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Length Retention Tips 🤎

Hello again and cheers to starting our healthy journey together in 2024!


Contrary to what it may look like I have not always had long healthy hair. My hair used to drive me crazy. Needless to say, it's been a journey and I can't wait to share it with you! It's a lot of information so get ready for a great read.



We all want to feel confident and be a part of the long hair don't care vibe.

But we have to start with the important steps first. So let's jump into these tips!


Firstly, I have to say that long hair does not equal beauty and no matter what length your locks, coils, or curls they are magnificent and you should love them at every point of your journey.

The only goal is hair health! Okay, let's go!


Let's start in 2012 with my "Big Chop"

I wish I had some pictures to reference before I chopped my hair off but please believe me when I tell you, my hair was severely damaged.


I did everything to my hair;

I bleached it regularly, dyed it a different color every month, and tried every style I could think of to stay current and find confidence. But, the more damaged it got the less confident I felt. Long story short, I shaved my head and began all over again.



Regrowth Journey: Learning My Hair for Length Retention

Usually the big chop is a sign that a new leaf is being turned and you're getting your hair goals on point. Well.. that did not happen for me....well...at least not right away.

I didn't know what my hair needed yet. So, I was still doing things that made me battle with my hair.

We all have the perfect hair type in our mind and feel like, “If I can just find that perfect styling product that will make my hair like that, then I'll finally know what to do with my hair!”


The problem is, our hair types will never be the same, and trying to mimic another hair type will just stress you out, and then stress will damage your hair, (as it does to so many things in our bodies), and of course make you feel like your hair isn't good enough.


For example: We are not all wash-and-go chicks! I had to say it! That style is not for everyone and not because our hair is not good enough but because that style caters to certain hair types. My hair will never fully submit to a wash and go, my hair will frizz or I will have to literally use a whole tub of gel to keep that style looking good and who has time for that?


TIP 1: Find Styles + Products that are suited for your hair type, not someone else's.

So the point I am making is that we have to find the styles and the products that will make our hair type thrive and flourish. I am so grateful to now know that my hair needs extra moisture most of the time, not necessarily water but a highly moisturizing product. I don't use a lot of things in my hair, I keep it very simple. I stay away from anything that will dry out my hair or cause any buildup on my scalp like high alcohol gels & jams. This is where I started to see improvement in my hair when I decided to stray away from doing too much. I stick with my clarifying shampoo, deep conditioning routine and then I go right in with my moisturizer after I rinse out my conditioner and then style my hair for the week.



What I didn't realize for years of living on an island is that the climate here, in Bermuda, had a lot to do with why my hair breaking off, it would actually break at certain times of the year when the weather would change. My hair would grow to a certain point and then my ends would just split! Living on an island does come with a few curly hair challenges. The sun, the saltwater, and the humidity all played a big part in my length retention journey, that was a lesson that it took some trial and error for me to learn.


Check out blog enemies of your hair in the link


Tip 2 - Protecting your hair from natural elements makes a difference!


Especially those who struggle with hair that does not hold moisture and is prone to drying out. Quick tip in the summer wear a hat! Place your hair in styles that protect your ends, and rinse your hair immediately after coming out of salt water, if you live by the sea, as I do (low key brag), or any swimming water as pool water tends to contain chlorine, another culprit set out to damage your hair. If I'm looking for a fun beach day where my hair is not a knotty mess when I get home I'll take hair conditioner to the beach with me, rinse my hair with it and put my hat on for the rest of the day.


For more summertime hair tips read!




Short Hair Phase: Learning to love my hair where it was at!

Tip 3: Loving your hair in every stage

I got to the point where I decided to love my hair as I learned what it loves. When I realized my hair couldn't twist out but it did a bomb braid out, I took it as a win and began playing with that more. I decided I was not going to colour my hair until I reached my target length, so I found a colour wax alternative that has no harmful ingredients or causes buildup in my hair. I also began playing around with more natural protective styles.



Tip 4: Making Health Your Top Priority

One major change I have to say has helped my hair and length retention journey was my eating and health habits. We don't like to hear it but deep down we already know that the phrase " beauty starts within" is the truth.


