Showing posts with label Length Retention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Length Retention. Show all posts

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Re-post || 4 Lesser-Known Practices of Naturals with Long Hair

Originally posted on BGLH.

What do CiprianaFrancheskaGeniece and most other long-haired naturals have in common when it comes to regimens?  Well, it is no secret that protective styling, low manipulation, minimum heat usage, and washing in sections are generally a must.  But what other components of our regimens have helped us to achieve long, healthy hair?  Here are four that are generally overlooked:
1. Washing: Conditioner washes or pre-shampoo treatments
When it comes to washing our hair, we either do an oil/conditioner treatment prior to shampooing (i.e., pre-poo) or we use conditioner as a shampoo substitute (i.e., co-wash).  Why?  Because pre-pooing and co-washing help us to avoid the drying effects of shampoo, which can lead to brittle, breaking hair.  Additionally, certain pre-poo treatments, like coconut oil, can strengthen the hair and minimize hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair due to water uptake and eventual evaporation). Those of us who do use shampoos generally go for sulfate-free ones, which can further decrease any drying effects.   However, even with sulfate-free shampoos, many of us still pre-poo for added protection.
2. Trimming rarely or dusting instead
Many long-haired naturals go a year (yes, a year) between trims while a few go six months at the minimum.  Some long-haired naturals do not trim at all and just “dust” or do a “search and destroy”. A “dust” involves trimming ¼ inch or less off the ends.  Doing a “search and destroy” involves only trimming those strands that have visible split ends.  What is the bottom line?  Generally, we only trim when our hair absolutely needs it AND we keep our hair fairly healthy so that it does not need one often.
3. Staple Products: Oils and inexpensive conditioners
When it comes to staple products, we generally love oils and conditioners, and they do not have to be fancy, expensive brands either!  Conditioners help to reduce dryness and breakage. Oils either replenish or seal in moisture, depending on the type.  Additionally, oils help to minimize knots and tangles, which can be death to our length retention.  Some of us long-haired naturals also love to add oils to our conditioners to provide extra slip for detangling.
4. Detangling: Wide-tooth, seamless comb or fingers
When it comes to detangling, we generally use our fingers and/or a wide-tooth, seamless comb.  Those of us who use combs usually do so on conditioner-soaked hair and with the K-cutter or a bone (or resin) comb to avoid snagging and ripping.  Those of us who finger detangle do so on wet or dry, lubricated hair depending on what works for us.  Whether we detangle with our fingers or a wide-tooth, seamless comb depends heavily on our hair texture, density, type, and styling process.  What about the brush and thin-tooth comb?  Many of us steer clear of them.
Though these are the more common techniques of healthy, long-haired naturals, you will find that a few of us stray from these basics.  Ultimately, what works for one individual may not work for another, so learn what works for YOU!  Hopefully this can be a guide, but most importantly, keep in mind these three concepts:
Less is more!  Keep it simple!  And leave your hair alone!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to Avoid "Hand-in-The-Hair" Disease

Some of you probably know the definition of "hand-in-the-hair" disease, but for those of you who do not, it is essentially the following:

(Definition by Loo) A severe case of frequent touching, twirling, pulling (or any other form of manipulation) of the hair, especially the ends.

It is not an actual disease but a phrase coined in the hair care world for this bad habit.

For years, I have had this bad habit, which oddly enough, developed when I first went natural.  (I believe the reason is because my kinks and coils were -- and still are -- new to me.)  However, the following tips have helped me to curb the habit for the most part.  If you suffer from "hand-in-hair-disease", you may want to try these techniques to "treat" it:

For longer hair - Wear pinned updos or buns
These styles will make it difficult for you to keep your hands in your hair since your hair is ... well ...  tucked away.

For shorter hair - Wear twist/braid extensions or a beanie 
Like the above styles, these ones will make it difficult to reach your actual hair.

Wear a bonnet or scarf while at home
After a long day, you may want to let your hair down or take off that beanie, and this is understandable.    Give yourself about ten to twenty minutes of "free" time then put on that satin bonnet or scarf.

Occupy your hands with another object
This is my least useful avoidance technique, but when I do use it I find that pliable objects (like an ouchless band) work nicely.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hair Diary || From "Stunted" to Growth

For a long period of time (August 2010 through February 2012), my front hair was stunted.  It appeared as if it wasn't growing (though we all know hair is growing) or as if it had reached its terminal length. I just assumed that my years of relaxing had done a number on my follicles in that region.  After all, my front hair hardly ever grew past 6 inches while wearing a relaxer (except in my childhood years).

Note how my front hair did not retain length from February 2011 to February 2012.
(It actually had not retained length since August 2010, which is not pictured here.)
Note the length retention in February 2013 after cutting ~1-2 inches several months before to create bangs.

