Every time I get complimented on my naturally curly hair, all I can think of while I’m saying “Thank you!”, is Just try living one day with this hair and then tell me if you still think it’s cute by end of the night. Aside from the tangling, frizzy, untamed curls I have to fight with every day, my major concern has always been that it just doesn’t grow out as quickly as I would like. This, especially, became a big problem one morning when, after a bad break-up, I decided that cutting my bangs short myself would be the pick-me-up I needed to get myself back out in the single world and forget Mr. Wrong. So while I was expecting to see a cute Zooey Dechanel’s adorable bangin’ style look, my hair –which had layers in it by the way–seemed like it had gone in the direction of Howard Stern’s look instead. I was mortified. Little did I know, though, that my very best friend, who like most women I know are lucky enough to have naturally long straight hair, had the solution to my problem.
Although I’ve never been a fan of having my hair pulled back and this all seemed a bit too good to be true, when Shirley told me she started seeing results within just a couple of months, my skepticism went out the window and I immediately gave it a try. The secret is simply to go to bed with your hair in a braid. Every night, I would work on my not so straight braid before tucking in. If I felt too tired to make one, I’d simply twist my hair into a loose bun. The first few nights this felt a bit uncomfortable, but after a couple of weeks I adjusted and so did my scalp. To my great surprise, within a couple of months I began to see progress and in just 6 months, my wild curly hair had grown almost 2 inches. This was huge progress for me since I had seen very little hair growth in the past 2 years. I was so happy to finally see my awkward bangs and layers grow out, and I was able to start styling it differently.
Nowadays, I try my best to keep my clippers away from sight whenever I go through tough times or messy break-ups. However, whenever I feel it’s time for a new look, cutting it is now a nice option–from a professional, of course- and I can be certain that within a couple of months it’ll be grown out again whether I want to keep the new do or not. I don’t worry about my split ends anymore either, nor an I making frequent trips to the salon for trimming. I keep my hair looking healthy by always applying leave-in conditioning treatments and heat protection spray to my ends to avoid damage. I may still have to deal with the many issues that come with having naturally curly hair, but at least I don’t have to see a bad haircut as a permanent nightmare anymore.
If you’re struggling with hard-to-grow-out hair, give this trick a try! Here are some other ways you might be able to give your locks a helping hand.
1. Don’t shampoo everyday–shampooing too much can strip your hair and scalp of natural oils and ultimately lead to dry, brittle hair. Unless you have very oily scalp, your hair will look better–and ultimately be stronger–with washing every other day or even once every three days. This is especially great for curly hair.
2. Stimulate your scalp with a brush–but don’t brush when your hair is wet! This can tear your hair and cause split ends and breakages. Always brush before jumping in the shower, not after. Then, dry your hair half-way with a blow dryer and using just your hands, before starting to style with a brush.
3. Make sure to get out the hair products completely–shampoo, conditioner, deep treatment, leave-in treatment, hair oils, wax, sprays, mousse…all these products leave traces in your hair, creating build up and clogging your hair follicles. And when your hair isn’t healthy at the roots, it’s not going to grow well. Instead of buying a separate clarifying shampoo, use a DIY Build Up Remover or rinse once a week with white vinegar, which clears any soapy residue, restores the neutral pH of hair and scalp, and restores shine.
Do you love the look of long hair? If you have a long-hair secret, share!
Also see: Beauty Secrets – Preventing Split Ends
Also by Cristina: How to Throw an Eco Friendly Summer Party
Photo: Fatimeh Nadimi via Flickr; Cristina Martinez