The journey to having long natural hair may include worrying about slow growth, dealing with damaged hair, regretting your decision to transition, and even contemplating a second big chop.
We understand that growing out your natural hair can be frustrating, but the good news is that it can become easier with the right information and habits.
This guide will provide everything you need to know to successfully grow and maintain long healthy natural hair.
1. Wash Your Natural Hair in Sections
When you have natural hair, it can shrink and get tangled when you wash it. To prevent this, wash your hair in sections. This will help you detangle your hair and avoid breakage.
When you wash your hair, make sure to clean your scalp well. You can also give yourself a scalp massage every day by using your fingers to massage your scalp in circles for about five minutes. You can even use natural massaging oils like coconut oil to help with this process.
What you need to wash your natural hair in sections
- Sulfate free shampoo
- Bobby pins
- Old t-shirt
How to Wash Your Natural Hair in Sections
Follow these steps to wash your natural hair in sections:
- Part your hair into four sections.
- Wet your hair first so that it creates a nice lather when you apply the sulfate free shampoo.
- Apply shampoo once to each section of your 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 your hair thoroughly.
- Twist each section of your hair and pin it in place with a bobby pin.
- Repeat the above steps for the remaining sections.
- Dry your hair using an old t-shirt.
Watch this simple video tutorial by @Healthy Afro Hair to learn more about washing your natural hair in sections:
2. Detangle Your Natural Hair While Damp
The first rule for caring for your natural hair is to never detangle it when it's dry. Detangling dry hair can lead to brittle ends and damaged hair.
Damp hair provides the necessary moisture to make combing and detangling easier. Your fingers are the best tool for detangling your hair.
By detangling and combing your hair correctly, you can say goodbye to finding tiny bits of hair all over your shoulders, back, or floor.
What you need to detangle your natural hair
- Wide-tooth comb
- Denman brush
How to Detangle Your Natural Hair
Follow these steps to detangle your natural hair:
- Begin with wet or damp hair
- Divide your hair into sections.
- Apply conditioner to each section of hair.
- Start with one section and use your fingers or a Denman brush to detangle your ends.
- For combing, use a wide-tooth comb and start from the bottom, working your way up carefully.
Watch this video tutorial by @Bubs Bee to learn more about detangling your natural hair
3. Moisturize Your Natural Hair
It's essential to moisturize your natural hair whenever it feels dry or its ends feel brittle. Moisturizing your hair regularly helps it retain its length and prevents breakage.
Pay special attention to moisturizing the ends of your natural hair, as they are more prone to breakage when dry. It's best to use just one moisturizing product to avoid product buildup in 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
Follow these steps to keep your natural hair hydrated:
- Begin with damp hair.
- Divide your hair into four sections.
- Apply leave-in moisturizer to each section.
- Seal in the moisture with shea butter.
- Twist each section into two-strand twists.
- Cover your hair with a plastic bag or shower cap for about 20 minutes. This will lock in the moisture and allow the products to absorb into your hair cuticles.
- Cover your hair with a silk scarf and let it dry overnight.
@NeffyFroFro demonstrates how to moisturize natural hair in the video below:
4. Wear More Protective Styles on Your Natural Hair
To keep your natural hair healthy and reduce the risk of breakage, stick to protective hairstyles such as braids and twists. These styles don't put any pressure on your scalp or edges.
Low-manipulation hairstyles are the best way to style your natural hair. They help you retain your length and prevent excessive hair breakage.
In this tutorial below, @chronicurls will show you how to achieve a protective style for your natural hair.
5. Use Less Heat on Your Natural Hair
It's time to say goodbye to heat tools. Curling irons or flat irons can damage your fragile natural hair with too much heat.
Always use a heat protectant before applying heat to your natural hair. It will help cover and protect your strands from direct contact with heat.
Instead of using heat to achieve your desired curls, try alternative methods to define your curls without heat, such as curlformers, braids, two-strand twists, or flexi rods.
The more heat you use on your natural hair, the more it leads to damage, breakage, and loss. However, these alternative curling methods ensure hair retention and growth.
6. Trim Your Natural Hair Only When Necessary
Don't be too quick to reach for the scissors when it comes to your natural hair. While many natural hair enthusiasts recommend trimming your hair every 3 months, it's best to only trim your split ends when necessary.
If you want to retain length, trimming your natural hair every 3 months, even when your ends look fine, will only result in cutting off perfectly good hair.
Trimming your natural hair without carefully examining for split ends won't make your hair grow longer; it will only leave you with 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
Follow these steps to trim your natural hair:
- Start with damp hair, not wet hair. Wet hair will cause you to cut more than necessary due to shrinkage.
