How to Grow Your Natural Hair | Sunday Observer

How to Grow Your Natural Hair

22 November, 2020

There’s nothing more beautiful than a crown of healthy, natural hair. So if you’ve ever had a case of bad breakage, then you know it can be a total bummer. Brittle, damaged hair gets in the way of length retention, weakens strands, and limits your style versatility. Definitely not a good look. Luckily, breakage isn’t the end of the world. If you find yourself in a tangled mess, these tips will help get your kinks and curls back on track.

First things first: It's important to identify the culprit of your hair woes. Breakage can be caused by a number of things, including lack of moisture, overprocessing from chemicals, heat damage, and overall poor hair-care practices. According to New York City–based celebrity hairstylist and Hair Rules salon owner Anthony Dickey, textures that happen to be naturally drier, like kinky, curly, or coarse straight textures, are easily prone to breakage and therefore require some extra TLC.

“Split ends, single strand knots, and tangles are all red flags that your hair is insanely dry or that your hair-care regimen is off,” he says. If you’ve noticed that you’re losing hair at an alarming rate, you see excess shedding on clothes, or your scalp is hella dry, you might want to reevaluate your hair-care routine.

Wearing tight hairstyles and a lack of preparation when styling can also cause damage. So, that Ariana Grande ponytail you love rocking all the time? You may want to be careful. Celebrity hairstylist Vernon François explains, “With natural hair, I often notice most breakage when it’s tied up in a topknot. This causes unnecessary tension on the hairline. It can often snap from the centre of the crown, as this area is often neglected during the prepping stages — for example not combining hair thoroughly before putting it into your desired style.”

All right, by now you’ve probably figured out what’s causing your breakage, so how do you bring it back to life? Read on for tips on what to do (and what not to do) to stop breakage.

Co-Wash Daily

Washing with conditioner, also known as “co-washing,” is a way to mildly cleanse hair and replenish dry strands at the same time. Co-washing keeps hair soft and hydrated, especially during the colder months. “If your hair is very fragile, particularly for type 4 kinky hair, co-washing can be done very frequently and even up to twice a day for intense hydration and conditioning,” François shares.

To be clear, co-washing doesn’t mean you should skip shampoo altogether. "When looking for a shampoo, the objective is to keep your hair away from ones that lather, as these chemicals can strip hair of its moisture. Use sulfate-free and non sudsy cream,” suggests Dickey.

Deep Condition Weekly

Use a deep conditioner weekly with a plastic cap in the shower, under a dryer, or even overnight to activate the heat. To make your deep conditioner go the extra mile, celebrity hairstylistFelicia Leatherwood, suggests steam treatments.

If your hair is still feeling drier than the desert, you can add a hot oil treatment to your deep conditioner. “Apply the hot oil at the scalp and when you go to rinse off the conditioner, you rinse through the scalp. It helps the oil seal in the conditioner over the hair strand, because oil is a sealant,” she continues. When all else fails, Leatherwood recommends using anApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment, which repairs breakage on sight, or a rice water rinse, to stop shedding and smooth out your cuticles.

Detangle With Care

Detangling on dry hair is a major no-no. Leatherwood advises, “It’s easier to detangle your hair in the shower, when your hair is full of conditioner and wet. Section the hair off into two parts, then split that into four.

Ditch Your Cotton Towel

A traditional cotton bath towel can pull and stretch the hair, stripping out moisture, which is not good at all. “A much better option is to carefully squeeze and pat your hair dry with an old cotton T-shirt or, ideally,a microfiber towel.

Avoid Heat

Try to avoid heat drying and styling if you can until your hair is in better shape. If you are going to apply heat, use a heat protectant, keep temperatures low, and use a blow dryer with a comb attachment to prevent further damage.

Protect Your Edges

ICYMI, damage usually happens at the hairline regardless of texture, and that’s why it’s called “baby hair.” It’s the finest, softest hair, but you can avoid breakage by keeping your baby hair soft and moisturized.