I’ll be 3 years natural in about 6 months. I can’t tell you how long my hair is because I don’t like to check, but I’m guessing it must be around 15 inches stretched out. Here’s some of what I’ve learned over this time period that I wish I had known when I had started. I hope it helps you.
Hair is just hair. The inherent structure regardless of the person, race etc. remains practically the same. Differences in texture arise simply from the shape of hair follicles on your head. A very flat follicle produces kinky hair and perfectly round follicle produces straight hair. Curlier hair is right in the middle.
So what is a follicle? A follicle is a sac from which a hair grows and into which the sebaceous (oil) glands open.Each follicle normally goes through a five-year cycle of growth and rest, with about 90% of the follicles growing hair at any one time. This growth cycle leads to about 6 inches of growth every year (on average).
This means it is entirely possible to see 18 inches of growth or more after 3 years! So why doesn’t this always happen?
In the case of kinkier/curlier hair, hair strands are under more stress. The more tightly coiled hair is, the likelier it is to have “breaking points” or splitting due to torsion.
I also mentioned that a follicle is also an opening for the sebaceous (oil) glands. These secrete oils that ordinarily should coat the full length of hair. But as you can imagine, the curlier the hair gets, the less likely that this will happen. Without this oil, the hair becomes much more likely to tangle, get in knots and of course break even more from pulling (familiar problems eh?)
Hair Tip 1: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Establish a moisturizing routine early on. What conditioners and oils does your hair like? Read about my routine here. For instance, I have low porosity hair and absolutely need deep-penetrating oils with medium heat, especially for dry winters.
Hair Tip 2: Eat well so you won’t need those hair supplements. I remember joining the hair vitamins craze and then getting painful breakouts all over my back (*tears*). I later learned that my body didn’t need the extra vitamins I was taking and since most vitamins are fat-soluble and not water-soluble, my body was pushing them out through my skin (eww).
Hair Tip 3: Don’t rush to buy products even though that’s what everybody is swearing by. I get it; you’re vulnerable and trying to quickly find what works for you. However, I’d advise you to take your time and find out what you really need before buying. You save yourself a lot of time and money that way.
For example, this is what I would need:
1) A detangler to loosen knots (I use sta-soft fro)
2) A deep conditioner
3) shampoo(s): a gentle one and a clarifying one(really strong, so use once in a while)
4) A moisturizer/oil to massage into hair
5) A silk scarf or bonnet
6) A wide-tooth comb
After writing down everything I need, I could then go to a hair store or shop online and look for products that would work for me after reading several reviews. Feel free to modify my list as you see fit, but I doubt you’ll need a lot more than what I’ve mentioned.
Hair Tip 4: DO find a youtuber with a similar hair texture as you. If you’ve got kinky-coily hair like me, most of the stuff 3a-3c youtubers recommend might not work for you.
Hair Tip 5: Remember to protective style; Protective styling saved me a lot of time especially during busy school-terms. However, I made the mistake of neglecting my edges. I’d advise you to find hairstyles like bigger box braids that will not pull your edges, you’ll miss them when they’re gone ☹. Styling breaks are necessary (I didn’t do this). Take a month off after a long-term style to allow your hair rest.
Hair Tip 6: Wigs are also a lifesaver for the days you really don’t know what to do or for when you just want a new look. Don’t worry about them falling off. If they’re secure enough, they hardly won’t. I wore a wig for 3 months straight and it only fell down twice. Guess what? I picked it right up and wore it on the road; my money cannot waste abeg.
Finally, regularly trim your hair and drink water. Don’t be afraid to let your hair grow. You probably will make a few mistakes adjusting to your hair but you’ll get better, I promise.
P.S: Am I the only one who would LOVE a reboot of hairstyles like my featured image? Image from The Nigerian Nostalgia Project.4 Did you love this post?