of course, since every curve in fine coily hair represents a breaking point, well... the curlier and kinkier your hair, the more it will be prone to breakage (yes, it's a hard knock life for us 4c hair women...).
With that being said, here are some keys to promote/improve length retention:
Keep your hair moisturized.
I've said it already, but once again, I want to stress the importance of keeping your hair - and your ends - moisturized and sealed. Remember that dry hair is more vulnerable and prone to snapping, knotting and breaking.
Don't forget your protein treatments
A good hair regimen is all about balance. In addition to moisture, use protein treatments regularly to strengthen the hair shaft.
Keep manipulation down to a minimum
Favor styles that don't require daily styling 'cause the more you manipulate your strands, the weaker they become. Protective styles such as braids, twists, cornrows and buns can be good, but don't overdo it either. Constant pulling and tension can also weaken the hair and stress the scalp.
When you have natural hair, detangling is usually the most time-consuming (and often excruciating) part of your regimen. Sometimes, you want to be quickly done, but your hair just won't let you be. And the truth is: lots of hair can be broken and split ends created through a bad detangling session. So make sure you have time and be gentle with your hair. Section it off if you need to, and work one section at a time. Always use a product with a lot of slip and start with you fingers, before eventually combing (with a wide tooth comb) from the ends upwards.
Oh, and I almost forgot... always finger detangle your hair before washing it. And if you already have mid-long to long kinky hair, wash your hair in sections.
Keep you hair detangled as long as possible
Detangling you hair at night to find a matted mess in the morning is not the bizness. If you have coily/kinky hair, you got to find a way to keep you hair detangled as long as possible to avoid knots, split ends and a future dreadful detangling session. So if you're wearing your hair out, go for stretched styles such as braid outs, twist outs or bantu knots outs. Banding or using African threading can also help you stretch your hair without the use of heat. Last, but not least, don't forget to wear a satin/silk cap or scarf at night!
Lay off the heat
Fact: heat damages and weakens the hair. So try letting go of blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons. If you can't see yourself not using heat, try cutting back and/or using these tools set on low temperatures.
Trim when necessary
I know, I know... when you want long hair, it's very hard to decide to trim your ends. But believe me, it's totally counterproductive to hold on to knots, split or damaged hair.Trimming will keep those ends from splitting further up the strands and causing larger amounts of breakage.
Now that you know what to do, don't obsess over your hair length. No matter how careful you are, some strands will break, split ends will appear and... life will go on. Just take good care of your strands and don't forget to have fun with your hair!
And if, in spite of your best efforts, you feel your hair is still not growing, I would encourage you to read this article from Black Girl Long Hair entitled: 5 reasons your hair growth seems stunted. And as always, you can ask your questions down below!
Happy hair journey!