If you are a Black female wanting to get over the stagnant hair growth hump, here are a few must-do steps for you!
- The most important step in creating a growth-friendly environment is DEEP CONDITIONER! Deep conditioner is so important because Black women tend to have curly new-growth. These curly roots make it difficult for your hair’s natural oils to move down the hair shaft and moisturize the length of your hair. Deep conditioning after EVERY WASH not only replenishes whatever nutrients were stripped from the shampoo, but it also strengthens your hair for whatever styles and weather your hair will see before the next wash.
- The most effective way to wash your hair is with a solution of 50% shampoo plus 50% warm water. Mix the diluted solution ahead of time (about 5 minutes) and pour it over your hair when you are ready to wash it. Very gently work the solution through your hair at the scalp without tangling the length. Tresemme Moisture Rich and KeraCare Hydrating are both excellent shampoos. Wash hair as needed depending on your hair type and health. This could be every week with products designed for dry hair and which do not contain alcohol or harsh sulfates and which are pH balanced. Do not over-wash (once is usually enough), as over washing can cause damage, which will ultimately lead to breakage. While washing, rub your scalp very gently. This will reawaken sleeping follicles and promote thicker healthier hair. If your shampoo is normally thick, dilute it with warm water before using it on your hair. This will make the shampoo easier to rinse out which will allow you to treat your hair more gently as you wash it.
- Use a protein re-constructor. Aphogee Protein Re-constructor is excellent for dry hair types. Doing so will make your hair healthy and strong. Relaxers and shampoos can be very damaging to your hair. Relaxers are made specifically to change the structure of your hair so that your hairs are straight. The main purpose of shampoo is to rip your hair of all bad elements, dirt, etc… Both then of course will also remove needed nutrients and shielding from your hair leaving it dry and fragile. These products can be used of course. You just have to be sure you understand what’s happening to your hair so you know how to nurse your hair back to health afterwards.
- Before applying the moisturizer, wet your hair with water. Apply a moisturizer (which does not contain petroleum jelly, petrolatum or mineral oil) to the hair. Start about 2 inches away from the roots and apply the moisturizer all the way to the ends. Do this daily or as your hair requires – you want your hair to feel soft and pliable. You may have to experiment with what works for you.
- Apply a light oil (olive, avacado,sweet almond etc) sparingly. This may be used on your hair after applying a water-based moisturizer in order to seal moisture into the hair shaft and give your hair a nice natural shine. These oils should never be applied directly to the scalp because it may block your pores and lead to alopecia or hair loss.
- Make sure you use a heat protecting oil, moisturiser, or shampoo/conditioner when using blow dryers. The excessive heat causes dryness, damage and breakage. Air drying hair is a bad method for medium or long hair as water gets locked into the top of your hair and it can cause colds and brittle roots.If the volume of your hair is increased with air drying you can do one of two things: first: apply moisturizer, then air-dry. This will decrease the volume without causing damage; or second: apply moisturizer and use a dome or bonnet dryer on a cool or warm setting. Never use the highest setting unless you have strong hair.
- Make sure you clip your ends every 6-8 weeks or every time you have your hair relaxed. When you have split ends and you don’t cut them, they will continue to split all the way up your hair shaft, which will cause hair loss.
- Comb it carefully to get your hair to grow long. Be sure to use a very wide-toothed comb with no seams and comb it gently from the ends first, as combing from the ends will detangle hair as you comb higher and higher. Never comb from the roots to the ends until your hair is completely untangled.
- Avoid daily and/or excessive brushing of your hair, as black hair is fragile. Excessive brushing can strip the hair of its protective layers. If you are trying to smooth your hairline, brush gently, use a soft boar bristle brush, and make sure your hair is completely dry and moisturized.
- Treat your hair from within by taking a multivitamin. Use a hair vitamin that will increase your hair growth rate and lengthen your natural anagen (growth phase). Also drink at least eight cups of water and eat healthy foods such as fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and by exercising regularly to provide good circulation to the scalp.
- Consider going natural if you wish. However, relaxers have come a long way in the last 30 years and it is quite possible for African American women to have beautiful and healthy relaxed hair. But you may choose not to go under the chemicals and want a different look. Stop perming and learn how to take care of your natural hair texture. You can follow these rules just as permed female would with some exceptions, you will need more conditioner than instructed, a wide tooth comb (never use a brush, it will snag your curls). You will need to only wash your hair with conditioner (co-washing) instead of shampoo.Shampoo is harsh and will already dry your curly hair more than it is.Natural hair and perms can both be long and beautiful if you know what you are doing. With natural hair you may straighten it but to protect yourself from heat damage (hair that breaks and doesn’t curl up or set).Try blow drying with a comb attachment and wet setting before you give it a quick sweep with a flat iron. There are many forums, videos and communities that you can use to chat with women who have decided to grow their hair in it’s natural state. Remember to stop tugging on your hair and brushing it with bristle brushes, this will break your hair and cause you to bald, Traction alopecia. Use protective styling or stlyes that have low manupilation , twists/extensions, bantu knot sets. Remember when you braid your hair to braid loosely, or you will end up pulling out your fragile hair.
