The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hair Growth for Black Women
The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hair Growth for Black Women
(All images in this guide are of me and my own natural hair)
This guide is so personal and important to me because I want to share all of my secrets and tips about natural hair growth for black women. If you are looking for ideas on how to grow natural hair long or you want to retain your length, this is the guide for you. I’d love if you let me know what you think via Twitter so feel free to contact me at any time. I am always available to help you and to answer your questions.
This guide is perfect for all black women with natural hair but it is especially optimised for girls with Type 3 and Type 4a, 4b and especially Type 4c hair types.
A Note about Genetics
Genetics do play an important role in hair growth but it is not the be all and end all when it comes to black hair growth or natural afro hair growth. I know so many black women around the world think that if they are not mixed, their hair will not grow. This is simply not true. There are many 100% African women with long kinky hair while there are other black women who are fair skinned but their hair isn’t long. It isn’t about your skin colour or skin tone – it is about your genetics, how you take care of your hair, what you eat and upkeep.
Hair growth is not determined by light skin or dark skin. Please remember that as you read this guide and don’t be discouraged by anything because you can grow natural afro hair if you follow the top tips and tenets of this guide.
It’s not an exact science either. What might work for me might not work for you. Use this to be your guide but also feel free to make your own decisions. In this guide, I will also assume you know your natural hair type. Let’s get started!
Know Your Goals
The rise of blogging and social media has changed how many black women view their hair. Influencers definitely have made hair more equal but also created hair envy. This isn’t my goal per se – I want you to be equipped with the tools and knowledge that you need to energise your black hair care routine so that your hair grows long.
If you want your hair to be healthy – focus on that
If you want your hair to be long – focus on retention of current length
AVOID THIS CARDINAL SIN – MINIMISE HEAT USAGE
One of the biggest mistakes that you can ever make when it comes to growing natural hair is using heat on your hair directly. This is a horrifically bad idea especially if you have Type 3-Type 4 hair. Just say no. Straighteners or flat irons on your curl pattern actually help to break each coil that is in your hair strand causing damage that is hard to repair and reverse.
If you want to see how long your hair is, you can blow-dry your hair once a year maximum. If you have to blow dry or flat iron your hair more than once a year, use a heat protecting serum. I have some excellent recommendations – just contact me for the best ones that you should try.
Ideally you will use a heat protectant serum. If you can avoid heat, just wear a protective sew in weave that you can flat iron. This way you can use blow dryers and straighteners without putting any pressure on your natural hair.
Look at your Diet
One often overlooked aspect of growing long natural afro hair is your diet. If you love drinking sodas, cocktails and smoking, don’t expect to get long glossy natural hair. It’s going to happen at a slow pace and it will take longer than you want.
Eat foods that are rich and dense in nutrients such as spinach, kale, avocado, lettuce and vegetables. Fruit such as mango and papaya are also good because they improve the texture of your skin and scalp. When it comes to improving your diet, make small changes that don’t break the bank so that you don’t go overboard. I am not crazy about fruits for example – but I do like citrus fruits and papaya so I make sure to drink lemon water to stay hydrated because I know it will have an affect on my hair.
Choose the right protective styles for your hair
Protective styles are critical to hair growth for black women. If you want your hair to grow, you need to consider some of the following black hairstyles:
- Two strand twists
- Braids with or without extensions
- Cornrows with or without extensions
- African threading
I actually love mixing it up between African threading, sew in weaves, wigs and twists. I see excellent hair growth when I alternate between sew in weaves and African threading because it gives my hair a break so that it can grow. I find whenever I have my hair in an Afro, I always want to touch it and play with it which invariably isn’t a good idea. When your hair is sealed in a protective style, the curls and coils are protected which helps it grow faster.
Top tips for getting African threading done right – Always go to someone who has experience in doing African threading hairstyles without hurting your hair. Avoid tightening zealots who want to pull your hair hard and also require they use the specific black yarn thread that is needed for these styles. Smaller threads last longer while bigger partings don’t stay that long. What I love about African threading is hair growth and your hair doesn’t break, and it does not itch your hair at all.
Top tips for twists – I like twists with extensions but they can also work without extensions if you get them done right. Depending on whether you are a student or if you work from home, one of my favourite protective styles is DIY twists when inside the home and then use an African headwrap to cover your twists when you leave the house. You can do this for around two weeks – when you take your twists out, your hair will be stretched out and you will be able to see differences in length as well as the fact that your hair will be soft to touch.
