It’s been about 8 months since I my haircut. I cut off most of my hair back in March because (1) I’ve always really wanted short hair; (2) something about turning 30 was making me want to cut my hair even more; and (3) because my hair was really damaged and wasn’t behaving the same. It was really dry all the time, really brittle, and wasn’t holding styles well.
Related Post: 3 Benefits of Cutting My Natural Hair
These days however, my hair is in the best condition it’s ever been. It’s really healthy and barely splits or breaks, it retains moisture in a way it NEVER has before, and I feel better about my hair. I really like my cut and how it’s been growing out, and I don’t regret cutting my hair at all. I went back and forth for a few months about whether I would keep cutting my hair to keep it at a shorter length, or if I would allow it to grow out. Well after 8 months, my hair is now twice as long as it was when I cut it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how quickly it can get back to it’s longest length (just past my bra strap).
Since cutting my hair, there are a few things I’ve done differently that I think have been helping me to retain more length than ever before. My working to minimize breakage and paying attention to how much moisture my hair really needs, I’ve been able to create an environment for my hair that’s allowing it to THRIVE!
How I Grew My Natural Hair Twice as Long in 8 Months
I “Water” My Hair More Often //
When I was sitting in the stylist’s chair at Bumble after my haircut, the stylist took a look at my wet hair and told me two things: my hair loves water, and I should only apply products to my hair when it’s soaking wet. Since cutting my hair, I’ve washed it twice a week.
On Thursdays I wash my hair with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Shampoo and co-wash and detangle with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner. Then I apply deep conditioner (usually something from SheaMoisture) to my soaking wet hair while I’m still in the shower. I get out and deep condition with heat for 15 minutes. I go back into the shower to rinse out the deep conditioner and then apply my leave-in conditioner (also to soaking wet hair). On Mondays I wash my hair again, but only with conditioner, and I don’t deep condition.
This means that twice a week, my hair is soaking wet. That infusion of water into my strands has kept my hair more moisturized than it’s ever been. And since my haircut left me with really healthy ends, my hair is totally soaking up all of that water. Moisturized hair is less likely to split and break, so my hair is retaining more length just because I’m “watering” it more often.
I Moisturize My Hair With Shea Butter //
My hair loves Shea butter. Shea butter adds moisture to my hair and protects my hair from drying out. The only problem is that my hair is really fine, and Shea butter is pretty thick, usually way too thick for my hair. So I use products that have lots of Shea butter in them. My hair loves the SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, and when I’m styling my hair, I use Oyin Handmade Sugar Berries Pomade to moisturize each and every curl. I only need to moisturize my hair once after each wash! It stays moisturized for days because of the Shea butter.
I Trim My Ends Regularly //
Back when I had longer hair, I would forego trims in an effort to retain length. I didn’t want to lose any inches, so I would “dust” my ends (which is just snipping off the split ends you can actually see and leaving the rest of your hair), or go a year or more without ever cutting my ends.
Now I’m all about trimming. In the eight months since I’ve cut my hair, I’ve trimmed maybe three times, and I was still able to double my length during that time. I’m trimming again in December and I’ll get another one at the end of March 2016, one year after my big cut. Trimmed ends aren’t split ends. Split ends tangle your hair (leading to breakage) and create weaker ends that eventually break as well. I’ve been retaining more length by preventing breakage and trimming my ends before they have the chance to split and cause damage.
I’ve never been happier with my hair. It’s growing, it’s healthy, and it’s getting longer. I loved my hair back when I first cut it, and I love it even now that I’ve entered the “awkward phase” (it’s not really short, but it’s not long either…hence awkward). The best part is that I’m not length-obsessed, or a “product junkie” like I was when I first started my natural hair journey and launched this blog! This time is different. I’ve accepted my hair for what it is. I’m not looking for the next great product, I don’t need anything to “define” or “tame” my curls, I’m not interested in “combating” shrinkage. I’m just giving my hair what it needs and letting my hair do what it does. My attitude about my hair has changed, and that’s been some really positive growth as well.