Contrary to popular belief natural hair is almost always growing. This article will teach you 5 methods that will promote hair growth. So why aren’t you seeing any change in the length of your hair? The real problem is breakage & excess shedding. Breakage is basically taking away the length that you just gained, which is why it appears like your hair hasn’t grown, even though you may see new growth pop up.
To see growth, you need to practice length retention. Length retention is all about maintaining your previous length, by reducing the amount of shedding & breakage you may receive in any time period. By maintaining your previous length, you will begin to see new length come through.
So if you want to know what’s causing the breakage, stopping you from getting your length goals, here are 5 reasons & 5 solutions.
1. Your Hair Isn’t Moisturised.
Contrary to popular belief, hair actually loves water & moisture, how much your hair actually needs depends on whether your hair is natural, coloured, damaged or relaxed. When your hair is dry, it becomes brittle, making it snap more easily. Applying hair food, oil or a butter to dry hair, will only help to lock in the dryness in your strands, which will make it even more dry & therefore break.
You will need to moisturise and seal your hair. Moisturised hair is a lot more flexible and stringy than dry, brittle and fragile hair. How do you do this? By practicing the L.C.O method every few days, when your hair begins to feel dry. The LCO method is basically a way of moisturising & sealing your hair to keep the moisture in your hair for a longer period of time, than it drying out every single day.
How To Do The LCO Method.
LCO actually stands for:
- Leave In Conditioner Or Liquid (which can be water).
- Cream (but it can be any moisturiser that’s water based).
- Oil (but you can use natural butters like shea butter in its place).
So to effectively do the LCO method, you will need to apply each of these products in stages, to successfully moisturise your hair.
- STAGE ONE: You need to add water into your hair by either rinsing your entire head with water or by spraying it with water, using a spray bottle. (You can get a spray bottle from any Chinese Shop).
- STAGE TWO: Apply moisturizer to your hair. You want to squeeze this into your hands and massage into your hair strands. Good examples of a moisturizer is the RESTORE PLUS Oil Moisturizing Lotion (with Shea Butter) or the DAX Black Hair Grower which you can find in Greens Supermarket, or any other supermarket.
- STAGE THREE: Apply a small amount of oil (ideally a few drops) to your hands, then massage into the hair. After this, you’d want to comb/ brush your hair with a wide tooth comb or detangling brush, before styling. You can find oils in supermarkets like TM Pick & Pay or in most Pharmacies.
TIP: by separating your hair into workable sections, you will be able to effectively comb your hair and apply your products without missing spots.
2. You’re Using Too Much Heat.
Hair is a protein, and like most proteins, it gets damaged when exposed to high heat and frequent use of heat. Essentially getting cooked, like an egg, which causes damage. If you are natural and the ends of your hair are sparse/ gappy or looking “straighter” and more permanently stretched compared to your roots (near your scalp), then you’re suffering from heat damage. If you’re relaxed, & the ends of your hair is looking sparse, thin, feels brittle or has a different colour than the roots of your hair, then your hair is heat damaged as well.
- Reduce how frequently you use direct heat, to a less than 6 times a year.
- Use lower temperatures.
- Always use a heat protectant.
- Bonnet dryers are safer for more frequent use, but still take care.
You don’t actually need direct heat from a blow dryer to dry or to stretch your hair, even if you are natural. To dry your hair, so it’s not permanently damp, can ‘air dry’, which simply means leaving the hair to dry naturally. To stretch your hair, you can do mabhanzi ,rollers or thick braids (without extensions), after moisturising & sealing and allow the hair a full day or 2 to dry. Stretching is more effective on damp hair, especially if you’re natural.
3. Your Scalp Is Being Neglected.
A healthy scalp is key to hair growth. If your scalp is dry, itchy, irritated and full of dandruff/ flakes, then it’s usually an indication that your scalp needs some TLC. Since hair grows in from your scalp, it’s important that your scalp stays in a good condition to allow the hair to grow properly. An unhealthy scalp will result in stunted growth.
- Wash your scalp when there is a large accumulation of build up & flaking/ dandruff. Your scalp won’t be able to breathe, which causes the itching & irritation.
- If your scalp is dry, spray water first to moisturize it, before applying your oil/ hair food. Oils, butters and hair food only locks in dryness into the scalp, so make sure to moisten your scalp first and massage before applying your product.
- Do not apply your product to your scalp line by line. This causes build up & flaking/ dandruff. Instead apply a small amount on to your finger tips and massage into your scalp.
4. You’re Straining Your Hair.
Besides heat styling, styles that are either too heavy, too small or too tight can put a lot of strain on your hair and more especially your edges. Styles like jumbo box braids, micro braids, faux locks, carrot (the edge killer), and so on.
- Styles that are too heavy for your hair too carry will end up falling out from the root, in order to release the “stresser” from the scalp;
- Styles that are too thin, requires much more patience to remove and dealing with those tiny tangles can be a nightmare. In all honesty, most cases your edges fall out along with the braid or you break more hair than you need to trying to unravel the hair; lastly,
- Styles that are too tight will take your hairline with it.
- Try not to use too many packs of braiding hair, usually the hair can only support twice it’s size of extra weight. Anything above that is likely to strain the hair. With your edges, this weight limit is even less, approximately 1½ times the weight of your hair.
- Instead of getting your hair micro braided, and losing your hairline in the process, buy a micro braided wig. It’s cheaper in the long run & if you practice good wig care techniques, safer for your hair in general.
- Don’t braid the scalp period, it will not make your hair “grow”, it will only make it pack it’s bags and “go”. Talk to your braider to reduce the tension (or pulling) when he/ she is braiding you, to save your hair, & more importantly your hairline.
5. Your Malnourished & Dehydrated.
If your body is not hydrated enough or lacking nutrients, it will reflect in your hair. Your hair strand is imbedded into your scalp by a bulb. This bulb gets nourishment from your body, in order to keep growing well. When your body is not in a good state, it preserves what little water and nutrients for more important functions, like the your internal organs, to keep you alive & sacrifices the rest, eg. your hair and skin.
Make sure you are drinking enough water. How much water you actually need may vary from person to person due to variables like weight, height, age, activity levels, and so on.
You also want to make sure your eating a more balanced diet. Eating a balanced diet doesn’t mean you have to eat a single salad & a piece of chicken & calling it a day. All it really means is balancing your portions of carbohydrates, proteins & vegetables. Taking supplements or vitamins, can also help not only your hair but your overall health.
Are you guilty of any of these & will you implement any of the suggestions to get started on your journey to longer hair?