Tips for Retaining Hair Length

Regardless of where you are in your hair journey, many naturals feel as if they cannot grow their hair past a certain length. Our hair is always growing, but for those of us with curlier or kinkier hair textures, hair tends to break off as it grows. Breakage occurs for a variety of reasons: lack of moisture, tangles, and those dreaded single strand knots. It’s important to take care of your hair year-round, but winter can be an especially heinous time for those of us with natural hair. The cold dry air can make your hair brittle and more prone to breakage. Think of winter as a time to elevate the tender loving care you put into your hair regimen. With extra diligence, you can make sure that you retain the length of your hair.


1. Keep Hair Moisturized

This might seem like a no brainer, but it is crucial to keep your hair properly moisturized if you want to retain length. If you forego moisturizing, your hair strands will be brittle and more prone to splitting or breaking. Though naturals love to sing the praises of coconut oil, it will not, by itself, completely moisturize your hair. Oils like coconut, olive, or jojoba can be used to seal in whatever moisture you put in your hair. Oils are best used after using water or a water-based moisturizer as a sealant. There’s no need to go to the beauty supply and buy every moisturizer you see, just have stable products for a regimen to keep your curls quenched.


2. Be Gentle When Styling/Detangling

I get it. Natural hair can be frustrating at times, but taking your feelings out on your hair will only stunt its ability to retain length. It’s not simply about length, it’s also about the general health and appearance of your hair. Whatever crown you’ve got, it’s beautiful and precious and needs to be treated as such. Ripping through your hair with a fine-toothed comb or rough brush will only snap those ends right off. Before you detangle, consider wetting your hair or applying conditioner. Finger detangling works for some, but for others, a wide-tooth comb works just as well. Treating your hair gently is a very simple way to retain length and keep your hair gorgeous.


3. Protective Style

Long term styles like box braids, crochet braids, and sew-ins are great ways to keep your hair protected from breakage. With your hair protected, it will both gain and retain length. The purpose of doing protective styles is to keep the vulnerable ends of your hair tucked away, decreasing the chance of them breaking off. Protective styles are not limited to the time consuming or often costly ones previously mentioned. A protective style is any hairstyle that calls for low manipulation and shields the ends of your hair. Twists, buns, and Bantu knots are protective styles you can do on your own without spending dollars or hours. Moisturize your hair, style it, and leave it alone to flourish.


4. Trim Those Ends

When growing out your natural hair and reaching those length goals, it might be hard to face the shears and part with your ends. Your hair will look like it’s lost so much but trimming the dead ends and tangles from your hair will only make it healthier. Reaching a certain length “milestones” is exciting, but the health of your hair should not be sacrificed for length.


5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

What you put in your body matters! How you treat your body matters! Of course eating right, drinking tons of water, and being active are important habits to keep up. But the benefit of healthier, stronger hair is simply a bonus. Having long hair is alright, but having healthy hair is where it’s at. Your hair maintaining length is a sign that your hair is healthy, but it should not become the sole reason you treat your hair right or take care of yourself. Love your ‘fro, love your curls! Loving your hair and taking good care of it will help it retain length and be the best and most beautiful version of itself.