There is a crazy belief that Black women are unable to grow long hair....
It's insane but it's been a myth for years.
So much so, that even some Black people believe they don't grow hair as quickly as other races AND/OR that Black people are simply unable to grow their hair past their shoulders-unless they are mixed with another race.
And I have proof!
I've always had pretty long hair. As a child, I was made fun of for how thick and long it was. My mother constantly reminded me that people were simply jealous. She encouraged me to stick to my hair regime and that helped me to keep my hair long and healthy.
For many Black women, they don't maintain a regime for their hair. And this makes sense. For many years, Black people were focused on equality-not beauty regimes. Therefore, for many families, hair care routines were not passed down.
We also have to take into account, that many products still don't focus on the unique hair care needs for Black people. There are many more products now than in, let's say the 60's.
However, many products include ingredients that are VERY damaging for Black hair-let alone anyone's hair.
Now, if you are Caucasian and you're reading this-this blog post is not intended to isolate you. Please know that. <3
It's my intention is to provide information for my Black brothers and sisters to know HOW to care for our hair to maintain length. You may learn whole lot from this post AND you may be able to help your biracial family members know how to properly care for their hair to retain length. <3
Now, for those skeptics who don't believe they can grow their hair.... let me say this....
If you are a woman who often gets relaxers (perms), you probably get a new relaxer every 8-12 weeks.
Why is that?
Well, it's because your hair IS growing! So you ARE growing your hair, the issue is that you're not keeping the length at THE ENDS of your hair. It breaks off, thus creating shorter hair.
So how do you maintain your length?
1. Focus on MOISTURIZING YOUR HAIR-ESPECIALLY YOUR ENDS.
If you forget anything from this blog, do NOT forget this! Your hair WILL grow and STAY long if you moisturize and moisturize some more!
Check out this video of the African people from Chad who basically use the Liquid, Cream (or powder in their case), and Oil method.
First apply a moisturizing liquid (like Water), then a leave in conditioner, and seal it with an oil.
(Note: For naturals....they may want to switch the order of the last two steps.... so Liquid, Oil, Cream to define your curls more).
You want to follow this method at LEAST every 5-7 days. Think of it as a spa day for your hair. It doesn't have to be complicated at ALL, it just takes your attention.
For me, this means.... adding water.....then adding my leave in (I'm still looking for a leave in that I love), and finishing with my favorite essential oil. You can also check out how I moisturize my hair with my deep conditioning routine here
2. FOCUS ON YOUR ENDS!
lol Ok so I know I said this in step one but it's THAT important. I've always had long hair and part of it is that I make sure to honor my ends. How? Regularly cutting off split ends (if you keep them, they will continue to split UP the hair. Which only causes you to have to cut off EVEN MORE later) and by moisturizing the ends of my hair constantly with the LCO method. I do the method all over my hair BUT it's important that you NURSE THOSE ENDS THE MOST!
3. PROTECT YOUR HAIR!
If you do not keep your hair protected, you WILL cause breakage. And breakage - means short hair. So I protect my hair with twists, braids, and lately-wigs. They are my FAVORITE at the moment because I can still take care of my own hair each night.
It is ESPECIALLY important to protect your hair from your clothes. For women with shoulder length hair.... wearing your hair out means that your ends are brushing up against your shirt and unless all of your shirts are made of silk (which is gentle on the hair)....the constant rubbing WILL cause split ends. So to avoid this, wear protective styles OR if you are going to wear your hair out AND you are wearing a shirt or jacket that may cause friction for your hair.... put your hair up in a pony tail and tuck your ends. Again, it's all about those ends (which is the oldest part of your hair). Keep those ends PROTECTED!
4. DON'T COMB YOUR HAIR.
Ok, this sounds insane and I don't REALLY mean "don't comb your hair". What I mean is, don't use a brush and comb on your hair regularly. Brushes and combs can create friction that causes breakage. So to avoid this, mainly finger detangle your hair. I DO use a brush and comb but probably only once or twice a week. And when I do....
5. START FROM THE BOTTOM!
To quote Drake. lol It's for this reason, that I don't like to go to salons cause I judge HARSHLY on whether a hair stylist is worth my money if she starts combing my hair from the top down OR if she combs it wet. HUGE NO NO'S.
When I comb my hair, I grab my hair in the middle (to reduce the tension from the comb) and then start at the bottom AFTER finger detangling. Then I gradually move up as the tangles are removed. This stops the hair from snagging on the way down-breaking the hair from the root.
6. ONLY COMB WHEN YOUR HAIR IS DRY.
UNLESS YOU ARE USING A WIDE TOOTH COMB.
I do NOT comb my hair wet. Again, I judge a hair stylist HARSHLY if she does this to my hair. When my hair is wet, it is FAR more fragile and thus more likely to break. The only way that I'll comb my hair when it's wet is if I'm using a wide tooth comb and I mainly do that to distribute conditioner through my hair. Other than that, no tools hit my hair when it's wet.
So those are my tips for how to retain length and grow long hair. Do you have a routine that you follow for your hair routine? Share with me in the comments! I'm excited to learn from you all!
PS Just remember, this doesn't have to be complicated or drawn out. I simply wash my hair.... apply some leave in, add oil. Then keep my ends moisturized or protected with a hair style (mainly wigs at the moment).
So you see, it's not complicated.
It just takes creating your own routine and sticking to it.