March 2014 marks to
beginning of my natural hair journey and today it is time to
reflect for the black girls who want long hair. The big question
is………have you met your hair goals? Is your hair longer than it was in January?
If your hair is not gaining length or if you have had less than stellar results
this year, this article is for you. These are 5 simple steps to reverse
stagnant hair into long thriving hair
that what you are doing does not work
2. Know when your hair breaks
3. Try something new
4. Know when to stop
5. Have realistic expectations
You are doing it all,
protective styling, moisturising and deep conditioning but still you
have not managed to move your hair an inch. It is time to face the facts – your
current routine despite having all the good stuff really does not work.
It is time for a
critical assessment. Do you keep a protective style long enough to ensure that
you gain benefit from it? Do you moisturise at the critical points when
moisture is needed (when taking down a style and when handling free
hair) and do you avoid handling your hair at its weakest state (soaking
wet)? Could you be doing too much to your hair therefore causing it to
wear away and compromise length?
If you do not see
results within 2-3 months, you need to make this critical assessment again. Do
not wait for 1 year to go by. You should be able to see small increments in
your hair length every 2-3 months.
The reason for hair
staying at a stagnant length is because it is breaking just as fast as it is
growing. It is really important to know when your hair is most vulnerable to
breakage and this varies from person to person depending on your individual
strand thickness and choice of styling. The most common breakage points are:
-during takedown of a
protective style (especially at the ends)
(both conditioner combing and dry detangling)
- while wearing hair
free (due to tangling, shrinkage, knots and regular handling)
Once you identify why
and when your hair is most vulnerable to breakage, you will be able to know
exactly when you must protect your hair from damage.
Having accepted that
what you are doing does not work, it is time to try to do something new. If you
have been conditioner combing, try dry or damp detangling for a
little while and see how it works for you. Compare your results
after 2-3 months and decide which one really works best for you. If
you have never deep conditioned your hair, try doing it for 2-3 months and see
if your hair improves or not. If you only use heavy oils or butters on your
hair, try light oils and see if your hair would equally be happy with those. Do
not write things off before you actually try them.
I am really all for
trying something new but equally you should know when to stop. If a technique
causes immediate breakage, stop using it. Do not think perhaps your hair is
shedding more than usual, assume that the technique is not working for your
hair and must be adjusted to suit your curls and kinks or not used at all. If
you are deep conditioning 2-3 times a week and your hair is not moisturised,
stop and reassess how you are conditioning (is your conditioner working, do you
need to warm it up first, could you do with some protein, do you use a leave
in/moisturiser/oil after washing).
Finally hair takes a
long time to grow. Many naturals cannot retain 100% of their growth. If your
hair is susceptible to split ends then cutting them off will impact retention
but provided at the end of the year you have kept some length, do not be
disheartened. There are a small proportion of women who can keep all their
growth but I feel that it is more reasonable to expect between 3-5 inches per
year with a regular trimming or dusting routine.