Originally published on April 23, 2017
I really want my readers to understand this - if you want your hair to grow, health should be you’re number 1 concern. Healthy hair will grow, it doesn’t have a choice, that’s what it does! The rate at which your hair grows is genetic, although there are about 1 million things that claim they can speed that up. I personally have been incorporating Ayurveda into my routine for a while and I have seen my growth rate speed up. I have 4 previous posts about this, so I won't include any of that in here. If you’re interested I recommend starting with this post here. Below are a few of my tips for maintaining healthy natural hair!
#1 Establish a hair care regimen.
#2 Consider incorporating a pre-poo into your regimen.
#3 Learn your porosity and use this information to properly moisturize your hair.
#4 Seal your hair, most importantly your ends!!
Whether you have low or high porosity hair, it’s a good idea to seal the moisture in with a butter or an oil (butter and oils are not moisturizers, they seal in moisture). Sealing your hair will make your style last longer, it helps with frizz, and in the long run, helps prevent split ends. You can seal your hair different ways, some people do an oil rinse right after deep conditioning to seal in that moisture, others apply their leave-in, then follow up with their sealant, and then layer on a styler like a gel, but that’s totally up to you. You can also apply your leave-in and your styler, then an oil or butter. Below are two examples of how I would seal my hair for different styles. Both times I start with wet hair, I like to go as far as applying my leave-in in the shower.
Wash N Go - Leave-in conditioner/or Liquid, oil, gel
Braidout - Liquid (water, aloe juice or strengthening tea), cream styler, oil
#5 Pay attention to the ingredients in your products.
I had a conversation with my friend recently and she told me that she prefers to use “natural” products. Being as though I already knew what products she uses, I was a little thrown off by what she meant. After talking to her about it I realized she really meant “products for natural hair.” I’m not an expert or anything, but I think it’s safe to say 99.9% of the natural hair products sold in stores are not natural. These products need a shelf life, so that’s expected. If you like to shop for hair products in stores, I would recommend that you stay away from certain ingredients like silicones, parabens, and sulfates. I'll link a short video with a better explanation as to why you would want to avoid them. I went back and forth with this tip a lot. For a long time, I didn’t care about ingredients at all and I just used whatever I liked and could afford. Yet here I am today! Lol. I would be lying if I didn’t say I saw a huge improvement in the health of my hair once I started avoiding certain chemicals. If it’s a moisturizing product, you also want to make sure water or aloe juice is the very first ingredient. Keep in mind that ingredient lists are in order of concentration. Thankfully most products for curly natural hair have it written right on the label that they don't include certain things. This tip applies to oils as well!! Especially with essential oils, the only thing in them should be the oil - that’s it. Keep in mind your scalp, like your skin, absorbs everything it comes into contact with. If you haven't already, check out my oil here. When it comes to alcohol, there are reasons why certain ones would be included in your products. See the graphic below.
In terms of isopropyl alcohol, yes it is rubbing alcohol but, a quick google search revealed that there is a reason companies use that as well and it’s usually a very small amount. At the end of the day, chemicals are chemicals… Use your own judgment and don’t be afraid to google. If you are having issues with your hair, like dryness, excessive breakage, and you feel like your hair just isn’t growing - it’s definitely a good idea to take a look at the ingredients in what you’re using.
Video - What's in your Hair Products?! All About Sulfates, Silicones & Parabens!
If in your journey for healthy hair you’re also hoping to retain your length, consider incorporating more protective styles and massaging your scalp often. Protective styles are by no means necessary for growing your hair, but they do help. By definition, a protective style is a style in which your ends are tucked away or a style that requires little to no manipulation. In my experience, protective styles prevent excessive breakage and single strand knots; they also retain moisture a lot better than simply wearing your curls out. We mostly think of styles like box braids, feed in braids and wigs to be protective, but that’s not it. Protective styles can include loose braids or twist, french braids, flat twists, and even buns (I like to wear buns with faux ponytails).
During these last couple of months that I’ve noticed my hair grow faster than usual, my hair has been in a protective style 80% of the time and I have also been massaging my scalp constantly. Scalp massages improve blood circulation, increased circulation at the roots then promotes healthy hair growth. I know a lot of people recommend nightly scalp massages but honestly, I use my growth oil 1-2 times a week, maybe 3 and with my fingers. If you can do it nightly, by all means, boo, go ahead. When I pre-poo, I use this scalp massager, I also use it to shampoo.
Those are my top tips for curly hair maintenance! I have a longer post geared more towards tips for transitioning, but most of them apply to maintenance as well, you can check that out here.
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Please feel free to comment some of your hair tips down below, I would love to read them.