by Keora Bernard
It’s officially been almost one year and six months that I’ve been natural. I couldn’t be more enthused about the current condition of my hair and the things I have learned along my journey. However, like many naturals, I recently hit a growth plateau. In other words, my hair just didn’t seem to be growing (or retaining) at the same rate as it did at the beginning of my natural haircare journey. Here are some useful tips that can help naturals get over the hump:
Examine Your Routine. There is a saying that, “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it.” I totally agree with this sentiment. However, the flipside of this notion is that if it is broke, then fix it. If something in your routine seems to not be working i.e. styling products, moisture regimen, protective styling, etc.…then you should figure out exactly what it is and either modify it or remove it completely from your routine.
Safeguard Against Breakage. When naturals say their hair isn’t growing they are oftentimes mistaken. In reality, all hair grows, even curly hair. Despite this, curly hair has more curves and bends which it make it particularly prone to breakage. This implies that while curly hair grows, it is breaking at the same rate. Find ways to minimize breakage and retain the length you’ve fought hard to achieve. My personal favorite methods are: finger detangling, protective styling, using a wide tooth comb, and adding an oil to my conditioner for slip.
Trim Those Ends. Being natural usually means our hair is in a much healthier state than when we permed our hair. Not only are we using products designed for multiethnic hair but we are no longer using chemicals, and very infrequently using heat. This means that our hair doesn’t need to be trimmed at the standard 6-8 weeks that many stylist recommended when we were relaxing. On the other hand, I still recommend doing a trim at least every four months, or three times a year. This will keep your spilt ends from turning into breakage.
Continue to Educate Yourself. I know some of you naturals may feel bamboozled by the thought of continually seeking out natural haircare information but this keeps you well aware of how to care for your natural hair. Reading that low porosity hair appreciates less protein and more moisture will prompt you to ditch your hardcore protein regimen and amp up on a hardcore moisture regimen.
Give Your Hair a Break. Many naturals prefer washing and styling their hair on a weekly basis. However, constant manipulation can result in weaker hair and more breakage. Longstanding protective styles can give your hair a much needed break. I remember installing twist with my own hair for about three weeks and noticing how my hair grew. If you want to keep your hair growing then give your hair a break every couple of months.
Sometimes, the simplest tweaks in our routine makes the biggest difference. For example, during the winter months, I like to moisturize my hair twice a day. This keeps my hair from becoming brittle and unnecessarily breaking. While your routine should remain the same if it works, make sure you change it if doesn’t. By being open-minded and proactive, you’ll be well on your way to long, healthy hair.