Retaining Length…Yes We Can!
I listen to so many people complain about their hair not growing. I hear them say, “My hair just won’t grow." Another one I hear a lot is, “My hair has been the same length forever." Some of us just accept this as "just the way it is". Some of us think that only certain people are going to be blessed with long tresses and the rest of us have to suffer through life with hair that just won’t grow. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can grow your own hair to long lengths with the right hair care products and a great hair regime.
The first step is coming to the understanding that your hair DOES grow and acknowledging that there is a problem with your current hair regime. I know that some of us are in deep denial about our hair but realizing this fact is very important. Hair grows at the same rate for almost everyone. The rate is 1/4th to ½ inch per month. That goes for all hair types and all nationalities. If this is true, we should all be growing our hair about 6 inches per year right? Why is it that some of us have the same hair length for years and years? If your hair is the same length and it has been 6 months or more, you have to tweak your hair care regime. Yes, your hair is growing but it is breaking at the same rate. You have evidence of hair growth because you need relaxer and or braid touchups. Not to be redundant but let us do the math. If your hair grows ½ inch per month and your hair is breaking off at the rate of ½ inch per month………it will amount to –ZERO- growth for that month. No length retention equals one month of growth down the drain. The key is to hang on to that ½ inch per month!
Why might your hair be breaking at the same rate in which it is growing? It could be due to numerous reasons such as parched - damaged- brittle ends (which break easily), improper use of relaxers, split ends, overuse of heat, overuse of permanent color / henna or a moisture / protein imbalance.
How can you retain length so that you will be longer in 6 months from now?
1. Admit to yourself that there is a problem with your existing hair care regime and modify it. I know that we have been told for many years that ‘black hair will not grow’ however, we must change our way of thinking.
2. Speak positive words over your hair. For example don’t say, “My hair never grows." Speak out loud, “My hair will grow long and healthy soon!” There is power in words so speak it into existence!!!!!
3. Limit the use of heat. Your hair, skin, and nails are all made of mostly the same types of proteins. Imagine if you place something very hot directly on your skin or nails. Both will burn right? Heat can do the same thing to your hair so be careful. If you do use heat be sure to use a great heat protector. I recommend Hydratherma Naturals Herbal Gloss Heat Protector.
4. Find the right stylist. A stylist who will listen to you! One who will focus on healthy hair care and not just style. Stay away from scissor happy stylist! You will never be able to retain length with stylist who like to cut- cut- cut!
5. Try a rinse. A rinse is not harmful to your hair because it coats the hair strand and does not penetrate….in turn, it will partially protect the hair from heat damage and extreme weather. I like the Jazzing hair color line.
6. Trim when needed. Remember that split ends will break!
7. Maintain a good moisture / protein balance in the hair because too much of either will result in breakage.
8. Manipulate you hair very little. I only comb my hair on wash days. The less you manipulate your hair, the less hair that you will lose. If you are relaxed, try curly styles that only require finger combing.
9. Avoid the improper use of relaxers. I.e. relaxing too soon, overlapping, improper neutralizing and overprocessing. I would suggest seeking a healthy hair professional to relax however if you do self relax be sure not to overlap. Relaxer stretching is great but could result in breakage if not done properly.
10. Lastly, it is very important to keep your ends properly moisturized because dry – brittle ends will certainly break. Protective styles (styles in which your ends are tucked away) are also great to help prevent breakage although not absolutely necessary. I recommend the Hydratherma Naturals Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion along with our Hair Growth Oil to help you retain moisture in your hair.
Taking care of our hair is fairly simple. Before doing anything to your hair ask yourself these 2 questions:
1) Am I treating may hair the best that I can be?
2) Will this really help my hair? If the answer is no to either question …….don’t do it!
Happy Hair Growing!!!! Let us be longer and stronger 6 months from now!
Natural Hair Tips
Natural hair is hair that is in its most healthy state however; natural hair can be severely damaged. The use of flawed hair care practices can wreak havoc on our beautiful natural tresses. Here are some natural hair care tips that will keep your natural tresses looking fab!
