Healthy hair just doesn’t HAPPEN. It takes work, good health and good habits but far too often we loose sight of that. Hair care products can only do so much for you to grow hair to long lengths and to keep hair healthy. I’ve compiled a solid list of 25 tips, tricks and sure-fire methods to gaining healthy hair even if you are suffering from damage. Check out the list below and prepare to gain some knowledge!
Best way to grow hair is from a clean scalp.
Unfortunately, there is an old wives tale that dirty hair grows faster than clean hair. Not only is that false, but dirty hair and/or dirty scalp can inhibit proper hair growth. Dirty hair or scalp makes it hard to get products needed to moisturize your strands and a clogged scalp can breed scalp ailments which hinder proper hair growth.
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Protective styles only work if you care for your own hair underneath.
No matter how great your protective style is, if you neglect your hair from washing, moisture and care, you are doing more damage than good. Never keep protective styles in longer than they are intended and remember you may be causing breakage and/or dryness if you don’t make this priority.
Protect hair at night
Another helpful tip to keep hair healthy is protecting it at night with a satin bonnet, scarf or sleep on a satin pillowcase. Not only will it help to preserve your style, but cotton sheets whisk away moisture and create frizz. Over time you may even incur breakage.
Don’t wear wigs all day or sleep in them.
When you come home, take off your wig to allow your scalp to breath and never sleep in one. Your tossing and turning can create knots and tangles and again, your scalp will need a break from the wig. Make sure to wear wig caps and allow hair to grow and your scalp to breathe at home.
Trim raggedy or split ends regularly.
Yes, hair grows regardless, but it can be breaking off if not trimmed regularly. Holding onto raggedy, frizzy or damaged ends will not help your hair grow and may cause even more damage. Trim them yourself or go get a trim from a professional. Split ends can travel up the shaft of the hair and can cause serious hair breakage. I get a trim twice a year.
Use real shears when trimming or cutting hair.
If you are going to trim your own hair, don’t get your kid’s scissors! Cutting hair with regular scissors or blunt scissors can create a jagged cut and may damage your hair’s cuticle. Get some professional shears and no one says spend a grip. You can get an excellent pair for under $30, like the a pair from Tweezerman.
Give hair a breather (a break of one to two weeks) between hair extensions.
Hair needs a break to recover from the extensions along with your scalp which also needs a break to breath. No, a few days in not enough so never get them taken out to be redone the same or very next day.
Only use a micro-fiber towel to dry your hair.
Remember to only use a micro-fiber towel to dry your hair because regular bath towels will create frizz as it causes friction in-between your curls. They also snag on our delicate strands.
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Deep condition every washday.
I take this step very seriously and the reason I rarely suffer from dryness in the dry climate of Colorado. DC’s are penetrating conditioners that dig deep into the hair shaft to adds moisture, maintains elasticity, and strengthens hair. They work harder and better than regular conditioners so do them regularly!
Eat balanced meals.
A healthy diet positively effects your hair. You eat right and you get the right vitamins and nutrients to properly nourish your hair and scalp. Hair needs protein to grow (hair is made of a hard protein called Keratin). You can’t just get away with downing vitamins or using protein treatments. Healthy hair starts and ends from the inside out.
Use protein treatments.
Protein treatments are helpful by improving the hair’s elasticity and strength. Too much protein is not good as it can make hair brittle and break so monthly or every few months is sufficient. If you color or use a lot of heat, your may need them more but check with a stylist to ensure you are not using them too often. Guess what? If you use your deep conditioner on every washday, you can cut down on how often to even use a protein treatment!
Avoid tight hairstyles, hair ties and tight hair extensions!
Wearing any hair accessories too tightly will cause damage. From breakage to thinning to balding, never have anything grabbing too tightly to your hair. Many women have sacrificed their edges for the sake of beauty to only regret it later. The opposite of your plan to grow hair is by wearing them too often, too long and neglecting your own natural tresses.
Drink plenty of water to keep hair hydrated and nourished.
Lack of water causes dehydration and dehydration has a direct effect on hair growth. Not drinking enough water can cause dry hair, dry scalp, and many other minor physical changes that are totally preventable. Get a water bottle you like, whether quirky, fun or functional so you can carry it around and ensure you get it in!
Know the difference between hair growth and length retention.
Your hair is growing and while there are four stages of hair growth (Anagen, Catagen, Exogen and Telogen), and while all are not growing phases, they continue throughout our lives. Length retention is holding onto your hair longer and that means caring or keeping the oldest hairs (the ends) in better condition and healthier.
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This means all the hair vitamins in the world will not help if you are not caring for the oldest hair on your head. Protect them, trim them when needed and they will stick around much longer!
