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Hair Despair? 8 Tips To Help Your Hair G-R-O-W!

Hair Jan 2009, Summer 2012

Hair Despair?
8 Tips To Help Your Hair G-R-O-W!

Well it’s time for another hair update. I know all you male GEMs are rolling your eyes, but listen here; we put up with a lot of your stuff too so just grin and bear it! 

I posted something on my Facebook page the other day, completely unrelated to this, and someone asked me when I was going to do another hair update. Of course as you know, I’ve written about it before but since I’ve reached another milestone, I figured it was time.

Four years ago, I put down the chemicals for good, after my hair started falling out after a serious illness. I decided that was it and I chopped it all off. What began was  a journey of self-discovery, and metamorphosis that continues to this day. Here are 8 tips and tricks I learned along the way.

1. USE NATURAL OILS

March 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

I’m a huge believer in natural oils and have seen the benefits on my own locks. When I first BC’d (Big Chopped-cut off the remainder of my relaxer), my hair was terribly dry. I read about a technique called “baggying” where you use natural oils on the scalp them cover hair with a plastic bag for a few hours or overnight. That made a HUGE difference in my hair, alleviating the initial dryness. That’s also when I started using Jamaican Black Castor Oil on my scalp, something I still do to this day (you do get used to the smell). Coconut and olive oils are also regulars in my repertoire.

Read more: Want Your Natural Hair To Grow Like THIS? Here’s The Secret!

 

2. NO SHAMPOO!

May 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

No, nope, NEVER on this moptop! A lot of shampoos contain sulfate and sulfate is a curl killer! So I only use conditioner, which actually has enough cleansing properties to get the hair clean without stripping it of its natural oils. My hair never smells and once I said goodbye to the suds, my curls immediately started behaving better.

Read more: Hair Care: My Top 5 First Year Growth Secrets!

3. CLARIFY WITH
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

June 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Now, here’s the thing; if you’re going to go the “no-shampoo” route, you’ll need something to get rid of the build-up that comes with the product you’ve been using. The problem is finding something that will get rid of the product without stripping the hair (clarifying shampoos tend to do if they contain sulfates). Instead, I use 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 2 cups of warm water. I just run it through my hair while in the shower and do NOT rinse out. I do this about every other month and it does a great job of removing product build-up.

Read More: 5 More Things I Learned And Love About My Natural Hair

4. USE PROTECTIVE STYLING

August 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

I’m not as good at this as my daughter is, in part because I love having my mane blowing in the breeze. But Casey is a teenager and less prep time means more sleep so she tends to pull hers back in a high bun. The more you keep your hair (specifically the ends) wrapped up and out of harm’s way, the more growth you will see.

Read more: Guest Posting:  5 Things I Love About My Mom!

 

5. NO DIRECT HEAT!

October 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

ACK! I hear from women  all the time who flat iron their hair every, single day, then wonder why it’s not growing.  Direct heat, in the form of directional blow drying, hot irons and so forth, is bad, bad, BAD! Don’t do it! When I do straighten my hair (which is about once a year) I use a roller set and a heat protectant and a very light flat iron and even then I worry my curls won’t be damaged.

Read more: 5 Things I Learned About My Natural Hair.. And ME!

6. USE PROPER PRODUCT 

November 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Attention please! You do not have to spend a ton of money to find the proper product; in fact, I get most of mine from either the grocery store (natural oils, remember?) or my local drug store. But I do splurge at times, spending a bit more on Hair Rules and Devachan for curl definition. My new favorite? Shea Radiance Maximum Defining Curl Cream for my 3C hair.

Read More: Rene Syler, Former CBS News Anchor On Bouncing Back

 

7. HELP YOURSELF!

December 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

 

Make sure you are exercising regularly (sweat is good!), drinking lots of water and taking a hair vitamin. I like ApHogee hair vitamins  from Sally’s Beauty Supply.

Read more:  Men And Hair: Is It REALLY That Big A Deal? 

 

 

8. PRACTICE PATIENCE!

March 2009, November 2012

Do yourself a favor, don’t waste your money (or time) on products/routines promising 3 inches of hair growth in 30 days. That’s nothing but a sales pitch and a good one, if you fall for it. Hair grows about 1/2 an inch each month. Do the math; that’s 6 inches a year. Some people might experience more growth, some less but that’s about the average. The decidedly unsexy part is that it’s not just about hair growth but length retention, so the more you protect those ends and keep them from splitting (and having to be cut off), the more length you will see.

Read more:  Ask Rene: My Husband HATES My Hair!

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And that’s about it. I’ll have another update in March when I celebrate four years of being totally natural.. totally me! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them here and I’ll answer them as soon as I can!

More from GEM:

The GEM Debate: Was Facebook Right To Remove These Pictures?

Ask Rene: How Can I Halt The Hate?

Ask Rene: How Do I Turn Around My Job, My Marriage, My LIFE?

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Zeva

    December 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I remember when you did the BC and your hair is WAY longer than mine! But i admit I do not take care of my hair as well as I should. For one I need to pull it up at night. Mine breaks off so much from trying to untangle it in the mornings. Thanks for the post, just a reminder to me that I must do better!

  2. Savannah Dubois

    February 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I wish someone had really told me not to straighten me hair. J got a BIG CHOP in 2000 and have started over about four times since then. Color has also damaged my hair. Straightening & color at the same time had me looking like a scarecrow after a month. I cute it in June, braid it, oil it, and snatch a wig over it every day.

  3. Savannah Dubois

    February 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I’ve learned avoiding after-shampoo oil or moisturizing products that contain “aqua,” or water, helps to minimize natural hair being “crunchy,” as my 8-year-old niece calls it. I use count or olive oils, keep it braided @ night, keep the ends trimmed (a few times a year), and keep it brushed. I used to do a deep conditioning by sitting under my own, personal hooded dryer, but as Rene pointed out, direct heat dried my hair ever more. I stopped the deep conditioner & just used the aforementioned oils & leave-in conditioner instead. My mom is surprised at how fast it’s grown. Next step is replacing my shampoos to sulfate-free shampoos. I’m hoping it’ll grow even more & require less external oils.

  4. Whitney

    February 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

    In a few weeks I’m celebrating my one year big chop. I absolutely love my hair and happy about the transition of growing my hair with no chemicals. I haven’t used any chemicals since December 2011. Still experimenting with different products but I keep my routine simple. I may consider the vitamins for all of us.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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