Updated: Sep 19
Hey Lovelies🌸 I hope you’ve been enjoying your week. Following up our last discussion, today’s article is about the habits and practices I’ve stopped doing in order to experience extreme/maximum healthy hair growth. There are many, many practices you can implement to grow your hair, but there are also habits that you need to break if you want to see long-term, sustainable healthy hair growth. Bonus: if you’re struggling with thickening your hair, the tips I list below will double in their benefits and uses, as they will both help you grow and thicken your hair.
I do use all of these at the same time, but if you’re just beginning your natural hair journey or notice you do most or all of these habits, try to implement one or two at a time and then build up to using more or all of these tips for maximum hair growth. Beginning with using one or two of these tips at a time will still greatly benefit your natural hair and increase hair growth and density.
I Stopped Using Hair Gel and Edge Control
Build-up is your enemy when you’re on natural hair-care journey and using these products expedites the accumulation of build-up on your scalp and hair follicles. This is a problem because it makes your hair and scalp dirty faster, meaning you’ll be washing your hair more often, and washing your hair often is high-manipulation. High manipulation leads to unnecessary shedding and breakage, which can lead to your hair breaking off faster than it grows. Hair grows 1/2 inch a month, maximally; and for some people, their hair grows quicker than this. In a year, the average person can grow up to 6 inches of hair. So if you're using products, or if you have habits, that cause you to highly manipulate your hair, you are putting yourself at risk of breaking your hair off quicker than it grows and ruining all the progress your hair made in terms of growth in the previous year.
I Stopped Complicating My Hair Routine
It's only beneficial to find a simple routine that is easy to keep up with and stick to. I like to think of hair as a plant. All a plant needs to thrive is the right amount of water, the right amount of nutrients and the right amount of sunlight, all on a consistent basis. Similarly, all 4C natural hair needs to thrive is moisture, nutrients and low-manipulation --or as I like to call it, leaving your hair the f*$% alone!-- all on a consistent basis. If you need a reference for what a simple, easy, low-manipulation routine looks like, I got you covered. I uploaded my super easy, affordable and effective 4C hair care routine that grew my hair waist-length (for the second time in a row) on YouTube. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/rGflzS5DG5E.
I Stopped Using Combs and Brushes to De-Tangle My Hair
I 100% advocate for everyone to stop using combs and brushes to detangle. Like the first tip, you do not need your hair breaking off quicker than it grows, as that only sets you back in terms of growing long, healthy and strong hair. Using combs and brushes contributes to your hair breaking off, thinning, and shedding unnecessarily, as when you're combing or brushing through your hair, the comb or brush cannot feel how rough it is being on your hair. When you switch to finger detangling, you will immediately notice how rough you're usually handling your hair, and will be more gentle, leading to less unnecessary shedding and breakage, hair thickening, and length retention. Length retention is one of the most, if not THE most, crucial step to growing long, healthy and strong natural hair. Oftentimes we think we need to up the ante on using products to make our hair grow, when in reality we need to practice habits that promote length retention in tandem with using products and/or routines that promote hair growth. They're hand-in-hand, and work together to give you the results you seek.
Finger detangling is one of the most effective methods of promoting length retention. Using this practice while also using products and routines that promote hair growth, will yield you the long, healthy, strong and thick natural hair that you're looking for.
I Stopped Letting People in My Hair
Stop letting people in ya head! Everyone does not have the intention for you to have long, healthy, strong, thick hair. And everyone that you let do your hair does not care about maintaining or promoting the health of your natural hair. I know it can seem convenient to get your hair done, and yes, it is convenient in some ways, but like with most things, there are pros and cons.
A huge con of getting your hair done by other people can include hair damage via excessive breakage, high manipulation and products and styling methods being used on your hair that stifles healthy hair growth, length retention and hair thickening. Most stylists only care about getting you in and out of their chair as fast as possible and that is not conducive to promoting or maintaining healthy, natural hair growth. Especially if you're someone who, every time you get your hair done it's shorter and shorter -- or you're constantly switching stylists because you keep looking for someone to do your hair with care and it's health at the center, and your hair continues to get shorter, thinner and weaker-- if you want to grow your hair long, healthy, strong and thick, you have to stop letting people in your hair.
Even if you cut down the amount of times you let people in your hair by half or by a third, you will see a difference.
I Stopped Changing My Hair Style Often
Hair loves low-manipulation. Find a low-manipulation style you can leave your hair in for multiple weeks, but that you can also maintain yourself, and stick to it. For example, I like to moisturize my hair, braid it up in 8-12 braids and wrap them up in a head wrap for 1-2 weeks. After a couple of weeks I take my braids out and wear them in a braid out for another 1-2 weeks or however long I see fit, then re-moisturize my hair and start the process all over again. This cycle grew my hair so long and fast because it combines having routine that promotes hair growth with having a routine that promotes length retention.
