People with kinky or curly hair have the most difficulty observing hair growth. The reason is that the curly nature of this hair type makes the strands more likely to "stick together" and if the hair is not moisturized, it will very easily form knots and finally lead to breakage. To retain length, we must incorporate a few important steps into our hair care regimen to keep the ends of our hair strong and healthy.
Here are 5 Tips you can apply on wash day to finally see your hair at a longer length:
- Wash your hair in Twists or Braids: This may be new to you but hear us out. The best way to think about length retention is that you are doing everything you can to ensure that your kinks and curls have as little opportunity as possible to form knots. Twists and braids keep your hair strands in a stretched state which makes it less likely for them to tangle up. Let us imagine you have just taken down a protective style and are ready to wash your hair. You can pre-poo your hair with a slippery conditioner or oil and make large twists or braids. To wash your hair, you simply apply the shampoo directly to your scalp, massaging it gently to remove dirt and buildup. As you rinse off the shampoo, you can unravel each braid, running your fingers through the section to remove shed hair and product. Braid each section back up once you have rinsed it off. This will allow the hair to stay stretched and free of tangles.
- Deep condition after every shampoo: Some shampoos can be very drying especially when they contain harsh ingredients like sulphates. A good deep conditioner will restore the moisture lost after a shampoo. This is not a step you want to skip if you desire healthy, long hair. Moisturized hair is strong, elastic and less susceptible to breakage. For best results, deep condition with heat. This can be done with a heat cap or a regular plastic bag.
- Always detangle wet hair and use a slippery conditioner: As you probably know, detangling is our specialty. We take this step so seriously because doing it wrongly can cause so much damage leaving your hair at the same length for years. On washday, you can detangle your hair while you pre-poo, in the shower as you unravel your twists, or the moment you are applying your deep conditioner. The third option is our preferred method. A good deep conditioner will give you slip and allow your detangling brush to easily glide through the strands and remove shed hair.
- Protein Treatments or Rice Water: Natural hair is made up of keratin, a protein which keeps it healthy, strong and full of elasticity. Just like your body, your hair needs protein in order to stay healthy. Breakage and lack of elasticity are signs that your hair may be lacking protein. Incorporating "regular" protein treatments in your hair care regimen will keep your hair and ends strong and promote length retention. Ensure that you keep your hair moisturized after a protein treatment as the strengthening of the strands can cause them to snap when dry. Rice water is a very cheap and easily accessible option for a protein treatment. Our secret for using rice water (even for low-porosity hair) is to apply it alongside a deep conditioner. This will allow hair to retain moisture and thus prevent breakage.
- Seal ends with Oil: The last and very important step in your washday process is sealing in all the great moisture you have added to your hair. What differentiates a sealing oil from a moisturizing oil is the size of the lipid molecules. If the oil has lipid molecules that are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft, then it is a moisturizing oil and can be used to nourish the hair. Castor oil, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil are good sealing oils because they sit on top of the hair strands preventing moisture from escaping. It is essential to properly moisturize your hair before sealing it with these oils.
Applying these 5 steps to your washday will take you hair care regimen to the next level and allow you to achieve hair growth and healthy length retention.