If you are African or have significant African ancestry, your hair may take a long time to grow and, in some cases, might even be prone to unwanted breakage. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to encourage hair growth and make sure your locks stay healthy.
Washing and Applying Treatments.
- Determine your hair type. A salon employee or online advice can help you find the characteristics of your hair. This will help you choose the right treatments and products. Here’s the basic breakdown:
- Wavy hair (type 2), generally thin and easy to handle
- Curly hair (type 3)
- Coily hair (type 4), usually very fragile and hard to grow out.
- Wash your hair only when you must. Washing hair too often strips it of natural oils. Try washing it once a week. Switch to once every two or three weeks your hair starts to break easily.
- Try to find a shampoo that doesn’t leave your hair feeling too dry.
- To reduce damage, wash hair in lukewarm water and rinse in cool water.
- Let hair dry on its own. The heat from blow drying can cause damage, leading your hair to break before it grows to the desired length.instead, plait your hair, wrap it in a silk scarf, and let dry overnight. Alternatively, towel dry your hair by wrapping it in a towel and simply rubbing your head for a while.
- Use conditioner each time you wash. Shampoo strips your hair of natural oils. Restore these with conditioner suited for African hair.Periodically deep condition your hair as well.
- You can use leave-in conditioner in between washes.
- Apply hair oil daily. Rub natural oil into the middle and ends of your hair to make it soft and supple. This will help prevent it breaking before it grows too long. Jamaican oil, castor oil, Moroccan oil, or lavender oil are all good options.
- Covering your hair with a satin scarf can help your hair take in the oil.
- Moisturize. Water strengthens dry hair and may stimulate your hair roots. You can apply water, moisturizing conditioner, or a mixture of half olive oil or half coconut oil. For extra moisture, apply each one, in that order. The oil will help seal in the moisture.
- If you use gel or mousse in your hairstyle, try hair jam instead. This will hold your hair, then eventually melt into oils to add shine and moisture.
- Consider protein conditioner. These can strengthen some types of hair, but may damage dry hair. Try brushing your hair: if your strands stretch significantly before breaking, you may need more protein.
- Do not leave in protein conditioner longer than instructed on the label, or it may turn hard and brittle.
- Grease your scalp when dry. About every other day or when your scalp feels dry, apply coconut grease to the tip of your pointer finger. Apply at the top of your part and sweep back until all the grease has been applied.
- Stop if you notice dandruff, as oil can feed the fungus that causes it.
- If you have a perm, grease only once a week.
- Remove products with neutralizing shampoo. Once a month, use a neutralizing shampoo to clean all products out of your hair. If you use a lot of sprays, gels, and other styling products, use it every other week.
Encouraging Hair Growth in Other Ways.
- Take vitamins. Vitamin supplements can give your hair the nutrients they need to grow faster and stronger.
- Eat enough protein. Eat food with plenty of protein, such as avocado, pumpkin seeds, or gelatin.
- Protect the ends of your hair. Leaving your hair down can make your hair vulnerable to breakage. Put your hair in a bun or braids or other styles that keeps your ends tucked away. Fasten your hairdo with bobby pins, since elastic bands can rip out your hair.
- Trim damaged hair. Trim the ends of your hair every two weeks, or whenever they start to split. If your hair is healthy, you may only need to remove 1–2 inches (2.5–5cm) every three or four months. It may seem odd to trim your hair to help it grow, but it really does help. Split ends rapidly lead to breakage, making it very hard to grow your hair out.
- EXPERT TIP. You can encourage faster growth by trimming your ends regularly because split ends travel up the hair shaft and cause breakage. You can also use different products to make your hair healthier and help during slow-growth periods.
- Don’t abuse your hair. Blow drying, flat irons, over-tight braiding or weaves, over processing, dye and perms ruin your hair. This can cause damage and breakage, so use them as little as possible.
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