17 months post BC (January 2012)
Hola Chicas/Chicos... I pray all is great with everyone. Let's talk LENGTH RETENTION. Now some common facts about hair growth are: hair grows at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 inch each month, diet and water intake, proper moisturizer ion, trimming and cleansing routines, as well as mechanical maintenance play major roles in achieving awesome results. Now, keep in mind, we see ourselves daily so it's sometimes difficult to always 'see' our growth, which is why a picture journal is helpful. Ok, now that that's out of the way, check out these tips for achieving and maintaining healthy hair growth.
LENGTH RETENTION TIPS:
(1)Knots and Breakage: For those who receive single strand knots And breakage, most of it is due to combing/brushing methods and improper moisturization and protection. These are primary culprits of not seeing or achieving maximum healthy hair growth. TIP: When you have kinky,coily or hard to detangle hair, like me, it is a must to use a conditioner to detangle the hair. Detangling with a conditioner with great slip is key to avoiding snags, pull and/or breakage. Here's what has worked for me. Before I cleanse, I add loads of conditioner (of course, my Natty Moist conditioner) throughout my hair as a pre poo, then finger detangle first. Using fingers first allows you to feel for knots that combs do not seem to catch. Then, I use a wide tooth comb to comb the conditioner through and complete detangling. To avoid re tangling, I put the detangled sections into twists, rinse, cleanse, deep condition all while my hair are still in twists? I have learned that denmAn brushes are culprits for breakage and snagging, so I opt for a wide tooth comb. A tip I learned from Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty is, when testing the roughness of a comb or brush, lightly drag the teeth across your arm and if it leaves a scratch mark, the tool is too Sharp.
(2)CLEANSING: Remember a healthy scalp is key to healthy hair. Co-washing is an awesome method for lightly cleansing the hair and helping to retain some moisture. BUT, co-washing cannot be the end all be all for cleansing due to buildup. Conditioners have ingredients that naturally create buildup after awhile and combine that with your others products; oils, butters, serums, gels and you're asking for some trouble if you do not remove these items so the scalp can thrive. Basic shampoos, many times, do not have the strength to remove the oils, butters and cones, OH MY! So, a great clarifying cleanse is great to use monthly, use bi-weekly if you use products with silicones and other harsh ingredients. Always follow up with a great condition after cleansing.
(3)MOISTURIZATION: oooobbber important. First, let's talk about what a 'moisturzer' is. In order for a product to be considered a moisturizer it must contain WATER. Butters, oils and other emollients are not considered moisturizers. Now, here's a great tip to properly moisturizing the hair. First, apply water or a water based product to the hair, THEN, apply a butter or oil to seal/lock in the moisture. Now, in between your cleansing routine or throughout the week, this practice should be repeated as often as needed. For my kinky coily hair, I find I must moisturizer once to twice per week (everyone varies). Dead ends are also a culprit to dry hair. Be sure to trim the hair as often as needed. For me, I can tell when it's time when I continuously try to hydrate my ends and they still feel dry and make that scratchy rough sound. One last tip that helps in the moisturizing department is the use of an old t-shirt instead of a towel when drying the hair. Towels are rough on the hair and cause friction which leads to frizz and breakage.
(4)STRENGTHEN: due to the everyday hustle and bustle, pulling and pushing, twisting and tugging, our hair takes a beating. It's a great idea to strengthen the hair at least once per month. Henna, amal and other special treatments are great for this. Protein treatments are also extremely helpful in strengthening the hair. Especially if you tend to have color, use heat or have highly porous hair. Products that contain hydrolized 'silk or oat' proteins are good for giving desired results, but proceed with caution as they do contain MSG. ingredients,such as those proteins are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft. Do it yourself proteins, such as ; egg, mayo or coconut milk are large proteins that have very slight capabilities of penetrating the hair shaft, but I've had awesome results using coconut milk as a protein treatment. I absolutely love Ayurvedic and other beneficial healing and strengthening herbs that put the coat of armor on around our hair. In all of my hair products, I incorporate Ayurvedic and healing herbs that help to put the 'muscle' back into the hair. Of course, anytime you do any strengthening treatment such as; henna, amla, cassia, etc, be sure to follow up with a 'deep conditioner'.
(5) PROTECT: Wearing the hair in protective styles most of the is extremely beneficial. Styles such as plaits, braids, twists or when hair is tucked away in low manipulation/tension buns are awesome for achieving and maintaining length. My hair, 4-5 days out of the week is usually in twists and/or tucked away. Another very important protective measure is to lightly moisturizer the hair and tuck away in a satin scarf or bonnet. Cotton head gear pulls moisture from the hair, so be sure if you opt to sleep scarf or cap free, adorn your pillow with a satin case. Also, because our ends are the oldest part of the hair, they need a little more attention in regards to moisture, sealing and protecting. An awesome tip I learned from Cipraha of Urban Bush Babes was as follows: (1)mist ends with distiller or filtered water (2) soak up the access water with a paper towel (3) apply a heavy butter or oil to the ends . This tip has worked wonders for my ends.
Hope this helps, Lovelies!!!!
My progress of 21 Months:
BC August 2010
9 months post BC (May 2011)
11 months post BC (July 2011)
1 Year post BC (August 2011)
16 months post BC (December 2011)
16 months post BC (December 2011)
18 months post BC (February 2012)
20 months post BC (March 2012)
Current (May 2012)