Hair-care begins at home! There are no magic treatments that will make your natural hair grow faster or longer. It is up to you to use the correct technique and natural hair care maintenance plan to grow your Afro hair.

Below are a few tips on how to grow natural African hair fast and healthy, tips to keep natural Afro hair healthy and what to do if the damage has already been done.

Do not use a harsh shampoo: Dry hair + harsh shampoo = hair breakage+++

Harsh sulfate containing shampoos would strip your hair of its moisture which is a high way to hair breakage. If you must use a harsh sulfate containing shampoo, it should also have a good moisturizer like aloe vera. A gentle shampoo is one that doesn’t contain harsh sulfate. Harsh sulfate shampoos also go by the name clarifying shampoos. These shampoos are advised for the removal of excess oil build up and should only be used monthly. You might say this is cool for a typical African lady who would wear her hairstyle for a long time, but I'd say this is so not cool because, though a typical African lady wears her hairstyle for this long, she doesn’t equally oil it, so there is no excess oil build-up, rather, the hair is screaming for moisture!

Always make it a habit to check the ingredients of your hair products before you buy them.

Use protein treatments and conditioners to rebuild your hair structure and strength: ↑↑↑ Protein → ↓↓↓hair elasticity = hair breakage ❘ Protein + heat treated hair = hair strength

The hair is made of about 88% keratin; a hard fibrous type of protein. This protein provides bonds that maintain the hair cuticle, keeping it closed and strong. When the hair is treated with heat or chemical, the bonds are broken, opening up the cuticle which now appears has thorns in the hair shaft and when you comb your hair, you hear that snap sound (open hair cuticle biting into each other, tangle hair strands and then cut). Protein treatments are effective in stopping hair breakage but should be used every other week. Excess protein in the hair would make your hair stiff and prone to breakage. Protein treatments should be used alongside a moisture treatment. Egg, yeast and wheat germ are good sources of protein.

Prepoo your hair before washing

Prepoo, simply means that you pre-condition your hair with natural oils or a conditioner before you wash with a shampoo. You massage the oils into each strand of your hair and allow sit for about 30 minutes or you leave it overnight to wash in the morning. The Prepoo conditions and moisturizes the hair against the stripping components of a shampoo.

Moisturize your hair well: Moisturized hair → ↑hair flexibility and elasticity

The African hair with all its kinks and curls need regularly monitored moisture. The same way you carry a lip gloss around in your bag for prompt application to prevent chapped dry lips, the way you need to be mobile with a hair moisturizer. A kinked afro hair requires more moisture than straightened hair would require. You need just enough moisture to travel from the roots to the tip of the hair.

To make your moisturizer, you need a spritzer bottle, some light natural oils (olive oil, coconut oil, and tea tree oil), water and fragrance.

Use a wide-toothed comb: Small-toothed comb + afro hair = tangled hair → hair breakage

In combing your hair, a wide-toothed comb is your best tool. You can even make it more convenient by having a jar of oil, in which you dip the comb before you comb through your hair; this is to reduce hair – comb friction. Also, work on breaking the habit of combing your hair from the roots to the tip; start from the tip of your hair, detangle gently with the comb (never be in a rush), and then blend with the root.

Use a satin scarf or bonnet when going to bed

Satin scarves keep in hair moisture and protect it from friction and damage, whereas, cotton scarves or sleeping bonnet and pillowcases absorb all the moisture in your hair, leaving it dry and prone to breakage.

Wear protective styles

These are styles that keep the ends of your away from contact with the atmosphere and your fingers. They help to minimize breakage and retain moisture. This includes buns, French twist, and braids.

Go gentle on your hair

Afro hair can be difficult to comb and manage due to its curly nature, so detangling of hair should be done frugally and gently. To reduce hair breakage while brushing hair, start from the top and work your way to the root slowly. Handle the ends of your hair gently since they are weakest.

Avoid or decrease heat styling as much as possible

Decrease the amount of heat treatment: Since it damages the hair structure and causes hair dryness. If you must use heat, use only a blow dryer like I do, on low heat or cold air.

Trim the weak ends of your hair every 30 days

With the above information in mind, it is important to choose specially formulated natural hair care products to grow Afro hair. This means that the oils used in such products should be able to provide maximum penetration and moisture to the shafts of your hair.

If you practice these guidelines religiously, you are on your way to a long healthy afro.

If damage has already been done

If damage has already been done to your natural hair, treatments that encourage hair regrowth and improve the condition of your natural hair may also be needed.

With the right technique along with specially formulated products to grow and maintain Afro hair, it’s likely you will be able to grow your black African hair past shoulder length – but this doesn’t happen overnight.

There are medical hair loss treatments that can stabilize progressive hair loss, and there are treatments which work to re-grow natural hair that has been lost. These such treatments are available in specialist hair clinics.

Most likely, breakage is the main culprit for hair loss in most women with Afro hair and possibly also causing your hair to thin. The key to getting it to grow again is to stop the damage that’s causing the breakage. Reduce the pulling of your hair, by wearing looser braids and brushing your hair more gently.

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