Friday, November 25, 2011

My way of Growing out my hair

This post is just going to be about what methods I took to grow out my hair. Results weren't overnight, it was a gradual process. My hair was up to about chin length when curly and has gone to about end of shoulder blade length when curly. At the time that I started my hair growth journey, it was heat damaged due to hair dying, heating tools and negligence of hair protecting products.There were other factors as well like not taking better care of hydrating and applying the correct products for my hair.

Scroll to end to see pictures of my hair journey.

To start off my hair is curly, over the years the curls have become looser than when I was younger but still curly. Curly hair naturally is very fine and generally dry. Frizziness is a common occurence and learning to deal with my hair texture is always a work in progress. I was ignorant to certain basic facts about curly hair and ignored most of what I did know about it. My hair type would be classified as a 3b.

So I started my hair growth journey after getting tired of having my hair shoulder length for years and never seeing much growth. Because of all the damage that I had done to my hair it wouldn't grow past my shoulders. I decided I needed to evaluate what I was doing and change things if I wanted my hair to grow again. These are the things I did to do that.

1st. Reduce or completely eliminate usage of hot tools. Consistent usage of hair dryers, curling irons or flat irons will damage hair. If you cant live without using heat on your hair then reducing the amount of times you use it is just as good. I wasn't much good at blow drying my hair so instead I would use a flat iron, problem is I used it on wet hair with no protection. I would hear the sizzle as I ran the iron through my strands and thought it was a good thing because it was straightening my hair. While it did straighten my hair it also made it dry, gave me split ends and damaged my curl pattern. On my journey I knew I was going to have to cut out using the flat iron. I barely brought out the iron to do my hair in the beginning and when I did I made sure to have a heat protectant and have hair already be dry.

2nd. Stop or reduce how much you dye your hair. This was something like an addiciton for me, I loved to dye my hair. It was fun being able to change the color but I was doing it too often. I knew that in order for me to grow out my hair I would have to stop putting damaging chemicals in it. Not to mention I was using cheap dye that did nothing to moisturize it at all. So I made a promise to dye my hair if needed at most only once a year or not at all. This was a major factor in getting my hair back to what it should be.

3rd. Regular hair trims. I normally got pretty regular cuts, if not in a salon then I would do them myself. At the start of my hair journey I went to the salon around every 3 months to get a cut but got frustrated when they would cut what little growth I did achieve. Eventually I switched to cutting it myself because the salons I was going to were too scissor happy and trimming more than my split ends. I did try another upscale salon later on in my journey and there was the first time I did get a haircut where they trimmed my ends, maintaing my length without chopping it off for the heck of it. So now I cut my own hair because I trust myself to cut it more than other people. When I started my journey I had layers all over and even though I stressed how I was growing my hair out into one length the stylists would always recut my layers. By cutting it my self I've grown my hair out to almost one length (the bangs grow slower).

4th. Know your products and eliminate any bad ones. I had read an article early in my hair journey about curly hair and products. One that I eliminated was shampoo, the ones I would use had sulfate and only dried out my hair which I didn't want. A lot of products have sulfate in them which dry out hair and are what cause the foaming in things like shampoo. I never liked using shampoo so decided to cut it out and only use conditioner on my hair. About once or twice a month I would use a dandruff shampoo to clean my hair if I had too much product build up.

5th. Hydrate your hair- It's important to put moisture back into your hair, so for this I used olive oil spray as a way to quench my thirsty hair.

6th. Dry your hair properly. You learn somewhere along the way from emulating and being taught that using a towel to dry your hair is best, when in fact it isn't. I stopped doing this awhile ago because all it does is cause breakage and frizz. Instead of drying my hair with a towel, I squeeze out as much water as I can after washing my hair and then use something like a cotton shirt to pat dry it. This way it isn't causing breakage and the shirt absorbs alot of the water. Then I let it air dry.

6b. Manage frizz. This is just an added step that I thought was important because no one likes frizz. There are several ways I have eliminated frizz and thankfully don't suffer from it anymore unless I'm fidgetting with my hair. First thing I do is when washing my hair I never pile it atop my head and mush all over, that causes tangles which I don't want because then you get breakage. Rather I massage my hair and loosely gather the ends to the top. The second thing I do is detangle my hair when I condition it, having curly hair I almost never comb it because it tangle so easy so this is the only time I do it. I have used a wide toothed comb to detangle but most often than not I use my fingers making sure to comb carefully through hair. After I have completely washed out the conditioner I wet my hair all over with cold water and then wring out excess water. Since I wash my hair with medium heat water it opens up my hair shafts but with that comes frizz hair, so wetting my hair with cold water closes the shaft locking in moisture thereby reducing frizziness. The next thing I do is to make sure I wring out as much water I can from my hair before pat drying it with a cotton t-shirt. I make sure to air dry it even if I do place product in my hair while wet I leave it alone making sure not to touch it even after it dries. Running your fingers through your hair is a sure fire way to get frizz.

7th. Use minimal amounts of products.I eliminated gels and other products I would normally use to keep my curls in place. The only products that would go into my hair for styling were olive oil, heat protection and lotion. And on occassion a bit of hairspray but that wasn't very often. I had read an article also in the beginning of my journey about the effects of wetting dry hair and it turned me onto lotion as a hair product. The author stated that it would be better to use lotion to smoothe hair rather than water that would only dry and frizz it out. I started using that trick before giving up all my hair products and then decided to strictly only use that. It held my curls in place better and didn't give me that hard scrunchy feeling or look. I was always a stickler for using products that would keep my curls in place and this did the trick. At first of course my hair wasn't so managable but after continued usage my hair finally behaved. During that adjustment period I just became creative with styling in order to compensate for lack of products. It doesn't leave a greasy feeling and instead leaves my hair feeling soft and frizz free.

8th. Work with your texture. It's improtant to know how to deal with your hair texture no matter what it is. For most of my curly haired life I have always tried to work against my hair and failed miserably. Getting knowledgeable about your own hair type and texture is important to maximize the health of your hair. Doing what might work for another hair type might not necessarily work for you, but adjusting it to your hair type can. That's something that I'm still learning but feel have come a long way with, learning through my mistakes what works and doesn't.

Here are photos that show the difference in growth as I started, I chose to show straight hair because you can get a better idea of how long it has grown. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE ALL OF THE PICTURES

So as you can see there is a marked difference from when I started to now, in terms of hair growth. I followed my hair growth tips as much as possible and even though the growth wasn't overnight it grew. I was stuck for about 2 1/2 years with my hair up to the length of my neck and it wouldn't grow, so to have it to the length it is now has taken a lot of patience and perseverance. 

Now currently my hair is around 2-3 inches shorter than the last photo because my ends were to dry. I used my flat iron a lot more this year and for the first time I bleached it (so bad for the hair), so for the last month and until the end of the year I have stopped using heat on my hair. I want it to grow further and I am going to take it easy on my hair again. I'm still learning more about my hair and I want it to get to its up most healthiest and long as well. My goal for the next year is to hopefully get it to grow to around my waist and try to get it thicker.

So you can try what I tried and possibly have the same results, I have no idea because I don't know of anyone besides myself who did what I did. I think most of what I did was pretty basic hair care knowledge that should apply to everyone, like reducing heat damage. I just wanted to share my hair journey, hopefully you got at least a little something out of it. Hope this helps!

Video about this post here: