naturals who retain length
Growth & Retention

10 Non-Negotiable Practices of Naturals Who Retain Length

naturals who retain length

3C, 4A, 4C, 2B. Hair types.

When it comes to retaining length, sometimes we put too much emphasis on hair type instead of where the focus belongs. Hair practices.

How many times have you looked at one of your fellow naturals with long hair and thought, “I’ll never get my hair to grow that long. My hair type won’t allow it.” OK maybe YOU didn’t think it but trust – many women do.

What They Have That You Don’t

Let’s put aside hair types for a moment and examine the habits of other naturals that have managed to retain a healthy amount of length. It’s not about what they have. It’s about what they do.

You’re probably thinking of “famous” naturals with long hair like Napturl85, UrbanBushBabes or Mahogany Curls (and we love them) but they are just a few among many. There are many naturals with long hair (they retained length) that you are probably not aware of. Here are a few with varying hair textures:



Kitty’s So Curly


Hair Practices

What do these ladies have in common? Their hair care practices. There are certain things they do and don’t do (me too!) like…

They do:

* Finger Detangle
* Wash hair in sections
* Deep condition during every wash
* Incorporating protein treatments into their regimens at least monthly
* Seal in the moisture regularly
* Minimize or eliminate heat styling
* Protect the hair at night (sleeping with a silk/satin bonnet or pillowcase)
* Employ low manipulation and/or protective styling

They don’t:

* Comb dry hair
* Brush through the length of their hair (except maybe with a Denman on hair that’s soaking with conditioner)
* Ever leave hair exposed to the elements without some form of protection (ie. covering, sealant)

Making these hair practices non-negotiable can help you retain length as well. Even if your hair isn’t pre-determined to reach waist or tail bone length, you can certainly achieve BSL (bra strap length) – no matter your hair type

Can you think of any other habits of naturals that retain length that I may have not mentioned?


Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

15 Comment

  1. I am fairly new to natural and feel like going back. I wash my hair biweekly. The detangling is a monster. I try using my fingers but become highly agitated. I have resorted to getting protective styles often to rid myself of doing my hair. When I started thus journey I saw so much potential but now I just feel overwhelmed. There are SO many products it is ridiculous! I have several deep conditioners.

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Give yourself some time before making the decision to go back. Relaxers are just no good for the hair. After many years (my mom can attest), your hair can literally burn right out.

      I would encourage you to wash weekly instead of biweekly. This should cut down on tangling. Also, make sure you wash in sections (4-6 depending on the length of your hair). This will also help with tangling.

      Last off, before you put your head under the water to wash, apply loads of conditioner to it and detangle in sections. Then, when you hop in the shower (or whatever) to wash, your sections are ready and you can wash each section individually.

      If you haven’t already, please check out this simple regimen:

    2. I’m hopeful that you are 1 year into your journey. I am a natural the 2nd time around. I too tried about 20 years ago and gave up. Now I’ve found that the journey had been awesome because it truly has been about conforming my mind to accept my hair as God intended and to appreciate “me” as I am. We have been taught by many different opinions including from our community as well that our natural hair is not beautiful and is difficult to take care of. All a myth and a lie. The truth is no matter the type of hair, straight or natural, all come with a certain type of regime to take care of it. I can’t imagine the amount of time I wasted at the salon, curling my hair and straightened or natural I am still not disciplined enough to not go to be with a scarf every time. This time around the key has been to find a good product for me it’s been Shea moisture retention shampoo, deep treatment mask and the Jamaican black castor oil strengthen and grow leave in conditioner. I am hopeful my worlds have helped. Blessings!!!

      1. Hello-

        I’ve actually been natural well over 10 years. I agree with you. Every type of hair needs some form of regimen. I’m no longer using Shea Moisture Hair products but I’m glad they are working well for you!


  2. I’ve been practicing all 10 suggestions and have grown out 4 inches over the last year, however on account of my lack of knowledge about protein treatments unfortunately I had to rid of 2 out of the 4 inches. I did the aphogee protein treatment I left it in for 10 minutes and it was way too strong for my hair. It made the ends feel horrible. About three months later I then tried the ORS protein treatment for 5 minutes and that too left my ends feeling and looking horrible for a couple of months so I just decided to cut off 2 inches and be done with it. I was thinking about trying the ORS again and leaving it in for perhaps 2 minutes because I do like the way it makes my hair feel strong but am frightened about what it may do to the ends of my hair. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Dawn-

      Are you balancing your protein treatments with moisturizing treatments? Heavy duty protein treatments like Aphogee are only to be used when the hair is breaking. It will make your hair hard but then you are supposed to follow it with a deep conditioner (sans protein). Here’s an article I wrote about using protein on your hair:

      Also, here’s a DIY recipe that I use biweekly (does not make the hair hard):

  3. I practice all the do’s and dont’s ( Not religiously) but for the most part I do. I even take Vitamins but i still no difference. However other persons claim they do see growth. Can you suggest anything?

    1. Hi Khenielle-

      Are you sure there’s no difference in growth? Could it be that you are experiencing breakage, maybe taking it for shedding? Also, you have to rule out health problems. For ex: a person with thyroid issues can have trouble with hair growth.

    1. You may be using too much protein or not appropriately balancing it with moisture. The Aphogee 2 Step Reconstructor is a lighter protein that is designed to balance out the moisture

  4. Gotta say this is spot on! I’m so glad you didn’t say just PS because I get so tired of hearing that! It ain’t for everybody and there are some long haired naturals that know how to let it hang out and still keep it protected. Great post (as usual!)

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