Basic Growth Tips for Natural Hair

Hair grows at an average of up to half an inch/1.30cm a month.
People do not know how to properly take care of their hair which is what leads to failure. For me, these are the three basic ingredients that you need in order to start and continue a hair journey:
1) The willingness to love your hair and want to see it grow healthy
2) Patience
3) Determination

Here are the basic guides to follow:
  • Analyse and scan the ingredient list of any product you wish to purchase. Look at the first 5 ingredients. Also watch out for very long ingredient list (higher chance of unnecessary stuff in there). Avoid sulphates, alcohol, petrolatum/petroleum, mineral oil. Look for the good/natural ingredients such as vitamins, natural oils etc. Products that contain alcohol strip and remove excess oils from the hair. Shampoo Ingredients to avoid: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sulfur , Selenium Sulfide, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate, TEA Lauryl Sulfate. Hair Product Ingredients to Avoid #1, Hair Products Ingredients to Avoid #2
  • Avoid dodgy products that advertise and label the usual 'no sulfates, silicones etc' but still have other damaging ingredients in there.
  • Shampoo your hair with a sulphate-free shampoo and then use a clarifying shampoo once a month. I use Shea Moisture shampoo. My natural clarifier is ACV (apple cider vinegar).
  • After shampooing with luke-warm water, make sure to finalise the rinse with cold water to close up the hair follicles.
  • Use wide-tooth combs when combing and comb gently (I had to learn this). You can use a thinner or less wider toothed comb to detangle afterwards. You can also decide to go comb-free and learn the skill of finger detangling. I finger detangle first to take out any knots and shed hair, and then use a wide tooth comb and then a less wider toothed comb. Carry out your wash day in sections in order to minimize tangles. I cried the day I washed my whole head without sectioning - never again! I wash and condition my hair in twisted sections. You can also unravel the twists/braids in order to wash through hair strands.
  • Keep your hands out of your hair apart from when it’s wash day. The temptation and boredom is real but low manipulation is key!
  • Comb very gently. Your hair is now curly, it takes a longer time for the teeth of the comb to glide through every corner of the curl. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Never start combing from the scalp. You are asking for trouble.

  • You might find it easier, as your hair grows longer, that you handle your hair in sections. It makes everything easier. Moisturise in sections. Condition and wash in sections. Most of all, be gentle with your hair!
  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Black hair can be dry because it is more difficult for natural oils to move down curly patterns of hair. You will need a liquid to spray on your hair first (water/aloe vera juice/rose water) and then an oil to seal it and keep it from evaporating. This is the easiest for me as I like to keep it natural. I do not buy moisturisers since these products contain other stuff. Keep it simple: water in a spray bottle + oil or butter. I use water in a tiny travel size spray bottle and my shea butter mix. Simple.

  • Before applying a moisturiser (aqua/water as first ingredient) of your choice, wet your hair with water. Apply a moisturiser (which does not contain petroleum jelly, petrolatum or mineral oil) to the hair. Start about 2 inches away from the roots and apply the moisturizer all the way to the ends. Do this daily or as your hair requires - you want your hair to feel soft and pliable. Apply a light oil (olive, avocado, coconut, jojoba etc) sparingly. This may be used on your hair after applying a water-based moisturizer in order to seal moisture into the hair shaft and give your hair a nice natural shine. Sealing the moisture keeps the water-based moisturiser from evaporating. It's up to the needs of your hair!

  • COMPULSORY: Wrap your hair every night before bed by covering it with a silk scarf or if the scarf slips a lot use a satin pillow.
  • Limit heat styling to once weekly, and use thermal protectants. Heat styling can damage your hair, especially if done too often. When you straighten your hair with heat, you are temporarily altering the protein bonds in your hair and weakening it. After shampooing, always air dry your hair instead of using a blow dryer, unless you are in a hurry.
  • Make sure you trim your ends every 6-8 weeks or whenever you feel is necessary. When you have split ends and you don't cut them, they will continue to split all the way up your hair shaft, which will stunt your hair growth journey. Split ends can never be repaired, they just keep on splitting up to the hair root. Just cut them off. Hair grows an average six inches per year, you will get back some of it this year if you treat your hair right.
  • Wear protective styles. To minimize breakage and retain moisture, try wearing your hair in a protective style. Protective styles are those which do not expose the ends, such as buns, french twists, single braids or twists, cornrows. Try and incorporate protective styles throughout the beginning of your journey. I am currently kinky twisting up my hair and I can't wait till it's long enough to do different styling! :D
  • The most effective way to wash your hair is with a solution of 50% shampoo plus 50% warm water. Mix the diluted solution ahead of time (about 5 minutes) and pour it over your hair when you are ready to wash it. Very gently work the solution through your hair at the scalp without tangling the length.
  • Deep conditioner is important because our curly roots make it difficult for our hair's natural oils to move down the hair shaft and moisturize the length of our hair. Deep conditioning after every wash not only replenishes whatever nutrients were stripped from the shampoo, but it also strengthens your hair for whatever styles and weather your hair will see before the next wash.
  • Treat your hair from within by taking a multivitamin. Use a hair vitamin that will increase your hair growth rate and lengthen your natural anagenesis (growth phase). Also drink at least eight cups of water and eat healthy foods such as fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and by exercising regularly to provide good circulation to the scalp. The internal is also important!
  • Essential tools for your journey: wide tooth comb, satin scarf, spray bottles, hair ties/clips.

Get educated! Read and watch more about ways to take care of your hair! There are loads of naturals that are on youtube, read natural hair blogs and be inspired! It helps to sustain you and you choose one to be your favourite inspiration and guru.  Most importantly stick to it and be committed and consistent.

Ultimately, only you know your hair! If you go on Youtube and watch the routines and strategies that others take, regardless of their hair type, what works for them may not work for you. So you need trial and error, adjustments and adaptations. I've had to learn this and I was happy to find out what works for me and my hair and what does not work. It is part of the journey! I have changed my products, techniques and regimens lots of times as I look for my staples.





BASIC TOOLS YOU NEED

Products needed:
  • Shampoo: sulfate free shampoo 
  • Conditioner: "-Cone free" conditioners (2): moisturizing conditioner; protein conditioner 
  • Water: or aloe vera juice or Water based leave in conditioner/ moisturizer
  • Emulsifier: a butter, or thick and creamy product like shea butter or mango butter
  • Natural oil: to seal in moisture - coconut, olive, avocado, castor, almond oil etc 
  • Heat protection: (for those who blow dry or do heat styles like straightening, blow outs and hot roller sets)
Tools needed:
  • Satin scarf or satin pillow case for bed time
  • Wide-tooth comb: for general combing and detangling [alternative: finger combing] 
  • Clips: to section hair for detangling and styling 
  • Bobby pins
  • Shower cap 
  • Microfiber hair towels: A towel material that doesn’t pull on your hair when you blot your hair dry. As an alternative air dry or use an old shirt.
  • Hair scissors: sharp and only for cutting hair 
  • Snag free hair ties and scrunchies (no metal piece in the band) 
  • Natural boar bristle brush: For those who do ponytails and similar styles 
  • Spray bottle where you can mix your own concoctions such as vegetable glycerin, water and oil: for misting your hair when dry, spray in products when on the go.

KNOWLEDGE

2 comments:

  1. Very nice article!!!! I was seeking out how to stop hair fall from most recent one month and here I discover every one of those pertinent strategies. Much obliged to you such a great amount for imparting such an important stuff. You made my day. Thanks…

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for such a great article. I've always kept my hair natural but it never grows past a certain length. From your article I can see what I have been doing wrong. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

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