- Part your hair into smaller sections.
- Finger-detangle a section of hair.
- Comb with a wide-tooth comb and then a Denman brush.
- Comb with a fine-tooth comb.
- When you encounter resistance at the ends, use hair shears to trim off the knotted ends.
- 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 the process for the remaining sections of hair.
This video tutorial by @tatenda demonstrates easy steps to trim your natural hair and cut out split ends.
7. Apply Protein Treatment to Your Natural Hair
If your curls look dry or mushy even after deep conditioning, you experience excessive shedding and breakage, or you notice a change in porosity, then your natural hair is definitely in need of a protein treatment.
To maintain your natural hair and retain its length, get a protein treatment once a month. A good protein treatment will strengthen, moisturize, and help grow your natural hair.
If you decide to incorporate a weekly protein treatment into your hair care routine, keep in mind that adding too much protein to your hair will leave it feeling dry and stiff. Therefore, it's important to maintain a good protein/moisture balance in your natural hair care routine.
What you need for a DIY protein treatment for your natural hair
- 2 eggs
- Coconut oil
- Cantu shea butter deep treatment masque
How to Make a DIY Protein Treatment for Your Natural Hair
Follow these steps to create your own protein treatment:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl.
- Add two scoops of the Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.
- Add the coconut oil and mix everything together.
- Add two more scoops of the Cantu Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque into the bowl and stir thoroughly.
How to Apply a Protein Treatment to Your Natural Hair
Follow these steps to apply a protein treatment to your natural hair:
- Wash your hair.
- Divide your hair into smaller sections.
- Apply the protein treatment evenly to a section of hair, working it thoroughly into each strand using your fingers.
- Massage your scalp.
- Repeat for every section of hair.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
This video tutorial by @exclusivelysa demonstrates how to make a DIY protein treatment for natural hair.
8. Deep Condition Your Natural Hair Regularly
Deep conditioning is a great way to keep your natural hair healthy. It makes your natural hair softer, easier to manage, and less prone to breakage or frizz. It also helps your natural hair retain its length.
To deep condition your natural hair, apply a deep conditioner once a week for no more than 15 minutes.
Pay special attention to your ends because they are the oldest, driest, and most prone to breakage. By starting with your ends, you give them a chance to soak up and absorb all of the deep conditioning.
Deep conditioners penetrate your hair shaft much better than most other products.
What you need to deep condition your natural hair
- Deep conditioner
- Coconut oil
- Shower cap
How to Deep Condition Your Natural Hair
To deep condition your natural hair, follow these steps:
- Begin with damp hair.
- Divide your hair into four sections.
- Scoop out a small amount of deep conditioner and mix it with some coconut oil.
- Apply it evenly to each section of hair, focusing on the ends.
- Put your hair into twists.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Rinse your hair with cool water.
This video tutorial by @yolz demonstrates a detailed process for deep conditioning natural hair.
9. Clarify Your Scalp
Using a lot of styling products on your natural hair can cause buildup, which can be harmful to your hair follicles. These follicles require air to grow, so it's important to let your scalp breathe.
To keep your scalp clean, consider using a clarifying shampoo once a month. Alternatively, you can add a tablespoon of baking soda while shampooing or co-washing your hair.
Another option is to use apple cider vinegar to exfoliate your scalp in between washes. Remember, healthy hair growth starts with a clean and healthy scalp.
Watch this video tutorial by @chelliscurls on how to clarify your scalp:
10. Create a Natural Hair Care Routine
Creating a natural hair care routine is important for maintaining a healthy scalp, promoting hair growth, and retaining length.
To keep your hair clean, healthy, and free of dirt and buildup, develop a routine for washing and treating your hair. Additionally, incorporate oil treatments, deep conditioning, and methods for sealing moisture into your hair ends.
Consistency is key for optimal results, so make sure to follow your routine regularly. If a product isn't working for you, consider discontinuing its use.
Establish a weekly and monthly routine for your natural hair. Consider starting a weekly routine for cleaning, deep conditioning, and oiling your hair.
Once a month, perform a scalp detox to remove residue and help your products work more effectively.
Watch this video tutorial by @MelissaDenise on how to adopt a simple hair care routine for your natural hair.
When you're growing your natural hair, you must be patient. It takes time for your hair to get stronger, thicker, and healthier.
If you rush it, you'll get frustrated and worry that your hair isn't growing fast enough. That's why patience is important in your natural hair journey.