While I’m not all that big on making formal new year resolutions (because most of us just end up breaking them anyway), what I am all about is goal-setting; one of the goals that I have for this year is to gain some real inches when it comes to my hair. While I know that it’s not going to be easy, while watching a couple of YouTube videos on hair growth challenges (like this one, this one and this one) to remind me that I’m not alone in desiring to see my hair flourish, I thought I’d share some tips real quick on what you can do to gain some inches by summertime.
I’m hoping that it goes without saying that a clean scalp and deep conditioning are paramount. Other than that, though, there are a few other things that you can do to get your hair out of the TWA stage or away from the plateaued state that you’ve been dealing with for months now. Are you ready to not only grow up to a ½” a month but maintain those inches? Let’s do this.
Get a good trim.
I already know that some of you are rolling your eyes with this one. But if you’ve got split or raggedy ends, it’s only going to wreak havoc on the rest of your hair shaft over time. Plus, it tends to make your hair look pretty frizzy too. That’s why, if you’re truly serious about growing out your hair this year, it’s important to start things off by getting a good hair trim. Now, no one is saying that you have to go to a stylist who you already know doesn’t know the difference between a trim and a full-on haircut. Shoot, I’m not even saying that you have to see one at all. If you want to dust your ends at home, that’s fine too. Just make sure that you invest in some really good shears, (a pair of bad scissors can mess up your ends as well) and that you take your time while you trim your locks. Oh, and no one said that it’s written in stone that you’ve got to trim again every six weeks. Trim when you notice that your ends need it. If you are intentional about taking good care of your hair, that could mean that you only need to do it 3-4 times a year.
Keep color out of it.
While watching a video by a YouTuber who goes by Mini Marley, she talked about something that I can totally relate to. She said that after dyeing her hair and realizing that, while it looked amazing, her curls weren’t “poppin’” like they used to, she had to cut a significant amount of length off. Boy, when you’re on a mission to gain inches, accepting that your hair is so damaged that you need to cut some of it off can be a really hard pill to swallow. But it’s always good to remember that 1) your hair is always growing and 2) healthy hair is better than long hair that is dry, brittle and chocked full of split ends. The good news is that if you want to avoid what Mini Marley went through, you can always lay off on the hair dye for a few months. Instead, try some henna or colored hair wax. Sure, colored hair can be really pretty to look at, but there’s no way around the fact that it also weakens your hair cuticles. So, if length retention is what you’re after right now, why risk it by doing something that you know will automatically make your hair locks more vulnerable?
Don’t protective style ALL of the time.
Protective styling is cool, but too much of anything put bring stress and strain on your hair eventually. For instance, I adore box braids, but the weight of them can wear myedges out if I’m not careful. So, while you’re planning your next appointment to put your hair up in a favorite braid or twist hairdo or you’re about to purchase another wig—just remember that your hair needs a break even from those. Your scalp needs to breathe and your tresses need to not have to constantly deal with the “pressure” that oftentimes comes along with protective styling.
Take a multivitamin.
It's common knowledge that most Americans do not get all of the nutrients that their body needs from diet alone. What we tend to lack the most of is calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E. When our system is malnourished, it reflects in our hair. One way to stay on top of this issue is to take a multivitamin. If you want to take one that is specifically designed to aid in hair growth read more here.
Care for your hair follicles.
Your scalp is the foundation for your hair and your hair follicles, in a nutshell, are what anchor each of one of your hairs into your scalp. Within your hair follicles, there are hair bulbs and within each hair bulb, there are cells that develop and build your hair shaft. Bottom line, if you want healthy hair, you’ve got to take care of your hair follicles. There are several ways to go about doing this. You can get 6-8 hours of rest every night. You can give your scalp weekly massages with a mixture of Jamaican Black Castor Oil and lavender and/or rosemary essential oil. You can give your scalp a monthly hot oil treatment. You can “feed your follicles” by eating more protein (like eggs, poultry and nuts), antioxidants (like citrus fruit and berries) and spinach and sweet potatoes (which are basically considered to be “perfect foods” due to all of the nutrients they contain). And, you can drink lots and water; every part of our body needs that.
Get more sulfur.
Something that our hair needs is sulfur. Basically, sulfur is what helps to protect proteins in our body like keratin (which is what our hair is made up of). As a bonus, sulfur is also what helps to lengthen the growth stage of our tresses so that we’re able to gain more length retention. Personally, I get more sulfur into my system by taking an MSM supplement in the form of powder (you can read more about that here and watch videos on how it benefits the hair growth process here, here and here). Or, if you’d prefer to simply get more sulfur via your diet, some sulfur-rich foods include cabbage, collards, onions, garlic, fish, peaches, olives, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.
“Baby” your ends.
No matter how much it might seem like your hair isn’t growing, it most certainly is. If you have a hard time believing that because it seems like your tresses never get past a certain length or phase, it probably has more to do with your ends than your roots. That’s why it’s essential that you “baby your ends” as much as possible. Make sure to seal them on wash day with a hair butter or oil. Try and keep your ends off of your shoulders whenever you can. Put your hair up in a pineapple and then tie it up with a satin scarf at night. Consider applying an oil that has vitamins B12 (it produces new hair cells) and E in it (that will strengthen your ends). Keep your hands out of your hair (manipulation weakens hair overtime). All of these things will help to keep your ends in good shape so that you can see some real results by summer.
It’s not a myth that stress can hinder hair growth. There are plenty of proven facts out in cyberspace which point to the fact that when we are anxious, worried or if we aren’t getting enough rest, that can lead to hair breakage and even hair loss. One of the main reasons is because stress can actually force our hair into a resting stage where it refuses to grow any longer or it even weakens overtime. You know what this means, right? Anything (or one) in your world that may be causing you to climb the walls? Now is as good a time as any to set some real boundaries. Not just so your hair can grow, but so the quality of your health stays intact. Two great reasons to totally let stress go, to chill out and relax instead, if you ask me.
Keep us posted, please.