Loving My Hair One Day At a Time
My hair journey started in August 2014 and since then I have experienced a lot of progress in the strength, growth, and retention of my hair! Below are just a few foundational tips that I have gathered throughout this process. Of course, the success of some suggestions depend on your hair texture and even your hair goals, but my tips are some very basic techniques that anyone can implement.
Before the start of this journey, I had become complacent with the length of my hair. In fact, I was positive that the myth that “black hair doesn’t grow” applied to me, especially since I’ve chemically relaxed my hair since high school. However, when a close friend of mine (co-founder of Wholly Hair, Michelle Emelife) opened my eyes to the tips, tricks, and techniques of maintaining my relaxed hair, the excitement of my hair’s growth potential was ignited!
My first tip pertains to wash day – a crucial day for many of us.
Tip #1: Separate your hair into four equal sections and keep them in these sections for the entire duration of your wash. By washing your hair in smaller sections, all of the shampoo and conditioner products are more evenly dispersed throughout your hair and it becomes nearly impossible to create tangles.
Tip #2: Use a pre-poo treatment (I prefer coconut oil because of its thickness and easy absorption into the hair strand) on each of the four sections of your hair for at least an hour or two before washing.
These two tips alone made a world of a difference. I noticed that not only did my hair remain tangle-free for the duration of wash day but the pre-poo treatment instantly protected my hair against the stripping effect of shampoo.
Tip #3: Comb your beautiful locks with a wide toothcomb while your hair is either completely dry or while your hair is wet and coated in a deep conditioner.
I didn’t realize this, but in an attempt to comb through my wet hair I was actually tearing my ends with each stroke! Ahh!! Combing my hair this way also became more and more difficult the closer I approached time to relax my hair – so the tearing would become worse with each week. Once I implemented this tip, combing my hair not only became a lot more manageable, but it also maintained the health and strength of my ends. No more tears!
Tip #4: Wear protective hairstyles at all times when retention is an issue.
I found that protective hairstyles such as loose ponytails, buns, or even a soft braid, helped maintain the health of my ends and the moisture of my hair strands. This is important because after a few months into my hair journey I realized that my hair was growing, but I saw little progress because I continued to shed and have breakage at my ends. Once I implemented protective hairstyles into my daily routine, my ends remained off my shoulders and shielded from any daily manipulation.
Tip #5: Stretch your relaxer for as long as possible.
I started relaxing my hair when I was in high school and I have routinely relaxed my hair ever since. I would relax my hair every 6-8 weeks. Yet, relaxing that often made my hair very VERY weak. With lots of support and encouragement, I have learned to stretch my relaxer from 6 weeks… to 10 weeks… to now 12 weeks (woo!). Not only have I seen improvement in the thickness of my hair, but I’ve also learned to appreciate my growth!
Tip #6: Stretching your relaxer can be tough because your hair can become fragile at the line of demarcation (i.e., where your relaxed hair meets your natural growth). However, with a regular moisture and seal routine for both your ends as well as that line of demarcation, your hair will be protected and ultimately strengthened in the long run.
I hope these tips are helpful! It may seem like a lot but I remember at the very start of my journey my friend (once again, Michelle) emphasized that one day, all of these techniques would become second nature. And, she was right. As of today, all of these techniques come naturally to me and the protection and growth of my hair is a top priority as I pursue my long-term hair goals.
Remember ladies, it is a process and the only way to enjoy this process is to love your hair at whichever stage it’s in, one day at a time. Our hair grows, and I am so proud.