My hair has always been an uphill battle. It breaks. Then it grows. Then it breaks. Then it grows. Then I cut it. Then it grows. My ultimate goal is a crown of curls that rivals Erykah Badu in this photo.
Yet, growing my hair has been a process. Going natural and accepting my curls is the first step in the right direction, but natural hair is a journey like anything else. You do not just wake up one day and magically understand your hair and what it needs… anymore more than you wake up one day and understand yourself and all that you need. Both of them are a learning curve.
To accelerate that curve, I have developed some tips for natural hair growth. Here are my top six ways that have helped me make progress in my own natural hair journey.
Natural Hair Growth Tip #1: Accept that you do not have straight hair.
Accept the hair that grows out of your head. Part of the struggle I had early in my journey was that I kept comparing my curly hair to my formerly relaxed hair. I kept comparing my curls to the others with straight haired weaves and relaxers. I had to stop. You have to stop!! You no longer have permission to wrap you hair at night then unwrap in the morning and go. You no longer require a flat iron to touch up the edges before leaving the house (unless you are currently rocking a straight look, in which case, carry on). Your hair is not straight. It has never been naturally straight. It will never be naturally straight. Your curls need love. You need love. Learn to love your curls. You will find that the more you begin to love your curls, the more you begin to love yourself.
Natural Hair Growth Tip #2: Document your progress.
Many times you cannot see the hair growth. Your hair is changing little by little. You are growing little by little. DOCUMENT IT! Take photos every so often. I love a good selfie. In this digital age, selfies on cameras come with dates and times. Every few months, check your date stamp. Do a side by side analysis. Without documentation, you may think that growth is not happening. But, growth is happening. You have to take the time out to make note of it. Appreciate it. Notice it.
Natural Hair Growth Tip #3: You are what you eat (and drink).
Take hair and nail vitamins. Take multivitamins. Consume all your food groups. Drink plenty of water. Junk in = junk out. If your hair only feeds on potato chips and pizza, expect to see the effects. It can and will still grow. (Trust me. I am a living, breathing example.) However, the better the fuel you put inside, the better the growth you will see outside.
Natural Hair Growth Tip #4: Protective styles are your friend.
You can overmanipulate your hair. You can twist it too many days in a row. You can bantu knot it too many days in a row. You can apply product and run your fingers through it too many days in a row. Your hair, much like yourself, needs rest. Find a protective style that you like. My preference is curly weaves (although faux locs come in a close second).
I have not yet accepted wearing my two-strand twists in public, but I have worn flat twists to work. In addition, I am learning to love a head wrap (most times over my two-strand twists that I am not yet ready to take down for a twist out). Some people can do intricate styles on their own. Some people have stylists put in intricate protective styles. My hair is not yet long enough for a ponytail or puff, but those work also. Either way, find a style that requires little to no manipulation every once in a while. Your hair (and you) could use a break.
Natural Hair Growth Tip #5: Stop cutting your hair.
This does not pertain to trimming your ends. By all means, trim your ends. Some people trim twice a year. Some people trim every 6-8 weeks. This also does not pertain to damaged hair. Getting rid of damage is essential. This pertains to those of you stuck in the in-between after your big chop. You took the time to accept your hair. You documented your progress and watched what you ate. You put together some protective styles. Your hair is officially growing. But the honeymoon is over. What you used to enjoy is now a chore. What used to work is not necessarily working, and you liked it better when it was big chopped. You are thinking a cut and a color might just be what the doctor ordered. CUTTING is the OPPOSITE of growth. The hardest part of growth is the part in-between. LET IT GROW!
Natural Hair Growth Tip #6: Accept that your hair care is a work in progress.
You will need a new routine. Like all new routines, this one will require practice. I laughed with my curly haired Caucasian co-worker as we discussed how different life is with curly hair. We both own and use bonnets and silk scarves. We both own and use shower caps. We both scowl as rain destroys a perfectly good hair day. We trade product ideas. My personal favorite is the love of people for ALL curly hair types – from curly weaves, to mixed curls like my daughter, to my own 4C hair.* She gave me the names of a few of hers only available at beauty supply stores.
Curly hair girls have only recently come back into the mainstream. Curly hair products and aisles are becoming more readily available. Now, more than ever, the natural hair community is learning that every curl pattern is completely acceptable.
That is why I started and finished my natural hair growth tips with acceptance. You are who you are. Period.
If you learn to care for your hair…if you learn to care for yourself…both will grow…together.
What tips do you have for natural hair growth?
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*I received $0 for talking about the the love of people. I am sharing my honest opinion one curly girl to another.