Hereditary plays a large part in the type of hair that grows from our scalps. Genes determine hair color and texture, and regarding African American hair, may determine length. Keeping this in mind, there are steps, that if follow faithfully, will ensure your hair will be it’s longest, strongest, and healthiest for you.
When it comes to those of us over age 50, factors that were not part of the equation, when we were younger, affect our hair. Decades of torture in the form of styling, heat, neglect, over use of chemicals have taken their toll. Genes may indicate that hair thins, turns gray, or bald spots appear rapidly. The stresses of life only complicate matters. And for some stress manifests in pulling out the hair, (trichotilomania).
Here are 10 steps that will help you achieve your personal best, when ti comes to hair care:
1. Go natural
Cutting or allowing the chemicals to grow out, and wearing you naptural hair is the number one way to ensure that your tresses will be strong and healthy. If you simply have no desire for natural hair, the remaining 9 steps should still benefit your hair.
2. Keep the ends cut
Hair will not grow beyond damaged ends, but many times if you have a new growth after years of damaged hair, ti is hard to cut off your progress. And there are beauticians, who always want to clip more hair than the customer desires.
Talk with your hair dresser, and make sure that no more of your hair is clipped than necessary, to maintain your new growth. If you have had past success, you may consider trimming your own hair. I clip my own ends, and my husband gives me edge ups.
Increasing the whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your diet will improve overall health, and your hair is included. Also make sure to stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of purified water each day. Hair is made of protein, so it is important to get enough each day. If you do not eat red meat, protein can be found in beans, lentils, and soy products.
4. Vitamin supplements
In addition to any daily multivitamin /mineral supplement you may already be taking, consider a supplement, that is just for the hair. Make sure to always discuss any supplements with your health care provider. And never take more vitamins, than is directed in the instructions. And remember that results will differ from person to person.
Stress causes our bodies to become depleted of key nutrients, including B vitamins. And the B vitamin family are those which help hair grow long and strong. This is why it is important to make sure you are getting proper nutrition, first through diet, and as an alternative supplementation.
Using the balls of your fingers, gently knead your scalp. While sitting, hold your head back as far as you can, without hurting your neck, and hold for several minutes. Hold head over between knees, and massage scalp for 2 or 3 minutes. Do these at least twice a day each.
6. Deep conditioning
Make sure you deep condition hair at least once a month. If you do your own hair, deep condition each time you shampoo. Most African American hair does not need daily shampoo. One a week should be sufficient.
7. Daily moisturizing
My aunt, and her daughter always had short thin hair. When I noticed both with longer thicker hair I inquired, I was told they used Pantene relaxed and natural daily moisturizing creme. I have had some success with this product as well.
8. Sleep in a satin cap or scarf
A scarf or cap will prevent breakage while you sleep.
9. Decrease maintenance
Black women have a tendency to comb, brush, pick, pull, grease, oil, and gel our hair to extremes. If you are wearing a natural style, or using a texturizer or texture softener, it will be easy to just wash and go. If you are wearing a style that requires heat, or roller set, try to limit the maintenance.
Maintain what you have obtained, by diligently continuing with these steps. I know from experience, that missing just one or two on a consistent basis, will have you starting over from square one. The goal is to be your personal best, and stay that way. Your hair may not grow as long a someone else’s, but when you go beyond the norm for you, it will be such a reward.