The natural hair journey would probably look something like this. Worrying about how your hair isn't growing enough, having damaged hair, wishing that you never transitioned to natural hair and attempting to cut your hair a second time. Yeah, we get it, growing out your natural hair can get a little frustrating. But here's the good part, growing your natural hair can become easy if you have the right information and practice the right habits.
With this guide, we'll be sharing everything you need to grow and retain the length of your natural hair.
1. Wash Your Natural Hair In Sections
With natural hair comes shrinkage, and your hair will most likely end up in knots and tangles during washing. Washing your hair in sections is the best way to prevent these knots and tangles. Washing in sections helps with detangling and stops hair breakage.
When washing your hair, remember to cleanse your scalp properly. You can also try daily scalp massages, this involves using your fingers to massage your scalp in circular motions for about five minutes each day. You can also use natural massaging oils like coconut oil for this process if you like.
What you need for washing your natural hair in sections
- Sulfate free shampoo
- Bobby pins
- Old t-shirt
How to wash your natural hair in sections
- Part your hair into four sections.
- Wet your hair first so it creates a nice lather when you apply your shampoo.
- Apply the shampoo once to each section of hair. Shampooing once ensures that the shampoo doesn't strip your hair of its natural oils.
- Massage both your scalp and hair evenly, using your fingertips.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Twist your hair around and put in place with a bobby pin.
- Repeat for the other sections.
- Dry with an old t-shirt.
You can watch this simple video tutorial by @Healthy Afro Hair on how to wash your hair in sections:
2. Detangling/Combing On Damp Natural Hair
Rule number one for your natural hair, do not comb your hair when it's dry. Combing when dry will leave you with brittle ends and damaged hair. Damp hair gives your hair the needed moisture so you can comb through your hair easier and detangle as well. Your fingers remain the best tool for detangling your hair. When you detangle and comb your hair right, you say bye-bye to finding tiny bits of hair all over your shoulders, back, or floor.
What you need to comb/detangle your natural hair
- Wide-tooth comb
- Denman brush
How to comb/detangle your natural hair
- Start with wet or damp hair.
- Divide your hair into sections.
- Apply the conditioner to each section of hair.
- Start with one section, using the Denman brush to detangle your ends or even better use your fingers.
- For combing, use a wide-tooth comb starting from the bottom up. Do this carefully.
@Chiziduru will show you how to properly detangle your hair:
3. Moisturizing Your Natural Hair
Whenever you feel that your hair or its ends feel dry, moisturize your hair. Again, moisturize your hair. Moisturizing your hair often helps it retain its length and keeps it from breaking. It is important that you moisturize your ends especially, as they are more likely to break off when dry. Try to also stick to one moisturizing product for your hair, so you don't end up with so much product building up into your hair.
What you need to moisturize your natural hair
- Leave in moisturizer
- Shea butter
- Plastic bag
- Silk scarf
How to moisturize your natural hair
- Start with damp hair.
- Part your hair into four sections.
- Apply the leave-in moisturizer to each section.
- Then apply the shea butter to seal in moisture.
- Twist your hair into two-strand twists.
- Cover with a plastic bag or shower cap for about 20 minutes. This locks in moisture and allows the products to absorb into your hair cuticles.
- Cover with a silk scarf and dry overnight.
@NeffyFroFro shows how to moisturize your natural hair in easy steps:
4. Use More Protective Styles On Your Natural Hair
You should only use protective styles like braids, and twists for your natural hair. Your hair is a lot healthier and less likely to break when there's no pressure on your scalp or edges. Low manipulation hairstyles should be your go-to desired ways to style your natural hair. This way it helps you retain your length and ensures against excessive hair breakage.
How to achieve a protective style for your natural hair
@chronicurls will show you how to achieve a protective style for your natural hair:
5. Stop Using Heat On Your Natural Hair
It's about time to toss out the heat. Your natural hair is fragile and using tools like curling irons or flat irons damage your hair with too much heat. It is important that you use a heat protectant before using heat on your hair. A heat protectant will help cover and protect your strands from direct contact with the heat.
Instead of using heat always to achieve those desired curls, you can try out other alternative methods of getting defined curls for your hair without heat such as flexi rods, braids, two-strand twists, or curlformers. The more heat you use on your hair, the more it leads to hair damage, breakage, and loss. However, these alternative curling methods ensure hair retention and growth.
How to achieve defined curls for your natural hair without using heat
Here are various ways you can achieve defined curls for your kinky hair without heat using these curling methods.
6. Trim Your Natural Hair Only When Necessary
Don't be scissors friendly with your hair. Put down the scissors. Yes, put it down. While the popular conception among most naturalistas is to trim your hair every three months, it is advisable to only trim your split ends when necessary. If you are looking to retain length, trimming your hair every three months even when your ends look fine, just results in you cutting off perfectly good hair. Trimming away your hair often without careful examination for split ends will not make your hair grow longer, it will only result in shorter hair.
