Your hair has started to grow but then it begins to break off and you are back to square one. What the hell happened?
A lot of naturalistas go through this cycle and we feel that our hair never seems to grow or gets stuck at a certain point. Of course everyone’s hair grows but the key to successful growth is retaining the length. I have been natural for four years and with trial and error I have developed a routine that helps my hair to flourish and I have finally started to maintain the growth. Ladies It is not easy at first, but once you develop a simple routine that works for you and you start to see the results, it will become part of your daily life.
Check out the steps I do to help with length retention for 4C natural hair.
The appearance of 4C hair gives off the illusion that it is really tough and resilient, but in reality it is one of the most fragile hair types. This is because of the many coils and kinks of the hair strands; due to the structure of kinky hair patterns there are areas of weakness and also tangling can occur which can lead to breakage. Ensuring that your hair does not become a matted mess is an obvious step to maintaining the length of your hair. When detangling my hair when styling I always start off by lightly spritzing with either a leave in conditioner or water, this allows me to detangle my hair a lot easier and prevents breakage. I always begin the detangling process using my fingers first to target the knotted hair and then I follow up by using a large tooth seamless comb.
When washing my hair I only finger detangle, because I have found that using a comb to detangle my hair when it is really saturated with water and conditioner causes my hair to snap off. So before going under the steamer I always thoroughly detangle my hair using my fingers.
Everyone has specific areas of the hair that does not grow as well as other parts. This could be the crown, the nape or the edges. My problem area has always been the nape of my neck. It is significantly shorter compared to the rest of my hair and any little strain or tension on this area causes it to break off. For years I would go through periods of my nape hair growing and then breaking. I started to notice that this was due to particular styles placing pressure on this area.
Suitable styling can improve length retention around the problem area. Style your hair in ways that minimise tension. To keep the nape in check I have to keep my hair up to reduce friction of this area and to stop my hair coiling up on itself, forming pepper grains. This is why I tend to wear cornrows braided upwards or a puff to encourage growth at the nape.
Keep It Covered
There is no point of looking after your kinks during the day and then neglecting your hair at night. Avoid snagging and tangling of the hair whilst you sleep by wearing a silk scarf or sleeping on a satin pillow case to help with length retention. I am loving my Marté Egele silk scarf available from Antidote Street, which is a UK online shopping destination for black hair and skincare products. The scarf is 100% silk and is really soft which helps to protect my kinks at night. You can also rock it during the day due to the stylish pattern.
My nightime routine also involves loosely placing my hair into two buns using hairbands. Keeping my hair stretched prevents as many knots forming in the morning. The two buns adds a slight stretch to my kinks and when I style my hair the next day the detangling process is easier and I have less hair loss.
The key to maintaining 4C hair is avoiding over manipulating it. Especially as a newly natural you can get caught up with wanting to try every hairstyle on YouTube, it is good to experiment but also try to not place too much strain on your hair. Re-twisting the hair very night to achieve sleeker definition can place stress on your strands. The more your hands are all up in your head the more likely your kinks are going to break. So keep the re-styling to a minimum and embrace the frizziness of the hair.
Cutting your hair promotes healthy hair growth. If the ends of your hair are in a good condition then there is less chance of the strands breaking off. I trim my hair every new season, but if I notice split ends or fairy knots in-between a trimming session I will cut them off. If you do not trim your hair regularly split ends will travel further up the hair shaft and eventually you will have to cut off a lot more hair. Do not be afraid of trimming or cutting the hair, the sooner you get rid of the unhealthy ends your hair will start to retain length.
Guys let me know any tips you have on retaining length.
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I'm Caron and I have created this blog to share my love of natural hair, beauty and a few things in-between.
If you are on the same vibe, check it out and enjoy. X