5 Habits That Lead to Longer Natural Hair

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By Jc of The Natural Haven

I have previously written about the possibility of African hair actually growing at a slower rate. However it should still get you to one foot of hair. I think that there is a huge disconnect for us in the triangular relationship that is retention, breakage and mechanics (i.e Hair does not gain length because the ends broke off. The ends broke off because they were either weakened or were pulled with excessive force.)

Truth is many of us are not willing to accept that WE are the reason why hair is not growing. We want it to be genetics or a hair product. It simply cannot be our fault.

Going natural is not going to automatically help your hair get longer (especially so if your curl is tighter).
Here is what I have observed

1. Long haired naturals (with a type 4 texture) LIVE in twists or braids (especially so in the beginning 2-3 years). The basic regimen is wash, condition and twist up for 3-4 weeks (and even longer). Hair is out for a weekend or a few days and then back to to the 3-4 weeks of twists.

2. Long haired naturals with a looser texture LIVE in protective styles. They do not typically twist up for 3 weeks but would regularly do so for 1 week then bun up or wear off the shoulder styles.

3. Natural hair thrives in a heat free regimen. This is especially true for people with thin strands. People with thicker strands can get away with murder. Type 4 hair is usually assumed to be thick and this is simply not true. Some have thick strands some have thin.

4. Most long haired naturals rarely if ever use extensions.

5. Trimming is more important than people make out. The less damage you have to your hair, the less you need to trim. It is not about trimming a quarter inch every 2-3 months but rather about examining the ends of your hair and assessing how much needs to be trimmed and how often (i,e look for split ends!). Splitting and thinning hair ends will not gain length. period.

Meanwhile the most common questions that people ask when it comes to growing hair are
1. Which hair product to use
2. Which washing method is best
3. How to avoid ‘chemicals’ in hair products
4. How to style hair
5. How little should we trim (emphasis on little)
6. How should I moisturise my hair
7. How can I make my hair soft
8. What can I apply to my hair/scalp to make my hair grow faster
9. What should I eat to make my hair grow faster

In my opinion, people have used different products and methods in their hair care and still gained length. The fundamental similarities are what we should see instead of investing time on the differences.

The simple truth is that people do not want to wear 4 week old twists which have been washed weekly and are a little puffy and undefined. We listen to and do things that are not suitable for our particular texture (i.e we do not listen to our hair choosing instead to do what works for a different person).

Ladies, what are your thoughts??

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

178 thoughts on “5 Habits That Lead to Longer Natural Hair

  1. I agree with this article, I have three type hair. Its currently 15 inches long (blown straight) according to my length check t-shirt, lol!!! I keep it braided in platts usually, I only wear it out like every 3-4 days on “pre-poo” day b/c I know when I get home from work/school I’m going to slather it conditioner and pure coconut oil (my pre-poo solution) and put a shower cap on it until morning when I wash and re-plat my hair. I usually wear beanies too, to keep it away from the elements, to tuck my ends. Drinking lots of water, taking 10mcg of biotin, plus prenatal gummies have helped w/ my growth tremendously. I use the LOC Method of Moisturization it works!!!

  2. I think the article is right on. My habits are simply having a weekly regimen to:

    * pre-poo
    * wash
    * deep condition (protein treatment once per month)
    * moisturize and seal as often as needed (generally every other day)
    * low manipulation styling (or protective styling)

    and the hardest part: keeping my hands out of my head except for during those activities. :-p

    Through trial and error, we all eventually conclude which products or ingredients work best for us individually. It’s a journey worthwhile. I think the mystery is over, but the fascination is alive & kickin’

  3. Heredity can impact growth rates, just like hair loss. Not sure why society can accept that hair loss can be passed on genetically, but the growth rate can’t?

    Drinking water and exercising are probably two of the most important steps that anyone can do to help achieve a healthy head of hair and moisture.

