For the new converts to naturalness who are looking to revive damaged hair, or the curly whose hair simply took a turn for the worse, don’t fret — there are simple things you can do to get your hair back on track.
1. Trim Often!
Word to the wise: damaged hair is hard to fix. I know you love the length and parting with more than half an inch feels like you’re losing a limb, but this sacrifice has to be made. Focus all of your products, time and attention to the part of the hair shaft that will benefit from it, not ends that will never bounce back.
For light damage, consider cutting off an inch all around. For major damage, thinning and severely split ends, consider cutting off a lot more and evening out your hair all around. Give yourself a good starting point for your healthy hair journey and enjoy easier detangling sessions and stronger, more responsive hair.
2. Major Deep Conditioning
This step is the key to getting back on track and getting your hair to the point where it no longer breaks. To start off, I would suggest a heavy protein treatment to repair the hair followed by an intensive moisture treatment to give the hair back its elasticity and prevent the hair from snapping and breaking when manipulated.
As time wears on and your hair health increases, cut back on your protein treatments and their intensity by doing them less often and using more natural sources like egg and mayonnaise. As you do this, increase the number of times you do moisturizing deep conditioning treatments.
Also to help the hair retain more moisture, try to balance its porosity. The hair shaft has tiny shingle like structures surrounding it. Ideally they will be slightly raised to allow moisture to enter while making it difficult for it to escape. When hair is damaged, especially from chemical processes like relaxers, the hairs cuticle becomes raised making moisture retention difficult. The use of slightly acidic substances aid in closing the cuticle to help the hair shaft hold onto more moisture.
One way to incorporate more acid into your routine is to perform apple cider vinegar rinses. To do this, dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of room temperature distilled water and use it as your final rinse after cleansing. Also try incorporating aloe vera gel and juice into your regimen as it, too, is slightly acidic.
3. Protective Styles
During this period your hair is at its weakest so manipulating it often can possible lead to more damage and breakage. This is no time for elaborate hairstyles and daily styling. Your hair needs time to repair itself so try putting in styles that will help you to keep your hands and tools out of your hair, protect your ends, are easy to put in and do not put unnecessary stress or tension on the hair. Try styles like medium sized twists and braids and wigs and properly installed weaves. During this time avoid styles like buns and extension braids, which can put added stress to the hair and cause even more breakage.
4. Growth Aids
I am going to start this off by saying that I really don’t think that there is a product that can give you more hair growth. I simply believe that products and supplements only maximize your hairs ability to grow by correcting any problems you had, be it a deficiency, dryness, etc.
Having said that, this is the time to pull out all the stops to nurse your hair back to health, so keep your scalp well moisturized with oils and massage it daily to increase blood flow. Use that mixture you’ve heard of for your thinning edges, apply your super moisturizer to your dry ends and stock up on your multivitamins. As long as you ensure you aren’t allergic to anything you’re using, then go all out to maximize hair growth and speed up the hair healing process.