So as you guys know, I've been natural now for almost a year and a half. I know I don't nearly spend enough time talking about my hair journey on here, but I promise I'll get better at it. I did my Big Chop in November 2010 and since then I've restricted myself to heat styling only once every 4-6 months and to continuously doing protective styles. Here's where I started:
I have to say, my steady regimen of low heat and protective styles has been working! I wanted to show you guys some comparison shots from my very first blowout in October 2011 (one year post Big Chop) and my most recent blowout in April 2012. My hair has grown out alot!
Above is a pic of my very first blowout on natural hair in October 2011, just 6 months ago. I got it styled at the Hair Rules Salon with head stylist Dickey. See here for that post with video!
Above is a picture of my second blowout & press (April 2012). I took a few "length check" photos. I'll share those with you soon.
Updo on pressed hair (April 2012). This was about a week after my press. I got tired of wearing it out in pin curls so I pulled into this updo for a Saturday of shopping. I'll do a follow up post with more pics of this style as well.
Bantu Knot out on blown out hair (May 2012)
I have more pics to share in some follow-up posts but my main reason for sharing this post is to encourage all of you out their in the beginning or middle of your hair journeys. Your hair will grow, trust me! My hair is now the longest it's ever been in my life and I'd have to attribute that to the following three things:
3 Best Practices for Natural Hair Growth
1. Limit heat-styling.
It's hard, yes. But you can do it! As someone who has been addicted on & off to the creamy crack, press & curls, and blowdrying, I know it's a hard habit to beat. But letting your natural curls grow without applying heat is a great way to protect them from damage and breakage. Do a heat-free challenge for a few months and you'll begin to notice a clear difference in your hair's texture and strength. And there are TONS of cute styles to get into that don't involve heat at all.
2. Do more protective styling.
I actually just wrote a whole post for Carol's Daughter Transitioning Movement site about this very principle. Protective styling isn't just braids, weaves and wigs. Believe it or not, rocking a turban out one day is a protective style! Wearing your hair in a loose bun is another protective style. As long as your ends are being covered and shielded from the harsh elements, you're protective styling. And more of it leads to less breakage and therefore more length retention.
3. Condition, condition, condition.
I live by my weekly deep conditioner. Whichever deep conditioner you choose, try to make sure it incorporates natural ingredients that will nourish your hair and scalp. You can also make DIY deep conditioners (there are tons of YouTube vids for this). Making sure your hair is properly conditioned is the best way to assure proper length retention.
Any other tips for growing out natural hair? Share them in the comments section!