I get questions all the time in my social media inbox about natural hair. The most common question I get is: "How do you get your hair to grow so fast?"
To be honest there's no secret formula for hair growth. However, there are a few things you can do to support healthy hair growth and length retention. Before we get into that, I think it's also important to talk about two things: genetics and the length myth.
If your mother and grandma have short thin hair, it's likely your hair will mimic that as well. You can't change the cards you've been dealt, but you can make sure your hair is healthy.
The Length Myth:
Just because you go natural doesn't mean you'll have super long hair. And guess what, that's OK. Hair doesn't need to be bra strap length to be beautiful.
Now that we got that out of the way, here are a few things that can encourage hair growth and length retention:
Lets be clear: ALL protective styles ain't protective. There are a few things you should always do to ensure you get the most out of protective styling.
You should always properly wash and moisturize your hair before any protective style. If you don't, you run the risk of having dry and brittle hair that can easily break during the take down process.
Make sure the style isn't tight. Causing unnecessary tension on your edges and hair will only lead to hair loss.
Don't let your protective style overstay its welcome. Try not to go over that 6 week mark. Remember, you hair sheds everyday. Accumulating too much shed hair can lead to knots and make it difficult to detangle once you take your style out.
Find the style that works for you. Braids aren't for everyone. Wigs aren't for everyone. If a low maintenance ponytail works for you, wear that. If headwraps are good for your lifestyle, do that.
Quality Products Over Quantity of Products
The term "product junkie" is a real thing. If you use everything, how will you know what works for your hair. Instead of spending your money on full-sized products, purchase sample sizes so you can see how your hair responds before you make a commitment. Once you find a product regimen that works for you, stick to it for at least 3 months before changing. Pro Tip: Keep a hair journal so you can take notes on how your hair responds to certain products and ingredients. This will also keep you from repurchasing things that didn't previously work.
Trim Your Ends Regularly
I know you've heard this a million times, but it's so true. Holding on to those split ends will do more harm than good. Sure they give you the illusion of length, but they will eventually move up the hair shaft and cause breakage. Try to cut your ends at least twice per year. Consult a professional stylist of you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself.
Stay Away from the Trends
I don't know who needs to hear this, but, you don't have to use rice water sis. You don't need growth serums. You don't need hair growth tablets. Hair will thrive if you treat it well. Drink plenty of water, eat your fruits and veggies and follow a regimen that works for you. Don't subscribe to any "get growth quick schemes." They will leave you broke and bald.
Don't Focus on Length
Have you ever heard the saying: "You can't see for looking." My grandmother would say this all the time. In a nutshell, it means: If you focus on something for too long, you're not going to find what you're looking for. Focus your energy on drinking water and creating a moisture and wash day routine. That will produce more results than constantly checking your length.
Protect your Hair Overnight
This is me shamelessly plugging Bonnets by Louise. But seriously, you need to either sleep on a satin pillowcase, wear a satin-lined bonnet or wrap your hair with a satin or silk scarf. Cotton is known to suck the moisture out of your hair. Longterm use of cotton overnight will eventually case breakage.
There are so many other tips I can share, but these are my absolute top 5. Let me know if you have other questions about natural hair, I'd love to answer them in a future blog post.