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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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