I am a new natural. I would love to grow my hair and have them strong and healthy. Wherever I look, people talking about protective hairstyles as the only way to grow hair. They talk about low manipulation as well. My problem is, I would love to change hairstyles everyday. What’s the purpose of having these curls and keep them in one style for days? I love playing with my hair and try new hairstyles. For now, I feel compelled to keep the same hairstyle for days. Though I wish it would be otherwise, I am not enjoying that my natural hair journey. Is there anything I can do without compromising my hair growth?
Answer: Hi Anita! Your current situation reminds me of myself when I started my natural hair journey. I would literally change hairstyles every single day. Interestingly, my hair grew longer, stronger, and healthier than ever before. With time, I understood that although low manipulation could be a significant factor in our quest of length retention, it is not the only variable to consider.
Low hair manipulation is excellent for people who, for whatever reason, do not want or cannot handle their hair daily. So instead of them combing or styling their hair with frustration or in a rush, low manipulation becomes a game changer in their hair length retention journey.
Low hair manipulation helps prevent mechanical breakage, which occurs from improper handling of our hair. It can happen while detangling or applying tension to our hair (braids, weaves, tight hair style). Now, the key word here is: “improper”.
Can you develop “proper” techniques so that you can change hairstyles everyday and still grow healthy, strong, long hair? Yes!
Here are some simple techniques you need to implement:
- Be patient and allow yourself enough time to manipulate your hair. Avoid any rush while handling your hair.
- Keep your strands flexible. Hair flexibility helps you manipulate your hair with minimal to no breakage. Flexible hair is elastic and hair elasticity prevents hair breakage.
- Water is excellent to provide a good flexibility to your hair. Since water evaporates quickly, think of using a lotion or cream to get both hydration and moisture.
- Have a spray bottle with warm water always ready to mist your hair. Massage the water into your strands by pressing/massaging them. Warm water can re-activate the products you already have on your hair. Else, add some more products.
- Emollients soften, moisturize, and smooth your hair. They provide slip to hair strands, decreasing the friction between them. Emollients are lipids like oils, butter, …
- Focus on your hair ends; feed them first and with extra gentleness.
- Whatever hairstyle you do, keep it loose.
- Hydrate, Moisturize, Seal.
I hope these tips sprinkle your natural hair care journey with joy and creativity.