You may recall I lost my natural mind last year when I did the big chop after 16 months of transitioning. I assumed my natural to relaxed hair ratio was more favorable toward my natural goals, which is why when I had to get a chop instead of a cut I cried a little bit. (Actually a lot a bit, but you can read the details of the full-blown breakdown here if you so choose).
Nevertheless, the woman I am today (to quote Monica) barely remembers that “traumatic” day as I see how much my hair has grown in its first year of being completely chemically free since I was 12 year’s old. My main concern, okay concerns, when I went natural were that I was going to look masculine and I wouldn’t be able to put my hair in a ponytail again. I was over the first concern by the morning after my cut and, just like my stylist said, I was able to put my hair in a ponytail again within about three months — I’m talking a real ponytail, not a “I don’t really have enough hair to be doing this, but I’m going to do it anyway” struggle tail. By the way, I rocked those too in the few weeks after my cut.
The best thing about my hair growth is, honestly, I didn’t do anything to earn it. What I mean by that is I’m one of the laziest naturals around, which you’ve probably gathered from my numerous hair product reviews that culminate in a wash n’go as my style. However, I’d argue that’s exactly why I’ve had the growth I’ve had. While beauticians and natural hair vloggers have a million different theories as to how often you should trim your ends, wash your hair, deep condition, and perform a ton of other hair maintenance routines, the one consistent piece of hair advice from all experts and women with healthy hair is to leave your hair alone. That means stop combing, brushing, and manipulating it every single day.
Unless I’m putting my hair in a bun, which I do about three times per week, I don’t comb or brush it. I simply apply a leave-in conditioner of some sort, a gel-like curly product, and oil by raking my fingers through my strands and then I let it air dry, only combing my hair when I’m distributing a deep conditioner. I’ve only straightened my hair once in the past year, and while I initially blow dried my hair with a diffuser almost every morning for a few minutes before work, now I use a blow dryer one per week at most. (My hair’s finally long enough to pineapple and last a bit longer overnight or I just go to work with it still a little moist.) I also had two sew-ins for about a total of three months during the past year which means my own hair wasn’t being manipulated during that time.
I’ve only gotten one official trim since my big chop which was my Devacut in May. I can’t say for certain if that’s a good or bad thing but I have taken to cutting random split ends on my own when I see them after Queen Latifah’s stylist told me, “I cut Dana’s hair all the time.” According to her, nipping those dead, dry ends in the bud immediately is how you retain length.
Now I have to admit I have had to step up my low-maintenance hair routine in some areas as of late, which I attribute to having more head on my hair now. I’ve begun truly deep conditioning once per week with a protein product to combat dryness and I’ve also taken to steaming which has given me incredible results regarding shrinkage and moisture. And I make a conscious effort to follow the LOC method whether I’m leaving my hair out or putting it in a bun, which means each day I apply a leave-in, oil, and cream styling product after wetting my hair no matter what.
The bottom line is there haven’t been any magic growth products or supplements that have contributed to my growth, though I did just begin taking Curls’ New Liquid Hair Growth Vitamin (review coming soon). I say all that to say, hang on big chop newbies, growth will come and you’ll be surprised at how fast.