I could just tell you to use Jamaican black castor oil on your scalp and end this post, but there is more to long, beautiful hair than just using the product that actually makes it grow. There are a few things that you need to do to retain your length.
- Wash your hair: The best thing you can do for your hair is to keep it moisturized by washing it once a week, or co-wash as needed. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to your hair water is your friend, not your enemy. Shampoos with harsh sulfates are your enemies. If you use oil on your scalp a lot you might need to use a sulfate free shampoo at least once a week to clean your scalp and your hair. Stock up on leave-in and moisturizing conditioners
- Moisturize your ends: Your ends are the oldest part of your hair. Keep them healthy by moisturizing them everyday. If you have 4b/4c hair like me, you might even need to moisturize your ends twice a day. My hair sucks moisture in like a sponge. Scurl “No Drip” activator moisturizer is my favorite moisturizer. Or you can make your own moisturizer with rose water, aloe Vera juice and glycerine oil. Use a good oil like extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to seal your ends every time you moisturize your ends. Stock up on oils.
- Protect your ends: There are many ways you can protect your ends. My number one is using a silk pillow case, because sometimes when you are really tired you don’t even have time to look for a silk scarf to wrap your hair. Using a silk pillow case, or scarf helps you retain moisture and protect your ends at the same time. Other ways include putting your hair in a bun, wearing hats, wigs or hair extentions, getting your hair braided in micro braids or cornrows and so on.Wear a silk wig cap on your head if you will use crochet hats made with cotton yarns this winter.
- Do a hot oil treatment: The purpose of the hot oil treatment is to open up the hair shaft so the oil can penetrate your hair, which makes the hair softer and shinier. Doing one every two weeks can really benefit your hair. You can either heat the oil for a few minutes, apply it to your hair, cover with a plastic cap, and wrap with a warm towel for two hours. Or you can apply the oil to your hair, cover with a plastic cap, and seat under a heat cap for 15-20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and style as usual. Please don’t use shampoo after a hot oil treatment; it will be a waste of time.
- Deep condition your hair: Deep conditioning your hair is like feeding it, so it has to be done at least once a week. washing our hair with shampoo is good to clean our scalp, but the shampoo can also leave our hair very dry and crunchy. Using a good hair mayonnaise like Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise can give us back some of the oil and moisture that the shampoo stripped from the hair. Use the conditioner as directed by the manufacturer because putting it directly on your scalp or keeping it on your hair for too long can be damaging.
- Pre-Poo your hair: Pre-pooing your hair simply means getting your hair ready, moisturizing your hair before washing it with shampoo. Look at it this way, you cannot stop the shampoo from stripping away your natural oil. So the best thing you can do is to add more oil or moisture to the hair so that it is still soft after you rinse out the shampoo. My best pre-poo treatment is extra virgin olive oil mixed with honey. It will leave your hair clean, soft and shiny.
- Grease and massage your scalp: Jamaican black castor oil is the only oil that I use on my scalp, but I heard that jojoba and grape seed oils are also good. JBCO actually removes toxins from your scalp and moisturzes it at the same time, leaving room for the hair to grow. Massaging your hair for five minutes every day can also stimulate hair growth.
- Drink plenty of water: Water is also good for oxygen circulation on your scalp, especially if you are taking multi-vitamins or exercise a few times a week.
- Take your vitamins: I could tell you to eat your vegetables, but I know you would not do it. We get our vitamins from the food that we eat, mostly vegetables. You can take vitamin supplements if you don’t have time for veggies. The multi-vitamin that really helped me when I almost lost all my hair was Nature’s Bounty: Hair, Skin, and Nails. It is good. Try it!
- Avoid Heat: Everything I just said above is meaningless if you keep using any kind of heat on your hair; I mean flat iron, hair dryer, curling iron, hot combs and so on. It’s like going back to play in the mudd right after you washed your hands. Avoid hot styling tools as much as possible. Only use them for major events like graduations, weddings, and….you see where I am going with this. Towel or T-shirt dry your hair before you let it air dry after each wash. Use a hair dryer only when you have to. I know you will have to this winter. 80% air dry your hair before using a hair dryer, and use it on cool or low setting only.