"My hair just won't grow past this length."
If you've ever uttered this phrase, it may be time to take a look at your ends. All hair grows but not all hair retains length. If your goal is to grow long, gorgeous hair, then it is imperative that you give your ends extra TLC.
The ends of our hair are the oldest and the most fragile. If you have curly or damaged hair, you are even more likely to experience breakage, so here's what you can do about it.
You're Too Rough
I cannot say this enough. Rushing is not your friend, especially when washing your hair. You can end up yanking more hair out by ripping your hands or a comb through your hair if you rush your washday.
Take the time to think about what you are doing when handling your hair or you will find tons of strands your hands when you're done.
Your Hair Is Dry
Keeping your hair moisturized minimizes breakage since it won’t be dry and brittle.
The best moisturizer is water so make sure your moisturizers and conditioners are water-based (water is the first ingredient). To ensure your hair is being moisturized properly, pay particular attention to the ends of your hair when applying your products. Yes, our hair grows from the roots but the roots are much stronger than the ends so the ends need more TLC to combat breakage.
Your Ends Aren't Sealed
Once you’ve applied your moisture, you need to retain it. That means sealing it in with a heavy oil or butter. Always make sure to take particular care with your ends, as they are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair. Sealing your ends will help retain moisture, keep split ends at bay, and stave off breakage. Everyone has their favorite carrier oil to seal their ends and my favorite is coconut oil. Many naturals use olive oil, castor oil, shea butter, or grapeseed oil. The list is vast and the best way to find which oil you prefer will be through trial in error.
You Don't Protect Your Hair
Protective styling is the most popular way naturals choose to protect their hair but it’s not the only way. Some protective styles do more harm than good. Wigs that have been worn too long and weaves that have been installed too tight have the potential to create traction and bacterial infections, which can lead to breakage or hair loss. Reducing the manipulation of your ends and protecting them from the weather elements are essential. Protecting your hair also includes wearing with a satin bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase to prevent your cotton bed linens from withdrawing moisture from your strands.
You Heat Style
Heat needs to be used cautiously and sparingly. High heat will cause breakage, and although many naturals believe that there is such thing as heat training, it just doesn't exist. You cannot train your hair to be permanently straight without using chemicals, and if the hair remains straight then heat damage has occurred. Heat damage can occur with only one application and cannot be reversed despite what a product may claim. The hair will not return back to its curly state upon washing and the only way to fix heat damage is to cut it off.
Frequently using heat is equivalent to using high temperatures but it may be harder to tell until thinning or breakage occurs, and then it’s too late. Daily heat applications should cease and if you must use heat, try weekly or monthly if possible and always use a heat protectant.