Top tips for weaves and wigs – Everyone is different when it comes to weaves and wigs. Some people love $1,000 lace fronts while other people like human blend weaves that are $20 each. I think you should always focus on your budget, I prefer pack hair because it allows me to experiment with style, protect my hair often without feeling like I need to save for years and years to get a glossy finish. Some of my favourite choices for weaves and wigs are here so check it out if you are looking for protective weave hairstyles that are fresh and different.
In terms of accelerating your hair growth, I have created two options that will suit black girls. Try either strategy and let me know how you get on. Give at least 3 months to start seeing some traction.
- Slow Burn Strategy
- Supercharged Hair Growth Strategy
The Slow Burn Strategy for Growing Long Afro Hair
As you can tell by the name, the slow burn strategy takes longer and focuses more on diet and less manipulation. You can stay with styles for longer but you probably won’t be overdosing on products either. When undertaking the slow burn strategy, you need to do some of the following:
- Do one protective hairstyle every month such as braids or twists once every 30 days
- When you take out your protective hairstyle, take a break from 2-3 days
- Apply castor oil from Jamaica to your hairline while you are taking a break
- Do African threading for another 15 days
- Take out the threading hairstyle for a few days, and reapply castor oil to your hair and hairline
Use this strategy over and over again for the next 3 months but feel free to take breaks from putting your hair in protective styles for a few days. I like 2-3 breaks but sometimes I integrate 7-10 day breaks. It is critical to realise that this is a slow burn strategy because you are not overloading your hair down with products and you are relying on protective styles to stretch your hair. Here are some of the tools and products that you need when doing the slow burn strategy
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil – to encourage hair growth, put this on your hair line and scalp. I like putting it every other day
- Crème of Nature Argan Buttermilk – this is a God send when you have taken out your protective style because it soothes and detangles knots
- Large tooth comb – only use when your hair is conditioned and wet, never dry brush your hair after taking it out of a protective style
The Supercharged Hair Growth Strategy for Natural Hair
If you want faster results, then the Supercharged Hair Growth strategy is ideal for you. It is not set in stone so you can modify it but this is a good way to see results. Take a look at the strategy below:
- Do 2 sew in weaves per month that are low maintenance and done without glue
- Take breaks of 3 days in between the sew in touch ups
- Take hair vitamins enriched with Biotin every day – contact me for specific recommendations
- Drink spinach and avocados smoothies twice per week (seriously I mean it)
- Alternate between one month of protective sew ins and another month where you exclusively do African threading hair styles or African braids
These strategies work but they should be modified to suit your hair types. My hair grows fast when it is protected by castor oil and Crème of Nature Argan Butter Milk but I do understand that is different for everyone. I also see excellent length retention results when I use IC Fantasia Heat Protectant Serum for doing twists without extensions if I am going to wear an African headwrap on top. The point is use the strategies as a base and then modify to suit your lifestyle. Some people are nervous about wearing African threading styles in public – you could opt to do Bantu Knots instead or substitute African threading for braids.
The secret weapon for growing Natural Afro Hair
That said, I would always choose African threading if we are talking about a style that maintains length while encouraging new hair growth. The power of African threading is it literally allows your hair to sleep and grow and it leaves your scalp alone because the yarn doesn’t irritate your hair strands.
If you can, try and integrate African threading at least once per month. Some jobs might find it difficult to accept this hair style but if you are a student, consultant or business owner, you can definitely try and use it.
You won’t regret incorporating African threading.
One way to know that your hair is growing and retaining length is when you are twisting or braiding your natural hair and it takes longer and longer for you to braid your hair. This means you hair is becoming longer and that your hair isn’t breaking.
A Note about Hair Goals and Influencers
Natural hair influencers are amazing because they inspire us to try new things. That said, don’t put pressure on yourself to have long hair just like them if your hair isn’t where you want it to be. Live up to your goals and stay focused on that. This is when your hair grows at its own pace and your hair looks great depending on what you want.
You can follow me on Instagram but I’m not an influencer and that isn’t what drives me at all. I am more passionate about sharing knowledge that will help you achieve your goals and dreams. Feel free to ask me any questions about natural hair and black beauty but just understand that my approach is about data, information and knowledge. Sharing pictures is inspiring and wonderful but I would rather give you the knowledge than just a few Instagram pictures.