The hair growth cycle is an internal process that is influenced by genetics, your well-being and nutrition. The three aforementioned influencers give the hair follicles what it needs to produce a healthy strand of hair. Once the hair peeks through the follicle in the scalp, it becomes a dead fiber of keratinized protein.
Some women have the desire is to have long hair. Keep in mind that long hair to one person can be short to another. Growing long hair is a process of mathematics. The word problem sounds like this: You want to grow long bra strap length hair in a year. Remember it is very important to keep your goal realistic and achievable, to prevent discouragement. It is not realistic to grow a 4 inch TWA to middle back length in a year.
Since the part of the hair that peeked through the follicle first is the oldest, the goal is to protect it for the duration of your growth cycle which can last anywhere from two to six years. On average, a person grows six inches of hair in a year. If your growth cycle last for six years, that is 36 inches of hair!
Understanding these basics will definitely catapult your growth farther than you can imagine.
Once the tip of the new hair emerges, it is exposed to everything, those things we see and those things we don’t see. The task before you is to preserve the tip of the hair.
A key element of preserving the tips as well as the entire strand of the hair is protective styling. Protective styling is a must for many women with long hair and for those who desire long hair. Protective styling has three key components:
- Lends itself to regular moisturizing
- It is a style that require low maintenance or no maintenance
- The tips or ends of the hair strands are tucked securely away
Due to the fact that the ends are the oldest part of the hair, it has less protective cuticles. The cuticles are damage and chipped creating the perfect environment for high porosity. The end result of a high porosity issue is dry, split, brittle hair. This is why adding moisture to your hair, even if you wear protective styles, is so important when you want to preserve the hair strand.
Water (moisture) is the key to keep the hair soft and pliable. Be sure to trap the moisture in with a heavy oil based product: like jojoba, castor or olive oil or butter like shea butter.
There is a difference between low maintenance and protective styles. I would to venture to say that low maintenance styles are important for every protective style. Wearing low maintenance styles simply means that it does not require a lot of work or upkeep. Great examples of this are twists and braids. Twists and braids are “do and forget” styles. You don’t have to do much to them, unless you choose to. Most people wear their ends un-tucked and that is perfectly fine. Key components of low maintenance styles are to reduce the amount of mechanical damage that can occur to the entire hair strand and to keep the hair moisturized.
Keeping the hair tips pinned up is a critical element when trying to grow the hair beyond shoulder length. There are so many hair breaking activities that occur at this stage, it just best to tuck the ends away if your long term goal is longer hair.
For instance, the hair bushes the top of your shoulders, wearing away at the ends.
Your hair constantly comes in contact with the seat belt.
You hair brushes against or catches on your purse or backpack straps.
These are just a few examples, but you get the point.
Most low maintenance styles – that leave the hair ends exposed – can be converted into protective styles by simply tucking or pinning the ends of the hair up. For braids that hang, doing a cute crisscross with the braids and tucking them away provides protection and can simply refresh a style that is going stale.
Things to remember:
- It is very important to keep your hair goal realistic and achievable, to prevent discouragement.
- Protective styles have 3 key components – the ability moisturize regularly, low maintenance and protects the ends of the hair.
- There is a difference between low maintenance and protective styles.