I have a few tips that I have learned both through trial and error and by reading suggestions from the knowledgeable curlies here on NC. First, I'll start off by telling you that your hair is unique and what works for me may not work for you, although I have 3c/4a like you. Our hair properties may be different, the weather we live in can affect our results, and the water in our areas can also be different. These are just a few of the factors that can affect your hair.
I'll start from the inside out. Eating healthy, exercising, and drinking lots of water have given me very good results with my hair. Obviously, consistency is key, but with the water drinking, I can see a difference in my hair within a few days. It is said that we should be drinking half of our body weight in ounces of water. (If you weigh 120 lbs, you need 60 ozs of water.) I have also had good results with a consistent vitamin regimen. I've tried different brands and amounts but the most effective supplements seem to be biotin and MSM. I personally take a hair, skin, and nails vitamin, and extra biotin and MSM.
Now to the exterior. Many will tell you that low manipulation and protective styling (PS) are the best ways to get your hair to grow long and healthy. I don't necessarily disagree with this, but I can't say that I've done either one throughout my natural hair journey. I've tried everything you can imagine. Sulfate poos, sulfate free poos, natural organic poos, cheap stuff, expensive stuff, homemade stuff and everything in between. The one thing I have found to be consistent is the need for moisture. I know many need protein too, but my hair hates it so I cannot help you there. My regimen for winter is quite simple. Unfortunately, I cannot co wash only because I get build up and I break out. I am now alternating between Kinky Curly Come Clean and SheaMoisture shampoo, Sally's GVP conditioning balm is my rinse out conditioner which I also use to detangle my hair. For stylers I use KCKT layered under KCCC or CJ Beauticurls LI under CJ CIAB. Sometimes I add some olive oil to the LI to seal in moisture. Every night I massage my scalp with a few drops of jojoba oil, this soothes my sometimes itchy scalp and keeps it from getting dry and flaky during the winter. I also use jojoba oil to SOTC after my hair is dry. I have never done a twist out, braid out or any other PS. I always wear my hair out and I don't really have any bad ends.
I hope this very long post helps you in some way or another!
PS. I've been natural for a few years now. I didn't start documenting my length until about 2 years ago. On my 21st birthday in Jan '10, my hair was barely grazing my shoulders when dry. It was about 14 inches long. Now its between APL and BSL dry and WL straightened, its 32 inches long. That's 18 inches in just under 2 years. Oh and by the way I don't trim or cut my hair, I only cut off any knots that I see when I'm detangling.
WL (25") straightened
Teri Laflesh's book "Curly Like Me" sits on my desk and everytime I get frustrated and an impulse tells me to shave my head, I look at it in hopes that one day my hair will graze the top of my butt.
Last edited by curledlove; 12-28-2011 at 06:44 PM.