So, annoyed by my seemingly stunted growth, I decided to cut some bangs and forget about my growth in that region.  Then during my wash-n-go experiment a few weeks ago, as I was finger detangling in the shower, I noticed how far my bangs stretched.  No more "stunted", they had finally retained some length in the past year!  It made a lot of sense 1) considering Jc's article on "Trimming for Longer Hair" on The Natural Haven combined with me 2) practicing gentler detangling in that area. (I'm usually impatient by the time I get to the front of my hair for detangling.) So those two methods helped my bangs retain some length.  Do check out Jc's article for a thorough explanation of how trimming helps!  I think I might do another cut (about 1 inch) of the bangs.

Now for some random hair shots:

One week after flat iron.  Wore the straight hair for ~3 weeks.
Majority of the time, it was in jumbo twists and bunned.

February length check. ~3 weeks after flat iron.
For the
next ~3 weeks I will wear wash-n-gos using Cyntriarf's method again.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday's Length Retention Tip!

Do you want to reach your goal? Then ...

adopt a low/no comb routine.  Combing the hair is a form of mechanical manipulation and may encourage breakage (Source).  Thus, keep combing to a minimum (e.g., once a month, every few months, or never).  If possible, opt for finger detangling instead.

Other tips:
*Use a wide tooth bone/resin comb instead of a regular comb
*Finger detangle on dry, lubricated, stretched hair
*Comb on damp, conditioner-soaked hair
*Toss out your brushes (denman, tangle teezer, paddle, etc.)

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Friday's Length Retention Tip!

    Do you want to reach your goal? Then ...

    adopt a low-manipulation shampoo routine.  Instead of massaging your hair while you wash, massage your scalp only.  Allow the water and shampoo to run from your scalp to your strands for cleansing.  Additionally, lather only once instead of twice or more.  If you are prone to product buildup and this routine is insufficient for cleansing, then reevaluate your product or shampoo collection.

    Additional tips:
    -Wash your hair in braided/twisted sections in order to minimize tangling
    -Blot the hair, instead of rubbing, with a towel
    -Use a natural shampoo, which is less abrasive than a sulfate (SLS, SLES) shampoo
    -Use a microfiber towel, instead of a regular one that is likely to snag the hair

    For Wednesday Hair Growth Tips, check out this post.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Friday's Length Retention Tip!

    Do you want to reach your goal?  Then ...

    incorporate pre-shampoo treatments into your regimen, particularly if you're prone to dry ends.  Pre-shampoo treatments (or "pre-pooing", for short) usually consist of applying a conditioner and/or oil to your hair and letting it penetrate for an hour or so before your regular shampoo wash.  The benefit of prepooing is that it minimizes the stripping of moisture that can come with shampooing.  Note:  There is no need to apply your prepoo to your scalp; simply applying it to the hair, or even just the ends, is sufficient.

    Loo's recommendation:
    Coconut oil for a prepoo. (Do this overnight for penetration of the oil.)  Coconut oil is known to not only penetrate the strands, but it may minimize damage by hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair due to water uptake and eventual evaporation).  

    For Wednesday Hair Growth Tips, check out this post.

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Friday's Length Retention Tip!

    Do you want to reach your goal?  Then ...

    seal those ends.  Regular moisturizing is insufficient for some people.  Sealing may be necessary to lock in the moisture and keep the ends supple.

    The sealing process: Begin by moisturizing the ends of your hair with water (or a water-based moisturizer).  Then follow up with an oil (e.g., coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil) and/or a butter (e.g., shea).  That's it!  Be sure to seal after every wash as well.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Friday's Length Retention Tip!

    Do you want to reach your hair goal?  Then ...

    keep heat usage to a minimum.  Heat can translate into split ends galore, particularly when used inappropriately.  Try alternative methods (i.e., braidouts, twistouts, roller sets) to stretch your hair.

    If you must use heat: Apply a good heat protectant from root to tip beforehand.  Also, if using a flat iron, use a relatively low or moderate heat setting and only 1-2 passes.  Lastly, use quality products and tools to minimize heat damage.

    Loo's recommendations:
    Heat protectant - Carol's Daughter Macadamia Heat Protection Serum
    Flat iron - GHD
    Blow dryer - Conair Infiniti (tension method)

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Heat Training: The "Benefits"

    {Stretched texture shot}
    heat training /hēt ˈtrāniNG/  Noun
    the loosening of one's natural curl pattern through the regular application of high heat.  This process is usually gradual and subtle. (Loo's definition.)

    Heat training is essentially a form of heat damage, which is why I have been so against the technique for some years.  However, my thoughts have changed recently since seeing a class of "healthy" heat-trained naturals arise.  Here is one of these naturals sharing her views: Longhairdontcare2011.

