Monday, August 19, 2013

Damn That Damage | Grow That Hair!

Damn That Damage! 
We Have The 411 On Length Retention

"My Hair is not Growing"
      Fact Check: Unless you have a medical condition  your hair IS growing! It may be breaking at the same pace, or even faster than it grows. 

  Damage is a barrier that will prevent you from seeing hair growth. Your hair is actually growing all the time, but with damage in the way, your hair is breaking off at the same rate it is growing, which is why there will appear to be no growth  or progress.

How to fight it?
       Fact Check:   Once the bonds of the hair is broken or split they cannot be repaired  Many products claiming to fix split ends, can provide temporary relief from frizz and flyaways  but cannot undo any damage. At the most these product strengthen hair, & smooth the cuticles, to prevent further damage. Split ends should always be trimmed. 

 You have to slow down the rate at which you damage your hair. Reduce is the word of choice used because it is impossible to eliminate all damage. Your hair is damaged to some degree every time you wash it, detangle it, and even touch it.
Lets Discuss the  4 types of damage that can occur & how to prevent them

Manipulation of the hair

Even if you are chemical free and you do have a good moisture routine, damage from manipulation can get in your way. To resolve this issue you have to be gentle with your hair. Take your time, and use your fingers.
The more you comb, style, or touch your hair you are causing damage to it. If you have particularly fragile hair, like 4b or 4c hair, this type of damage is easy to come by.
You might be thinking to yourself, "I am gentle!" Well, if you are experiencing breakage you are not being gentle enough. If you hear popping sounds while detangling, or feel any discomfort, your being too rough. 
Taking an additional 10 minutes to detangle with your fingers will reduce the amount of damage that you experience. Remember  you cannot eliminate damage completely. Taking just a few minutes will pay off in the long run, you will notice more length retention, and less breakage.  How much manipulation damage will all vary from person to person. 
For particularly fragile hair types you will want to keep your hair in protective and low manipulation hairstyles 70% -80% of the time and instead of detangling with combs or brushes you may want to try finger combing instead. Braid Outs, twist outs, palm coils, mini twists, pin tuck and rolls, puffs, updo's,  braids, and buns are just some of the many low Manipulation  options. 
Is length retention is your current goal?  If you are trying to gain length, maintain styles for 2 weeks at a time. This will help you to hold on to the hair that would have normally broken off had you worn a style that requires daily styling.
However for some naturals this is not practical, wearing styles for 2 to 3 weeks at a time may simply be unnecessary. Only you can determine this.
Nevertheless, even for naturals with looser curls and more resilient strands protective styles help to protect hair from damage.

Hair Dryness
Dryness of the hair will lead to hair breakage and split ends which ultimately prevent length retention. You have to have a good moisture routine if your goal is to have longer hair.
One problem is many people do not know how to effectively moisturize their hair. If this is you Keep reading! 
Let’s first start with defining what a moisturizer actually is!
A moisturizer is a Water based solution. Which means oils, greases, and butters are not moisturizers, they are sealants,  they help to keep moisture in your hair but they are not moisturizers.
So every time you set out to moisturize or LOCO your hair, you should lightly be misting with water or a water based product first, then sealing in that moisture with an oil and or butter.
When you moisturize you should moisturize all of your hair, but you want to pay close attention to the ends of your hair because they get particularly dry and they are the oldest and most delicate part of your hair. 
You may need to moisturize each day, every other day, or even once a week. This is all specific to your hair. You will know what works for you by the look and feel of your hair. Healthy Hair is easier to manage. 

Heat Damage
Flat Iron, Blow Dryer
While heat is a useful tool for giving us gorgeous stretched out styles, and luxurious deep conditioners,  it is also good for sucking the moisture out of our hair. Does this mean you can never use heat? No it does not, but if you want healthy long  hair you should cut down your usage of heat down to the bare minimum.
When you frequently use heat, you will also find that you will have to trim your hair more often, which again results in lack of length retention.
You also have to keep in mind that you may not have a consistency in style if you continuously heat style your hair. High heat will cause permanent straightening of hair strands for some naturals.
If you are transitioning this is why you should avoid flat irons and hot combs for a few months. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between relaxed hair and the hair that has been permanently altered from heat damage.
If you must have heat in your regimen do not use it more than once every 2 to 3 weeks. Try to stretch out the time you use heat as long as you can! Air dry overnight. Rock twists, and braids instead of blow drying. 
I challenge you to try going 6 months without using heat styling tools in your hair. You will see a big improvement in your hair’s health.
There a other methods for stretching hair like banding, if you want stretched out hair.

Chemical Damage
Dye and Relaxers
Relaxers, Texturizers, and Hair Dyes will all cause some form of damage to the hair, because of the drastic changes that it does to the hair’s structure.

If you are a transitioner, you will notice that your relaxer may even be breaking off on it’s own. This is most likely due to the differences in the two hair textures that you have on your head, (the curls and bends represent weak points) and your ends are weathered from time while also being weakened from the relaxer.
During your transitioning stage, you will want to practice all of the above:  protective styles, no heat, and moisture. As time goes on you will slowly trim away your relaxed or texturized ends.
Hair dye, especially if you are going to a lighter shade is drying to the hair. If you decide to permanently color your hair you will have to be strict with your moisturizing and deep conditioning routine. Otherwise, your hair will become dry and ultimately break. Be sure to listen to your hair. Some Curly girls Keep a hair diary. 
Damn That Damage Over Time
It Takes Time 
Remember you have to be consistent with good hair care practices. You cannot use heat daily, constantly manipulate your hair, and then expect for it to grow just because you slapped some moisturizer on your strands a few nights.
Give your hair a few months or so of using good hair care in order to see significantly healthier hair and growth. Progress will not happen over night. Track your progress with selfies, you'll have a great time looking back on your styles and phases on your natural hair journey. 

Cover It Up
When Pillows Attack

Cotton pillow cases rob your hair of its moisture. Its coarse fibers are abrasive to your strands. Over time, this can cause breakage. As you toss and turn, your hair is being attacked. Cover your hair at night, or use a silk or satin pillow case to protect your strands.