Last updated on 1/17/22
What are the best curly hair tips for keeping your curly hair long and luscious? According to my girlfriends, the answer is simple: don’t cut it. That sounded like a terrible idea to me, so I did some more research and came up with these curly hair tips for length retention.
Many people with curly hair have asked how they can retain their hair length. It is a common struggle curly girls face, and well let’s not even get into the shrinkage.
If you’re like me, you have spent a small fortune on hair products in an effort to keep your curls looking good. But it seems like no matter what I do, my length always starts to diminish after a few months.
Read on to learn my curly hair tips for length retention! Enjoy! (And don’t forget to share with your friends who have curly hair too!)
Hair Length Depends on Four Things:
- Hair growth rate
- The length of the anagen growth phase
- Hair retention (how good you are at keeping your ends from snapping, splitting, and breaking off)
It’s no secret that genetics influences how our bodies look and behave.
And believe it or not, genetics plays a role in our hair growth (and how long it grows), texture, length, color, and density. So, if your parents or grandparents have long locks, there’s a good chance you will too!
But if you’re struggling to grow your hair out, maybe it’s time to ask your parents for their genes instead! 😉
If you’re one of those people who has always wondered why certain people can get away with not cutting their hair, while the rest of us are stuck in a never-ending battle against split ends or other curly hair problems, you’re not alone.
Here’s a study that sheds light on how genetics factor into hair growth.
This study looked at 170 genes related to hair and found two genes that were linked to variations in hair thickness among people of Asian descent.
While we can’t control our genes, don’t worry – even if your genes aren’t on your side, there are still plenty of ways to keep your hair healthy and looking its best.
When it comes to hair health, however, genetics don’t always have the final word.
Hair growth rate
If you’re anything like me, then you are constantly striving for length retention. You may have even tried all the “natural” methods out there like taking biotin supplements.
While each of these things may help in some small way, there is one thing that has a much bigger impact on length retention: hair growth rate.
So you went on a massive hair growth spurt after taking some hair supplements and managed to snag an inch or two of length in the process. Congratulations!
But now that your locks are longer, how do you keep or retain them? More on that later.
The average amount of hair produced each month is around half an inch. Your hair grows at a higher or lower rate, depending on your genes, diet, and hormonal state (with pregnancy comes faster hair growth).
The length of the anagen growth phase
Hair is one of the most important aspects of our physical appearance, but did you know that there’s more to it than meets the eye?
The anagen phase lasts around 2 to 7 years and during this phase, your hair will grow approximately 1 cm every 28 days.
The hair growth cycle can be constantly disrupted by things like poor diet and nutrition, stress, hormonal imbalance, medical treatments, traumatic events, poor hair care, etc. You may find that your hair is not growing as long as it used to, and it’s due to your hair not staying in the anagen phase long enough to reach the desired length.
So if you’re looking to keep the length for as long as possible, you’ll definitely want to make sure that your anagen growth phase is as long as it can be! You do that by following the tips that are outlined in this article.
How you take care of your hair
I care about my hair a lot. I mean, a lot. I’m particular about what kind of products I use, how often I wash it, so on and so forth.
When it comes to hair, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what you should do to make it grow long and healthy.
For example, a lot of people think that you need to get regular trim to make your hair grow faster.
However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Cutting the ends of your hair doesn’t affect the follicles in your scalp.
For some of us, getting regular trims feels like we’re losing inches. However, if you take excellent care of your hair, it might not develop split ends for up to 6 or 8 months.
If you’re trying to grow your hair out long, then you need to focus on taking care of it properly – and that means using the right products and following the right routine.
The bread and butter to length retention have more to do with how you care for your hair after it’s grown out.
Your ends are the oldest, thinnest, and weakest part of your hair and it will thin out if you’re not careful.
Also, the ends of your hair are higher in porosity. The best you can do to keep them as healthy as possible to slow down the rate of damage.
We can take proactive steps to ensure that our hair is healthy and grows long.
Tips for Retaining Length
Even though genetics may cap your hair length, it is possible to retain length by following these simple tips:
Hair growth reflects your general body health
To nurture your strands, eat a diet rich in proteins, biotin, iron, vitamin C, zinc, and niacin. If you can’t eat a different diet, then consider using supplements that contain marine extracts, vitamins, and minerals to nourish your follicles.