    "Healthy heat-trained hair" may seem like an oxymoron but I can argue the same with "healthy hair".  Our strands face damage on a regular basis through sun exposure, styling, washing, detangling, and other forms of wear and tear.  So where do we drawn the line between what is healthy hair and what is not?  I think it reasonable to draw it between hair that is strong and supple (healthy) and that which is breaking and brittle (unhealthy). To me, hair that retains a reasonable level of strength and suppleness is hair that is healthy.  That being said, there is such a thing as heat-trained hair that is strong, supple, ... and thus healthy.  However, this is only true for some ladies.  Keep in mind that heat training can work well for some naturals and not so well for others.  For the former group I answer the following question ...


    1. Easier Detangling ...
    comes with a loosening of the curl pattern. For some naturals, the mass of curls/coils/kinks makes detangling a very tedious task. Generally, I’d say, “suck it up”, but as my hair has gotten longer, I can truly understand how brutal such a task can be for some naturals.  It can be brutal to the point of mechanical damage (e.g., breakage from impatient combing sessions).

    2. Fewer SSKs ...
    will form if the hair is heat trained.  What is a single-strand knot (SSK)?  It is essentially a knot formed from a strand of hair that has wrapped around itself.  What is a conducive environment for SSKs?  A mass of coils and kinks.  SSKs translate into more trims and sometimes breakage.  Heat training or other hair care steps (read here) can mitigate this issue.

    3. Length Retention ...
    comes with easier detangling and fewer SSKs.  "Proper" heat training can theoretically help some naturals achieve longer lengths.  Will I ever heat train for length retention?  In all honesty, I do not know yet.

    4. Increased Versatility ...
    is another benefit of heat training.  It becomes easier to achieve stretched or straight styles when desired.  Additionally, these styles will last longer.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Gain and Retain Length on Afro-Textured Hair

    Chicoro is someone I would describe as an afro-textured hair growth guru.  She shares a wealth of FREE information to subscribers of her website:  Check out the site, enter your email address, and get information sent to your inbox weekly.  I did! Enjoy!

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Youtube: Ask the Hair Doctor

    Trichologist Lisa Akbari has a youtube series on "Ask the Hair Doctor".  Here is one of her video responses.  For more, check out her channel.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    3 inches in 6 months Challenge!

    How do you readers feel about joining me in a length retention challenge?

    Hair grows an average of 0.5in/month.  (Some people get less growth and others get more.)  For this challenge, we'll aim to retain 2-3 inches in 6 months.  Guidelines will be posted later this week to help you through the process.  Also, we'll be in touch on a monthly basis. If you are interested, please leave a comment below.

    Challenge period: February 1 - August 1, 2011.

    Healthy hair in 2011!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Twist Series: Growth & Length Retention I

    TRIMMING.  More answers to your "Growth & Length Retention" questions coming soon ...
    • thanks for being so charitable as to provide this info for us thirsty readers! here's my query: since taking down my 10 year old locs, i have "dusted" my ends but not gone for a professional trim. i've worn my hair in some form of natural for 15 years now, but this is my first time really on a "length" journey, so i'm trying to familiarize myself with all the new products, info, and various strategies. As such, I am wondering how crucial regular trimming has been for you.

    Regular trimming is very crucial for length retention because it removes damaged ends (e.g, split ends, single-strand knots, etc.).  However, how you trim can determine whether you are actually retaining length or cutting away progress.  I only trim my ends when needed as opposed to following a set schedule.  For more details, on trimming for length retention, here is a repost:


    Freeze! Drop the scissors! Put your hands up! Stop cutting!

    Excessive trimming can hinder length retention. If your hair grows six inches a year and you trim half an inch every month, then you are essentially cutting off all your growth progress. In order to retain length, you have to (1) be healthy from the inside out, (2) treat your hair right, and (3) pick up the scissors only when necessary. There is a time to trim that is not dictated by the calendar on the wall but by the health of the ends of your hair.

    {May 2009}
    TO THE RIGHT: A photo of hair that has not been trimmed in over a year. The ends are not blunt, but they are also not damaged. Trimming for style is your choice, but if you want maximum length retention, then only trim when needed -- when the ends are damaged.

    Healthy ends are free from splits and other damage. Splits are an indicator of damage to the cuticle and come in all shapes and sizes. Some occur at the very ends of the hair while others form in the middle of a strand. The hair may be appear to be split into two pieces or more. It is a myth that split ends can be repaired; some products may temporarily make them less visible, but splits cannot "heal" themselves and will exist until cut off. If you are taking great care of your hair, you will see fewer splits. Fewer splits = healthier hair. Healthier hair = fewer trims.

    Even if you've determined that your ends are damaged, a full-on trim may not be required. Search and destroy is a method for only cutting the strands that have splits or other visible damage. Dusting is a method of trimming a very small fraction of hair -- about 1/4 of an inch or less. Search and destroy and dusting are ideal for hair that exhibits a small amount of damaged ends. A full-on trim is needed when a large portion of the hair's ends are damaged.

    MINIMIZING SPLIT ENDS (great article btw)