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Rene Syler on Growth Secrets- Natural Hair Care

By January 27th, 202129 Comments

Rene Syler on Growth Secrets- Natural Hair Care

Hair Care: My Top 5 First Year Growth Secrets!
by Rene Syler of Good Enough Mother

If you’ve followed CurlyNikki and my blog, Good Enough Mother, you probably know my hair story. But if you’re one of our new followers – and we’re so pleased to have you on board – you may not know my tale.

In a nutshell after a bout of asthmatic bronchitis in 2008 my chemically treated hair fell out and I made a decision to go completely natural. When I chopped off what was left of my sick, dry, relaxed hair over two years ago, I set out to discover as much as I could about my own natural hair. This was easier said than done because I didn’t even KNOW my own hair, having spent the last 3 decades beating the curl out of it with chemicals. And what the chemicals didn’t do the heat did! I was left with hair that was perpetually dry, terminally thin ends and many questions as what had happened and how I could make it better.

So I started chatting up everyone; friends, relatives, women in stores and airports, anyone who was natural, wherever I found them. I collected a wealth of information by perusing YouTube and stalking women’s Fotki pages. I joined no fewer than three hair care websites, where I stalked even more women’s photos.

Now, over two years later, I’m the one being asked the same questions I was asking. Not that I am an expert, far from it, but here’s my Top 5 lessons I learned that I hope can help you too. So here goes.


*FIND A REGIMEN THAT WORKS FOR YOU! This is the most important one. You may look at people pages/progress and think, “I’m going to do just what she did.” But just because it worked for her, does not mean it will for you. Get to know your own hair’s quirks and needs and then go with it.

*HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: I know when I first cut my hair, I thought about hair 24/7 because I wanted it to grow. Hair, ON AVERAGE, grows about ¼ to ½ and inch per month. It will grow more for some, less for others. Understand that; accept that and already this journey becomes much more fun and far less disappointing.

*LIMIT DIRECT HEAT/USE PROTECTIVE STYLING: I feel like these are the two things that my hair directly benefitted from the most. I stayed away from heat mainly because I did not want to risk permanent heat damage and not have my tresses curl the way nature intended. Also, it was all about length retention and thin dry ends don’t stay attached to the rest of the hair shaft for very long. Protective styling also kept my hair from being damaged by the elements. I usually wear it tied up or braided, unless I am going somewhere.

*USE A NON-SULFATE SHAMPOO OR NONE AT ALL! I know that sounds crazy but I haven’t used shampoo on my hair in over a year. Once I stopped, it’s almost as if my curls thanked me by instantly behaving better! See, sulfate, a common ingredient in shampoo is also the number two ingredient in dish soap. Its primary purpose is to remove oil. Curly hair needs those natural oils so to strip your hair (scalp and shaft) of them leaves it very dry. Remember, dry hair is brittle; brittle hair breaks. So I only “co-wash”; in other words, I use conditioner as I would shampoo as it has enough cleansing properties to get hair clean without stripping it of those oils.

*NO SINGLE GROWTH AID WORKED AS MUCH AS JUST GOOD HAIR CARE! This what I really want to stress. I see women using Monistat, MSM, Mega-Tek, Wild Gro all these things to “help grow hair”. I used them all too. Guess what? Remember the aforementioned ¼ to ½ inch? Even with all of these things, my hair didn’t deviate much from that. What I did notice is that my hair seemed to grow more in some months than others. Right after I BC’d it seemed my hair stayed around the same length for a couple of months. Then all of a sudden, it took off. Now, that was not because I was taking anything (other than a hair vitamin and I continue that today). I was just treating my hair like gold and it responded. Once it became accustomed to that new level of care, it sort of took off.

But what do you say? What hair lessons have you learned over the years? Start sharing everyone…

29 Comments

  • Rene says:

    @LisasLusciousLocks I use Apple Cider Vinegar to clarify. I'll never use another product with sulfate on my hair. Way too drying. I get better results with ACV rinse, which strips build up but not natural oils.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anonymous you are very welcome. Please let me know how it works for you.
    Please and blessings to you too.
    Lulu

  • Deniese says:

    Greetings to all of my sisters in the natural
    (SITN). I am 50 years happy and I finally decided to go natural, once again, this time, for good. It does my heart good to read the articles on going natural. I am a seemstress and I make cute headwraps ( the one that looks like an African hat)to wear while trasitioning from perm to natural. My hair is very thick and tightly curled so I found out that using a good hair lotion is very essential for keeping my hair moisturized. I wash once a week to keep from having buildup. I will be posting my picture soon. Ritht-on for the natural. It's Back!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks LuLu for the suggestion on my thinning issue…peace and blessing!