  4. My biggest challenge is I cannot stand to have my hair up, braided or bunned for more than a few hours. I have been this way my entire life….I transitioned to natural for 2 years and am now completely natural. My hair is somewhere between 3B and 4A with very fine strands. It simply does not hold curl (no matter how you try) and has growth but I think it would do so much better if I could learn to use protective styles. Any suggestions – I mean I can literally take my hair down in my sleep!!!

    • My hair is exactly the same and I am somewhere between a 3A/3B. I gave up on protective styles because that just didnt work for me. I make sure to moisturize, seal, and keep my ends trimmed as needed. My hair is out 4 to 5 days per week but I sleep in a bonnet with a satin pillowcase and in the 2 years since going natural my hair is now totally natural and at bra strap length. Do what works for you. Not every naturalista has to protective style.

      • I made it to bra strap length In 16 month of having my hair completely chopped to zero inches. my hair grows fast and I have had my hair in twists for the past 16 months

  5. I agree with you completely on this. With me just 2 strand twisting my hair and leave for at least 3-4 weeks my hair has grown at a nice constant rate. I will twist for 3-4 weeks then take out the 2 strand twist for one week then wash on weekend. I take care of my sister hair which is down to her back and all I do is keep her hair in 2 stand twist.

  6. I DO NOT do protective styling -__- it was forced upon me when I was relaxed, and I will NOT go through it as a natural lool I just can’t re-live that horror… I know it’s a great way to retain length but natural hair to me is the most versatile hair their is out there.. And I couldn’t bare to leave it in twists for 3-4 weeks!

    My hair regimen:
    – Cold water co-wash
    – 1 hour deep condition
    – Detangle in the shower with my conditioners in and my paddle brush
    – LOC method and put it in twists to dry
    – Buns buns and more buns :D

    Lool I know I said I hated protective styling but I’m waiting for my GHD straightener :( my hair grows around an inch a month so I guess I’m doing something right LOOL ladies don’t be afraid go full out with your natural hair!!… Just make sure you do your research first haha xx

  7. I do everything to my hair my self. Right now, I have braids in my head with some 2 dollar braiding hair and I debating on how to cleanse my hair on my extremely tight budget. I was considering a water only regimen that I feel like would work with the fact that I have braids in and i do not want any build-up in the braids. . . then I was wondering if I should add oil at the end, but I am not in a position to purchase any other products then what I currently have. . . Help.

  8. I started goin natural since march 2013 nd bc jan dis year 2014.have been using mostly water, olive oil, leave-in conditioner, don’t no if Dats enof to get to my hair goal of waist length.nice blog

  9. I’m a 3c/4a and I just took my twists down I’m retesting tonight . I also am going to start wearing a kinky curly w

  10. Well I had long hair as a kid, when relaxed and Ive been natural again for a little over 3 years and my hair is waist lengthed..Ive never been a huge fan of boring protective styling and up-dos so I wear my hair out..Ive never had an issue with growth or retention..but I could see why its needed for some.. And I have 4A hair with low porosity..A friend in my college class has waist lengthed relaxed hair and she always wore her hair in a bun unless she was feeling snazzy. She said that thats why her hair grew long.

  11. My question is what do you mean by Twist up? Is that referring to twiss that stay in your hair day in and day out? or does that mean the hair is twisted up at night time, whether you leave it or let it loose during the day?

    Also, maybe it is just my self image of being plus size or maybe just my face shape and hairline, but even though I like the Natural looks on others, Sometimes I don’t think they are suitable for me. I haven’t relaxed my hair in over 2 plus years. I admit, I do like to straighten my hair at times although it puffs right back up. But it is somewhat sleeker looking in a twist out or pin curl or rod set than my natural hair. And For me i am looking for a way to balance gaining the length that will balance out my face and reverting back to the damaging things i have done for 20 years to my hair.

    I will get some kind of braided or twisted extension in my hair about twice a year (most times I do it myself to avoid the extremely tight pulling of your edges that shops usually do), and I am beginning to use more organic and “natural” products however. Hopefully, my daughter will grow up with better hair knowledge than I did. My mom didn’t need to try hard to care for her hair, it grew and laid down perfectly with water and grease or could rock an Afro just by picking it out after a wash.

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