Length retention tips for longer relaxed hair
Help your relaxed hair maintain length with this quick and easy routine
For many young women growing up, having a head full of long strands was the epitome of beauty… and while for some there’s nothing more endearing than a short sassy cut, for many the ultimate goal was and is to have hair swaying way below the shoulders.
With this in mind, it can be very frustrating when it seems as if your hair is not growing or passing a certain length.
However, what a lot of women, particularly women of color seem to forget, is that your hair is always growing… the culprit is the difficulty or challenge of maintaining the length.
It takes a lot of work to reach an impressive length with health and strength, there are a lot of steps involved in the upkeep of lengthy hair. The routine can be a handful and while you can braid, bun and do protective styles once in a while, having an actual routine or regimen will work wonders. Consistency is key.
So if you’re looking to maintain your hair length or grow a few more inches, here are 6 steps to follow to get you started:
1. Clean your combs and brushes
While this should be a no-brainer, a lot of us tend to forget how important this small step is in maintaining hair length.The hair that is stuck in your brushes and combs from previous contact with your hair, can get attached or entangled with the hair on your head while you’re using it. This will cause you to lose more hair than you should.
To clean them, run a comb through your brush bristles. Yes, that’s right! You are being told to comb your brush. Ironic, isn’t it? But that’s the way to go. It gets all the old hair out and any other material that may be trapped in the brush. Once you’ve done that you can run your fingers through it under running water, with a bit of shampoo to remove any oil build up.
Do that with your paddle brushes as well, comb it out and take a toothbrush with a little bit of shampoo and clean thoroughly in those hard-to-get areas. Make sure to go over all the nooks and crannies.
To properly clean a comb, use a bit of shampoo and a toothbrush and brush your comb, taking care to ensure that each comb tooth is thoroughly cleaned… so basically, you’re combing your brush and brushing your comb! Now simply just let it air dry and you’re good to go, nice and clean.
2. Butter it up
Hey, no! Put your butter back in the fridge, we’re not talking about that kind of butter!
There are special butters made to keep your hair nice and moisturized. Shea butter and mango butter are just a few examples that are great for your ends. There are a few brands out there, test them out and see what works best for your hair. If you don’t want to test yourself, ask your hairdresser or go online and check for reviews. Just remember, everyone has a different hair texture which may require a different kind of butter, so you’ll need to test it anyway.
There are a few brands that will have both shea and mango butter mixed, so it’s a great 2 for 1 combo.
Butters are great because they act like a conditioner and soften your ends, as well as repair your hair thanks to the vitamin E present. You will still need a regular hair moisturizer, however you should concentrate the butter on the ends as this will allow you to go longer without cutting your hair.
3. Seal in moisture
Sealing in moisture is very important when trying to keep length and encouraging hair growth. This will help your hair to retain moisture, which lessens breakage.
Focussing on the ends you want to seal in the moisture and your overall hair as well, with oils like argan and monoi oils, which are known to help repair dry and split ends. If you think about it, the longer your hair, the older it is. Overtime your hair can get pretty fragile if you don’t take proper care and seal in moisture to keep it from getting dry and brittle.
Products with a lot of argan or monoi oil will help your overall hair health. Argan oil is used to help nourish the ends, as well as monoi oil. Not only will they help to repair your ends, they will also keep them strong enough to withstand the daily abuse.
The best monoi oil is Hawaiian, it’s the real stuff, but you can find great quality products on the shelves of stores around you, or even online.
4. Add leave-in conditioner
Now there’s a lot of talk about the ends of the hair, but it’s integral in maintaining hair length.
When styling your hair a good leave-in conditioner will have your hair feeling soft and smooth, making styling much easier. Let’s say you do a ponytail: after you’re done, grab your ends and spray them and leave it in… you’re good for the day! If you’re doing a bun, spray it on before and style.
In terms of application, the best types are the ones that you can spray, this makes it easy for you to apply it throughout your whole hair or zone in directly on your ends, without soaking your hair with the product. A good mist is all you need!
5. Protect your hair before bed
It is very important to wrap your hair away during the nights before bed, and even during the day if you plan on staying in with a satin head wrap, scarf or bonnet. Wearing a satin hair covering is perfect for keeping your hair moisturized while you're asleep. Other materials like cotton are moisture absorbing, which leads to your hair being dry and brittle.
So if you want to maintain moisture which helps you to retain length, wrap your hair every night, and they will stand strong, long and healthy for as long as you keep your routine.
6. Trim your ends
Every now and then you’ll need to trim your ends, for some this may feels as if you are cutting away length. However a trim is needed to keep your hair healthy, without compromising your growth in the long run.
If you refuse to trim those ends when needed, sooner or later the ends will eventually split and continue to do so up the entire strand, which creates even more damage and breakage. So get those ends trimmed when needed, whether it be twice per year which is great or every few months.
If you keep with your routine, you will be able to keep your hair growing without wrecking the growth every couple of months.
Now remember consistency and a lot of patience are required on this journey to length retention… so keep at it. If you have any tips yourself, please leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear them!