Hair Care Tips for Long Natural Hair
Getting the long, natural hair that you’ve always wanted is no easy task. It takes dedication, discipline, and knowledge. Women of color used to have almost no information on how to take care of their hair up until a few years ago.
Now that the information is widespread, we can pinpoint exactly how to look after our hair, and how to get the healthy and shiny tresses we want.
In this post, you’ll find the most helpful tips for getting long, natural hair. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know what it takes to achieve beautiful curls so that you can begin a regimen that will help you get it.
How to Get More Moisture into Your Natural Hair
Moisture is the biggest hurdle in every natural’s life. Kinky and curly hair grows at the same average rate as straight hair. If you’re healthy, your hair will grow ¼ of an inch per month.
While there’s not much problem with growth, you might have a huge issue with breakage. Shedding and breakage are what causes women to continue with the same short hair they’ve had for a while.
One of the biggest causes of breakage is dryness. So, if you master keeping your hair moisturized, you’ll be able to win a good part of the battle.
Three of the best methods for keeping your hair hydrated are deep conditioning treatments, the greenhouse method, and the LOC method. Here is a breakdown of each:
Liquid, Oil, and Cream is a technique used by many healthy-haired naturals to layer products. Layering means that your hair will stay coated with moisture throughout the week.
The technique begins with water, the best hydration on the planet. You can use water from your shower on wash day, or you can make a water spray bottle to have on hand for use throughout the week. You’ll probably want to do both.
After wetting or dampening the hair, you’ll move to your chosen oil. Oils help to seal in moisture and the most useful ones provide a wide array of nutrients to the hair and scalp. Some of the best oils for long hair include jojoba, avocado, coconut, and argan. Apply the oil to sectioned hair to complete the second step in the LOC routine.
Lastly, using a cream layer will coat the hair strand and help lock in moisture. Your cream could be a butter like shea or mango, or it could be a store-bought curling cream or custard, like Kinky Curly Curl Custard
After you have finished the LOC method, your locks will be ready for styling.
Aim to deep condition your hair every week if you want long, natural hair. It’s easy to make a deep conditioner by adding a few helpful ingredients to a natural store-bought brand.
Top items to add are:
Honey or Glycerin. These two ingredients are effective humectants that draw in moisture from the air to your hair.
Essential Oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary help stimulate new hair growth.
Shea Butter. Shea helps protect both new growth and old.
Coconut and Olive Oils. These two oils are two of the most cost-efficient oils to have. They’re antifungal and antibacterial, and they’ll help boost the moisturization level of your deep conditioner.
Be sure to focus on the ends of your hair when you apply products, then work your way to the root.
The greenhouse method is an easy way to steam your hair overnight. It’s particularly useful for low porosity naturals because it uses your body heat to open your hair cuticles while you sleep.
All you need is oil, water, a plastic shower cap, and a satin bonnet or scarf. Jojoba, coconut, and avocado are three ideal oils to use for this technique.
First, dampen your hair with a spray bottle. Then apply one or more oils to sectioned hair. Place the plastic cap on your head, and cover it with the bonnet or scarf. Leave it overnight, and your hair will be soft and lustrous by morning.
Detangle Your Natural Hair without Breakage
If you master detangling, you’ll be one significant step closer to longer hair. Kinky hair becomes tangled easily because the tiny coils cling on to each other and break.
Moisturizing your hair with products that contain good slip is ideal because it allows your coils to pull apart with ease. Excellent detanglers and conditioners are those that have good slip for curly hair detangling.
Using your fingers to detangle is best sine you’ll be much more likely to control how knots come apart. A comb or brush will force the knot to break, but your fingers will gently guide tangles to come undone.
Be sure to detangle with plenty of moisture and to never detangle on dry hair.
Trim Your Ends to Retain New Growth
One way to help your hair grow longer is to cut away old growth from your mane periodically. The damage from split ends usually travels upwards, ruining your chances of having long, healthy hair.
Trimming your hair will make styling and manageability easier too. Having a professional stylist is always the best option unless you want to save money by doing it yourself.
Getting a pair of quality shears is your first step to trimming your hair. Using the same all-purpose scissors you’ve used for cutting paper and plastic packaging can severely damage your hair and undermine your efforts to cut thinning ends.
You could inadvertently cause further damage if the ends become trapped between the two blades. Invest in a quality pair of hair shears and tuck them away, so no one in your household is tempted to use them for something other than cutting hair.
Aim to trim as much of your thinned ends as possible. Place the ends against a white background to see where the unhealthy hair begins.
Your scissors will get more use than just doing regular trims. Keep them on hand during your detangle session, and use the search and destroy method to get rid of straggly fairy knots.
Protect Your Natural Hair from Damage
Hair color is one of the biggest perpetrators of curl damage. The fastest way to lose your locks is to lighten them and not follow up with extra moisture and protein.
Bleaching the hair strips the strand of its structure, and destroys the integrity of the hair shaft. In other words, it makes hair weaker, thinner, and dryer.
However, you don’t have to avoid lightening your tresses completely. You just need to replace moisture and protein loss. Most natural queens complain of dryness after coloring their hair, so you need to avoid this by making sure you follow a moisture and protein plan.
Heated styling tools is a big no-no if you’re trying to grow your hair long. Heat damages hair, and you’ll notice the difference when your hair breaks from normal things like detangling. Keep heat usage to a minimum, and only flat-iron or do a Dominican blow out once or twice per year.
You may notice that you experience thinned ends in the areas where your hair touches your clothing. Constant friction against a shirt or pillow can cause breakage.
Wear your hair in a protective style to combat breakage during the day, and use a satin bonnet at night. The idea with protective styles like bantu knots is to tuck the ends away from future damage.
Breakage may not always happen immediately. For instance, you may not see any small ringlets on your cotton pillow when you wake up in the morning, but you may see little hairs everywhere on wash day.
You’ll know how well you’re doing with taking care of your hair by how much hair loss you experience during detangling.
Damage can also come from cold and hot climates, and from materials like clothing and ponytail holders. Use a hat during the day if you live in a harsh climate, and always put on a satin bonnet or silk scarf at night.
Strengthen Your Natural Hair with Protein
Now that we’ve talked about protecting from damage, know you can repair and restore your hair’s health. Your hair loses protein from normal handling, and it’s common. That’s why many manufacturers add keratin to their products. It’s a way of ensuring protein replacement.
One way to combat protein loss is to reconstruct the hair shaft with hydrolyzed protein. Hydrolyzed protein’s molecules are small enough to fill gaps in high porosity hair. It’s easy to use because it only requires mixing with your favorite conditioner.
You must balance protein with moisture treatments, or you’ll sabotage your efforts to grow your hair. Always follow your protein treatments with a long deep conditioning session.
You can have long, natural hair if you follow certain steps to retain length. If you guard against breakage by moisturizing, strengthening, and protecting, you’ll soon have the length you’re dying to get.
The natural hair journey is one that involves patience, perseverance, and discipline. If you build a routine from these tips, you’ll retain growth and have the long, luscious curls you can fall in love with and keep forever.
Now it’s your turn to share your natural hair journey. Do you have any hair care tips for long, natural hair?
Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.