Often the issue isn't the hair growth from the scalp that makes length difficult to achieve, but preventing breakage from the ends.
For years, I've been growing my hair out as healthy as it can be. This is how.
1. Practicing safe hair coloring
Many people might insist that coloring natural hair is damaging and you can't grow it long because of that. While it is true that coloring causes some damage, you just have to make sure to care for the colored hair safely.
2. Trims (only when I need them)
When your hair has a lot of split ends, trim it--but not just because of your calendar schedule. I go between three and four months for our trims. I know I'm due for a trim when my hair starts tangling more easily, sheds more and looks limp.
3. Regular deep conditioning
Genetically, my hair is super dry and I color it which makes it dryer as well. I deep condition every single time I wash my hair and use a regular conditioner as a leave-in. Using a deep conditioner with heat or steam will make it work even better; one of my personal favorites lately has been the Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Mask.
4. Using coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the only oils that penetrates all the way to the middle of the hair strand. It helps provide strength, softness, and repairs damage to chemically treated hair. The night before wash day, I like to sleep with my hair saturated in coconut oil. Sometimes on day 2 or 3 hair, I will even use a little bit of coconut oil in place of a serum to minimize frizz.
6. Focusing on my scalp
While I sleep with coconut oil on my length, I use certain blends of essential oils on my scalp. I apply them before bedtime and then give myself a scalp massage, helping to increase circulation and blood flow to encourage growth. I like the Jessicurl Stimulating Scalp Oil Treatment.
7. Paying attention to ingredients
The more products I used that didn't contain sulfates, non-water soluble silicones, parabens and heavy waxes, the better my hair health was overall. More natural products with moisturizers, healthy oils, butters and vitamins are so important. I especially notice when I don't use products with heavy silicones my hair is less frizzy and better able to be managed.
8. Alternating between a shampoo & co-wash on wash days
I usually only wash my hair twice a week, alternating between sulfate-free shampoos and co-washes. I like to use Living Proof Restore one wash and then Nubian Heritage Strengthen & Grow the next time. Once a week, shampoo helps to remove styling products, sweat from working out, and environmental toxins. Every month, I use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo to really help detox my hair (and keep my color from getting brassy).
9. Washing less
Washing your hair too frequently can dry the hair out because you are not allowing your hair to absorb the natural oils it produces. If you dry your hair out it becomes weak and prone to breakage. I use a dry shampoo and refresher spray on non wash days for the scalp to be clean.
10. Moisturizing oftenKeeping the hair properly moisturized will help with breakage (which leads to length). The more dry your hair, the more moisture you need. I deep condition in the shower when my hair is wet and leave it in as long as possible. I'll use a regular conditioner as a leave-in on days I don't wash, and a refresher spray with a water-based leave-in to add moisture daily. It leaves my hair soft, hydrated and healthy.
11. Protecting my hair at night
Sleeping on satin pillowcases and spraying the hair with a moisture spray before bedtime are both great ways to let help your hair survive the night. Usually by morning, my hair--especially the ends--drink up my refresher spray as if it was a delicious milkshake!
12. Never over-processing with color
When I go in for my color, my hairdresser touches up my roots only. Not overlapping and putting color on previously colored hair keeps it so much more healthier than if the length of the hair were to get color processed every single time. Especially with long hair, the ends of my hair I think are at least 5 years old, so they have been through a lot.
13. Minimizing heat usage
I use heat styling tools as infrequently as possible. In the beginning of my journey, I went two years without straightening or blow drying it once. Now, I straighten once a year to see my length. I also air dry instead of blowdrying.
14. Detangling gently
A wide tooth comb or a Tangle Teezer is great to help tangle. Start from the bottom of the hair and work your way up the length to detangle. One big comb through from scalp to end will get the comb stuck in the hair and the results won't be pretty. It might take a little extra time to detangle more carefully, but the reward of long healthy hair is worth it. Also, please don't try and detangle hair that is all dry with styling products in it. That's just a big no.
15. Watching my diet
Everything in our body, including our hair is affected by what we put into it. Eating a diet rich in protein, vegetables and whole grains is essential.
16. Taking hair vitamins
I have been taking hair vitamins every day for years. They are good for the hair and also for the body. I have gone through several brands and right now I am using the Hairfinity ones with good results. I suggest waiting at least 3 months before expecting to see results.
It's all about consistency and patience!
Doing the scalp oils, the deep treatments and taking the hair vitamins consistently and in a routine will truly pay off. Remember, the average human hair grows about a half an inch a month. You might experience more or less but there is not one miracle way for hair to sprout inches overnight. If there was one, I'm pretty sure I would have found it already!
Happy hair growing!
Follow Diane Mary on her blog, Diane Mary Beauty.