It is certainly no secret to anyone who reads this blog or has followed me on social media, that I like long hair. I also like hair that falls fairly evenly. Not many a folk has hair that’s all one length and I may never actually achieve it on this fine natural hair. At the very least, I want my hair to “appear” like it’s at an even length – a long even length (waist length).
Back in January of this year (2015) I made the mistake of hacking off about 6/7 inches of hair. The plan was to cut just a couple inches off the bottom layer of my hair because it was growing so much faster than the rest. I should have had a professional cut my hair but nooooo I was anxious to do it so I went ahead and did it myself.
It’s very difficult to cut your own hair even. I know that now. When I first cut it, I cut it crooked. So I cut it again. And again. And again. Then, I let my husband cut it. He didn’t understand what cut the “tippy tip” meant and he cut about 3 inches all on his own. Oy, why did I give my husband the scissors??
At any rate, what’s done is done and while it set me back on my quest to waist length hair, I’ve enjoyed some pretty fabulous hairstyles in the interim:
Fast forward and I am focused on growing this fine natural hair back! Back and then some… So, aside from following my “normal” hair care routine that includes regular washing, deep conditioning, protein treatments, moisturizing and protective styling; I added some extra practices to my routine for good measure.
Mid week co-washing
I’ve been sharing my weekly Wash Day Chronicles. I typically wash my fine natural hair once a week. I set the curls and don’t much bother with them until the next wash day.
About a month ago I added a mid-week co-wash. Doing so adds moisture to my hair and also cuts down on the amount of tangling I would normally deal with on wash day.
Shampooing with Liquid African Black Soap
Shampoo is necessary for cleaning your scalp and removing product build up. The problem is traditional shampoos typically contain sulfates. Sulfates dry out the hair and strips it of its natural moisture. Curly hair suffers under the iron fist of sulfates more than straight hair. That’s why I avoid hair products (and skin care products) containing them.
African Black soap does an excellent job at cleansing the scalp and removing product build up without the drying sulfates. You only need to use a small amount and 1 wash gets your hair super clean. I purchase the unscented Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap. The ingredients include: African Mint Extract, African Black Soap [Saponified Shea Butter and Palm Kernel Oil), Lauryl Glucoside (coconut).
Cold Aloe Vera Juice Rinsing
It’s recommended that after washing and deep conditioning your hair, a final rinse should be done with cold water. This enables the cuticles to lay flat, sealing in the moisture and allowing the hair to reflect light once it’s dry.
I don’t particular care to for the flash freeze session I get from cold water so instead, I’ve been keeping my aloe vera juice in the refrigerator and using that as my final rinse.
On normal wash day, I’m making oil rinsing a final part of the process. This helps lubricate the strands so that tangling and single strand knots (SSKs) are greatly reduced. Less tangling = length retention.
For the near future I’m using Pumpkin Seed Oil for my oil rinses. It’s a very rich oil that’s touted for it’s ability to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. It’s a thick oil that’s great for oil rinsing vs. sealing.
Scalp massages have always been a part of my hair care regimen but I’ve never been consistent with them. It’s time to step that up. On my shampoo wash days and co-wash days, I’ll be sure to use my scalp massage brush if even for a couple minutes. That will give me 2 scalp massages per week – enough to stimulate hair growth.
Low Manipulation Styling
During the summer months, I don’t do a lot of protective styling like in the winter. I enjoy wearing my curls out since they won’t be rubbing against my clothes. It’s so hot, my back and shoulders are more exposed in the summer so there’s less risk of breakage.
In place of protective styling, I am engaging in low manipulation styling. This includes wash and go’s, twist outs and stretched braid outs that turn into up-dos after a couple of days.
Here’s to accelerated consistent hair growth and length retention!