I am six years deep in this natural hair game and as I look back at everything I have learned since the day I big chopped and everything I still learn daily I know without a doubt that the foundation I set early on was the key to success.
I had a goal of gaining longer lengths with my hair the day I big chopped! Partly because I was hurt that I lost so much hair from my last perm and over the years of having a relaxer my hair got progressively shorter and thinner with no signs of slowing down.
I decided on the day of my chop that I wanted my hair longer than it had ever been at any point in my life and I was determined to figure out the exact formula to do that for my hair type.
In this post, I am going to give you a guide that you can use now while your hair is short that will set you up for longer lengths later if that is your goal. These are the most important points to remember and focus on during your journey, stuff that I personally live by and that you will hear time and time again from women who have successfully met their length goals.
Focus on scalp health
When I first big chopped, I did a wash and go every single day! My hair thrived because I chopped during the Summer but my scalp hated it.
Your scalp is the foundation of hair health and growth and when we ignore ailments or anything that that feels a bit off with our scalp we set ourselves up for hair loss, period! Hair growth is a biological process that is dependent on what we put inside our body, our level of activity and what we put on our scalp.
During my wash and go days my scalp would get so inflamed that I literally had painful small bumps popping up everywhere that would hurt to the touch. After months of research and getting it checked out I realized that the culprit was my habit of leaving a ton of conditioner on my scalp and not being mindful of gels and other ingredients that lead to buildup and infection near the hair follicles.
Do not be afraid of shampoo, keep the scalp clean and only use products designed to treat the scalp from time to time that will eliminate fungus and bacteria.
Products like the Long and Luxe Scalp serum are designed to be applied to the scalp and nourish the hair follicles to ensure that your hair can grow without any sort obstruction.
It contains ingredients like Biotin, Phytosterols, Aloe Vera, Pomegranate Juice, Pomegranate Butter, hydrolyzed Lupine Protein, and Saw Palmetto that help rejuvenate the scalp for healthier follicles and longer hair lengths.
Avoid processes that deplete the stand
Your hair strand is made up of three layers with the outer most layer being the most vulnerable to the environment and our own manipulation. While your hair is short and until around year two or three get into the habit of avoiding excessive heat, chemical treatments including color that strip the hair of its strength. Instead use:
1. Temporary color
2. Learn to stretch your hair with heatless styles
3. Do not over manipulate your hair
This will not be forever, as a matter of fact, your first two years after your big chop will go by so quickly you will wonder where the time went. This period of nurturing your natural hair without the impact of color, heat or over manipulation will give you time to get to know your texture, your hair’s likes and dislikes and set you up for success when you do decide to play with heat, or color.
I am often asked if deep conditioning is really necessary! Can you have a successful hair growth journey without it? The answer to this question is tricky and speaks to your mindset, because if you ask about avoiding it, it may mean that you do not like doing it.
Listen! I get it! Hec I hate it too! – But if you want to keep your hair hydrated for longer periods of time and retain length, deep conditioning is one of the best ways to do that!
Deep conditioning weekly is simply an investment of time on wash day that will allow your hair to withstand moisture loss and environmental elements longer. Find a deep conditioner that works for you and create a habit of deep conditioning weekly or bi-weekly!
I have used the As I Am Hydration Elation for years because my hair absolutely loves it and it is easy to apply to my hair.
Again! I do not like deep conditioning so I opt to do it before I shampoo to just get it out of the way. Hydration Elation smooths the hair strand cuticles, reduces friction that can lead to breakage and literally hydrates the hair after just 20 minutes.
If you get into the habit of deep conditioning you will think your hair is growing like crazy from it but the truth is you are actually retaining more length over time because you have reduced the friction and damage to the strand!
Let it go sis! Even after your big chop if your ends look a little dry and frayed, cut them! The sharper your ends the more length you will retain because dry, brittle and split ends spread!—EVERYWHERE!
You will also notice a ton of excessive knots on the ends of your curly hair. These knots get really out of control when you avoid trimming for years at a time.
Figure out a regimen that works for you and stick with it no matter what!. If three times a year works to keep your hair healthy then stick with it every single year!
Invest in your hair
When I refer to investing in your hair, I mean in terms of products, in terms of time and most importantly in terms of mindset.
Many of us underestimate what it actually takes to get curly kinky hair to the length that we may desire. The kinkier your hair type the harder it will be for your hair to retain moisture, remain untangled and retain length.
I often hear comments that allude to the fact that “naturals do to much” or “thats too much work” – I personally never shy away from those comments! Waist length inst easy to achieve, and yes it takes time, alot of patience and a great products to get there. Own it!
I wanted to make special mention of product choices because you have to know what your hair likes in the beginning by trying lines of products at a time.
Great one off “products” that can be added to your product arsenal are all natural ones, like essential oils and other pure oils, butters like shea butter or kokum butter that will add value to your hair regimen.
finally, much of what I just said may seem like more of the same but with any game plan that has been tested over and over again with proven success there will be a set of core rules that just do not change!
If you have just big chopped and your goal is long hair in the future you have to set the pace early and all of your efforts will be awarded regardless of your hair type! Comment below and let me know what you did when your hair was short that you still do to this day!
This post was sponsored by AS I Am Naturally however all words and ideas are my own!