Doin too Much? | Caring and Styling Natural Hair for Growth

March 21, 2015

These past few months I have been feeding my creative mind with new and innovative hairstyles. So much so that I have been styling my hair off, literally. Dyeing my hair in late December didn’t help, either. I also have swayed in my declaration to stick to only natural products and have been using products containing ingredients I try to stay away from, like silicones. This unholy hair trinity has been a recipe for disaster. My healthy hair journey has not been completely ruined but definitely put at a stand still. When I straightened my hair last week it seemed thinner than the last time it was straightened. The ends felt straggly, which is unusual because it’s been 3 months since my last trim and my ends don’t start to feel like this until month 4-5, which is when I usually trim. I haven’t retained much length since December. My goal for the next few months is to give my hair the utmost TLC so that I can finally retain some of the length I crave. I feel that I need to stop experimenting for a while and go back to the basics and focus on moisture retention and protein balance, which will result in longer, healthier hair. These are some of the steps I will take to get my to bounce back.

1: Paddle Brushing vs. Finger Detangling

Lord knows I love my paddle brush, especially my Michele Mercier detangling brush. It gives me a very thorough detangle and is almost necessary for styles like perm rods and flexi rods. The problem with the paddle brush is that it can do more harm than good. It is very time consuming and tedious when done right, and I’m not one to want to sit all day detangling. This can cause breakage and excess shedding on my part. To prevent this, I will stick to styles that can be done successfully with finger detangling. Finger detangling has proven to cause less shedding, and it clumps my curls together well. I also use vinyl gloves when detangling and ONLY do it in the shower under running water. Although finger detangling is the best in my opinion, you cannot limit yourself to finger detangling only. A thorough detangle every once in a while is healthy for your hair. I usually do it when I clarify my hair, since I don’t do it that often.

2 : Keeping my Hands out of my Hair

Random hair touching is a disease, and I literally cannot stop myself sometimes, nor do I realize I’m doing it. And seeing my hands get coated with oil and shea butter EVERY time you’d think i’d eventually learn to stop… Nope. I always get oil on my face, clothes, and even other people. It’s not only annoying but detrimental to my hair. Playing with my ends too much and removing the moisture from them can cause them to break off prematurely and can cause frizz. To prevent this, I’m going to avoid looking in the mirror! Not really, but everyday I will just make a conscious decision to touch my hair less.

3 : LOC for Moisture Retention

When I was first discovered the LOC method, I stuck to a simple regimen. I always used the same or similar products to preserve moisture. Now that my hair has grown out and has become a lot healthier, after months of intensive care and conservative hairstyles, I have become very comfortable with trying new products and new hairstyles. A little too much, actually. I have been focused more on style preservation rather than moisture when it comes to what products I have been using. It has really taken its toll on my hair. For the next few months, I want to focus on sticking to a simple product regimen. I may still try new products (because I’m a product junkie), but I will try to stick to products that cater to my LOC method for the next few months.

4 : Sticking to Simple Protective Styles

When my hair finally grew to a length that I was comfortable with, I wanted to try all the YouTube and Instagram styles I saw, and I did. There was a time that all I did was a twist and curl, mainly because I was still transitioning and didn’t know what else to do. I have grown so much as a natural that I no longer treat my hair as a baby that needs constant care and attention but more like a hobby that I can use my creative juices on. I attribute this to being the main factor in my hair plateau. In the past few months I have protective styled, but I don’t feel I protective styled for hair health. I did it more for a cute hairstyle. Now, if I protective style, I want to keep them SIMPLE. What I mean by simple protective styling is using styles that don’t require too much prep work, like heat stretching or too much detangling with hair tools. I also want them to last a few days because the less time I spend manipulating my hair, the healthier my hair gets. I can get very bored with the simpler hairstyles, so, not wanting to give up my need for self expression through hair, I will still try to add my own flair.

5 :  Paying Closer Attention to my Ends and Edges

This is a major factor I have not paid much attention to in the past few months. You should treat your ends and edges like babies, because they are very fragile and require extra attention. When conditioning, moisturizing, and styling my hair, I would always apply extra product to my ends and edges. I always wanted them extra moisturized and extra conditioned because they are the most susceptible to damage out of all your hair. If you want to keep them, you have to take extra care of them, especially your edges. I even style my edges separately from the rest of my hair when doing most loose styles. About 2 years ago, I was really invested in learning how to grow out my edges and nape hair, especially after reading this article. After perusing YouTube a little, I came across this video by Kinkystyles1980, and I have been doing this ever since. Practices like these, for me, are necessary in protecting sensitive areas like the ends and the edges and will be in almost all of my styles.

6 : Massaging 4 Hair Follicle Stimulation

I usually massage my scalp when shampooing, but my hair retains moisture better when I shampoo every 3 – 4 weeks. I mainly co-wash for better moisture retention. Because I use mostly natural, silicone-free products, buildup isn’t a big problem for me. I plan to massage during every co-wash and deep condition. I don’t like massaging my scalp when my hair is styled because it causes frizz and can mess up the hairstyle, and if I do massage my scalp while its styled, it is normally because I will wash it or co-wash it soon. When massaging my hair, I usually apply a Jamaican black castor oil and water or aloe vera juice mixture. This is the recipe I have been using since my small chop after transitioning. It proved very effective in helping my hair stay moisturized and grow.

7 : Stick to my Vitamin Regimen

Unfortunately, I do not take hair pills. Recently, I have though about taking a supplement that solely promotes hair, skin, and nail health, but when I started taking vitamins I wanted to take an array that would help my overall health as well. There are also so many hair pills on the market; it is hard to pick one and stick to it. Currently I take folic acid, MSM, biotin, and fish oil that all promote hair growth. I take the recommended dosage everyday and drink plenty of water, but there are times when I forget or just don’t want to take them. From now on, I will try to be consistent and try to stick to my regimen. One day, I would like to try one of the magic hair growth pills and track my results.

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think!

Do you have any tips for me on how to keep my hair healthy and grow? Have you tried any hair pills that you would recommend? How do you retain moisture and length? How do you protect your edges and ends from breaking off? Let me know in the comments below

By J'Nai

Born & raised in New Orleans. Natural hair and beauty enthusiast. Part-time mixologist. Future Medical Professional.


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    Natural Hair Advice | To Wash, CoWash, Or Not To Wash For Growth… What Is The Answer?!! | The Natural and the City

    […] growth, and I was keeping my hands out of my hair (for length retention by preventing breakage). Here is more of a breakdown on my hair growth methods. The suggestions that appeared most frequently were the practices I wasn’t taking under […]

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