Retain Your Length: All 2019
Hey loves welcome back to my blog! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are setting yourselves up for a prosperous year!
Something that I think I finally got the hang of in 2018 was length retention! Although I was natural for years prior, I didn’t feel like my hair was growing at all. Looking back on what I did then and what I do now - I can definitely tell what has worked in my favor. When I posted the photo above on my Instagram, I got a lot of great feedback from my followers and I also got quite a few questions. Instagram isn’t the best place for long captions, so I had to put together a blog post! EDIT: This post turned out way longer than I expected! I really didn’t want to miss a thing, and I feel all points are equally important as they work together.
Like I always say, keep in mind that other factors affect your hair growth rate. These include genetics, and your overall health and diet.
According to livescience.com, and a number of other sources, the average head of hair grows between a third and a fourth of an inch a month. So 4 inches or so a year! Seems like a lot of hair. But what if your hair is breaking off at the ends at the same rate? Or even a quicker rate? It could happen quicker due to damaging activities/techniques, or lack of care, for example. If that is the case, you’re more than likely going to say things like “my hair never grows!”
This is why length retention practices are important in growing longer, healthier hair. If you want to see length, you need to focus on preserving the hair you already have. Remember, your hair will grow regardless.
Below are some tips that were game changers for me! I hope they help you in your healthy hair journey as well. Let’s achieve our length goals in 2019!
- Don’t even think about “hair growth” - focus on hair health!
- Establish a solid hair care regimen and be consistent. My personal recommendation would be that you include in this regimen pre-poo’s, cleansing, and deep conditioning. In this post, you can read my entire regimen in detail. Of course, no one’s regimen will be exactly the same - but it can help you figure out yours.
- Recap - on a weekly basis I use a moisturizing deep conditioner and once a month I use one with protein or Ayurvedic herbs. You may need protein twice a month, or every 3 weeks (for example). In the very beginning of my transition, I needed it weekly.
- How do you know if a deep conditioner (or even a styling product) has protein in it? First, read the title of the product, it may include words like “strength” or “restore,” it may also have an emphasis on “damaged hair” as opposed to “dry hair.” Those are just some things I have noticed over the year looking at tons of products lol. Second, read the ingredients! With time you'll get better at this too! If you don't know what something is - google it! Protein typically comes with the word “hydrolyzed.” Because I pretty much only order from small brands, I will also just comment on a post or DM them asking!
- If you think you’re dealing with excessive hair shedding (keeping in mind that shedding to a certain extent is normal), I would recommend that you also look into tea rinses. I have two blog posts on hair teas. Post 1 & Post 2. Use these rinses as needed, and always follow up with moisture afterward.
- Currently, I use tea in my routine regularly. For example, a few times a month I will use tea instead of water to damp hair for a pre-poo, or as I refresh throughout the week (the L, in my LOC). I have been using teas for a long time though! So I would say I have experience and I am comfortable using them this way. I may do an actual “rinse” once a month or so if I feel like I need it. I also do tea rinses on my son, once a month or once every 2 months. He has a simple, but very natural routine! I am comfortable using my oil and my tea on him.
- The tea that I am using is a blend of herbs and roots I created myself. You can purchase it here.
- After you've done all that work cleansing and deep conditioning your hair, make sure it's not in vain by properly moisturizing and sealing! I personally love the LOC method, which is Leave-in, Oil/butter, Cream (styler) - but there is also the LCO method. Layering your products this way and sealing them in with an oil or butter is an excellent moisture retention routine, which in turn helps to preserve your length. When sealing, make sure you focus on your ends! Also, throughout the week, refresh as needed to prevent your hair from drying it out. This will make wash day much easier. Here's an example of how I refresh my bun.
- Massaging your scalp regularly improves blood circulation, which can help your hair grow as well. I massage my scalp regularly with a few drops of this oil. This is the same oil I use to pre-poo, sometimes I deep condition with it (example 1, example 2), and I seal my hair with it as well (LOC). In general, adding this oil to my regimen proved to be extremely beneficial for length retention. It has helped me prevent breakage and excessive shedding! Minimal breakage is really what you want to focus on! Less split ends = more hair growth! I also massage my scalp with this tool as I shampoo my hair! It provides a deeper clean and it also improves circulation at the same time. I have had this one now for over a year! It's very soft, and not uncomfortable at all.
- Of course, even with the most perfect hair care regimen, split ends will eventually come. This is 100% normal and to be expected. A lot of people often say that trimming your hair has nothing to do with hair growth. I explained the difference between hair growth and length retention, so we already know that. They are correct. However, if you want to retain your length, trimming your ends has a lot to do with it. Trim your hair as needed to prevent those ends from causing more damage. My advice would be that you trim before it gets too bad! This way you have to cut off less.
- Between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018 (that comparison picture I posted at the beginning of this post, I trimmed my hair a total of 3 times. 4 if you count my last hair cut which was December of 2018. I’m counting that one as my first of 2019 lol.
- Protective styles!! Although also not necessary for your hair to grow, they can most definitely help you retain the length you already have. @Uniqurl posted this on their insta the other day -
- I’m not sure how accurate 3 inches is for all of us, lol, but I definitely agree that leaving your moisturized hair untouched, unmanipulated and off your shoulders, can definitely lead to less breakage. This then means more length retention! I protective style regularly, every other week, or sometimes 2 weeks in a row. For me, this includes 2 strand twists, loose braids, buns, banded ponytails, etc. I leave the style in for 1 week, and I refresh/remoisturize as needed. Example.
- Avoid damage causing activities such as straightening and coloring your hair. I know some of us may not want to hear that… but heat and color can damage the hair which can lead to breakage, shedding and make it much harder for your hair to retain moisture. This is why very often naturals who straighten regularly or have color will complain that their hair is dry. Of course, straightening your hair does not automatically lead to damage. Especially if you use a good heat protectant and the heat is not excessively high. Keep in mind the following though, this is a quote from naturalhairrules.com - “When your hair is damaged by heat, it’s permanently damaged. High or excessive heat can permanently break the S-S or disulfide bonds within hair strands that give hair its strength along with protein cross-links. Heat damage can be prevented or treated but not repaired.”
Wooosaaaa! I know that was a ton of information, but I really do believe every tip I mentioned has helped my hair for the better and it can help you too!
In terms of products, if you aren’t new to my blog then you already know I use Black-owned brands exclusively. I share products on my Instagram regularly, and I also have this blog post you can check out with lots of favorites. You’ll see Annabelle’s Perfect Blends all over that. It’s truly one of my favorite brands and has been for about 2 years now. You can now use my code CONSY10 at checkout to save some money!
I highly recommend the entire line of Kalahari Melon Mint Products, the Passionfruit Curl Glaze, the Peach Hibiscus products, and the hair and body butter! I use both the butter and creamy oil on my skin.
I also have been loving the deep conditioners from She Scent It, and I’m using one of their moisturizing creams right now too! Loveee it. I reviewed two of the deep conditioners here. If you’re looking for a deep conditioner with protein, I recommend the Avocado Deep Conditioner from Naturally United Curls. If you join her email list or follow her on Instagram you will know when it's available. She Scent It and Annabelle’s have deep conditioners with protein as well.
I hope you enjoyed this lengthy, but thoughtful post. If any of these tips help you or you have your own, definitely leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Happy New Year!