We are smarter consumers now. With knowledge at our fingertips, don’t get caught out there with something bad for your grow hair plan because you neglected to check it out. Don’t just assume the brand is telling you the WHOLE truth with their clever marketing either. Often they place an ingredient on the front of their product but it may actually have little to none of it in the formula. Always check ingredients to ensure you are steering clear of what you don’t want and getting only what you want!
Try and use temporary hair color or natural hair coloring.
We love hair color but our strands do not, at least not permanent hair color. Permanent hair color uses harsh chemicals to lift the hair’s cuticle and then fill it with the dye. That can often damage your hair’s cuticle and create damage, ESPECIALLY if bleaching hair. Try to avoid it as much as possible by using semi-permanent, temporary or natural hair coloring like Henna.
Protect hair with a coconut oil treatments prior to permanent hair coloring or bleaching.
Hair coloring with permanent dye or bleaching is extremely hard on our strands but if you wish to do that, try coating the hair with coconut oil for at least an hour before applying the chemicals. This helps to counter some of the harsh effects of using hair dyes. Coconut oil is also a chelating agent for copper and iron and will abolish their damaging effect on hair health by deactivating them. This is how you grow hair and have fun with colors.
Learn more about the great benefits of Coconut Oil here!
Less manipulation is always best.
The less you manipulate natural hair, the better! Styling, heat, washing, combing and just about everything you do to your hair can be damaging. That’s why many women opt for protective styling and while a great idea for many, it is not necessary to maintain healthy hair. Just ensure you are not constantly touching your hair, allowing your hair to rub up against your clothing (too much) and to keep hair moisturized.
Try a Pre-Poo (but use the right oils!)
A pre-poo is a treatment done before shampooing the hair, the pre-poo adds moisture and assist in detangling. That all helps in reducing breakage, longer wash days and having hair too squeaky clean which can end up causing dryness and brittle strands. A pre poo may not be needed every wash day, but it needs to play a part when hair is fragile and in need of some extra care. The best oils to use for an effective pre-poo (penetrating the hair shaft) are Coconut, Avocado, Olive or Babassu Oils.
Limit direct heat on your natural hair.
Direct heat (flat iron, hot comb, blow dryer (without diffuser), curling iron or wand)is very damaging to our hair. Appliances using direct heat are harsh on the hair and dry it out so the much needed moisture our hair needs is depleted. You can also incur heat damage which is irreversible. We should be using direct heat sparingly (once a month or less) as even one application of direct heat can cause heat damage.
If using direct heat, ALWAYS USE A HEAT PROTECANT!
Heat protectants are products that protect your hair from the direct heat of blow dryers, curling wands, flat irons and other heated styling tools. They protectants will form a protective barrier between your hair and the heat appliance while adding shine and fighting off heat damage. No if, ands, or buts about it. Use the protectant if you do not want heat damage…period.
Wash hair in sections
One of the best tips for cutting down on your washday is to wash hair in sections. Curly hair is more prone to tangles than straight hair. Our hair knots up so washing in sections can alleviate some of our hair trauma by working with with it in smaller sections. This will also keep us from spending too much time on washing. Once the hair is long enough (about 6 inches in length) you will find this technique helpful.
Sometimes you will need a clarifying shampoo
I know, I know. Most naturals HATE shampoo but on some occasions, they are necessary. A clarifying shampoo is a ultra-cleansing shampoo that remove all traces of dirt, product build-up and needed for removing hard water deposits and chlorine. They are needed for getting rid of hard water minerals, chlorine or when hair is full of silicones or gunk. Cannot grow hair when it is suffocating with dirt and products.
Hair needs moisture so take in and keep it in!
Our hair NEEDS moisture! Moisture keeps our hair pliable and hydrated and without that moisture, our hair becomes dry and brittle. When the hair is being moisturized, water molecules bind with the protein present in the strands. It is this way that they are able to absorb and perform their hydrating duties. We also need to keep it in after we get it into our strands by sealing it with sealing oils, leave-in conditioners or creams.
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There is a fine balance of moisture + protein to keep hair healthy so listen to your hair to see what it needs. Too mushy, probably needs some protein. Too brittle? Probably needs some moisture.
If your purpose is to grow hair, then take your plan to the next level. A hair journal is a vital component of grow hair successfully, especially if you are just starting out as natural. Whether you like good old-fashioned pen and paper or prefer using apps; you should be keeping track of trims, products that worked (or didn’t work), and whatever else that is making this journey great for you. I wish I would have had a journal in that first year of going natural to keep track of what I liked, what ingredients to steer clear of or just to track my progress. Keeping a hair journal is a great idea so don’ sweat HOW you do it….Just do it!
What other tips you think should be on this list to grow hair successfully? Share below!