1. Use minimal heat.
Stay away from pressing combs which can easily burn the hair. Opt for a tourmaline / ceramic iron to straighten your hair. Natural hair wearers sometime misjudge how damaging heat can be.
2. Keep your natural hair ends trimmed.
You don’t have to trim as often as those who have chemically processed hair. This is only because the cuticle portion of the hair strand has not been exposed to chemicals and will take longer to split. I would suggest clipping your ends every 3-6 months. If you are natural and wearing color, I would definitely trim a little more often to prevent breakage. An easy way to trim your own hair is to try the two strand twist method. After twisting to the end, clip off 1/4th to ½ inch. Perform this on each twist until all of your hair is clipped. It is harder to detect split ends on natural hair but they do exist.
3. Use an excellent water based moisturizer daily
(I.e. Hydratherma Naturals Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion). Whether you are relaxed or natural, one of the main causes of breakage is “thirsty hair”. Water is the ultimate form of moisture therefore; using a water based moisturizer is an important step in keeping your hair moisturized. Staying away from mineral oil and petrolatum is also very crucial. These ingredients coat the hair and do not penetrate the hair strand. To get an enhanced moisturizing effect, (after moisturizing) seal in the moisture with the Hydratherma Naturals Hair Growth Oil.
4. Avoid tangles while shampooing the hair.
Great tip to prevent tangles while shampooing natural hair. For medium length to longer lengths- it is a great idea to put your hair in 4-5 loose braids prior to shampooing. Wet braids in shower then squeeze shampoo into each hair braid while massaging your scalp. Rinse well and apply deep conditioning treatment to each braided section (i.e. Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus, Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment or Moisture Boosting Deep Conditioning Treatment), cover with plastic cap and sit under the dryer for about 15 minutes. When conditioning is complete, rinse hair, unbraid and comb your hair with a large tooth comb. You should have no problems with tangles if you go this route. Remember to shampoo and deep condition every 1-2 weeks.
5. Do not comb hair while it is dry.
I remember meeting a young lady who had beautiful waist length natural hair. I asked what her secret was. She stated, “A comb doesn’t touch my hair when it is dry.” It sounded crazy to me but now I completely understand. This may seem very extreme but you should only comb your hair while it is in its wet state. This will remarkably cut don’t on any breakage that you may be experiencing and result in a thicker head of hair. Always use a wide tooth comb. (The only exception to this rule is if you are wearing your hair in a straight style which should be infrequent.) If you are wearing twist-outs, braid outs, bantu knot sets, afro puffs etc., you should be finger combing your hair on a daily basis and not combing it.
6. Be careful while using hair ornaments.
Many natural hair wearers like to accent their hair with the use of hair ornaments (i.e. clips and flowers). Please make sure that your scarfs are silk / satin and not cotton or wool. Cotton will absorb the moisture out of your hair and wool will cause extreme breakage. Make sure that your clips don’t have sharp edges which will cut your hair strands.
7. Don’t forget to continue to eat a nourishing diet!
From Relaxer to Natural- Transitioning Tips
1. Stay Moisturized!
Remember to keep your hair well moisturized with the Hydratherma Naturals Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion as you transition. During the time of transition, your hair will tend to break where your natural hair ends and your relaxed hair begins. This is because your natural hair is more resilient. To curtail breakage, moisture is the key. As I transitioned from relaxed to natural, I sprayed my scalp and new growth with Hydratherma Naturals Follicle Invigorator. I then followed with the growth lotion and growth oil to seal in the moisture. I applied these products to new growth and hair ends. I experienced very little breakage as I transitioned because I made sure that my hair was moisturized.
2. Try wearing a weave or braids.
Weaves and braids can be great protective styles if done properly. While wearing a weave you can let your hair “rest” for a while as it grows. I do not recommend keeping a weave in for longer than 8 weeks. 4-6 weeks would be most advantageous to prevent breakage. Please make sure that the hair is not braided too tightly. This could result in alopecia. While wearing the weave / braids, continue with your weekly wash and deep conditioning schedule. Please don’t forget to take care of your own hair under the weave or braided style.
