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By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

2012 is nearly over and today it is time to reflect  for the black girls who want long hair. The big question is………have you met your hair goals? Is your hair longer than it was in January? If your hair is not gaining length or if you have had less than stellar results this year, this article is for you. These are 5 simple steps to reverse stagnant hair into long thriving hair

1.  Accept that what you are doing does not work

You are doing it all, protective styling, moisturising and  deep conditioning but still you have not managed to move your hair an inch. It is time to face the facts – your current routine despite having all the good stuff really does not work.

It is time for a critical assessment. Do you keep a protective style long enough to ensure that you gain benefit from it? Do you moisturise at the critical points when moisture is needed (when taking down a style and when handling free hair) and do you avoid handling your hair at its weakest state (soaking wet)? Could you be doing too much to your hair therefore causing it to wear away and compromise length?

If you do not see results within 2-3 months, you need to make this critical assessment again. Do not wait for 1 year to go by. You should be able to see small increments in your hair length every 2-3 months.

2. Know when your hair breaks

The reason for hair staying at a stagnant length is because it is breaking just as fast as it is growing. It is really important to know when your hair is most vulnerable to breakage and this varies from person to person depending on your individual strand thickness and choice of styling. The most common breakage points are:

-during takedown of a protective style (especially at the ends)

-during detangling (both conditioner combing and dry detangling)

– while wearing hair free (due to tangling, shrinkage, knots and regular handling)

Once you identify why and when your hair is most vulnerable to breakage, you will be able to know exactly when you must protect your hair from damage.

3. Try something new

Having accepted that what you are doing does not work, it is time to try to do something new. If you have been conditioner combing, try dry or damp detangling  for a little while and see how it works for you.  Compare your results after 2-3 months and decide which one really works best for you.  If you have never deep conditioned your hair, try doing it for 2-3 months and see if your hair improves or not. If you only use heavy oils or butters on your hair, try light oils and see if your hair would equally be happy with those. Do not write things off before you actually try them.

4. Know when to stop

I am really all for trying something new but equally you should know when to stop. If a technique causes immediate breakage, stop using it. Do not think perhaps your hair is shedding more than usual, assume that the technique is not working for your hair and must be adjusted to suit your curls and kinks or not used at all. If you are deep conditioning 2-3 times a week and your hair is not moisturised, stop and reassess how you are conditioning (is your conditioner working, do you need to warm it up first, could you do with some protein, do you use a leave in/moisturiser/oil after washing).

5. Have realistic expectations

Finally hair takes a long time to grow. Many naturals cannot retain 100% of their growth. If your hair is susceptible to split ends then cutting them off will impact retention but provided at the end of the year you have kept some length, do not be disheartened. There are a small proportion of women who can keep all their growth but I feel that it is more reasonable to expect between 3-5 inches per year with a regular trimming or dusting routine.

Ladies, what are your hair goals for 2013? Will you be trying to grow your hair out?

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153 Comments on "5 Steps to Longer Hair in a Year"

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JenniD
Good advice. Couldn’t agree more. This year I added finger detangling and a coconut oil pre-poo after years of rolling my eyes at each technique. My hair has been wonderful. I started both in June and oh my have I seen an improvement. Just goes to show that sometimes you gotta adjust your routine if you want better results. Other things I tried this year was the tension method of blow-drying. While I did get less breakage, the drier( even on cold setting) left my hair way to parched.Don’t get me started on how yucky heat protectants make your hair… Read more »
J

It’s funny the techniques I roll my eyes at are the ones I need the most! Lol

Ketra

My goal for December 2013 is to reach waist length… Hmm let’s see how well I do. Currently past bra strap length. 😉

The Natural Haven

Ketra and Cia – You will both make your goals given that your starting point (bsl/mbl) is just within touching distance of WSL. I can honestly say that I think the real struggle for most people is getting to APL and then past APL. Once you are past this stage, you will have the knowledge of what works to make your hair longer and it is just a case of #5 for you.

Cia

Same goal here. I have been at MBL way too long. I will have to reassess my regimen to see where I can make improvements. One big one is to just keep doing what works and not change it up so much. Also I think I have found what really works which is style with leave-in, oil, gel (make my own flaxseed or just do ecostyler). Been doing this for months and my hair has never been softer and more moisturized.

Miz B

I hate to admit this, but I’m going to try the controversial “heat training” and get my hair pressed/flat ironed once a month. I experience too many tangles. I will use a heat protectant for my new regimen.

Michelle

My friend actually does this and her hair is very long now. Ironically, when she start wearing her hair out more, it shed like crazy and she had to cut her hair to MBL when it was almost down to her butt when she was flat ironing it.

Asha

I think it’s all what your hair likes. I agree my hair grew so much more when it was heat trained. Now it’s a beast and I am loosing a lot more hair than when it was pressed. I say I need to give my hair time to adjust, but I’m giving it one more year after if I don’t see any changes I am going back to flat ironing my hair once a month.

J

Do what works for you.My ends are cutting themselves 🙁 and I have had so much breakage even when I braid my hair for bed or unravel them.I so need a trim……..

Dom

I’m a guy and i thought growing my hair would be easy for that very reason but boy! was I wrong. I revamped my whole regimen in January after reading the book; The science of black hair. I’ve now gone from 11″ in the front to 15″, back was 8″ now 10-11″ and middle was 9 now it’s 13″ so I’m very pleased especially since I’ve been growing my hair for over 4 years with no luck.

keisha

Congrats on your growth! What did you change in your routine?

Dom
Thanks, I don’t know exactly what part of my updated regimen worked most but first of all in January i trimmed an inch and a half (hard to do lol) to start fresh, I brought a light protein based conditioner (ORS Replenishing) and a moisturising one (kera care), washed on a weekly basis with a non-sulfate shampoo bar (Bee mine rhassoul clay). I only finger detangle, now i think about it i actually think that might be what helped most. I kept doing what i always did which was washing in twists and sealing all the norms and wearing my… Read more »
keisha
WOW! I was just thinking that I needed to do a protein treatment. haven’t done one in a while and I shed pretty heavy in my opinion. i detangle before and then after i wash i have more shed hairs. I SOOOOO feel your pain on the cutting inch and a half cause I had to do the same last month. made me REALLY sad cause i was like how am i supposed to retain the length when it keeps getting cut off? Didn’t think it was going to be that much so now for the SECOND time around i’m… Read more »
lulu

aww that’s awesome! i’ve also learned that consistency is extremely important. It’s no different in being consistent with taking care of your skin, exercising or eating healthy.

Asea

EXCELLENT advice!! All are spot on, especially #2 and #4 for me. Once I truly starting observing my hair and ‘listening’ to it I was able to make the right choices. I was also trying to fix what wasn’t broken yet – like overdoing protein so I’d hopefully decrease my chance of breakage in the future lol.

For the Love of Curls

Yes, my goal is to retain as much length as possible in 2013. My ends have a tendency to get easily frayed and I had to cut more than I wanted after I took out my protective style this summer but I think buttering my ends may be the answer to my problem.

Chantal Whitley

I intend to do the same…my hair is giving me hell and I dont even know where to start the healing process…any advise?

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