I recently cut roughly 4cm off my ends, I think I was in desperate need of a cut as my ends we're frequently tangling and had become thin, and in addition to my already fine hair it did not look good. I think I need to increase my moisture load.
Over the last few months I have tried to gradually reduce the amount of times I wash my hair. I have also chosen to do more long term protective styles lasting two weeks or more. I thought this would help me to retain length since I wasn't often going through the wash process, which is usually when my hair forms knots and tangles. I also read of bloggers like Cipriana from UrbanBushbabes who only wash and deep condition once a month but still manage to maintain the length and health of their hair. I thought that sounded great. I love the idea of doing less and less to my hair! However I don't think that approach worked so well for me and perhaps it was one of the reasons for my damaged ends and single strand knots (ssk's).
Then I thought back to the first year of my natural hair journey and how I never really had ssk's and bad tangles. I guess one reason why was because my hair was shorter, but also I remember washing my hair twice in the week and regularly applying leave in conditioner and sealing. My ends were well moisturised and stayed that way 1. because lots of water was able to penetrate the hair strand and 2. I wasn't in the habit of frequently stretching my hair. Since discovering the african threading method I have been stretching my hair after every wash and although I spritz my hair between washes I've learnt that my hair and scalp benefit from a thorough soaking and kept in a style that allows the hairs to clump and curl in its natural pattern. I think I lose moisture rapidly when my hair is stretch out too much.
I also looked at photos I took of my hair when I was tracking it's growth last year and I noticed that my hair hasn't gained much length at the fringe and crown area since then. This is not surprising because the hair at my crown is coarse and breaks really easily and my fringe hair seems to form a bountiful amount of ssk's (which I've had to cut off) probably because I manipulate that area the most and it probably needs extra moisture which I've not been careful to give it and likewise the crown of my head.
So I'm going to change up a few things. This is what I'm going to try:
- Washing my hair twice a week (while in twists)
- Keeping my hair in chunky twists during the week.
- Applying oil to the ends a few times a week or introduce oil rinsing.
- Continue to finger detangle.
- Do a short deep condition on the first wash day and perhaps a longer one on the second wash day.
- Find styles that don't require hair to be super stretched.
- Start to document my growth again by taking one photo at the beginning of each month. Then I will be able to see if the new regime is working.
I've learnt so much about my natural hair over the last 3 years but this is only because I've taken note of how my hair reacts to different regimes and products. I definitely think it's great to leave you hair out of weaves and braids for some of the time so you can better understand how to care for your hair and what it likes and dislikes. There's a lot of trial and error with natural haircare but I'm enjoying the journey because the further you go along the road the more you'll be able to refine your regime, therefore making caring for your hair as easy as pie!