3. Steer clear of heat damage. If you would like to wear the straight look, be very careful to avoid heat damage. Try rollersets as you transition while blowing out the roots only. If you have to use direct heat, I would suggest using ceramic or tourmaline styling tools because they are far less damaging. Try not to use heat more than once a week. Bear in mind - less is best when it comes to heat.
4. Curly styles reign while transitioning!
If you are transitioning and wear straight styles all of the time, the humidity will cause a flawless hairstyle to look like a nightmare. Have fun with styles that will last through the humidity. Try bantu knot sets, braid outs, rod sets, straw sets and twist sets. These styles require less manipulation. Just finger comb in the morning and you are out of the door. With styles like these, you can go the gym and still keep your cute curly style!
5. Manipulate you hair very little.
I would suggest combing your hair on wash days only and not combing your hair while it is in its dry state. This will cut down on the breakage that you may experience to a great extent. If you are wearing curly styles just finger comb in the morning. If you are wearing your hair straight, comb with a wide tooth comb and try to manipulate your hair very little.
6. Keep a great hair regime. Washing and deep conditioning weekly is still very crucial especially while transitioning. Be sure to maintain a healthy protein / moisture balance with your hair because your hair is in a very delicate state during your transitioning months.
7. Have patience! Transitioning will not happen overnight. It does take lots of fortitude and perseverance so just hang in there! As your hair grows, slowly trim off the relaxed ends and soon all of the relaxed ends will be gone. You can always do the big chop (smile)!!!
Avoid Heat damage!
Avoiding heat damage is a very important yet often overlooked factor when it comes to obtaining and maintaining healthy natural hair. As we all know, avoiding heat damage is very important for relaxed hair but many natural hair wearers overlook the importance of using minimal heat. Yes, if your hair is in its natural state, it is in its strongest and healthiest state. There is no question about that. It is able to withstand more heat however, many natural hair wearers think that it is ok to use heat on a regular basis and even daily without consequence. The first time that I went natural, I pressed my hair every other day and had friends who did the same. I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m natural so my hair can handle it." Boy was I wrong. My hair was severely damaged from all of the direct heat. It wouldn’t grow past a certain length and was ravaged with split ends. I would see many other people with natural hair and their hair would not grow past a certain length either. They also pressed their hair on a regular basis. I was wondering why was our hair in this state because we were “natural” and “chemical free”. Our hair should be long and healthy since we were natural right?
Now that I’m natural again, I don’t use direct frequently. Instead of wearing pressed styles that go “poof” in the humidity, I opt for styles that are more compatible with my hair type. If I do get stuck in the rain, I wouldn’t have to use heat to get my straight style back. Twist outs, braid outs, bantu knot sets, 2 strand twist and afro puffs are great alternatives to the straight look. If you are wearing your hair natural and you would like to occasionally change your look and wear a straight style, I definitely wouldn’t suggest using a straightening comb. Especially the straightening combs without a temperature control. By all means, stay away from these types of direct heat items because your hair can be severely damaged within seconds and all of your months of hard work to obtain healthy hair will be down the drain. You’ll be virtually back at square one. The pressing comb is one of the worst forms of direct heat. These days, there are so many alternatives to the original ‘hot comb’. If you go to any upscale natural hair salon, there is not a hot comb in sight. There are many ceramic / tourmaline styling tools that will give you the look of a relaxer without the chemicals / heat damage. Ceramic blow dryers and flat irons straighten the hair by heating each strand from the inside to the outside instead of from outside to the inside of the strand. Heating the hair strands from the inside to the outside is a lot less damaging.
Although the use of ceramic / tourmaline direct heat is a lot less damaging, the use of heat should not be abused. This way, we can achieve the healthy hair that we desire with maximum length retention amd thickness!
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