One of the most important things in the journey is to accept the hair that is on your head. There are people who have hair that shines like the sun, it is soft, the curls bounce back into place no matter what, and they can slide a comb through their hair like it was made of nothing but sand. Then there are those of us who have dry, coarse, kinky coily hair that does not always behave the way we would like. It is easily broken, It can sometimes be difficult to retain moisture, and the truth is it has the reputation of being the least desired hair type. (sad but true) It just has it’s own personality. Once you embrace whatever it is you have, you start to want to build a relationship with your hair. You want to find out what it likes and what it doesn’t like. You want to play around with different hairstyles and see what makes you feel sexy. You’re more open to the experience and little things like a little shrinkage and frizz don’t stop the journey!
2. Clean Hair & Scalp:
Healthy hair starts at the root and scalp. You scalp are basically the home for your hair follicles. Your hair follicles are the little tiny holes that your hair grows out of. You want to create a healthy environment for your hair follicles so that you are able to grow healthy and strong hair. When you don’t clean it, it leads to product build up on your hair and scalp. Product build up causes dry itchy scalp. The same way you can clog the pores on your face, you can clog the pores in your head leading to no hair growth.
3. Condition / Deep Conditioning
When we wash our hair, our hair is stripped of its natural oils. You want to replace the oils so that your hair remains healthy and moisturized. Hair that is not conditioned can become dry and highly porous. This means it will have difficulty holding on to moisture. Dry hair becomes very brittle, rough and eventually just breaks. Now, everyone’s hair is different so how often you do a regular quick conditioning and a deep conditioning depends on your hair. For my thick, kinky hair, I prefer to deep condition each time I wash. Especially because I am someone who uses heat regularly.
4. Hair Porosity
Learning about porosity was a very important part of my journey. It completely changed the way I looked at moisturizing my hair. I went through almost two years of my journey wondering why all of the water and leave ins were not moisturizing my hair. I remember a really dull appearance and overall just dry feeling to my hair. After learning about hair porosity I changed the way I moisturized my hair and watched my hair transform into soft manageable, naturally shiny hair.
What is hair porosity? The way your hair absorbs moisture
How To Test your Hair porosity? Fill a cup with water. Pull one strand of hair directly from your scalp, make sure it has the white bulb. Take the strand of hair and dunk it into the cup of water, make sure it is completely drenched. Then take the strand of hair and sit on top of the water. If it sinks immediately you have high porosity hair. (hair that soaks up moisture quickly) If it takes a long time to sink or doesn’t sink at all, you have low porosity hair.
What is my porosity? I have low porosity hair
What is low porosity hair? It means your cuticles are tightly closed making it difficult to absorb water or any moisture.
How do I manage my low porosity hair? I utilize a little heat during my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I always sit under a heated dryer so that my cuticles open up letting moisture in. Then after I finish my deep conditioning I rinse my hair with cold water to make sure the cuticles are closed. If I am not deep conditioning I will rinse my hair with warm water and do an oil rinse.
Oil is a very important part of my regimen. I started using oil around my second year of being natural. I use extra virgin olive oil, but there are also other great oils like coconut oil (considered to be the best oil for hair). I am not big on products, so anytime someone asks me what products I recommend I just say always say invest in a good oil. I use my oil during my deep conditioning. I mix the oil with my regular conditioner and I sit under a heated dryer for about 15-30 minutes. I also sometimes do an oil rinse. Oil rinse is just when I completely drench my hair in oil and then rinse out most of the oil leaving a small amount in. This keeps the hair extremely soft and shiny. I also will apply a small amount of oil onto my hair after styling to add shine.
6. Proper Detangling
We all know that kinky coily hair can be very difficult to detangle. It is often one of the main reasons people give up their journey, because the hair seems to be completely unmanageable.
I have hair that is very coily and shrinks up to I believe 70% or more of it’s length. MBL length goes to less than shoulder length hair. What I like to do is detangle under a shower head, as the water runs down my hair. This helps to stretch out the coils a bit. I always have loads of conditioner on my hair to add slippage, making it easier for the comb or brush to slide through my strands. I always start off with my fingers tackling the tangles at my roots and then go to the ends and finger comb up. After my finger combing is complete I follow with a wide tooth comb. Also, the smaller the sections you detangle in the easier it will be. I usually divide my hair into two sections and then break those sections down into smaller pieces.
7. Low Manipulation and/or Protective Styling
Our hair is very fragile and easily breaks. I have found the less I do to my hair the happier it is. The less styling and manipulation the more length I am able to retain. My favorite low manipulation / protective hairstyle is two strand twist. During the time when I was really focused on length retention I wore mostly two strand twist for over a year, and retained so much length. During this time I went from bra strap to waist length in about a year in a half. It is an easy style you can do yourself and you can style them so many different ways.
8. Minimizing Heat and Proper Heat Usage
I am someone who uses heat regularly. I do what I call heat stretching. It makes it easier for me to personally maintain my hair and also retain length. I try to keep my heat usage down to 2 times a month. When I do use a flat iron I use only minimal heat. My goal is never to get bone straight hair it just to stretch the hair out. So always watching the temperature on your heating tools, use them as little as possible. I also do a protein treatment before and after using heat along with a deep conditioner. This helps to add protein and moisture back into the hair which can be taken out during the use of heat.
9. Fitness & Health
This is probably one of the least favorite tips, but we already know whatever is going on inside the body reflects on the outside. It shows up in bad skin, brittle nails, and weak hair. I have a consistent workout regimen. I am not the perfect eater, but I try to always be aware of what I am putting inside of my body, saving any bad items for the weekend trying not to go overboard. I also make sure to drink plenty of water. Believe me I am not someone who loves to drink water, but when I don’t drink water I break out really bad and my body feels extremely tired. So, water is a requirement for me!
10. Patience & Realistic Expectations
The truth is not everyone can grow their hair down to their feet in a year. There are some of us whom it takes longer to retain length, we struggle and have setbacks etc. What it takes someone to do in one year, it may take you two or three. Also, having realistic expectations about how long you will get to your desired length and the appearance of your hair. My daughter has a completely different texture from me. What I have noticed about her hair is it easily detangles, it retains length better and withstands rough treatment a lot better than mine. I know a lot of people don’t like to discuss that one word that I feel has an affect in how your hair retains length (genes), but the sooner we except this the easier it will be. This does not mean you can’t have waist length hair, it just means it may take you longer, and you may have to go through a few more trials.
When I first started my journey I never had the expectation of growing my hair longer. I had never had hair longer than shoulder length. I just knew my hair was badly damaged and relaxers was causing my hair to break off. It took me almost two years to discover that my hair could actually grow longer than it had ever been my entire life. It was amazing. I did it, and hopefully using some of these easy tools you can do it too. Don’t give up! Good luck on your journey!
“easy natural hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!