We’re all aiming for the big leagues. No one would be particularly elated grooming their natural hair (especially with all the work that goes with it) and not seeing the results they’d hoped for in terms of length. The thing is, while you might be bending over backward to tend to your hair, there’s a good chance that you’re ignoring the key essential practices and spending all your time and resources on the extra stuff. It’s either that or you’re doing the key things and somehow you just aren’t doing them right. If you’re on either side of the divide or you’re just starting out on your natural hair journey and you would like all the info you need before diving in, this is for you. Here are the 10 best practices you should imbibe to retain length in your natural hair.
10 Best Practices To Imbibe To Retain Length In Natural Hair
- Detangle with your hands
The best way to avoid excessive breakage during detangling is to just use your hands. This way, you know how much pressure you need to apply to unravel individual knots and you don’t tear too hard at them and break your hair. When absolutely necessary, you can go in with a wide-tooth comb after using your hands.
2. Sleep on silk/satin
This helps your hair actually stay detangled, prevents split ends, and keeps your hair from drying out too. The friction from cotton and most other fabrics cause split ends and get your hair tangled, and even soaks up the moisture from your mane. Satin/silk fabrics are smoother and are not as absorbent as cotton. So get yourself a bonnet or a satin pillowcase. It’s really non-negotiable
3. Low manipulation
If your hair doesn’t need detangling, don’t detangle it. If it doesn’t need to be styled, or touched, just leave it alone. Over manipulation is the shortest road to weakened strands and that causes breakage. Just try to keep your hands out of your hair if you have no valid reason to handle it. It’s for your own good.
4. Protective styling
This works hand in hand with point 3 above. Leaving your hair undone can be a temptation you are unable to resist. To avoid this, try to get your hair in a protective style. Please note that not every style is “protective”. A protective style tucks away the ends of your hair and keeps them from harm. So no, a pineapple is not protective, neither is a wash and go. Doesn’t mean they aren’t cute though!
5. Work in sections
This makes things so much easier for you. Try to divide your hair into small workable sections and keep them apart with clips or hair bands. When I learned to always work in sections, things really changed as regards my hair routine and particularly for detangling. You can even expand the “section theory” and wash and condition your hair in sections too.
6. Care for your ends
These are the oldest and weakest parts of your hair. Essentially, they are the length you are trying to retain. If you don’t keep them around, it will seem like your hair isn’t growing when in fact you’re losing your ends at the same rate that your hair is growing, effectively canceling out your growth. Care for your ends by always keeping them moisturized and sealed. They need moisture for better elasticity and strength. Also deep condition regularly.
7. Trim split ends
Do away with the fear. Trim your split ends before they have a chance to wreck the growth you’re clamoring for. Here are two easy methods to trim your hair at home.
8. Practice proper scalp care
All new growth originates from your scalp so you’ll need to make it a clean and optimal environment for new growth to sprout. Clean it on wash days, clarify your scalp when your need to, engage in soothing scalp massages for better blood flow, and oil your scalp to encourage growth.
9. Avoid Excessive Heat
Direct heat shouldn’t even be something you frequently use. However, when you do use heat, keep your hair safe by applying a heat protectant beforehand. You can find all you need to know about heat and natural hair right here.
10. Vet your hair products
This is super important. You don’t want yourself ending up in a whirlwind like the DevaCurl scandal. There are so many products out there that do a lot more damage than the help they render. The best way to keep your hair safe is to look over the ingredient label of products you intend to purchase and put down anything that contains these harmful ingredients.
To retain length in your natural hair, you will need to put in some dedication and time. This isn’t as hard as you think. Everything on this list can be easily integrated into your natural hair routine and your everyday lifestyle without a lot of hassle. It all depends on you.
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