Many women of African descent believe erroneously that black hair cannot grow. What may be causing this apparent lack of growth is mainly practices that are detrimental to being able to growing black hair long in addition to not knowing how to properly take care of black hair. In this article, you will discover that it is possible to grow long black hair by following certain practices.
Characteristics of Black Hair
Regardless of race, hair is comprised of a protein called keratin which features three layers namely the cuticle which is the outer visible layer, the cortex which is responsible for producing pigment and the medulla which is the innermost layer. While keratin is a relatively strong substance, bad hair care practices can still damage it such as using heating products on a daily basis or using harsh chemicals on the tresses.
Hair for people of African descent is different from that of other races in various ways and understanding black hair will help you to adopt practices that will enable you to grow long black hair even if you have always had short hair or it appears not to grow.
The follicles of black hair are curvy and not straight as is evidenced with various other types such as Caucasian hair. This is why natural tresses has varying degrees of a curl pattern from loose curls to tight kinks depending which is dependent upon the genes. This is also the reason that more black people suffer from ingrown hairs that those of other races.This curly pattern may also be the reason that more black people experience greater hair loss (alopecia).
Curly hair prevents the sebum produced in the oil glands surrounding the hair follicle under the skin from traveling down the length of the strand to keep it moisturized leading to excessive dryness that is very common with our hair. This dryness can lead to excessive hair breakage.
These curly tresses may also lead to knotting of the hair which makes it more difficult to comb and style natural hair. This difficulty in combing or brushing black hair and applying excessive force when combing or brushing it leads to breakage.
Another factor that leads to hair breakage or loss or the increased shedding of the tresses is that our hair has fewer elastic fibers that anchor it to the scalp.
Many black women also pull tightly on their locks with various styles such as braids, cornrows, ponytails, etc, that lead to hair loss especially along the hair line known as traction alopecia.
As you can see, the aforementioned factors can lead to increased hair loss and breakage which can accumulate over a long period leading to the misconception that our locks do not grow long. It does grow but it breaks if not properly maintained.
In order to grow long black hair, you need to discover the unique texture of your hair and its current condition and learn to work with it and you will then be able to grow healthy black hair by minimizing hair loss and breakage besides the normal shedding that everyone experiences regardless of race.
Steps To Grow Long Black Hair
The propensity of the tresses to curl, become excessively dry, become knotted, easily separate from the scalp or to break means that hair care practices need to be re-evaluated and those that make the problem worse need to be eliminated or reduced.
In order to grow long black hair, this hair which is the most fragile hair type, needs to be protected. This may mean re-evaluating the use of hair relaxers, heating tools, hair styles, etc. Or if you continue to use relaxers, heating implements and certain hair styles, you need to discover better ways that will lessen the damage to the hair. And just because you have natural black hair does not mean that the hair should not be taken care of and treated gently.
Step 1. Because the curl pattern which does not allow sebum to travel down the hair shaft, black hair does not need to be washed as often as other types such as Caucasian hair which can get oily because sebum travels freely down the follicle and strand because it is straight. Black hair should be shampooed once or twice every week only. When using a shampoo, the gentlest shampoo is advisable to prevent making already dry tresses dryer. In many cases, washing with a conditioner may be more beneficial and less drying than using a shampoo on the locks.
Step 2. Conditioning after washing is very important. After washing, follow with an instant conditioner that can be rinsed out after massaging into the tresses for a few minutes. Conditioners help to restore moisture to the hair. In order to combat dryness and prevent breakage and hair loss, moisture, moisture and more moisture should be added to black hair to soften it and make it more manageable thus minimizing hair breakage and loss.
A deep or reconstructive conditioner is also important for adding moisture to the tresses and fortifying the tresses. Protein based conditioners are beneficial for penetrating the hair shaft and strengthening it especially if some heat is applied to the hair soaked with a deep conditioner.
Hot oil treatments are also great for repairing damaged locks and boosting hair shine. The curlier the black hair is, the less shine it will have and using a hot oil treatment will help to give some shine to the hair. An overnight oil treatment can also be used to repair severely damaged and dry tresses.
Applying a leave-in conditioner after rinsing out an instant conditioner or deep conditioner is very important for dry locks to keep it moisturized and manageable.
Step 3. With hair styling, air drying or using low heat is great for preventing dry, patched tresses in addition to preventing damage and hair breakage. Using a light daily moisturizer will help to keep the hair moisturized and prevent dryness. When braiding or cornrowing, ensure that a gentle hand is used to prevent breakage resulting from too tight braids or corn rows.