Dear 1BlessedNatural: My Hair is Still Not Growing After Protective Styling

Q: Dear 1BlessedNatural, 

I wear protective styles, but my natural hair is still not growing. What could I be doing wrong?
A: It is a popular misconception that if you wear your hair in protective styles, it will automatically grow. While, part of that is true...It will grow, but you might not retain length if you don't take care of your hair. You have to care for it before, during, and after protective styling.

Before you install a protective style, be sure your hair is in good condition . Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are my ends healthy? If they are damaged, you may need to trim them before installing a protective style. An exception to this rule would be if you trim your hair while it is in twists, like I do.

2. Is my hair dry? I like to wash, deep condition, moisturize, and seal (with an oil) my hair before installing any protective style. 

3. How long will I keep my protective style? It is a good idea to take breaks between styles to let your hair and scalp rest. I don't like to keep my styles in for longer than 1 1/2 months. 

When I wear individual braids with extensions, I spray my hair with a braid spray almost daily. I also wash and deep condition it every 2 weeks.

It is very important to keep your hair moisturized when you are doing braids, twists, or faux locs, especially when there is hair added. I've used both human and synthetic hair for braids, and synthetic hair can be a lot harsher on your strands and cause them to dry out. If you're wearing an updo, you can mix water, moisturizer, and an oil in a spray bottle and apply it to your hair.

If you are wearing braids or twists, apply a conditioner to them after washing. You can also apply a leave-in conditioner, moisturizer, and light oil (with your fingers). Start doing this, and you should see a big difference in your hair. Give your hair some TLC after you remove your protective style as well.

Also, please remember the average person loses about 100 strands or more per day. When your hair is in a protective, there is no place for the loose hair to go. Because of this, you may see a large amount of hair when you're combing for the first time after removing your protective style. Many people are alarmed by this, but you can check one thing. If the strands are the length of your hair, then it is probably due to shedding. If the hair is in tiny short pieces, you could be experiencing breakage.

If you have a question about natural hair, send it to 1BlessedNatural[at]gmail[dot]com. Please type Dear 1BlessedNatural in the subject line. 

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