Find your version of this routine and I guarantee you see results. If you don't like to wear headwraps or scarves, I know some womxn like to wear wigs, which is a great alternative to headwraps. For the girls who may not be allowed to wear wigs because of their age, or simply cannot afford them, or don't like to wear them, you can opt for styling your natural hair in twists or braids and wearing your hair that way. Decorating your twists or braids with beads, gold string or coils always add flair and glam that will help you wear your natural hair in these styles with confidence. Note that I don't mean styling your hair with weave, as this often involves people being in your hair and we already established that as a no-no. I'm not saying to not wear weave, but seldomly using weave also helped me to grow my hair waist-length and embrace and love my natural hair at any length. Try giving weave a break a few months out of every year and style your own hair, it's worth it.
I Stopped Using a lot of Store-Bought Products -- Even if They are "Black-Owned"
Keep what you use on your hair simple, this makes it easier to keep up with a routine and get you the results you seek quicker. As we established before, hair is like a plant and needs to receive what it needs on a consistent basis. Having to keep up with and buy multiple products complicates your routine and makes it difficult to stick to. In terms of the "black-owned" hair companies, they keep getting sold to people that don't have our interests as black consumers at heart, shown through the addition of harmful chemicals to the hair care products -- and/or changing the formula that ruins the quality of the products-- and this was really was a huge turn off from these companies.
Another reason is that products from those companies are usually way too expensive and not very effective or financially sustainable to use long-term. Why buy a $22 leave-in-conditioner that I end up using the whole bottle of during one session of me doing my hair? Especially when I can buy a $1 spray bottle, a $7 bottle of olive oil, a $6 bottle of Suave conditioner and warm tap water I already pay for at home and make a more effective and long-lasting leave-in-conditioner? I'm a DIY, home-made skin and hair care products kinda girl. I will always trust myself and what I choose to use on my body and hair -- and my family's and communities'. bodies and hair-- over companies that only want to make a quick dollar. Stick with me and I will keep showing you how I take care of my hair and body safely, affordably, easily and effectively.
I Stopped Changing the Routine that I Found Worked for Me
After all of this I say: If it works for you, keep doing it. If what you are currently doing is growing your hair, long, healthy, strong and thick, keep doing it. One day you'll be able to pass that information on to someone else. I'm saying this because there's a lot of people in the natural hair community always looking down on other people for using traditional routines and methods that do grow our hair.
For example, I'm a person who uses food on their hair: my protein treatment is mayonnaise and egg based. And guess what? It works. Anyone who I recommend that recipe to experiences hair growth, hair thickening and hair strengthening. In fact, this is the only protein treatment I use, and is the only protein treatment my family and friends use. So when people in the natural hair community were saying "Stop using food on your hair! That doesn't work!" I kept on doing it. When people in the natural hair community were telling everyone to wash their hair once a week -- I didn't. When people in the natural hair community were saying to stop using oils and butters on our hair -- I MOST DEFINITELY didn't do that. Why? Because I don't need other people to tell me how to do my natural hair, especially as someone who's grown theirs, and several other people's, natural hair extremely long with the methods and routines they said to stop using. There will always be people who can look into your life and tell you that what you're doing to take care of yourself is wrong. But until you feel the need to make those changes yourself, and if those things people are saying to stop doing is not harming you or anyone else, keep doing what you're doing. Consistency is key.
This concludes today's article Lovelies. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful in any way, sign up to be a member so you are notified anytime a new article is posted. Also, Sierra and I run JFBG at no cost so please consider supporting us in any one of the ways listed at the bottom of this post so that we can continue to provide this free, safe online space to black girls and womxn across the globe. Thank you so much in advance and I'll catch you on the next one.
Update: Hey Lovelies, after working with and growing natural hair holistically for over a decade, I now offer natural hair consultations so we can work together, one-on-one to get your hair to be as great as it can be! You can book a 1:1 Natural Hair Consultation Session with me here to receive even more hair tips, and to get personalized assistance and resources to grow your hair longer, thicker, healthier and stronger. JUST TO CLARIFY: I have made numerous videos giving out my secrets on how I grew my, Sierra’s and MANY OTHERS’ natural hair long, healthy, thick and strong and past their hair growth plateaus so you can definitely check those videos out to find out how. Those videos are uploaded here for free, on the Getting Back to the Basics Self-Care Series Playlist.
The consultations are for those out there who need/want something more than what I have already publicized for free— meaning they want to work with someone with a ton of experience growing natural hair one-on-one so they can reach their hair goals. If you’re interested, head over to book a session with me here. I can’t wait to meet you all
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