For many naturals long hair is really important. And while the hair grows – yes it does! – the key to length isn’t necessarily hair growth — it’s about retaining length. Your hair growth cycle, while partially dependent on a number of factors that are in our control – is mainly GENETICALLY DETERMINED. So, there’s not a whole lot you can do to quicken that process despite what supplement and product companies say. And, yes, I’ll dive into this in more detail in future posts. However, what you CAN do is control how much hair is broken and cut due to the handling of your hair. Breakage of textured hair happens mostly due to how it’s handled. And, if you’re going to see the lengths adding up, minimizing breakage is key. There are a number of strategies that can be implemented and one of them is protective styling.
Recall from previous posts on the characteristics of textured hair, our hair is:
- Highly coiled and curly and each bend represents a point of weakness
- Has an irregular diameter along they hair shaft which results in weakness of the strands
- Has less tensile strength when wet and dry mean it can break more easily compared to Caucasian hair
- Is extremely susceptible to breaking when being combed due to it’s curly structure
- Has a high static charge if combed when dry. This can cause flyaways.
- Has a low moisture level further contributing to its fragile nature
In other words, it’s fragile and breaks really easily.
Protective hair care strategies are a good idea in order to shield the delicate strands of textured hair, to minimize breakage and damage and retain length. However, they’re NOT absolutely necessary. Many naturals have grown their hair to long lengths without going overboard with the protective styling.
So how do you do this? It doesn’t have to involve sitting for hours in a stylists chair having your hair braided every 6 weeks or so. Unless you want to — which is perfectly fine. However, you can do some other things to minimize breakage and retain length. Click through for three key tips.