My Hair Story
Growing up, I have always had mid-back length hair, but once I reached my teens, the length of my hair became shorter and shorter. Having a Puerto Rican mother who was a virgin to weaves and an African American father who was oblivious, it was extremely hard to convince them to let me wear it. They’re interpretation of weave is that it can damage your hair if you’re not careful. My parents loved my real hair and didn’t want to see me ruin it. Of course, like any other teen, I thought what do they know when they are not from my time? I don’t know why, but as a child I thought my parents knew nothing because they weren’t from my generation, but boy was I wrong.
Finally, my parents permitted me to wear weaves when I was 16 years of age and I was elated. I would utilize micro-braids and phony ponies interchangeably. After a year of wearing these hairstyles, I noticed that my hair was changing. It was getting thinner but at the time, my feelings were indifferent about the health of my hair. Once I became bored with those styles, I tried the most damaging hairstyle on the planet: weave with bonding glue. Unaware of its capability, weave with bonding glue was my favorite hair style because it was quick and looked nice as well as natural.
After I went a year of placing bonding glue onto my scalp, my hair was completely destroyed. It was short, brittle and I was mortified to show people what I had done. My sides were completely gone and my hair was very thin. You would believe after seeing how damaged my hair was that I would do something to change its state, but I didn’t. It wasn’t until I experienced verbal abuse from my ex-boyfriend that made me want to grow my hair back. One day, I got on YouTube and Google and began searching how to grow African American hair. It became a passion and it still is three years later. I have had many setbacks, but my journey has never ended.
The Most Infamous/Ignorant Statement: African American Hair Can’t Grow
When the statement “African American hair can’t grow” is recited, it exasperates me because it is so far from the truth. Everyone’s hair grows half an inch or a full inch per month. The sole reason why you would predominantly see growth in a non-African American person is because our hair requires more attention. African American hair is known to be dry, therefore it requires moisture. If the hair is dry, it is more prone to breakage as it is too weak to sustain. Adding moisture in the hair gives it strength and this consents it to continue to grow in lieu of breaking off.
A lot of people think that it is the scalp that you should concern yourself with but it is the end of your hair. The ends of the hair are more fragile as it is the oldest part of your hair. Adding moisture to your ends daily or every other day will keep it healthy and it will refrain from your ends breaking. The issue in the African American community is that the hair growths but the ends are breaking off, which is why you will not see any growth; it will remain the same length.
Steps to Growing African American Hair
Step 1: Trim
If you are just starting your hair growth, the first thing you will need to do is trim your ends. Chances are, your ends are brittle from the damage that you have done to it over the years. Once your ends are damaged, it’s best to get rid of them because it can cause breakage throughout the rest of your hair. Once you have a trim, do not trim again until six months to a year. If you trim too much, you will not see any growth.
Step 2: Moisturize and Seal
Find a moisturizer that works for your hair type and moisturize your hair daily. You will need to seal your hair with an oil so that the moisture will not escape from your hair, causing it to become dry again. Remember, dry hair equals breakage.
Step 3: Wrap Hair at Night
Make certain that you wrap your hair at night so that you will not experience breakage throughout the night. Tossing and turning can cause your cotton sheet to tug on your hair and pull it out; it can also damage your ends.
Step 4: Wash and Condition Hair
The hair and the scalp needs to be clean; therefore, you should wash and conditioner your hair daily. This will prevent your scalp from clogging and preventing new growth.
Step 5: Deep Condition
Deep conditioning is solely for strength; throughout the week, your hair may become weakened by the style and you want to ensure that you uphold its strength deep conditioners.
Step 5: Co-washing
Co-washing is simply taking your favorite conditioner and washing your hair with it. Do not use shampoo! This action is needed to restore whatever moisture is lost and this should be executed once a week but it is optional.
Step 6: Protective Styling
A protective style is simply a style that is protecting your ends. You want to protect your ends as much as possible to see growth. There are tons of styles that you can do but wigs are my personal favorite. I braid my real hair underneath the wig and unbraid it for washing and conditioning but your protective style is your choice.
**If you follow these steps religiously for three months, you should see results.
For more information on growing African American hair, you can always visit hair gurus on YouTube, Black Girl with Long Hair Blogs, or Long Hair Care Forum.