Damage is a barrier that will prevent you from seeing hair growth. Your hair is actually growing all the time, but with damage in the way, your hair is breaking off at the same rate it is growing, which is why there will appear to be no growth progress.
Hair that is badly damaged with split ends should be cut. Once the hair has damage the only way to restore its health is to remove the damaged ends. When you don’t rid yourself of split ends they will travel up the strand thinning your hair out and make it appear as if it is not growing. The tangles that come along with splits also make it easy for breakage to occur. No mater what any product tells you split ends cannot be repaired, they only thing they can do is mask the damage temporarily.
Make a goal to slow down the rate at which you damage your hair. Reduce is the word of choice used because it is impossible to eliminate all damage. Your hair is damaged to some degree every time you wash it, detangle it, and even touch it.
We will concern ourselves with the 4 types of damage that can occur and how to prevent these sources of damage altogether:
Manipulation of the hair
The more you comb, style, or touch your hair you are causing damage to it. If you have particularly fragile hair, like 4b or 4c hair, this type of damage is easy to come by.
Even if you are chemical free and you do have a good moisture routine, damage from manipulation will get in your way. To resolve this issue you have to be gentle with your hair.
You might be thinking to yourself, well I am gentle! Well, if you are experiencing breakage you are not being gentle enough.
As stated before you want to reduce the amount of damage that you experience, because you cannot eliminate it completely. You still have to wash your hair, you still have to style it, and detangle it.
The key is to cut down on the manipulation of your hair. How much manipulation is reduced will all vary from person to person.
Dryness of the hair will lead to hair breakage and split ends which ultimately prevent hair growth. You have to have a good moisture routine if your goal is to have longer hair.
One problem is many people do not know how to effectively moisturize their hair. We will get into this more in the next section.
While heat is a useful tool for giving us gorgeous stretched out styles, it is also good for sucking the moisture out of hair. Does this mean you can never use heat? No it does not, but if you want healthy hair you should cut down your usage of heat down to the bare minimum.
When you frequently use heat, you will also find that you will have to trim your hair more often, which again results in lack of hair growth progress.
You also have to keep in mind that you may not have a consistency in style if you continuously heat style your hair. High heat will cause permanent straightening of hair strands for some naturals.
If you are transitioning this is why you should avoid flat irons and hot combs altogether until you are fully natural. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between relaxed hair and the hair that has been permanently straightened from heat damage.
If you must have heat in your regimen do not use it more than every 2 to 3 weeks. Try to stretch out the time you use heat as long as you can!
I encourage you to try going 6 months without using heat styling tools in your hair. You will see a big improvement in your hair’s health.
There a other methods for stretching hair such as braids, twists, and roller sets. See this post: Hate Shrinkage? We Have 7 Ways You Can Beat It!
Relaxers, Texturizers, and Hair Dyes will all cause some form of damage to the hair, because of the drastic changes that it does to the hair’s structure.
If you are a transitioner, you will notice that your relaxer may even be breaking off on it’s own. This is most likely due to the differences in the two hair textures that you have on your head, (the curls and bends represent weak points) and your ends are weathered from time while also being weakened from the relaxer.
During your transitioning stage, you will want to practice all of the above: protective styles, no heat, and moisture. As time goes on you will slowly trim away your relaxed or texturized ends.
Hair dye, especially if you are going to a lighter shade is drying to the hair. Which is why if you decide to permanently color your hair you will have to be strict with your moisturizing and conditioning routine. Otherwise, your hair will become dry and ultimately break.
What to Expect
Remember you have to be consistent with good hair care practices. You cannot use heat daily, constantly manipulate your hair, and then expect for it to grow just because you slapped some moisturizer on your strands.
Give your hair a few months or so of using good hair care in order to see significantly healthier hair and growth. Progress will not happen over night.