  • LisasLuciousLocks says:

    Good Article. I do have one disagreement however. While it is important not to use a sulfate based shampoo everytime you wash your hair, It is healthy to clarify your hair once a month or every few months with a clarifying shampoo or a sulfate based shampoo. It cleans away all of the build up and give your hair a fresh start. If you don't clarify periodically your hair can start to act differently to the same products you once used successfully.

  • Celena3m says:

    My most painful lesson was learning the power of a good detangler. I am a long-term transitioner that ended up with broken hair. I had my last relaxer in July 2009 and nine months into my transition, my hair broke to about 3 inches in the crown area. I was dealing with two textures of hair and washing it was a nightmare. I would get huge knots at the line of demarcation that I ripped through to detangle. I didn't do my research before I decided to go natural and didn't know how to take care it. I learned a lot the hard way but didn't give up. I'm so thankful to all of the ladies who I've used as resources to encourage me and keep me going. This is my transiversary (can I say that?) month and I can definitely see my progress. I haven't used heat since September 2010 and don't plan on using it this year.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello.I've did my BC May 2010.It seems that my hair is at a stand still with growth.I've tried just about everything.I have tight curls and my hair is thick.What can I do to loosen my tight curls?I'm at my wits end here.Loving my hair, just ready for the length.

  • Anonymous says:

    July 22, 2011 2:38 PM
    Anonymous said… Can anybody help me with treating the thinning while on my journey?
    Have you tried Mega-Tek? You can get it online, I believe on Amazon or your local pet store.
    Hope that helps. Blessings.

  • Unknown says:

    HI'm only five weeks natural and I'm loving it, I can't wait for my hair to grow out and I can finally say I know what my hair likes so far all I know is I'm a product junkie and my hair loves water. This is very exciting for me and frustrating too. I never knew my hair was this curly. One thing I have learned is to use sulfate free hair products, there are so many hair products I want to try but some of them are not in my budget,(henced the frustrating part). I'm so happy that there are sites I can go on for advice. Her hair is beautiful and I hope my hair will get to be like hers.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural for three years now, but was still doing extensions. Because I deal with the public everyday, I felt I needed to look non threatening. Now the middle of my hair is lovely and thick, but now I have no hair line…I am thinning around the front, and side. I am know rocking my twists, and don't care about my co-workers ignorant comments or the public. Thank you ladies for keeping me inspired. Can anybody help me with treating the thinning while on my journey?

  • Lexa says:

    It's been just over 1 year since I've gone natural. For the previous 9 1/2 years, I wore my hair short (cut by a barber) with a mild texturizer. Since going natural, my hair has grown faster than it has in my entire 40+ years of life. The biggest lessons that I've learned? Take responsibility for my own hair. Learn what products are best for me. Carefully READ product labels. Have fun and enjoy my natural hair journey.

  • Anonymous says:

    I actually went natural for about three years, started with a bob near the middle of my ear. Now its past my shoulders. When I was natural, I used no chemicals, except for brown hair color. But, other than that, no heat and trims every eight weeks. I too treated my hair like gold and it loved it so much, it grew. I did however use shampoo and condit, but only learned within the last year that shampoo is no good for the hair and currently I use shampoo with NO SULFATE and Mega-Tek. About two months ago, I did get a hair texturizer, but follow the same principals as if my hair were natural. I follow 'itsjusthair.com' and I have learned a lot from her. I use In-Kind products, Kiss My Face UMG, along with Castor, Rose Hip, Lavender, Shea Butter Oils. (I've mixed this up in a plastic bottle and use after KMF-UMG.) My hair seems to like these products and the oils help a great deal. For the record, I love the way my natural hair looks and feels. As I grow and get older, I appreciate what comes out of my scalp.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm one and a half year into my natural hair journey, it's not a easy journey but I'm still learning to understand what my hair really wants.

  • Cheree says:

    I have been locked and natural for 16yeasrs now. Back when I started there was no advice from other women and didn't do protective styling or transition from relaxed to natural. We just did the bc and was done. So one of the best thing I ever did for my hair was not wash it as often as I did when I had relaxed hair. Especially when I started my locs because I wanted them to loc up. Maybe every three months. In between washes I would retwist and separate them but that was all.