Eating a proper diet will help keep your hair in the anagen phase longer.
Avoid using a cotton towel to dry your hair
It causes friction which can increase split ends. Instead, use a microfiber towel/t-shirt towel, or let your hair air dry. Try not to rub your hair when drying, instead blot it.
Handle the ends of your hair with care
Keep them moisturized and lubricated. Your hair’s ends are the most fragile because they are the oldest section of your hair, so keep them hydrated to avoid breakage and split ends.
When styling your hair, use water-based products since they are the greatest hydrators for curly hair. Make a habit to drink more water as your hair is hydrated from the inside out.
Hair oils and butter
Another way to take care of your ends is to use hair oils and butter, which are great for sealing in moisture and will help your hair retain length.
Protect your hair while you sleep
Low thread count cotton pillowcases could be the culprit behind your stagnant hair growth. Cotton is a highly absorbent material that robs your hair of moisture while you sleep.
Furthermore, the weave of cotton fibers can cause individual strands to tangle and break. Satin/silk scarves, bonnets, and pillowcases provide a smooth barrier that hair strands can glide across to reduce hair damage and friction.
Use protective or low-maintenance hairstyles
The less you have to trim, the better. The fewer cuts you need to make, the greater your length retention will be.
When it comes to curly hair, protective styles are the way to go. This means putting your hair up in a style that doesn’t require much manipulation- such as a bun, low ponytail, or braids.
Learn the Ingredients
The key is to use products that are designed specifically for curly hair and do not contain harsh elements such as sulfates or drying alcohols.
Curly hair is especially vulnerable to damage, so it is important to use products that will nourish and protect your locks.
Avoid too much sun exposure
UV rays damage the hair. When you’re out at the pool or beach, wear a hat to protect your scalp.
Take inventory of your accessories
Hair accessories could pose a threat to your hair strands. If you notice any broken clips or teeth on your accessories or bobby pins, these sharp edges could literally tear your hair out or cause nicks and scratches on your scalp which could lead to follicle damage.
Tight headbands can also cause hair loss around the edges, so be sure to use satin/silk lined headbands when possible.
Beware of super tight hairstyles
If I’d known how detrimental tight ponytails and hair buns were to my hair when I was younger, I wouldn’t have done it. Braids and twists can be ideal as length retention, but they defeat their purpose if they’re done with excess tension.
You should never feel headaches or soreness during or after getting your hair done. Another red flag is if you see bumps or have irritation along your hairline- these are tell-tale signs that your hairstyle is too tight and could lead to hair loss or breakage.
Healthy hair growth starts with a healthy scalp. Use a shampoo that gently removes oil and debris from the scalp as well as a conditioner to moisturize the scalp and hair.
Stimulating the scalp is another way to keep your hair in the anagen phase longer. Your scalp’s microcirculation nourishes hair from the bottom of your follicles, and blood travels to your strands and provides oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots, allowing them to grow.
So, start massaging your scalp regularly. This will increase the blood flow and help keep your scalp healthy, promoting healthy hair growth.
Get rid of scraggly ends
If you’re holding on to scraggly ends for the sake of longer length, stop it. Split ends will continue to split up the hair shaft and can even begin to tangle onto nearby hairs which will cause even more breakage. Don’t be fooled by claims that split ends may be miraculously mended with a special product. The only way to get rid of them is to cut them off.
Be gentle when detangling
One of the best tips I’ve learned from @honeyblondegigi is to detangle your hair gently. Don’t rush through it. Detangle hair in sections if you have to, making sure to start at the ends and work your way up to the roots.
Using the proper tools to detangle is also important, so be sure to use a seamless wide-tooth comb, detangling brush, or your fingers.
Last, but not least, be PATIENT with your growth. While this is not a ‘hair retention tip’ per se, having patience during the grow-out process is crucial.
Keep in mind that we all have different rates of growth and your hair can and will grow with proper care so embrace each stage of your journey.
Maintaining a balanced diet, using the right products for your hair type, finding a solid regimen that works, and sticking to it are essential to success in retention.
For more tips on retaining length, check out my article on NaturallyCurly here.