A trichologist is not necessarily a hairdresser or a hair stylist… though a hairdresser/stylist may get certified to offer a more valued service based on the science which is a beautiful marriage in follicular health heaven.
As a lazy natural who just wants to roll out of bed and go but still grow a healthy head of kink, I wanted to confirm the basics I needed to cover to do just that
All you need is great scalp care and moisture; that is all, for real for real and a moisturizing cream/oil to seal the ends.
Keep it clean
A clean scalp provides a great bed for massages and an ecosystem for your hair to grow. Washing our hair usually means that we apply shampoo to our hair by pouring it into our palms and rubbing it on until it lathers. A clean scalp means a clean scalp; try applying the shampoo to it directly. This is easier done with an application bottle, that is better than hoping some will reach it from the hair as you wash or try literally part the hair with your fingers to get access to that scalp.
Deep condition – yes it makes a difference
Deep conditioning is essential as it moisturises your hair, imparting moisture which allows your hair to flourish because
- Moisturised hair improves elasticity enough to withstand breakage from the slightest amount of friction and some tension
- Less breakage means you keep more of the length as you manipulate your strands in styling mode or just ‘living’ mode
- Moisture imparted by deep conditioning with a steamer for just ten minutes is enough to give your mane maximum moisture, vava voom volume and thus a healthier head of hair (though this is not an overnight fix – consistency is key!)
Summer hair growth
Hair does grow more in hotter climates; that’s why our American cousins in the south of the USA seem to grow a full new head of hair after six months of cutting it all off. Hair needs moisture and warmth, not to mention nutrition but that’s another story, to grow fuller and faster. Humidity may be a curse when you want to preserve a hairstyle but your hair expands to the heat and moisture in the air. Think holiday hair on a beach, it is softer and more pliable. Your hair loves moisture. Chances are, you barely use any moisturising agents and if you are still stuck on whether the oils are moisturising your strands, please read this article. Heat enhances hair growth because your body is in a state of emitting heat via vasodilation, blood is coursing through every vessel to cool you down as compared to winter where the heat is centralised and you need scarves and gloves to keep warm. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen around the body, bringing the supply to every cell that needs it, including the hair beds – and the focus on the follicle increases as your body requires less energy to stay warm in the hotter months of the year. Basically, your entire body is ‘alive’ constantly and thus hair growth is increased when it is warmer verses when it is cooler.
For a lazy natural who understands that an un-stretched afro is basically tangled for no reason and will pay in broken strands when detangling, the best state to keep your hair stretched is via Bantu Knots and braid outs, preferably not a twist out. The twist outs generally don’t provide enough tension to keep the hair stretched as compared to the other two styles mentioned, and you’ll find them shrinking more readily.
I just had my hair ripped out by my braid lady because I didn’t detangle before going in. The advice is to deep condition for moisture retention and try to stretch the hair as much as possible through a tension blow dry, where the hair is stretched in parts and a hairdryer on a low heat is passed along the stretched hair using a direction nozzle. This method should be used instead of the traditional comb through method as this can cause untold damage. Or stretch by using flexi-rods or something similar if you prefer not to use heat. In addition, ensure the hair is moisturised for minimum friction when braiding, bring your own comb and let your braider know that it’s okay to leave all the wispy bits. Large sections of your own hair verses small amounts of extensions (2:1) is the ideal ratio. If you’re brave enough, take your own seamless, wide-toothed comb along so your lady doesn’t pick up the smallest comb possible!
So, when is protective styling essential for me to grow my hair, I asked. Can I skip it in the summer? The answer was no; surprisingly. Though heat is a nice gift for growth, the sun’s glare doesn’t help if your hair isn’t protected from it, the same way you would protect your skin. The lightening of the hair colour is due to these effects which cause a degradation of the hair shaft and the subsequent lightening. If you aren’t keeping it moisturized and protected from consistent UV rays, it will dry, become brittle and eventually snap off. Like a dried leaf out in the sun, crunched underfoot.
Winter is an obvious protective style season as friction from multiple layers require that your hair is kept out of the way of scarves, coats and turtle necks made of rougher materials like cotton and nylon.
Adding pieces of kanekalon in the form of Marley hair or ‘expression’ braid hair isn’t detrimental to hair growth if the mode of installation is prepared for by the aforementioned stretched hair with the tension method. Your hair being in contact with these ‘foreign’ pieces in not known to impact it negatively.
Just remember to keep a clean scalp, stretch the hair via bantu knots and braid outs and move to a hot climate.
Any further questions? Send me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have another Q and A with Nicola