Today we’re going to talk about caring for damaged African-American hair. As early as I can remember I was doing hair, I think I fell out the womb with a comb and scissors. My first profession at a very young age was managing one of my best friends mothers hair salons. I’ve seen many cases, even helped regrow a woman’s hair who chemically relaxed her past shoulder length virgin hair and came to me in tears when it all ended up on the floor! That’s right, BALD! Let’s catch you before you get to that point. I’m going to give you 5 steps to regrow damaged hair whether natural or relaxed.
Step 1: Increase Water Intake/Vitamins/Leafy Greens
As with any hair type you MUST first start from the inside out. Increasing water consumption does wonders for your hair and skin. The way I began was I bought a gallon as well as bottled waters, In the morning I drank a full 8 ounce glass and put 2-3 waters in my bag, throughout the day I would drink as much as possible. I do recommend you speak to your nutritionist about taking a one a day and which one is best for you. If your unable to, increase your leafy green and superfood intake add more Spinach, Avacado, Nuts, Goji Berries, Acai, Pomegranate, Kale, Coconut etc. For those of you who are on the go and prefer a simpler substitute I take Amazing Grams Green Superfood. It’s an alkalizing & energizing vegan, gluten-free raw plant-based nutrition substitute when you simply don’t have time to fit all you need in your diet. It can be purchased in any heath-food store or ordered right online at www.amazon.com. It is ram packed with every single nutrient that promotes & supports great overall health.
Step 2: Shampoo/Conditioner /Co-Washing/Hot Oil Treatments
Shampoo & Conditioner and a co-washing cleansing conditioner for in between salon visits. Certain shampoos tend to strip the hair and throw off the hairs natural ph balance so you want a sulfate free shampoo that strengthens the follicle. Sulfate has been known to cause damage to the hair follicle and lead to weakened hair structure and slow hair growth. Creme of Nature, Lorel, Organixs, Carols Daughter, and Aveeno have great sulfate free shampoos. When condition or deep conditioning you want to be careful not to overdo it! Obviously damaged and chemically treated hair needs more moisture and protein, but once you get to the desired results stick to more of a bi weekly deep conditioning regiment and a weekly co-wash. Deep conditioner consist of a nutrient packed conditioner added to hair and steam or heat is added to intensify its effects. It seals in moisture and reconstructs and repairs the hair. Incase you your unfamiliar with the term Co-Wash it’s stands for conditioning wash, products like Wen, Nothing But, Carols Daughter are excellent conditioning washes that add moisture instead of retracting it. Hot oil treatments have a myriad of benefits, it smoothes the cuticle, softens rough/dry hair, seals in moisture and minimizes the look of split ends and frizziness.
Step 3: Trim damaged ends.
Or as hair growth guru Sheema from YouTube says search and destroy!
It may seem like an unnecessary consideration being your objective is to grow your hair long, but allowing your split ends to flourish takes away shine, enables frizziness causing hair to appear lifeless and continues to the shaft of hair. It’s better to search and destroy whilst it’s manageable and at a minimum. The amount to cut depends on the severity of damage, on average a half an inch should suffice unless you’re doing a big chop to start from scratch.
Step 4: Protective Styling.
When it comes protective styling it’s not just braids, weave and twist. It’s actually low manipulation and low maintenance that enables the hair to rest and grow. Low manipulation and protective styling are often overlooked but they are a crucial piece of growing longer hair. Add this to your regimen and you will see a big difference in your hair’s ability to retain hair length.
Step 5: Keep Hair Moisturized.
Dry tresses tend to break and become damaged easier. While moisturizing doesn’t actaully grow your tresses itself it does aid in retaining length. The real role of moisture is in mitigating damage to hair during handling. This has a valuable role in ensuring that hair growth can be retained as less damage to the strand means longer years of life.
***two bonus methods to add is the inversion method & greenhouse method, YouTube has step by step methods for both these. I’ve used them on clients and have had tremendous success with both!
It’s a myth that African-American Hair does not grow. Keep in mind everyone’s hair grows at a different rate so do not compare your journey to another. Following these steps will get the trickiest slowest growing tresses to show signs of life and in no time have you feeling better about your natural hair!