Give me more shine? Nope. Well… sure. Shine is great but that’s not it. Give me more fullness? Nope. Well.. sure. A thick head of hair is great but that’s not quite it. Give me more length? Yes. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
Does that conversation seem familiar to you? Well it does for me because I’m seeing it everywhere on blogs and forums and vlogs. Length-retention is the new black and everyone wants it and has many, many theories about how to get it.
While I don’t have any real length goals (for me it is all about the health and fullness of my kinky coils), for a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of naturals it is all about the “bra-strap length” and BEYOND. I just couldn’t handle that much hair, so bless you girls who have it ‘cuz I don’t know how the heck you do it. The wash and detangle sessions would be hellacious for me. My jaw grazing strands are challenge enough for me now on wash day.
But enough about me, back to the retention talk: I thought it would be interesting if I visited one of my favorite blogs and did a simple word search to see how many good techniques for length-retention pinged. (By the way, I linked the results of my search.)
1).Retention Advice from:
Renee Syler, of Good Enough Mother
“I attribute my length retention to my strict no heat policy, co-washing (instead of shampooing), protecting it at night, and using natural oils like Coconut and Meadowfoam.”
2). Retention Advice from:
CurlyNikki subscriber, SheeTacular
“Now that I have decent length I have found that twisting for a twist out is easier. I can do fewer twists. I also can was[h] in twists and braids with less unraveling when rinsing.”
3). Retention Advice:
“1. Moisturize!- On an as needed basis (for most, every 2-4 days), apply water, the ultimate moisturizer to your ends in order to open the cuticle. Follow up with a water based leave-in, conditioner, or moisturizer you don’t need much, just be sure to evenly distribute.
2.Seal!- Next, apply a thin layer of a natural oil or butter, such as Shea Butter or Castor, Olive, or Coconut Oil. This will seal in the moisture from the water and moisturizer.
3.Hide!- Some folks, no matter how often they complete the first two steps, still experience dry crunchy ends. Protecting the ends in styles such as buns and pin-ups, may prevent them from drying out, and help you to retain length. I’m not a protective style girl, but I notice that allowing my hair to dry in a stretched style (twists, braids, rollers) really helps it to maintain moisture. Not sure of the science behind it, but hey, if it works, it works!
4. Deep Treatments!- If you really want to see some length retention, engage in a hard core Deep Conditioning routine. My hair was at its healthiest in 2008. I applied a deep conditioning treatment (with heat) at every styling session- 2 or 3 times a week. My ends were rarely dry, and they almost never split. Favs right now are Curl Junkie Rehab, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment, and MyHoneyChild’s Olive You. All of these are incredibly moisturizing and extra slippery! I often use the Curl Junkie to complete step 1 above as well.”
These are all some pretty excellent tips, not just for length retention but for general hair health. Is growing long hair a goal of yours? Do you have any special routine to help retain length?