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Want Your Hair To Grow Like THIS? Here’s The Secret!

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Where did the time go? On this day, three years, I drove through a snowstorm to a local barbershop because I had had ENOUGH! After making the decision to go natural, I transitioned (the period from which you stop applying chemicals until you cut your hair or grow out all the perm) for as long as I could, which was 3½ months. The dual texture of my hair made it hard to prevent more breakage (you’ll recall was weak and falling out from chemicals reacting to the medication in my system from my hospitalization) so I decided to go for it. That meant the BIG CHOP!

I told you I was going to reveal my top 5 secrets right? There’s really only one. The secret is….. There is no secret! I know, bait and switch. But the fact is it’s all about good, basic hair care. If you are good to your hair it will be good to you. So what does that entail?

  1. NO SHAMPOO: Okay this is not new, you know I harp on this one. But I exclusively co-wash; that means use conditioner only to cleanse my hair. Shampoo has harsh sulfates, which strip the hair, leaving it frizzy, brittle and dry and dry hair is hair that breaks. Conditioner has enough cleansing properties to clean the hair without stripping it. I do clarify to get product build-up out but I do not use a clarifying shampoo (sulfates, hello? Weren’t you listening?). Instead I use plain, old, Apple Cider Vinegar cut with water and that does the job just fine.
  2. NO DIRECT HEAT! That means no curling irons, directional blow drying, hot rollers or anything else where hot metal is laid on my hair.
  3. HAIR VITAMIN: Um, you have to help yourself. I take Aphogee (you can buy at Sally’s) but there are myriad ones out there from which to choose.
  4. PROTECTIVE STYLING: I’m really struggling with the bang area of my hair. It’s a different texture, curl pattern, is more fragile and grows MUCH slower than the rest of my hair. I have decided that when I’m not going somewhere, I’m going to keep it twisted. Remember, you can grow as much hair as you want; the trick is retain the length.
  5. BE PATIENT! Hair grows ¼ to ½ an inch each month; anyone who promises more than that probably will try to sell you a bridge to nowhere.  Be patient, enjoy he ride and don’t covet your neighbor’s curls!

Here’s a peek at three years of hair growth in under tw0 minutes. It’s been a helluva ride and I can’t wait to see what it looks like this time next year!

More on from Rene:

Ask Rene: My Husband Hates My Hair

Is Gray A Good Look For Women

Happy Two Year Nappiversary To Me


  1. Gayle Mahoney

    March 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Amazing.. you are gorgeous as ever, and your beautiful hair is only one facet of that!

  2. Laura

    March 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    <3 the afro puffs! Always wished my hair would do that…but it doesn't.

  3. Karib

    March 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Wearing my natural hair has been a struggle for me. I went natural in my early twenties but didn’t have enough confidence to wear my hair in a t.w.a. (teeny weeny afro) and relaxed it again. I went natural for about two years from 2008-2010, but then began to texturize my hair, because I was so impatient with the length.

    Now at 33, I miss my hair texture. I also miss the thickness of heat-straightened hair compared to the relaxed locks I have right now. I’ve decided to quietly transition by getting my hair braided this month. Wish me luck. 🙂

    p.s. Your hair looks gorgeous.

  4. Drika H

    March 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I am going to try this, my natural look is gorgeous but, I don’t have the patience to keep it up.

  5. Carmen H

    March 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I am so proud of you your hair looks Great……….I’m wearing out my relaxer now it has been 4mos. I held out 7mos. and then relaxed it but I realize the importance of it now. So now I’m going to stick with it and just maybe I will send a pic. Love you and stay encourage…

  6. Petula

    March 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Your hair is gorgeous. It looks like, from the pictures, that you had a growth spurt in there. 🙂 My hair grows even slower than the 1/4 inch every month. Not sure why. I had my locs cut (after 11 years) and combed out in 2007 and I had about four to six inches I guess. And I don’t have much more than that now. Could be meds along with my impatience with my hair. Have worn braids and have not been able to get my natural hair to look like I’d like it to or how I remember it. … I think I’m going to loc again, but I sure wish I could see growth like yours with it “out.”

  7. Rene Syler

    March 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    @Petula thanks! Have you had dr check your hormones? That affects hair growth. Also I do a lot of protective styling which has helped the front. I think I average about 1/2 inch a month..

  8. Whitney Eiland

    March 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I remember using Aphogee from beauty school, gonna get some of that. I will also try the Apple Cider Vinegar. I think that’s the reason my daughter’s scalp is so dry and very flaky, keep those sulfates off it. I plan on my big chop in July, when I turn 50. I can’t wait, looking so forward to both events!

  9. Whitney Eiland

    March 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Rene, I had to give in! I took my braids down Sunday, shampoo (no more shampoo!), put on leave-in conditioner, started to detangle. That’s where the problem was. My hair was so tangled & matted I pulled a big plug out in the middle section! I cut all my hair out of frustration! I am at the barber shop as I type waiting on them to open! I will take your suggestions and moisturize! Pics later!

  10. Lashell

    April 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Rene, how much of the apple cider vinegar/water mix should I use at one time? I stopped relaxed because my scalp flakes right too much…was beginning to think that my super sensitive scalp was having a reaction to the “mild” relaxer was used (Vitale Sensitive in the pretty blue box.) I am transitioning…have almost 5 months of virgin hair. I bun (with a headband) my hair, or do braid/twist-outs w/ rods for styling while I transition. So, I only comb it (very gently) when it’s wet. My hair is long, so I have a lots of relaxed hair, but it gets trimmed by a stylist who understands what I am doing. I’m trying not to be a product junkie, but I am trying to find the right products for my thick, but fine hair. I also have that issue with a flaky scalp…my hair just eats up wherever moisturizer I feed it. I have virgin coconut oil from Whole Foods that I use to baggy my hair. Someone told me to switch to shea butter because of coconut oil being water based?? I have noticed my hair feels “crushy” sometimes. I’ve heard apple cider vinegar is great for flaky scalp, but how much would I use? I am super new at all this.

  11. Tracey

    April 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Looking great, Rene! I’m still struggling with a relaxer. (I know. I know.) So very tempted to give it up, but I always end up giving in. I’m totally inspired by your gorgeous tresses, though. 🙂 Well done!

  12. sherea

    August 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Rene! Great video! Do you have any videos that show how you style your hair? I’m going to take this hair journey.

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More in Beauty: Hair News

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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