They say one must treat hair like fine silk..and that is so true. When I started my hair journey, my hair was not that thick, was dull and honestly not in very good shape.That was due to lack of hair care knowledge, bad hair practices and honestly not bothering that much.
Growing healthy long hair comes down to how you manipulate (handle) your hair, good products, consistency and patience. These are some of the things I realised I had to STOP doing if I wanted to keep the hair I grew each month.
1. Combing with a fine toothed comb.
This comb is the devil himself on any head of hair!! The teeth have such small gaps between them that they pull out a lot of hair and cause breakage. The sooner I stopped, the less breakage I saw. I then started using a wide toothed comb only. Whether hair is natural or relaxed, a fine toothed comb is not your friend.
|My long retired fine toothed comb|
|My wide toothed comb|
2. Combing from roots going up to the ends.
This is just a recipe for disaster. This is when you start coming and you start by placing the comb right at the root then pull up and out. Combing from the roots clumps any tangles together as you pull up. This in turn causes breakage cause the tangles aren't removed, but rather ripped out (together with your hair). If you comb from the ends going down, the tangles at each stage are undone and there is much less breakage. Start at the last one to two inches and comb up, then go another one to two inches down from the first place you initially combed and comb up. Continue until your hair is fully detangled. Do do comb in sections.
3. Combing on dry hair.
For most naturals this is definitely a no-no! Dry hair is rough, kinky and curly, using a comb when in a dry state does nothing to help, you're just faced with more resistance from the hair leading to more breakage. Instead I comb when my hair is damp and when it is slathered in conditioner with lots of slip. The hair is wet and soft, more pliable and easy to work with. Tangles come out easily without any resistance. I have never looked back since starting wet combing.
4. Only washing hair after I undo my braids, weave or cornrows.
Clean hair and scalp are necessary for healthy hair. Clogged pores and a dirty scalp stunt growth. A cleaner scalp is free from scalp infection, dandruff and unnecessary itching. Not to mention that it grows healthy hair. Not deep conditioning regularly leaves hair weak and more prone to breakage. Also weekly washing has helped improve the condition of my hair. Weekly deep treatments have made it strong, healthy and shiny. And honestly smelly dirty hair is NOT the beesnees.
5. Using heat appliances regularly and without heat protectant.
Hair blowers, flat irons, air brushes are all bad for the hair cause of the amount of direct heat used on the hair. Heat degrades protein (which our hair is made of) and causes, dry, brittle hair. That is why too much heat, eg every week causes breakage. Heat protectant serves to create a barrier between the heat and the strand. Think of it like oven gloves which protect your hands when you get stuff out of the oven. Less split ends, breakage and less dry hair have resulted from my abstaining from heat and always using a heat protectant when I do want to straighten it.
|Current heat protectant im using|
6. Ony using cholesterol or hair mayonnaise to give my hair a 'treatment'
There is nothing wrong with cholesterol or hair mayonnaise in themselves. In fact, they are EXCELLENT for hair. But the problem is they only do one thing for your hair. Hair mayonnaise is a protein treatment, strengthening and rebuilding the hair. Cholesterol can be a protein treatment, some are moisturising though. The thing is, when you only use a product to treat the hair which only has one effect, it stops benefitting the hair. There was a time when I used hair mayo three weeks in a row, oh gosh I had the hardest most brittle hair for quite some time. Hair needs a combination of moisturising and strengthening treatments. Meaning you need to alternate the protein and moisture balance in your hair. Depending on how the hair feels, you need to use either moisturising or protein treatments to deep condition with each wash day. Balanced hair is healthy happy hair.
7. Washing my hair free
By this I mean undoing my hair and washing it like that. As my hair got longer it started to tangle. The strands were just loving each other so much they wrapped around each other and wouldn't let go ;-). That was just the cause of more breakage. Any hair i grew went down the sink with each wash day. Then I read about washing hair in twisted or braided sections. My hair has never been the same since then. The hair doesn't tangle cause it is secured in the 7 to 8 loose twists I wash it in. I only undo them one at a time after I add conditioner. I then detangle with the wide tooth comb, retwist and move on to the next section. My hair has never stopped thanking me.
|Twisted sections for wash day|
8. Not detangling before washing
Removing knots and slight tangles from hair has saved me a lifetime of breakage. Knotted and tangled hair will not magically unravel itself after you have shampooed and conditioned. I learnt this the hard way in high school when I undid my braids and washed my hair. The knots just matted and tangled and some hair broke off down to my new growth. Whether my hair is being washed just after removing braids, or from a week of styling, I always finger detangle with oil, section my hair in loose twists and then proceed to wash.