After I chopped my hair off I went through a lot mentally and spiritually, I knew God wanted me to start loving myself and my overall body. At the time I was working at a health conscious café so I had access to healthier food and started taking multivitamins after finding out I was slightly anemic.

I tell you my hair and skin began to thrive once my body was well taken care of.

Sis! I don't believe in hair growing down to your butt overnight but my hair was thanking me in many ways by looking fuller, stronger, and shinier from prioritizing my health and drinking so much more water!


#healthyhairgoals. Feeling motivated yet!



Journey of Styling to Achieve Length Retention


Hair Porosity

As my hair started to grow more I started researching different ways to learn more about my hair. Which lead me to hair porosity. It's amazing how much you can learn to best care for your crown!


Learn more about hair porosity in our part 1 blog!



Tip 5: Learn about your hair porosity to help you choose the right products and manage your mane!


This knowledge not only helped as I was researching and developing my hair care collection, but it also helped me understand why my hair reacts to certain products the way that is does.


I learned that I have low porosity hair so it's hard for my hair to absorb moisture and I found tips to help open my hair cuticles to let the moisture that my hair needs in to keep my hair looking lush and shiny.



Protective Styling

Listen, ladies, I'm not knocking your box braids but I honestly can't say they helped with my hair health or length retention. They are a nice break for a new style but I don't use this style with the goal of hair growth anymore and I will tell you why.


For a long time, I thought my hair would grow from these types of hairstyles. Now if these styles work for you in your hair care journey then ignore this statement.


My reasoning behind saying these types of styles have not worked for ME in the past is because of how my hair was handled during and after the process. Firstly, my washed and blow-dried hair always has some type of gel or jam applied to the roots which instantly made my scalp feel itchy and feel suffocated . Secondly, on top of having gel, jams and products piled onto the scalp all those scalp clogging products are sitting on my hair for at least 2 weeks. Thirdly, I found when I took my hair down it was thinning out, knotting from the root (especially if I got twists), and I would find that my ends had begun to split quite badly.

Now that I've said all of that, here is the alternative that I found works for me now!

You can reference our blog post on Protective Styling!

Click to read our previous blog post on Protective Styling: Which Styles Provide the Best Results?


Tip 6: Stretched protective styles for length retention

My hair thrives on stretched hairstyles. Whether I stretch it naturally or use low heat and heat protectant products to blow dry my hair, it gets stronger and longer for me in this state.


The first reason why stretching is my best method for length retention is that the regular stretching of your natural hair can prevent all types of knots and tangles by keeping the strands elongated. When your curls are in their natural state, it can sometimes be very easy for the curls and coils to become locked together in breakage-causing knots.


Regularly stretching your natural hair can help you keep a consistent eye on the health of your ends. When it's shrunken it can sometimes be difficult to notice when your ends need trimming, but when it’s stretched, it can become very clear when your ends may need some dusting. 



Finally,

stretching your hair regularly can help the sebum on your scalp work its way down the shaft of your hair to your ends. Everyone’s scalp, no matter their texture, produces sebum. It is a thick natural oil that can keep your hair moisturized from the inside out, as well as protected. When your hair is in its naturally curly state, gravity isn’t enough to carry the oil to your ends. Stretched natural hair has fewer bends and curls so the oil can travel downward more easily. 


Read this blog to get more information on stretched styling benefits!

Reference:

https://www.michebeauty.com/blogs/the-miche-manual-blog/the-benefits-of-stretching-your-natural-hair#:~:text=In%20the%20same%20vein%2C%20regular,together%20in%20breakage%2Dcausing%20knots.



Conclusion🤎

This journey is supposed to be enjoyed! Trust me I understand the roller coaster of bad hair days that mess with your confidence but Sis you have control of your hair health! It's that simple. No one can do this journey for you, we have so much help and professionals that can aid our journey but ultimately this beautiful ride belongs to you! So take hold of it and know you are beautifully and wonderfully made!


XOXO

Virgin Magnolia










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