- Relaxing – Do your homework on both relaxer products and hairdressers. You will need a quality relaxer and an excellent hair dresser to achieve healthy relaxed hair. The long hair forum is a great source of information.Now this is where all of your washing and conditioning treatments can either pay off or be sabotaged by damage. First of all, do not relax your hair more than once every 8-10 weeks. If you can stretch longer, even better. That is 4 times a year or every 3 months. Do not allow your hair dresser to apply relaxer to your previously straightened hair–it will become overprocessed. It should be applied to the new growth only.
- Apply the relaxer. It is best to have someone else apply the relaxer because they have a full view of your head. Before you begin, rub a generous amount of scalp protectant in your hands and apply to the entire hair shaft. Petroleum jelly can be used. Pay close attention to the ends of your hair when applying the protectant. This is to protect hair that has already been processed. Next, apply the relaxer using the manufacturer’s directions. Follow the timing chart so you do not over process your hair. Be sure to wash out all of the relaxer with warm water. Apply a neutralizing shampoo and wash and rinse at least three times. If there are still traces of relaxer in your hair, continue to wash until all traces have been removed. Once all traces of relaxer have been removed, apply the neutralizing shampoo to the hair again. Leave the neutralizer in for 10 minutes. It is very important that you leave the neutralizer in for 10 minutes. Do not skip this step. Next, the neutralizer can be rinsed. Now you can apply the protein treatment, and then follow with the moisture treatment as previously discussed.
- Moisturize your hair as often as needed. Black hair is dry because of the natural tight curl pattern. It is difficult for the oils from the scalp to make it down the hair shaft. Moisturize the hair ends with natural oils (olive, avocado, sweet almond,orange extract.)
- Most importantly stick to it. Don’t give up if you don’t get immediate results, it will all pay off when you have long, sexy hair!
Helpful tips to grow hair past shoulder length and beyond!
- HairFinity consultations are a good resource for finding products that will work for your individual needs.
- Make sure you have a healthy scalp, your hair won’t grow if your scalp isn’t clean and healthy.
- Stop that chop-happy stylist. A chop-happy stylist is the hair dresser who grabs the scissors every time you show up. To grow hair (link is external) long, you need to keep them from cutting so much of your hair. So how do you stop a chop-happy stylist and the scissors of doom? Here are a few tips:
- If all else fails remember “money talks”. If they don’t trim your hair when you ask them not to, give them a huge tip and they’ll never trim it again, unless you ask. Just be sure to tell him/her the tip is for respecting your wishes. Don’t be cheap either! A $2.00 tip won’t do, make it $15-$20 and you’ll never have to worry about the scissors of doom again!
- If your hair dresser cuts your hair behind your back without telling you, they don’t respect your decision. If this happens it’s time to leave and find someone who will respect your wishes.
- Wearing your hair braided will help your hair grow because no heat is being put on it. Just make sure to constantly moisturize your scalp and spray your hair with braid spray so the braids don’t dry out.
- If extending time between relaxers, use Rusk Smoother Leave-in in wet hair. Wrap with a satin scarf, and sit under a heated dryer for 30 minutes.
- Trim your ends regularly to avoid the splits moving up the hair. Even though this seems like it may shorten your hair, over time you’ll need to trim less and less and then the fruits of your labor will show.
- Wrap your hair at night and cover it with a silk scarf or if the scarf slips a lot use a satin pillow.
- Consider wearing silk robes and shirts as well during the day. Walking around with your hair brushing against cotton shirts all the time can cause your hair ends to break off. Otherwise, put your hair up in a protective style (bun or butterfly clip).
- It is rarely necessary to cut off more than an inch or two unless your hair is severely damaged. Getting hair healthy so you don’t have split ends is the best way to get long hair.
- Make sure your braids are not too tight because this can lead to thinning hair, especially around the temple area.
- Keep heavy oils, “grease” and gels out of your hair. Gels tend to thin and break off hair, heavy oils and “grease” take away volume and movement and also break off hair. Only use light oils (i.e. olive oil, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, …)