Can I show you something?
See the difference?
In 2008, my hair was long, but very thin, and straggly... it was kind of dull. But believe it or not, it was probably longer in 2008 than it was in 2010.
So what's the secret?
For me, steaming and deep conditioning made all the difference. Trimming the dead dry ends off, was also important and helped me maintain my length.
Back when my hair was relaxed my hair regiment definitely wasn't as intense or as serious as it is now that my hair is natural, but as I've said before, I tried to avoid heat, and greasy/oily products. The curls in my hair in the second picture were set using bendy rollers overnight.
Now, I may not have spent a long time on my hair, but I did try my best to avoid anything that I thought might cause damage, or breakage. So most of the time my hair was in a bun or a single plait. I only really wore my hair down in the summer when the weather was good, and also when I wanted to go out for dinner/events/parties etc.
My hair got really dry, as did my scalp. In 2008, I relied on mainly petroleum and mineral oil based products (hair creams and scalp conditioners) which just made my hair greasy and dull. My hair got dirty quickly and my scalp was always dry. I started doing hot oil treatments at home with extra virgin olive oil. I washed my hair once a week rather than every 2-3 weeks, and I used a little olive oil in my conditioners too. I stopped leaving my relaxer in for long periods of time. As soon as I felt a tingle, I asked the stylist to rinse it out. Slightly under-processed hair is better than a burnt flaky scalp. A healthy scalp is key for healthy hair. I also invested in a good conditioner and tried to let my hair air-dry more often.
These are basic things but they made all the difference. I started roller-setting my hair when I went to the salon rather than straightening it too. My hair length may not have changed dramatically between 2008 and 2010, but the volume and general strength and health of my hair did.
It's not only women with natural hair who need to take care of their hair. We all do, and no matter how great your hair is now it could always be healthier. Making sure you take care of your hair, using the right products, deep conditioning it and not being afraid to trim it when need be are in my opinion an essential part of black hair care.
Relaxed or natural, healthy hair is what matters. Take care of yours.
Much Love x