How To Achieve Your Hair Growth Goals
The topic of hair growth is a very common subtopic in the natural hair community. Most of us want long, luscious hair, but are not sure about how to achieve it. Let’s first start with a very important factor in maintaining your hair: porosity. Many new naturalistas think that their hair type, (3a, 4b, 4c, etc) is the key factor in determining how to take care of their hair. While I do believe that it is important to take it into consideration, I would not say that it is the most important factor. Porosity is your hair’s ability to accept and retain moisture. Retaining moisture is important because when your hair is dry, it is easier for the strands to break.
There are three porosity types: low, medium and high. Low porosity hair does not easily accept moisture into the shaft, but when in, it does hold a little better than high porosity because the cuticles are flat and closed. So one of the goals for people with low hair porosity is to open their hair cuticles and seal it to retain moisture -- which aids in hair growth. Medium or Normal porosity hair easily permits and retains moisture. How lucky are the people who have this type of hair? Their hair cuticle is slightly open enough to receive and retain moisture. In order for medium porosity hair to maintain this is to avoid products, dyes, and heat that can possibly damage the hair. Last, high porosity hair easily allows moisture into the hair, but it also leaves quickly. This is due to the cuticle being raised and open. Need help finding out your porosity? Two easy ways to test your porosity are our Porosity Quiz and ‘the water test.’ The water test consists of taking a clean, dry strand of your hair and dropping it into a glass of water. Low porosity hair will float at the top of the water. Medium porosity will float and sink slowly to the middle of the water. High porosity will sink to the bottom.
Low Porosity Hair
The first couple things I suggest for low porosity hair is to learn your hair’s favorite products and solidify a regimen that you will stick to. This greatly affects your hair growth. Remember, consistency drives results. This blog will help you find a system that works best for you and your hair. Let’s start with the day that every natural tends to dread.. Wash Day! Use a clarifying shampoo or bentonite clay to remove build up and oils. Low porosity hair is more susceptible to build up especially when the moisture is locked in! It is best to rinse with warm water to open the cuticle. Next, pick your hair’s favorite protein-free conditioner and heat it up before using. Trust me, your hair will thank you. For low porosity hair, the name of the game is opening the cuticle to get the moisture in! Next, deep conditioning with heat is your best friend. Yes, I said it. Apply your deep conditioner in the shower and using our deep conditioning heat cap, allow the product to penetrate your follicles for approximately 30 minutes. Another thing to do is the LCO method. This involves spritzing your hair with Leave-In Conditioner or Liquid (water), followed by your hair’s favorite cream, then sealing with a lightweight oil. A common misconception is that coconut oil or castor oil is a natural’s best friend. For low porosity hair, these oils are too heavy. It will not permit coconut oil or any other heavy oils because the cuticle is flat and nearly closed, so it requires lighter oils to permeate. The lighter oils I recommend are avocado, almond, grapeseed, argan, baobab, and safflower. Repeat the LCO method when your hair begins to feel dry and dull and steam to help open the cuticle during the days/weeks you’re not washing. This regimen will help your low porosity hair grow longer and stronger. But keep reading this blog as there will be a few more tips that everyone who wants to grow their hair, regardless of porosity, should know!
High Porosity Hair
As someone with high porosity hair, it has been a journey trying to keep my hair moisturized. One day it feels silk, smooth and moisturized, the next it’s dry and breaking. However, I believe that the biggest improvement I could have made in my natural hair journey is being consistent! When I did not wash or moisturize consistently, I would notice my hair breaking a lot more. By not being consistent, in a year, instead of growing 6 inches (hair grows about ½ an inch per month), I lost approximately 3 or 4. First, I recommend keeping your hair products in a fridge or beauty cooler. Since high porosity hair’s cuticle is already open, cool/cold water helps seal up the moisture we infuse. This means that when washing our hair, we want to avoid hot water. Pick your hair’s favorite shampoo and conditioner and wash/rinse with cool or cold water. This will help close the cuticle. In addition to this, using an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse will aid in closing the cuticle. When deep conditioning, we do not necessarily need to use heat, but if you choose to, do it for 10-15 minutes. I also highly recommend protein treatments. I started on rice water a while ago and did not keep up with it, but it definitely is a game changer. My hair felt stronger and I saw less breakage, which contributed to length retention/growth. On to moisturizing! I personally think that the LOC method is the better bet for highly porous hair. This involves spritzing with a Leave-In Conditioner/liquid (water), followed by an oil, and cream. Heavier oils are better for high porosity, this includes coconut oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil.
Additional Hair Tips for All Porosities
I did not add a normal porosity section because this type of hair is very low maintenance. People with normal porosity hair can work out a simple regimen but keep these next few tips in mind.
Avoid heat as much as possible. And when I say heat, I am referring to flat irons and curling irons. These things damage your hair. If you can avoid it, definitely do so.
Trim your hair as needed. I have heard so many different recommendations on the frequency of trimming. Some people say every year, some say every few months, so I believe you should listen to your hair! If you’re seeing split ends and breakage, consider a trim.
Try keeping your hair in a protective style where your ends are put away. The ends of your hair are the oldest parts, so they need more care.
Find a 100% satin bonnet that protects your hair and helps retain moisture. Some bonnets are not 100% satin so they are not doing much protecting, but with our 100% charmeuse satin bonnets, the Glow Squad has seen much improvement in their hair.
Healthy diets and vitamins are important. What you put in your body will reflect on the outside. Ensure you’re taking Biotin, MSM paired with Vitamin C and getting Vitamin D straight from the source. Personally, I take prenatal vitamins, as the daily vitamins I need are in there. I also recommend teas with herbs that are good for hair growth, such as nettle.
Consider henna or cassia treatments. Especially for high porosity hair. Henna and cassia help fill in the gaps your strands have. However, keep in mind that henna might dye your hair a reddish color. So if you are looking for the benefits of henna without the dye effect, I recommend cassia.
Be consistent and positive. The more you neglect your hair, the more it will break. However, the more you show TLC to your hair, the more it shows you that it appreciates what you’re doing.