Length Retention & Current Favourites
It’s my favourite day of the week (Wash-day :p), and figured I’d share a few tips on length retention, along with my current favourite hair products.
I often see posts or comments on those kinky/curly natural hair Instagram feeds, or on YouTube, where secrets for hair growth are being asked like 99% of the times. But there’s no secret or trick to it, really. Although genetics obviously plays a big part in determining the texture and growth rate (to a lesser extent) of our hair, it all boils down to the care we give to it, and the amount of length we’re able to retain. Everyone’s hair grows, but if you’re unable to retain the length from the growth, then it’ll seem like your hair isn’t growing. For a lot of naturals in the 3a to 4c (I don’t really believe in the hair type chart, but I’ll use this for reference) range, length retention can be quite a challenge…but I really don’t think it has to be. I did my big-chop back in 2015, and I’m currently about 3-4 inches away from being waist length -not that you could easily tell with all the shrinkage though. I didn’t go natural with the intent of my hair reaching any certain length, as I just wanted it to flourish and be healthy- but I have to say all the growth has been exciting.
Now, let’s get into some of the things I do/ don’t do, to maximize length retention.
Moisturize/hydrate: Ensuring that my hair stays moisturized is very essential in my hair-care routine. I can’t stand the feeling of my hair being rough or looking frizzy, due to lack of moisture, and I get a lot of breakage if I neglect moisturizing properly. I don’t have a set time for when I moisturize my hair, as I usually just go based on how my hair looks and feels. Having to re-moisturize often can be very annoying. When I just went natural, I’d moisturize my hair every day or every other day. Now that my hair is way thicker and longer, that’s a big no go for me. So, how do I ensure that my hair stays hydrated? On my wash day, I ensure to be very thorough, using the amount of products that I know will keep my hair moisturized for at least 3 days (I’m often very heavy handed with my products). All my moisturizers are water based, and I use ALOT of water when styling my hair- water is key for moisture. I especially focus on my ends, as they’re the oldest parts, which are more prone to dryness and breakage. I also hardly ever skip deep conditioning, as this doubles the amount of moisture I get, compared to just doing a normal wash. Once I’ve added enough product to my hair, I ensure to seal the ends with an oil-just enough to ensure that I’m locking in all the moisture. If my hair begins to feel dry during the week, I’ll simply spritz a bit of water and leave-in conditioner throughout, and I’m good to go. My hair is much easier to detangle and style when it’s very moisturized, which reduces the amount of breakage I get. If you haven’t been taking moisturizing seriously, you have to start…your hair will love u 🙂
Protein: Protein is the building block for our hair, and is essential for keeping it strong; preventing brittleness that leads to breakage. I tend to know when my hair needs some extra protein, and so I’ll just do a quick protein treatment-usually just egg, avocado and an oil mixed together. If your hair’s feeling overly moisturized or very fragile, start incorporating a protein treatment into your regimen…trust me, you’ll see and feel a major difference from just the first try. I do a protein treatment once every month or two months, depending on how my hair’s feeling.
Cut the heat: I tried straightening my hair once last year, and that experience alone made me decide to leave my curls alone…don’t think I’ll be attempting that again for the longest of while. No matter how much you convince yourself that you’re using enough heat protectant, or that your curls reverted just fine…trust me, there’s damage whether you can see it or not. I realized a couple months after going back to my curls, that my ends were starting to split significantly more than I was ever used to. If you’re straightening your hair even once a month, I’d consider cutting this down drastically. In terms of using blow dryers- I usually let my hair air dry, but if I’m not able to do so, I’ll mostly use the cool shot on my dryer. It takes much longer, but it beats using the heat. Basically, the less heat you use, the less your ends will fry off.
Trimming; As I mentioned in my previous hair-care post, I don’t follow a routine for trimming. I only trim when I feel like it’s necessary. If your goal is to grow long hair, trimming constantly will only set you back more than needed. Just ensure to keep your ends healthy and trim when you notice any damaged ends (split ends or fairy knots). I only really trim my ends twice per year, but will do a bit of dusting as needed. If you don’t know what “dusting” is, it’s basically going throughout your hair and clipping strands that are damaged…quite time consuming, but worth it. You won’t be able to grow long, healthy hair with those damaged ends, so get rid of them! Long hair that’s thin is not appealing in the slightest…at least, not to me. Thickness and luster is more of the goal. Also, ensure to use a good pair of scissors, as using worn or dull ones can end up giving you even more split ends. I have a a pair that I only use for my hair.
Don’t overdo it/Listen to your hair: The last tip I’m going to share is about not overdoing it, and learning what your hair likes and needs. If you feel like you haven’t been doing something right in your hair-care routine, the solution isn’t necessarily to use or buy more products that other people say work for them. Everyone’s hair require different treatment, and if one product works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. See how your hair reacts to a certain product, and try using different methods with it also. Some products work better when used in a different way than others. For instance, one product may give better result if it’s used on it’s own, while another product may work better when used along with something else. Also, less is sometimes more- just because you use or do an excess of something doesn’t mean it’s going to give you better results; just use your judgement and see how much of something your hair needs. An overuse of any product can actually lead to breakage.
I unintentionally found myself using products from only one line for the first time. Usually, I keep it more random and just use whatever products work well together. I’ve always been a fan of Shea Moisture’s deep conditioners and shampoos, especially the ones that I’ve shared below. I also recently purchased the Curling Gel Souffle (first time using) and the famous Curl Enhancing Smoothie (which used to be a staple of mine, until I strayed to other products). All four of these products work soo well for my hair! After using the deep conditioner, I can literally run my fingers through my hair without having any tangles (I included a pic of a section of my hair, product free, after deep conditioning), and my hair is left so soft and defined after I’ve styled with the smoothie and gel. This combo is definitely going to be a regular of mine.Have you tried any of their products? If so, let me know which one(s) so I can try out something new.
I’d love to hear some of your tips, or answer any questions you may have. Thanks for reading!
Oil I use for sealing (Love!):
Big chop 2015 (Kinda missing my TWA)