What you need to trim your natural hair
- A pair of hair shears. Using regular scissors can damage your ends.
- Wide-tooth comb
- Denman brush
- Fine tooth comb
How to trim your natural hair
- Start with damp hair not wet hair. Wet hair will make you cut more you're supposed to because of shrinkage.
- Part your hair into smaller sections.
- Finger detangle a section of hair.
- Comb with the wide-tooth comb and then the Denman brush also.
- Comb with a fine-tooth comb.
- As soon as you see resistance at the ends, use your hair shears and cut off those ends that knot when you comb.
- You will notice that your comb glides through your hair when you cut out the damaged ends.
- Twist your hair and then cut off the little tail that's tapering at the end of the twist.
- Repeat for other sections of hair.
In this video tutorial, @tatenda shows how to trim your natural hair and cut out split ends in easy steps:
7. Apply Protein Treatment On Your Natural Hair
If your curls look dry or mushy even after deep conditioning, you experience excessive shedding and breakage or a change in porosity, then your hair is definitely in need of a protein treatment. Get a protein treatment once a month to maintain your hair and retain its length. A good protein treatment will strengthen, moisturize, and grow your hair. If you decide to incorporate a weekly protein treatment into your hair regimen, also keep in mind that adding too much protein to your hair will leave it feeling dry and stiff. So it's important that you adopt a good protein/moisture balance in your natural hair regimen.
What you need for a DIY protein treatment for your natural hair
- 2 eggs
- Any hair oil of your choice
- Cantu shea butter deep treatment masque
How to make a DIY protein treatment for your natural hair
- Break the eggs into a bowl.
- Add two scoops of the Cantu shea butter deep treatment masque.
- Add coconut oil and mix together.
- Add two more scoops of the Cantu shea butter deep treatment masque and stir properly.
How to apply a protein treatment to your natural hair
- Start with freshly washed hair.
- Divide your hair into smaller sections.
- Apply the protein treatment evenly to a section of hair, working the product thoroughly into each strand using your fingers.
- Massage your scalp.
- Repeat for every section of hair.
- Cover with a shower cap for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
@exclusivelysa shows a step by step DIY protein treatment for your natural hair:
8. Deep Condition Your Natural Hair Regularly
When you deep condition your hair regularly, your hair becomes softer, manageable, less prone to breakage or frizz, and is able to retain its length. You should deep condition your hair at least once a week but don't do it for more than 15 minutes and really focus on your ends during the deep conditioning process. Your ends are the oldest, driest, and most prone to breakage and splitting. When you start with your ends, you let it soak up and absorb all of the deep conditioning properly. Deep conditioners penetrate your hair shaft much deeper with moisture than most products do.
What you need for deep conditioning your natural hair
- Deep Conditioner
- Coconut oil
- Shower cap
How to see condition your natural hair
- Start with damp hair.
- Divide your hair into four sections.
- Scoop out some quantity of deep conditions, add some coconut oil, and mix together.
- Apply to each section of hair evenly, focusing on your ends.
- Put your hair into twists.
- Cover with a shower cap for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
9. Clarify and Exfoliate Your Scalp
If you use a lot of styling products on your hair, your hair has the ability to build up with so many products. However, your hair follicles need oxygen to grow, so you need to ensure that you let your scalp breathe. You can do this by using a clarifying shampoo once a month, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your hair while shampooing or co-washing your hair. Apple cider vinegar treatment in between washes is also helpful for exfoliating your scalp. Remember that healthy hair growth starts with a clean and healthy scalp.
How to clarify and exfoliate your scalp
You can watch this video tutorial by @chelliscurls on how to clarify and exfoliate your scalp:
10. Adopt A Natural Hair Regimen
Adopting a hair regimen is an important factor for a healthy scalp, hair growth, and retaining your hair's length. You need to create a regimen for cleaning and treatment of your hair, so you can keep it free of dirt, grim, build-ups, and healthy. Introduce oil treatments too, deep condition your hair weekly, and learn ways to seal moisture into the ends of your hair.
Also, be very consistent with your regimen for better results. Know when to stop using a product if it is not having any significant results on your hair. Use a weekly, monthly routine for your hair. You can start a weekly regime to clean, deep condition, and oil your hair. While during a monthly regime, you can do a scalp detox to remove all the residue to help your products work to their full potentials.
How to adopt a simple natural hair regimen for your hair
You can watch this video tutorial by @MelissaDenise on how to adopt a simple hair regimen for your natural hair:
Patience is key when it comes to growing your natural hair and retaining its length. You need to learn to give your hair a little time to gain strength, volume, and health. This helps you from winding up frustrated and worrying about your hair not growing enough as you want it to, during your natural hair journey.