Growing long hair is the desire of most women especially in the natural hair community. No wonder there are several oils, creams and even tips that promise long hair. It’s very easy to get frustrated when you’re trying to grow your hair long because there are so many rules available that it gets really difficult to keep up with them. I’m glad to tell you that contrary to the popular belief, growing long hair is pretty basic. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you the steps needed to grow your hair long in the most simplified way possible.
There are two things you need to have in mind if you’re trying to grow your hair long. These are:
- Ensuring that the hair that grows out of your scalp is healthy.
- Ensuring that you prevent the hair that has already grown from breaking off.
The common view in the natural hair community is that most people do not have a problem with hair growth, that the problem many of us face is being unable to retain the hair that has already grown. This is only true if you have a healthy diet, are not suffering from any disease that causes hair loss and are not on any medication that causes hair loss. The truth is, there’s hardly any oil or product that will make your hair grow any faster than your genes allow it to. On an average, most people grow half an inch of hair every month. For this reason, you should be focusing on retaining your length not trying to grow your hair any faster than your genes permit. The tricky question now is, “How do I know how much hair my genes allows me to grow per month.” Your hair will grow in it’s full potential if all the aforementioned conditions are met. This is where a healthy diet comes into play. Food is very important when it comes to hair growth and it’s unfortunate that many of us do not realize this. There’s something called malnutrition and many of us suffer from it without noticing. When you don’t eat right, your overall health will be affected including the health of your hair/scalp and skin. As much as genes have a huge role to play in one’s hair growth rate, eating a balanced diet helps your hair to grow in it’s full potential. So for instance if your genes allow your hair to grow at the rate of half an inch a month, not eating healthy could make your hair grow slower and even if it doesn’t grow slower, a bad diet could affect the health of the hair that grows making it fragile and easy to break. Whichever way, you’ll still have stunted hair growth.
Apart from a healthy diet, a healthy scalp is also important if you want your hair to grow long. Just like the skin, the scalp needs to be kept clean and moisturised. Going weeks and months without washing your hair could be detrimental to the health of your scalp. So also is leaving your scalp dry, over oiled or full of dandruff. Read my post on how to treat and prevent dry, oily scalp and dandruff here. When caring for your scalp, bear in mind that it is also part of your skin only that it’s on the head. Just as excessive heat can cause rashes on any other part of the skin, it can also cause rashes on the scalp. This is why protective styling with weaves need to be done with caution. The scalp needs some air too so ensure you give it some break from headwraps, weaves, wigs and the likes from time to time.
After ensuring that the hair that grows out of your scalp is healthy, the next step is making sure that your hair doesn’t break off. This can be very tricky. One of the keys to preventing hair breakage is ensuring that your hair is moisturised at all times. How you choose to go about it depends on you. This is why coming up with a routine that suits your pocket and lifestyle is important. Some options to keep your hair moisturised include:
- Deep conditioning
- Using the LOC or LCO method when moisturising
- Prepooing etc.
In addition to keeping your hair moisturised, you need to try as much as possible to prevent breakage when you can. This means coming up with practices that will keep your hair from breaking off faster than it grows. This also depends on you. Some options to help prevent breakage include:
- Being gentle whenever you handle your hair (very important)
- Protective styling
- Doing low manipulation hairstyles
- Trimming your hair frequently
- Finger detangling
- Ensuring that there’s some moisture and slip in your hair when you detangle etc.
When it comes to natural hair care and growing long hair, there’s no ‘one size fits all’. There are several tips to guide you but everyone should endeavor to study their hair and do only what works for them.
Do you have any other tips that have helped you grow your hair? Please share with me in the comments below.