Here are 9 ways to improve your natural hair and to prevent damage to help you meet your hair goal lengths!

1. Protective style your hair. Wear simple styles that offer little manipulation of your tresses and hide your ends which are the oldest parts of your hair. Buns and up-dos are classic and very easy to do.
2. Stop heat styling your hair. Air drying is the best thing you can do to keep your hair on your head. Limit heat styling to rare special occasions
3. Never comb or brush dry hair to style. Finger comb or wear hair in twist outs, twists, braids or braids out to minimize breakage.
4. Comb hair from the bottom up. When your hair is soaking with conditioner, you can comb it with a large tooth comb or Denman brush to detangle. Do so carefully, working from the bottom up.
5. Never ever tease your hair. This is a cardinal sin against natural hair (well hair in general but some don’t know it)
6. Don’t pull hair apart like a wishbone. If your hair is tangled, gently pull it up and apart in stead of pulling it apart like would a wishbone.
7. Use hair accessories with no hanging parts or exposed metal. Banana clips, Satin Scrunchies, Goodie Flex Barrettes, Ouchless bobby pins & Ouchless/No Snag elastic bands are the best for styling hair so that it does not get damaged.
8. Avoid pulling hair tight at the hairline. Doing so will recede your hairline and damage the follicles permanently.
9. Check your nails. Hanging nails will damage hair. Always make sure your nails are smooth and even before hair styling.

Image by: Hype Hair

Does it seem as if your hair isn’t growing? There are two reasons why you may not be seeing growth. You may have unrealistic expectations for how fast it is suppose to grow and the care that you are providing your hair with may not be so great. People spend so much time searching for that “magic product” that will make them grow all of this hair over night, which they neglect bad habits that they need to improve on.

In fact, our hair is always growing and we grow on average 1/2 inch of hair a month (6 inches a year). If you are not seeing growth this means that you are either being impatient or you are not retaining the hair that you have grown. If you find that you are not retaining your hair or it is breaking off as you are growing it, this means that you have to change how you care for your hair. Here are 5 reasons why your hair may not be growing:

1.) Improper Maintenance:
It is important knowing what type of texture you are dealing with. The tighter, curlier or kinkier your curls are, the more careful and gentle you have to be with your hair. All naturals should be gentle with their hair, although, this especially applies mostly to the ladies in the 4 group (4A, 4B, 4C). Doing more protective styling and low manipulative styling will allow you to retain more length. Also please note that doing protective styling is not an excuse to neglect your hair. Your braids, twists, weave, and etc. should not be too tight and you should still wash and moisturize your hair on a regular basis. All in all, more texture = more fragile.

2.) Improper Handling:
I hear a lot of naturals say that their hair is not growing because it’s still the same length. However, your hair IS growing. Remember, on average hair grows 1/2 an inch (13mm) a month but is influenced by health, age, diet and genetics. Our hair goes through different stages. It may slow down a little but it never stops growing. Even though your hair is growing, it may feel like it’s not growing because while it is growing, it is breaking off. Using styling tools such as combs, brushes, and even your hands frequently can cause breakage. Styling your hair when it is dry and brittle instead of when it is moisturized can cause excessive breakage. Too much pulling on the hair due to tight braids and etc. can cause breakage, and of course regular use of heat on the hair will cause the hair to become brittle and break.

3.) Not Trimming your Ends When Needed:
This varies for every natural, but you should be observing your ends on a regular basis for split ends, single strand knots, and see through ends. If you are applying heat to your hair on a regular basis (i.e. blow drying, flat ironing, curling, etc.), you should keep up with a regular trimming schedule. It is recommended that you trim your ends every 3-6 months, but you should create your own routine and get in the habit of checking the health of your ends on a regular and trim as NEEDED. The better you take care of your hair, the better condition it will be in, and the less frequent you will need to trim! You can’t expect to retain length if you’re not getting rid of the ends that are causing damage.

4.) Lack of Using a Clarifying Shampoo/ Clarifying too Often:
Your hair and scalp accumulates build up (dirt, oils, product residue) and this build up should be removed. If this build up is not removed, it will clog your hair follicles which can slow hair growth. On the other end, clarifying your hair too often will strip your hair and scalp of all its natural oils and throw off the PH balance causing you to have a dry itchy scalp. So what’s the solution? Moderation and understanding your hair! Some natural’s scalp secrets more sebum than others and therefore their hair and scalp needs to be clarified more often. Other naturals produce less sebum and because of the structure of their hair (tightly curly), the sebum has a difficult time reaching the hair shaft to moisturized it properly and should clarify less often. The use of a lot of products will also determine how often you should clarify your hair and scalp. The less products you use, the less often you need to clarify. Ultimately you have to get to know your hair and find what works best for YOU.

5.) Not Taking Good Care Of Your Body:
We all have heard the sayings “what goes in must come out,” or “you are what you eat.” In case you didn’t know, this is true and plays a big part in the overall health of your hair. According to WebMD, the nutrients you eat today help fortify the hair follicle and the scalp that surrounds it. “Healthier follicles? Healthier hair. Healthier scalp? Healthier hair!” To grow and maintain a healthy head of hair you should be eating healthy (more fruits and veggies and less fatty greasy foods), exercising, getting enough sleep, and drinking lots of water. Sometimes the simple cure to your dry itchy scalp might just be drinking more water!

Remember, the key to having long hair is length retention. Your hair is always growing, but by taking proper care of your hair (especially the ends which are the oldest parts of your hair), you will have less damage and breakage and therefore will be able to retain more length. How do you retain more length? By keeping your hair properly moisturized and Finding the Balance. Less manipulation with your hands, combs, and brushes will reduce the amount of breakage. Using less heat and trimming your ends when needed will reduce the amount of damage on the hair.

Get the MOST out of your conditioner by simply adding any of these ingredients for healthier hair.

 

Coconut Milk
Great for moisture and hair growth.

Greek Yogurt
To strengthen, moisturize and reduce frizzy hair.

 

Honey
For shine, moisture and damage control.

 

Aloe Vera Juice
For Strength and shine

Mayonnaise
For intense conditioning and repair.

Lemon Juice
To close the hair shaft and add shine.

Oils
Olive, coconut and Jojoba to strengthen and moisturize.

 

What do YOU add in your conditioner?

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I’ve finally updated my wash & go hair routine! Not much has changed besides the rotation of hair products, but I think I may have found my staple product. Check out the video below to see what I used to achieve this look.

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One of the hairstyles that is trending this season is the cornrow 2 braided hairstyle that you may have seen on many of your favorite celebrities or even beauty bloggers. I love how simple, yet effortless this look can be. It also serves as a quick protective hairstyle, especially for those who don’t like the commitment of have a protective style for too long.

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Check out my tutorial below on how to achieve this look by using clip in hair extensions to elongate your tresses.