How to Retain Length of Natural Hair

1BlessedNatural: Ways to Retain Length

When we talk about natural hair, we often talk about long hair and length retention. Many of us naturals struggle with length retention. We may feel like our hair is growing very slow or not growing at all. You may ask, "What products can I use to make my hair grow?" The truth is unless you have an underlying health issue, your hair is growing. Hair grows 1/2 inch or more per month. That number may increase due to genes, diet, and lifestyle. You may just be having problems retaining length. Here are the ways to retain length:

1. Moisturize and seal. Our strands tend to be dry. Because our ends are the oldest part of our hair, they are more prone to dryness. When you moisturize and seal your hair, focus on the ends. The most inexpensive moisturizer is water.  My favorite moisturizer to use is Cantu Creamy Hair Lotion. My favorite oil to seal in the moisture is coconut oil. Oils help to lock in he moisture in your hair to prevent it from evaporating as quickly.

2. Trim your ends. Since your ends are prone to the most damage, it is important to keep them healthy. During your natural hair journey, your ends can become dry and brittle. This can be due over manipulation during washing and styling. It also may be due to rubbing against your clothing. As a result, you may need to trim your ends.

I know I need to trim my ends when they look rough or straggly. I recommend trimming your hair while it's in small twists. This will allow you to see exactly where the damaged ends begin. Trim only as needed. Be sure to use hair shears and not regular scissors. If you trim your hair with dull or regular scissors, it can damage your ends even more by causing it to split further up the hair shaft.

1BlessedNatural: Here are my ends after trimming them in twists.

3. Protect your ends at night. Your hair can become damaged while sleeping and being manipulated (as was discussed above). Try sleeping with a satin scarf, bonnet, or pillow case to avoid friction between your hair and bedding. If you use a satin bonnet, please be sure to use the ones without the elastic band to avoid rubbing your edges out.

4. Practice protective and low manipulation styles.  You may see some naturals wearing protective styles like twists, wigs, and braids. Protective style allow you to give your hair a rest for periods of time. This decreases the risks of breakage and allows you to retain more length. My favorite low manipulation style is the puff. If you are having trouble retaining length in a specific area of your hair, you can leave that area in a protective style. I have done this with the front part of my hair. I leave it in cornrows or flat twists to allow me to retain my length in those areas. 

5. Wash and detangle, gently. Your hair can break during the wash and detangle processes. Try washing your hair in sections. This way you can take your time and handle your hair in smaller sections. I wash my hair in 4 sections. When washing or shampooing your hair, try to keep your hair stretched. It may be tempting to scramble your hair with your fingers, but it's best to keep your hair taut and use your finger tips to gently massage your scalp.

When you detangle your hair, always use a wide tooth comb. Be sure your hair is moisturized with a moisturizer or conditioner. Gently detangle your hair starting at the ends, and work your way up to your roots.

1BlessedNatural: Work with your hair in sections.

6. Eat Healthy. If you want healthy hair on the outside, it's important to start on the inside. Be sure to maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Drinking water can also help to promote healthy hair. I also take a multivitamin Also, consult your physician.

Are you having problems retaining length?

Related Articles:  5 Ways to Moisturize Natural Hair
                             Current Trim Regimen: In Twists
                             Natural Hair Puff as Low Manipulation Hairstyle
                             Partial Protective Styling
                             Working with My Natural Hair in Sections