What are some things you're doing to retain more length?

If you have a plan, what is it? Give details on some key things you're going to try to retain length.

I've been natural way too long to have this problem, but I do. I can't seem to get beyond armpit/bra strap length. Like ever. And my hair is only that long when I pull it down. Shrinkage is real so my hair looks short usually - just grazing shoulder length. I want those long luscious locks! But I have a hard time with protective styling (can't keep twists in longer than a week, my hair just looks terrible at that point). A lot of what people advise is what I already do. The only thing that isn't is long term protective styling, which again, is very very difficult for my hair. I think some hair types aren't suited for that or something. I also end up feeling like my hair needs full on rinsing more often these days. So I'm caught between "leave your hair alone as long as possible" and "your hair thrives when rinsed regularly and getting the shed hairs out that cause tangles on wash days".

My low manipulation style is usually just a loose bun. I redo it daily but its very quick. I've been doing this a while though, so...Idk. I was going to do marley twists, but then I'd have to actually do them.

One thing I'm considering is rotation. One week I can wear my hair out more, and the next week, buns every day. I wear a satin scarf and hat on my hair everyday now that its cold, during my commute to school.

I'm trying to figure **** out. I really want longer hair. But I'm also trying to push that to the back of my mind because its annoying otherwise.

What do you guys think? And what are your tips?
24y/o - 4a - Medium texture - Medium to high Density - Medium to High porosity - Still figuring things out

Low-Poo: SheaMoisture Moisture Retention
No-poo: Terresentials Pure Earth Hair Wash
Cowash: Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle, SheaMoisture Purification Masque
Leave-in: SheaMoisture Restorative, Nature's Gate Hemp
Styler: SheaMoisture Curling Gel Souffle
Deep Condish: Trying out KBB Luscious Locks, SheaMoisture Purification Masque
Oils: Coconut, Jojoba, SM Elixir
My hair needs to be wet frequently so ps like braids and twists don't work for me for more than a few days. I used to never ps but now like you now I do loose buns which I like. It noticed I am not having to trim as often. I would say oil rinsing and using either a butter or heavy oil to seal my ends has also been helpful in reducing damage to my ends. HTH
I don't really protective style either, it just ends up with more hassle on washday for me. Like you ladies, my hair does best with regular rinsing. I have layers all over still so buns don't work all that well for me yet. I have stray hairs that fall out even after my hair is well stretched out, and I have to gel them into submission. Then I have to wash soon due to hard hair.

What I have been experimenting with lately is stretching more often because I noticed that I end up with less tangling. I can go longer between washes, but have had to massage tiny amounts of coconut or olive oil into my scalp for itchiness.

I can handle protein very well, and for the longest time did weekly treatments. Stopped that for a little while and last month did a couple weeks of weekly treatments. Now I've made gelatin gel with unflavored gelatin that I use mixed with conditioner or mixed with fsg and conditioner. So far protein on wash day has been ok. That kind of protein (hydrolyzed collagen) and fsg helped me with moisture along with being able to put loose twists in at night without completely crushing my curls out. The twists give me big hair and further help cut down on tangling.

A lot of my layers reach or go past my collarbone when stretched now, and I've noticed that using some shea moisture conditioner with the yellow label that I had laying around on the very ends when I do wash and gos has helped too.

Sent from my VS980 4G using CurlTalk App
3C/4A, fine texture, low-medium density, and low porosity
CG since November 2013.

Pre-Poo: infrequent now, Coconut Oil overnight
Shampoo: Curls unleashed/for occasional sulfate wash when needed, everlasting sunshine.
Conditioner: Suave Naturals Everlasting Sunshine and GVP's conditioning balm.
Styler: iagirl's flaxseed curl cream or gelatin gel/conditioner mix. <3
PT: iagirl's gelatin treatment 3-4 times a month, with conditioner/honey/avj
I like to apply oil nightly to keep it supple and keep brittleness and breakage at bay. At that time, I brush it smoothly and twist it up in a loose bun then cover it with a satin covering to sleep. In that vein, I also co-wash only and deep condition with each co-wash to likewise keep the hair supple. I leave it in a bun, French braids or generally tucked away in some manner to protect the ends and retain the length as frequently as possible. I am also looking into a Tangle Teezer to not rip out any strands or break off any strands unnecessarily when I comb. I will try to apply some oil before combing to help keep the hair on my head as well. I never sleep on loose hair or pinappled. I always sleep in a twisted smooth bun or again in some smoothly combed, oiled and tucked away style and with a protective satin covering at night.

Oh and I personally find I must avoid gels, hairspray, mouse, setting lotion and all hard coatings that will glue strands together. I personally also avoid highly textured styles as they make comb out problematic and increase the risk of loss hairs when you must ultimately comb it. Thus, I keep my hair in as smooth and stretched a state as possible always and lubed to minimize friction and broken strands during combing. I will take my hair down every now and then and wear it down for a bit. When I do, I am careful to keep it smooth and keep it from tearing. I put it back up very quickly. I would say I generally take it out for a bit on the weekend but keep it protected during most of the week. There are many tools you can use to dress up a bun like hair sticks, hair fork, artificial "dome buns" to add on top. You may cover your ends with a plastic baggie and oil under the stylish dome bun covering. You can do the same with add on ponytails. You can also leave it smoothly oiled, braided and cover it up with a wig if you prefer. I also take exceptional care to comb it very slowly only with a "Plugged In wet look" wide tooth comb from Sally's. Again I am looking into Tangle Teezer to add to or replace that one.

These are some of the things that I find I MUST do to keep as much hair on my head as possible. They may or may not suit you but these are what works for my hair.
My Routine:
Coconut oil drench the night before I co-wash
then cowash and deep condition each time w/ Keracare Humecto
Shima leave in conditioner then usually airdry
Grapeseed oil nightly

(no gel, mouse, or hair spray. My delicate, fine hair will tear if I even try to run my fingers through it with any of those. )
My go to leave ins are now: Shima Leave In Conditioner or PW77

Last edited by MsP; 12-20-2014 at 10:15 AM.
What styles and methods did you all use when your hair was shorter?
Hi lady, how long have you been natural for? One thing I noticed that kept me at BSL and my daughter at the same length was my comb. Ever since I switched to finger detangling only we both have much less breakage and more length retention. It is much more tedious and time consuming, but there must be a trade off if you want those longer locks. If you don't already do this I hope it helps you. Also, don't feel rained on it you can't ps more than a few days because we can't either! Everyone is different.

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