11 Ways to Retain Length

“How do I get my hair to grow?” That is the number one question when in comes to hair care. For the most part, hair grows ¼” to ½” per month---sometimes more, sometimes less.  Although there are several factors to consider when it comes hair growth, unless you have a medical condition, chances are your hair is growing just fine. What you REALLY want to know is, how to KEEP the hair that you’re growing. You want to see the growth. You want LENGTH RETENTION! If the same amount that just grew in is breaking from the ends every month or more frequently, you’re going to think your hair isn’t growing. Let’s discuss a few ways to maximize your length retention!

1. Hydration/steam therapy amplifies your hair’s ability to retain moisture, which increases elasticity. Better elasticity = less breakage. Less breakage = Length retention. Invest in a quality hair steamer, if you haven’t already, and incorporate it into your hair care routine at least twice a month.

2. We know that great hair starts with great practices. It’s important to practice using quality products.  Quality products that contain quality ingredients produce quality results. Feed your hair with the best, as you would your body.  Research often and read labels. Remember, ingredients are generally listed in descending order. It has the most of what listed first and the least of what’s listed last.

3. As often as possible, choose protective/low manipulation styles keep you from over styling your hair. Handling your hair too much, too often can result in breakage.

4. Avoid or minimize the use of direct heat from hot tools (i.e. flat irons, blow dryers, etc.). They can compromise the health of your hair, especially if used too often. Styling tools  (i.e. brushes, combs, etc.) can snag and rip out your hair, especially if you’re not gentle. Improper use of either of these tools can cause you to lose length.

5. Moisturizing your hair is ESSENTIAL to your hair’s overall health and maintenance. Dry hair has little to no elasticity. Neglecting to moisturize WILL cause your hair to snap, crackle, and pop.

6. Minimize the use of products that contain silicones and alcohol. They both contribute to dryness. Dryness = Breakage

7. Most sulfates can cause an imbalance in the pH of your hair. Over using them can cause your hair to become dry and brittle.

8. If you prefer using only sulfate shampoos, every now and then, consider pre-treating/pre-pooing using coconut oil, OR an oil with a similar molecular structure (like Babassu). It will help control moisture loss during the shampooing process.

9. Maintaining your ends with regular trims is also part of length retention. However, the frequency depends on YOUR personal hair care needs. Just know that the more you style, add heat, etc., you increase your need for a trim. Healthy ends help with overall longevity.

10. Over time, products, environmental factors, and co-washing can leave buildup on the hair. Buildup will prevent moisturizers and conditioners from penetrating the hair shaft---which will eventually lead to dryness and breakage. Use a clarifying shampoo, beer, mud wash, apple cider vinegar rinse, etc. to detoxify your hair once a month.

11. BE GENTLE with your hair. It’s a simple concept, but some people don’t realize that the way they handle their hair is ripping and tearing it to shreds.  If you must use a comb, use a wide-toothed comb on damp hair, and start from the ends!

Ebony Clark-Bomani