The secret is out black girls can have healthy, kinky, curly, coily, LONG hair!!! Our hair does grow, heck everyone hair grows and generally at least 1/4th to ½ inch per month, but the key is GROWTH RETENTION. Grow retention simply means that although your hair does grow every month you have to take those steps necessary to keep your hair healthy & thriving to avoid breakage. This means you have to take care of your ends which are the oldest part of the hair making it easier to break. So how can I retain my length?
Rule #1 Shampoo or Co-Wash at least once a week or every other week
Whether you chose to wash with a shampoo or conditioner, in order to avoid product build up consider washing your hair at least once a week. I know most of you may have been taught that washing your hair dries it out…FALSE!! Natural hair requires water for moisture and to prevent breakage!!! It’s simple, water is now your new best friend and your dry hair depends upon it in order to flourish! Now because you need a clean healthy scalp for hair growth to occur washing the hair is an absolute must but be sure to use a Sulfate-Free moisturizing shampoo or conditioner to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils.
Rule #2 Deep Condition your hair with a protein or moisturizing conditioner
In order to prevent breakage and to keep your hair moisturized a weekly deep conditioning is a MUST!! You can either deep condition your hair with plastic cap under the dryer for a 20-30 minutes or without heat for at least one hour; again this should be done at least once per week. If needed, you can do a protein treatment at least every 6 weeks or whenever the hair feels very limp, mushy, overly soft etc.
Rule #3 Detangle the hair after applying conditioner.
Tangles lead to breakage. Always detangle wet hair with a wide tooth comb or denman brush after conditioner has been applied to hair.
Rule #4 Always use a water based leave-in conditioner.
After deep conditioning your hair you should ALWAYS apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair to retain moisture. A good leave-in is one that is water based.
Rule #5 Wear protective styles.
Protective styles are worn to protect the ends of the hair which are the oldest and are more prone to breakage. When wearing a protective style hair ends are tucked away, protecting them from rubbing against your shirt collar and/or being exposed to heat, the sun, or cold drying air. Styles may include two strand twists, flat twist, braids, buns, up-dos, weaves, or any style that helps to protect the ends of your hair. Protective styling is a good way to maintain growth retention.
Rule #10 Protect your hair at night.
Always sleep in a silk/satin scarf or bonnet or use a silk/satin pillow case. Sleeping with a cotton scarf or pillowcase will cause the hair to dry out. Cotton is very absorbent and will absorb moisture from the hair.