Treating your Hair Like Antique Lace
- DO NOT DYE YOUR HAIR! This was hard for me, but if you care about growing your hair out long and strong, this is a must. Dye is harmful to your hair and scalp and will majorly damage and slow down your hair growth.
- Along the same lines, stop using heat on your hair (or at the very least cut heat down to once or twice a month). This was really hard for me as well. I used to straighten and blow dry my hair daily. Any heat use pulls on your hair and fries your hair, which obviously isn't going to help you retain length. If you MUST use heat, please use a heat protectant spray.
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase. Use a cotton tee shirt to dry your hair (gently) when you get out of the shower instead of a typical bath towel. Bath towels and normal pillow cases pull at hair, and damage it.
- Be VERY careful with wet hair. Wet hair is the most fragile state hair can be in. DO NOT brush hair when it's wet. Instead, use your fingers to gently comb through your hair, then use a wide tooth comb to further remove tangles. When it comes to brushing, use a natural boar hair brush instead of a brush with plastic bristles. Plastic bristles are really damaging, and boar hair brushes are great for distributing the natural oils in your hair from scalp to tip.
- Space your washes. THIS IS CRITICAL. Probably the most useful tip in my experience. Start by shampooing every other day. Then, after a few weeks to a month, move to shampooing every three days. I have even got to the point now where I shampoo every four days. Spacing washes allows natural oils to build up and nourish your hair, if you wash too often those natural oils get stripped. It may feel weird at first to space your washes, but trust me, your hair will get used to it and it will benefit your growth in the long run. On non-wash days you can still shower (of course, just wear a shower cap) and dry shampoo will help rid your hair of any greasiness. Dry shampoo is a must have for sure.
- Develop a hair routine using natural products. On my wash days, I apply about 2 tbsp of melted virgin coconut oil and a bit of castor oil through my dry hair (concentrating on the ends). I put a plastic bag or shower cap on my hair, and let it sit on my hair for about an hour. Then, I get in the shower and rinse with warm water (NEVER use hot water on your hair, it's soooo damaging). I then rinse my hair with about 1/4 c of apple cider vinegar diluted with about 1/4 c of water. The ACV helps restore the pH of your hair and is a good, and cheap, natural clarifying agent. Then, I use a sulfate free (this is key, sulfate is super damaging to hair) shampoo from L'oreal (I think it's called L'Oreal sulfate-free everstrong thickening shampoo) and really massage it into my scalp. I then rinse this out and finish up with Mane n' Tail Moisturizing conditioner. After towel drying, I finish up with a tiny bit of coconut oil serum on the ends of my hair and let it air dry.
- Wear hair naturally and in a non-tight style. Because naturally dried hair often doesn't look the best, it's nice to be able to throw it up into a loose bun, loose braid, or loose pony. The less clips and rubber bands, the better. I really loved using claw clips at the beginning when my hair was shorter.
- DO NOT GET TRIMS UNLESS YOU NEED THEM. And by need them, I mean you have split ends that are starting to look bad. The rule of trimming your hair every 2-3 months is complete bull and will really slow down your hair growth progress. Unless you notice bad split ends (which you shouldn't have if you're following all these tips) then don't trim.
Be patient, and remember hair only grows so fast. Just try and focus on being healthy and treating the hair you have well. Take pics every month so you can track your progress, it will help you realize you are making some progress (even if it isn't that noticeable at first).