In recent months, I’ve seen more and more sisters come to embrace their ‘fro and I must say, it’s something that is really beautiful and refreshing to say the least. Soon, I’m sure we will be having this huge naturalista movement which I think would be an amazing feat for black women everywhere in the world. Whenever I meet a woman who just transitioned, the one thing I can’t help but ask is what her reason/inspiration was. However, I’m almost always left bewildered when I hear things like, “my hair wasn’t growing anymore” or “I want to grow my edges”. While getting the big chop may have some benefits, it’s a big misconception to think that the only way to salvage your stunted hair is to cut it all off or go natural. There are more ways to get healthy long hair that doesn’t involve cutting your precious hair. In fact, if you indeed go natural and still don’t follow these basic principles, your hair would still suffer the same fate. So today, I’ll be sharing some tips that have helped me maintain length and generally keep my hair healthy.
I can’t stress this enough! Protective styles are a girl’s best friend when it comes to length retention. Your ends are the oldest and weakest part of your hair and so you should make sure they are protected most of the time to prevent them from drying out and breaking off. Buns and up-dos are some of my go-to styles but braids and weaves can also be protective if done properly and not too tight. Just make sure to not keep them for longer than 12 weeks at a time.
This one, I learned the hard way. Before now, my flat iron was my sidekick because I was obsessed with wearing my hair bone straight literally. And it wasn’t until my hair ‘fried’ (no jokes!) and began to break like crazy that I realised the level of damage excessive heat can cause your hair. Take a cue from me and reduce the amount of heat you use on your hair, you ‘d be doing your hair a lot of good as heat weakens the unique chemical bonds of your hair and also rips it of moisture, all of which can lead to breakage.
There’s nothing black hair loves like moisture. Every day, your hair loses moisture to the atmosphere especially if you live in a dry climate, and as such you need to replenish the moisture on a daily basis. Moisture helps the hair retain elasticity, prevent brittleness and makes the hair easier to manipulate without breaking. One way you can increase your hair moisture is by using a water-based moisturiser. Personally, I prefer using my water spritz (water+coconut oil+vitale olive oil leave-in conditioner) daily to moisturise and it works like magic for my hair.
Deep conditioning is very essential in caring for relaxed African hair. It helps to maintain the hair’s integrity, allowing it to withstand regular manipulation and styling as well as preventing damage. For best results, it is best to use a deep conditioner that contains both protein and moisture like Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak. I like to mix coconut oil with my deep conditioner for added moisture and sheen.
This is the one part that most people tend to ignore. They focus so much on applying products on their hair that they forget their scalp needs just as much TLC. The scalp is where the hair grows from so it’s important to make sure it’s in the best condition to promote hair growth. Scalp massages are great as they increase blood circulation in the scalp which in turn leads to hair growth. Also, castor oil is a great choice for scalp massages because it lubricates and conditions the scalp, prevent dryness and flaking and also softens the hair. I massage my scalp with castor oil at least every other night before going to bed.
These are just some of the tips that have helped me in restoring my hair from heat damage and maintain long healthy relaxed hair.
Do you have relaxed hair? What are some of the tips you use for length retention? Please do share!