People do not really talk about hair retention generally. Today We will be touching on hair growth (biological); hair retention (personal effort) and hair damage (external factors – that play a part in affecting your hair’s health adversely and/or leading to hair breakage if not minimised). In the post titled ‘Lesson 1: Hair Biology For Beginners’ one of the key facts noted is that you are the best hair stylist for yourself. You can go to some of the best stylists in the world but what matters most is what you are doing in between those visits (if you do go to a salon). In line with this train of thought, I will also continue to emphasise the importance of finding products that work for you, learn good hair techniques and methods to have and maintain a healthy head of hair. In my case based on the hair growth process below, I definitely take step two seriously as I have opted to have a healthy hair regimen (my personal regimen will be posted soon) which I have become more consistent with in my current hair journey (3years and 7months now). When I first started my hair journey my goal was to try and retain 3-4 inches every year, I felt if the average human grows 6 inches a year it would be realistic for me to half it and not give myself unnecessary pressure.
It is true that all hair grows. But are you successfully retaining your new length or is it breaking off just as fast as it is growing? Remember the friend I mentioned in passing in the post ‘Lesson 1: Hair Biology For Beginners’… Well, many other sisters (and brothers, pardon me) are experiencing what can be referred to as ‘hair stagnancy’ when damage is equals to growth (typically as a result of having a basic regimen & in worse cases recessive regimen). We will discus this in more detail in the post that will discuss the categories of hair regimens out there. So, you find in this case that for instance you are gaining new growth (which is more visible when relaxed because you need to re-touch the new growth) but what is happening is that you are not retaining the length. It is breaking off as fast as it is growing and for more damaged hair even faster (recessive hair length, i.e. shorter hair resulting from damage).
Lady P’s Hair Tip – Learn to preserve your hair at the ends. Do not just focus on your scalp when you moisturise and seal with oil. It is important you pay particular attention to the length of your hair strands especially the tips. Give them the respect due for their age
I remember those days when my hair just seemed to be at shoulder length but I thank God for resources out there and knowledge at our finger tips. Lack of knowledge truly was a killer (of my hair) back then.
I have developed a diagram below showing sources of hair damage. In reverse I guess you can see it as things you should avoid or attempt to mitigate. The circles that correspond with the colour for hair damage source are just some examples within that category of damage.
It might not be possible to avoid every single source of damage, for instance, UK water is hard and I have had to accept it even though I am currently looking into getting a shower filter now. Also, I use heat sometimes but I leave long intervals between my heat applications (especially using flat irons) and I also use heat protector to ensure my natural curl pattern is not affected/damaged. In terms of environmental damage such as the extreme cold we have been experiencing in the UK, I tend to favour protective styles like fixing a weave, rocking wigs and braids whilst my own natural hair is protected from the elements (I never neglect my hair in this time as it is sometimes washed but most importantly moisturised and sealed). There are a couple of things I have also learnt to avoid which I mentioned in my post ‘Let’s Talk Edges’. Another example, is my relaxed cousin who relaxes ONLY the new growth at the bottom (never touches previously relaxed part of her hair strands) and only retouches 3months-6months. I do feel the longer you stretch the amount of applications the better at reducing further damage to your strands (do not to worry sometime in future posts we will talk about relaxed hair). So, do not feel daunted just become more self-aware of potential sources of damage. Now that you are aware of possible sources of external damage, knowledge of hair emergence (biological process) and the importance of hair retention (personal effort). I will be be talking about the three main types of hair regimens most people adopt whether consciously or unconsciously in my next post. This will be followed by a post on my personal hair care regimen/routine and of course the products I use consistently. So, look out for the Hair regimen post and get your analytical caps on because you will need to assess where you are currently to know where you are headed. See you soon dearies.
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