  • Curlstatic says:

    I have learned to depend on discerning what is best for me and my hair. I mean I would read a lot of articles,and watch a lot of video's and if something is meant for me to do, it will stick out and I would remember it and apply it. That's when my hair would grow. Like I thought to myself one day. "I wonder what aloe vera would do for my hair." I looked it up not knowing if it was safe to use for my hair and when I learned about the benefits I tried and it works wonders for me. I bought the actual plant. When I want natural I get natural. No stuff from a bottle kind of thing. So my thing is sure watch videos, read articles but when you finish that discern what you feel is best for you and your hair.

  • Unknown says:

    how d you cowash your hair??apply conditioner right form the roots or ears down??

  • Anonymous says:

    I am 2 years natural, Oct. will be three years since my last relaxer. I have a true curly texture and my hair is fine so up until this point I have been a WNGo person but now I want to try more protective styles that will last a few days. I have see wonderful growth and totally agree with everything on Rene's list. I also do the ACV rinse but I do it a couple of times a week and only shampoo with a sulfate free shampoo maybe once a month. Don't forget that deep condition ladies. I am also a henna head and think that has done wonders for my hair. I see so many people that don't want to give up the heat during the transition and I know it is like taking two steps forward and one step back. I have had heat on my hair 4 times since June 2009 and my hair has responded to the TLC. I have been getting trimmed by a stylist every 6 months but I think I am going to up that to every 3-4 and see if that helps.
    Corygentri

  • Anonymous says:

    Great tips ladies! I've been natural for 2 years now and in the beginning, I was a W&G chick, nowadays I'm doing more protective styles and sealing my ends has been truly paying off for me! I still wear W&G from time to time so I don't get bored.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/KinkycurlyTree03

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural since 9/10 and my hair is BSL and I only had a trim after my 1st year and have not trimed it since! No heat, all natural products and protective styling only. My hair is healthy, strong and long! I love and listen to what all of you have to say and I have not change my products and procedure since I when natural due to I did my homework a year before when I was texturized never total relaxed for 8 yrs. Everyone's hair is different, you have to find what works well on your hair.

  • Onedayatatime says:

    I have learnt that its a process and is a trial and error.You will find out what your hair likes along the way. It's very important to keep your hair moisturized and not to compare your hair to others.

  • Anonymous says:

    LOW MAINTENANCE

  • Rene says:

    @Anonymous 6:36, have you tried Apple Cider Vinegar rinse to get rid of build up? I do it about once a month and it works wonders. Just an idea.

    @Anonymous 5:59, THX! You know at TES, my hair was relaxed and then blow dried and curled with an IRON EVER.SINGLE.DAY! I swear it's a miracle I had anything left ON my head when I left. If you go to my FB page you can see what it looks like now.. it's Rene, aka Good Enough Mother on FB
    THX!

  • Anonymous says:

    Using sulfate free shampoos does not work for me. I have low porosity hair that hates buildup, and the 1st few months of sticking to cowashing/sulfate free poos wreaked havoc on my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Using sulfate free shampoos does not work for me. I have low porosity hair that hates buildup, and the 1st few months of sticking to cowashing/sulfate free poos wreaked havoc on my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have loved Rene's hair since "The Early Show" years ago. After she went natural, I loved it even more!! Her hair was one of my inspirations to go natural. I transitioned for a year and cut the remainder of my relaxed ends in January of this year. It was the best decision! I LOVE MY HAIR!!! Thanks Rene and Nikki!!! ; )

  • Anonymous says:

    Great tips that everyone can use. The first year especially really is a learning time. I'm 1.5 yr in and I'm still learing a lot, can't wait until I have it down pat!

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I like that: "Treating my hair like gold"

    Mine is platinum 🙂

  • Rene says:

    Hey there! Well I "searching and destroying" but now as my hair has grown longer i've been seeing a professional stylist who trims it up every 3 months or so. These photos are about a year old as I'm now 2 1/2 years into my journey. But you can see what it looks like here:
    https://www.facebook.com/GoodEnoughMotherPage

    I can relate to the growing out at different speeds because now (as you will see) my hair in front (bangs) has slowed down A LOT while the rest grows like wildfire 🙁 Best to you!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love her hair. What I really like is the shape of it. My hair is growing out in so many different lengths and I'm afraid to have a stylist cut it. So I'm in the process of cutting small 1/4 inch tips off so I can shape it like hers. I want it to be evenly round and yet touseled like hers. I wonder if she cuts it herself or uses a stylist.

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