May 19, 2014

Help! I have 4C, natural hair and it won't grow!

photo credit: Kwesi Abbensetts Photos

by Jamila via AroundtheWayCurls

I have been natural for 6 years and my length is only at about 6 inches! My hair is also thin and lacks thickness. I have been doing everything wrong and I am now just about to follow recommendations for natural 4c hair types. A couple of questions:

- Should I chop my hair off and restart my hair journey?
- What is your hair regimen?
- My scalp flakes so quickly when in protective styles. Is there anything I can do to help with this? I have tried braid sprays, & light oils and this doesn’t seem to help.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please reply.
- Beth

Hey Beth!
Believe it or not, your hair is growing! Your challenge is that for some reason, you are not retaining your length. This could be due to one or more of the following:

Read On>>>

1) consistent manipulation
2) lack of daily moisture
3) lack of frequent conditioning
4) excessive heat usage
5) absence of trims when necessary/over trimming

If you have hand in hair syndrome (I do at LEAST once a month) then you are constantly touching your hair, braiding and re -braiding, twisting and re-twisting, etc. Our coils are extremely fragile due to their construction– each curve in your strand is an opportunity for breakage. To help with this, I recommend protective styles where your ends are not exposed during the week. You can enjoy your hair on the weekends!

Moisture and deep conditioning go hand in hand. It’s important that you are moisturizing your hair at least every two to three days, and sealing that moisture in with an oil before or after you apply your styler. Some call this the “LOC” or “LCO” method, and it tends to be effective. I recommend you deep condition once per week.

Personally, I think heat is “amoral”– neither good nor bad all by itself. However, because heat lifts your cuticle (the outermost layer of your hair strand), it makes your hair more susceptible to damage. If you do decide to use heat, make sure your hair is deep conditioned and try the tension method whenever possible.

Lastly, trimming is equivalent to profanity for some of us brown women, but I cannot stress enough how important it is let go of see through, straggly, struggling ends and single strand knots. To get into the habit of this, you can start by checking your ends once a month and clip as needed. The reverse is also true– make sure you’re not too scissor happy. Our hair only grows about 1/4 inch per month, so if you’re trimming EVERY month, you will never see retention!
I don’t recommend you chop your hair off completely, but it is wise to cut any struggle ends you have now. Keep in mind that the thickness of your strands (outside of being chemically altered) is genetically determined.

As for treating your scalp, I have had great success switching between coconut oil and apple cider vinegar rinses. What kinds of oils have you tried? Coconut oil will not clog your follicles and ACV is a clarifier that will help as well. There are plenty of DIY recipes available on the web. Tea tree oil is great if you are experiencing any itching.

I keep my hair regimen simple for two reasons.

1) I’m just as busy as the next gal.
2) The less I mess with my hair, the more she likes me.

I keep my hair stretched 95% of the time. Wash and go’s are outlawed for me unless I’m feeling frisky and want to spend hours detangling afterwards. I typically don’t. I co-wash twice a week and deep condition once a week. I use shampoo once a month, but always follow it with a super deep conditioning session. I am not loyal to any brands but generally stay away from parabens and cones. I recommend you try out a few conditioners and see which gives your hair the most life. I’m serious. This is a process! (Some places to start are Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Shea Moisture, Karen’s Body Beautiful & Suave Naturals).

My stable “products” right now are water, peppermint oil (for my scalp), coconut oil and caster oil. It’s getting warm so I’ve retired my shea butter. I will pick it back up again during the cooler months when my hair needs a thicker sealant.

Hope this helps!

Do you have advice for Beth? Can you relate? Share below!

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