My Hair Grew Longer by Accident:
I kept my natural hair within weave braids and it grew longer.
The only time I removed the weave braids was to wash and condition my real hair. Once my hair was clean, I immediately placed the weave braids back onto my natural hair.
Covering my hair with weave braids was a great alternative to styling my hair everyday. They helped to distract me from the problems I was having with my short and damaged natural hair texture. To my suprise, leaving my hair alone while wearing the weave braids allowed it to grow longer than it had ever before.
Wearing the braids was convenient when it came to styling my hair, but they also protected my real hair from daily wear and tear. I eliminated most of my hair damage and hair breakage. It was not the weave braids that made my natural hair grow longer; it was the manner in which the weave was protecting my hair.
My weave braids were about 1/2 an inch wide. I refreshed, moisturized and re-braided my braids about once every month. I kept my braids neat because I wanted to prevent those damaging dirt knots that can form at the root of the hair overtime.
Have you ever experienced those nasty gunk knots that form at the root of braided hair? Any type of knot is bad and likely to pull some of your hair out. I did whatever I could to prevent my real hair from becoming dry and matted.
What is Protective Hairstyling?
Wearing weave braids for a long (two to three years) period of time is a form of protective hairstyling. Protective hairstyles reduce tension on the hair strands. Usually the ends are completely hidden and tucked away.
Protective hairstyles minimize the possibility of your hair becoming damaged. Examples of great protective hairstyles include ponytail buns, chunky braids and twist, and tuck and fold hairstyles.
The ends of your hair are the oldest part of the hair strand and therefore are the most vulnerable to breakage. Effective protective hairstyles should have the ends covered with minimal stress on the hair.
When you see hairstyles where the ends are tucked away; it is likely to be a protective style. Protective hairstyles can range from a simple bun to an
extravagant flat-twisted or braided hairstyle.
When your hair is protected, there is less interaction with clothing, furniture, and jewelry which can all snag at the hair and cause it to break off. Wind, rain, constant touching, combing, and brushing can all move cause unnecessary damage.
How do protective hairstyles help natural black hair grow longer?
Protective hairstyles help to prevent pulling, snagging, abrasive rubbing and all other forms of friction that can cause damage to your hair. When you constantly touch and manipulate your hair, the chances of it becoming worn and damaged increase.
When the hair strands are left alone, there is little opportunity for them to become weak and broken. I want to emphasize that it was not the weave braids that made my hair grow longer; instead it was the extended period of time I wore my hair within a protective hairstyle.
Black hair that is constantly manipulated will break easily and remain short, specifically shoulder-length. Think about how much hair damage you could prevent from month-to-month if you wore protective hairstyles most of the time. My weave braids created an atmosphere where my hair could do nothing but grow. I was able to achieve longer hair because I had stopped my normal hair breakage cycle by wearing protective styling.
Black hair is fragile--even softly touching it can lead to breakage. Constant unnecessary hair touching will remove essential lubricants (oils) and/or moisturizers from your hair strands; and leave it dry and less flexible. Dry hair breaks easily.
All hair touching has the potential to cause damage; so be gentle with your hair. Afro-textured hair is uniquely vulnerable to moisture loss (dryness) and breakage.
Kinky, tightly coiled hair is more at risk for losing moisture and breaking than any other hair texture.
If you desire longer hair that extends beyond shoulder-length; then become familiar with protective styling, which will help your hair thrive and grow. Long, healthy black natural hair is achievable. Experiment with protective styling.
Moisturize your hair at least once a day. Adding adequate moisture to black natural hair is another hair grow secret that is often overlooked and/or done incorrectly.
Adding moisture to your natural hair regularly will help it to grow longer.
Have you ever noticed how water within a cup will slowly dissolve? The moisture that you place onto your hair strands evaporates within the same manner. Most of the moisture that you place onto your hair will evaporate into the air within a couple of hours. You should re-moisturize your hair at least once daily.
Keeping your hair moisturized will allow it to become flexible. When your hair is flexible it will not resist the sway of an object, it can bend and bounce back, without breaking. Soft, flexible black hair is stronger, healthier and more likely to grow long.
When the hair strands are overlapping and clumped together, they lock water into the hair better. Protective hairstyles can help keep moisture in your hair longer.
I had no idea how to keep my hair long and healthy without wearing weave braids.
Although black, kinky hair may look thick and strong, structurally it is the weakest and driest of all hair types.
Having a hair texture that is naturally dry makes it challenging for most African American women to grow long hair. It is a fact that the odds for growing longer Afro-textured hair are against us. The shape of a curly hair follicle makes kinky hair more susceptible to breakage.
The natural scalp oil, sebum is suposed to flow from the scalp all the way down to the ends of the hair strand. Unfortunately, our coily curl pattern hinders the even distribution of sebum throughout our hair.
Sebum moves best down a straight path. When there are twist and turns, the oils can only make it partially down the hair, leaving the ends of the hair dry.
One year after I took my weave braids out, I ended up with shoulder-length hair, yet again.
The best thing about wearing weave braids was that I discovered how to get my hair to grow longer. Through wearing protective weave braid hairstyles, I had broken the chronic hair breakage cycle that so many black women fall victim to because they do not understand how vulnerable our unique black hair texture is to damage.
When wearing braids, it took about two and a half years for my hair to reach about fourteen inches in length. Once I learned how to get my hair to grow longer, I wanted to learn how to maintain long hair without wearing weave braids all of the time.
I had a difficult time taking care of my natural black hair after removing the weave braids. It became clear that something was wrong with my hair care tactics because each month my hair was becoming shorter.
I knew there was something wrong with my hair care system; but I had no idea how to save the hair length that I had achieved while wearing my weave braids. Thanks to Youtube hair tutorials and black hair care books I learned how to transform the condition of my damaged hair without wearing weave braids.
The extended time period that I wore weave braids was due to my lack of interest in styling my real hair. Weave braids created predictability within my hair regimen. I achieved longer hair by accident by simply leaving my hair alone for a long period of time. Once I saw that my hair could grow longer, it sparked my interest in hair black hair care.
DISCLAIMER: The photos on this site are older pictures that I use merely to support the notion that black hair can and does grow with proper maintenance and care. The photos within this page merely depict how protective styling can help preserve your hair. I, unintentionally, got my hair to get longer while wearing weave braids and simply leaving it alone. Unfortunately, I was misguided by improper hair-care-methods and poor product choices. So, I was unable to preserve this hair. It eventually broke off within a year; and there I was-- back at square one--shorter hair with no clue why.
Three of My Favorite Books on Black Hair Care.
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