“Can you please help me save my hair?!! I’ve been natural going on three years this year; however, my hair is not as long as it should be. It’s been the same length for the last year. In May, I got it pressed for graduation pictures, which resulted in breakage on the right side. How can I repair my hair? What is the best way to ensure growth?
Also, I’m a bit confused on the the concept of co-washing and deep conditioning. Am I supposed to co-wash once a week and deep condition once a month or twice a month? There are so many different concepts on co-washing and deep conditioning that I don’t know which is the correct pattern to follow.
I’m in dire need of help. I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve thought about cutting it all off or perming it again; I really do not want to resort to either.. Luckily, weaves and braids have stopped me.
Thank you in advance for your time,
Thank you for your questions! Since you asked a lot of questions…let’s get right in and dissect this a bit. (rolls up sleeves)
First, let’s talk growth… you said that your hair has been the same length for the last year. This doesn’t mean that your hair isn’t growing. Although it may not seem like it is, your hair is ALWAYS growing. The key is to figure out why your hair is breaking. Retaining length is the issue here, not growth. So in order to retain length you should assess how you are currently taking care of your hair. Here’s a few points to consider:
1. Care & Maintenance
Are you protecting for your ends?
How often do you get a trim?
How often are you restyling your hair each week?
The ends are the oldest part of the hair so it tends to get dry much faster- this is where the breakage occurs. If you are constantly switching up your style this could be causing damage also. I’d recommend styling your hair just one time per week. If you feel like you have to restyle every night, consider a protective style like twists or wigs. It’s important to protect your ends, so if your style requires a lot of manipulation, you can switch it up and try a new style.
2. Moisturize & Deep Conditioning Treatments
How often are you moisturizing and deep treating your hair?
I recommend that at least once per week after you wash & deep condition that you moisturize with a creamy product and seal your hair with an oil. This may be impossible if you are wearing braids or weaves for an extended period of time. This could be the reason that you aren’t seeing length retention. Your hair needs to breathe and it needs moisture in order to grow. A great alternative is wearing wigs. This way, your hair is protected; however, you can moisturize your hair daily and wash/deep condition it once per week.
As for the heat damage you experienced… I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t revert heat damage 100%. When I first started wearing my hair in it’s natural state I had to transition for almost a year from heat damage hair so I can completely relate and I understand how frustrating it can be.
Most importantly, you should eliminate heat styling from your hair routine all together if you are trying to repair your hair. Other things to consider and incorporate into your regimen are oil massages for your scalp to help stimulate growth, short-term protective styling like two strand twists, and protein treatments to help rebuild damaged hair.
Now let’s talk co-washing versus deep conditioning!
Co-washing simply means washing your hair with conditioner. It is a great way to cleanse your hair and provide moisture at the same time. Both co-washing and deep conditioning are very beneficial to our natural hair. However, just like everything else it depends on the needs of each person and the way you style your hair. I always encourage women who are unsure of what their hair needs to experiment with both techniques, this way you can see what your hair likes.
Here’s an example of a basic regimen that may help you:
-Shampoo with sulfate free or moisturizing shampoo
-Cowash and detangle
-Deep Condition for 45mins-1hr
Re-Style Day (Thursday)
-Cowash and detangle
Repeat each week.
I suggest deep conditioning 1x per week and cowashing on an “as needed basis” or when you are restyling your hair. After a few weeks of doing this reassess your hair. Creating a regimen that works for your hair is really about trial and error. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to natural hair. You just have to be willing to learn what your hair likes and what it doesn’t like. It’s kind of like a relationship. Sometimes “she” will piss you off and misbehave, but it’s always best to stay calm and work through the hard times. Once you master her and her ways, I promise you will love her (your hair) so much more. So hang in there Liz!
Helpful Links & Videos
Video on recovering from heat damage
Video on Co-washing & detangling
Video on My Natural Hair Journey