My Hair Grew Longer by Accident:
I kept my natural hair within weave braids for TWO-THREE years at a time and it grew longer.
The only time I removed the weave braids was to wash and condiiton my real hair. Once done, I immediately attached the weave braids back into my natural hair.
The weave braids helped me to manage and style my hair more easily. They also distracted me from the damaged condition of my short, natural hair texture underneath the weave. I had no idea that wearing weave braids could help my natural hair grow longer than ever before.
The braids were convenient when it came styling my hair, but they also protected my real hair from the daily wear and tear that can ultimately lead to hair damage and hair breakage. I know that 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 and moisturized my weave braids about once a month. I re-braided my hair often because I wanted to keep them neat and eliminate those damaging dirt knots that form at the root of the hair overtime.
If you have ever worn weave braids for an extended amount of time, you probably have experienced those gunk knots that form at the root of the hair. Any type of knot is bad and likely to pull some hair out. So, I often re-braided my chunky weave braids to prevent dry, matted hair.
What is Protective Hairstyling?
People who know anything about natural black hair growth and black hair length retention would label my technique of wearing weave braids for an extended period of time as a form of protective hairstyling.
Protective hairstyling is wearing low-manipulation hairstyles to minimize the possibility of damage to your hair. Your entire hair strand is susceptable to damage at any particular time. However, the ends of your hair are the oldest part of the hair strand and therefore are the most vulnerable to breakage.
A great protective hairstyle will have the ends of the hair completely tucked away with no tension, such as chunky braids or a ponytail bun.
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.
How do protective hairstyles help natural black hair grow longer?
Protective hairstyles reduce tension against pulling, snagging, abrasive rubbing and all other forms of friction that can cause damage to your hair. When you are constantly touching and manipulating your hair, you increase the possibility of your hair becoming worn and damaged.
Black hair manipulation involves anything that causes tension. When the hair strand is left alone, there is almost no opportunity for it to become weakened, damage, and ultimately broken. I know now that it was not the weave braids that made my hair grow longer; instead it was the extended period of time I wore a protective hairstyle.
Black hair that is constantly manipulated will break more quickly and will not grow long. Think about how much hair damage I prevented month-after-month while wearing my hair within weave braids. My weave braids created an atmosphere where my hair could do nothing but grow. I was able to achieve longer hair length because I had stopped my normal cycle of hair breakage through protective styling.
Black hair is so fragile that even softly touching it can lead to breakage. Constant unneccessary hair touching can remove essential lubricants (oils) and/or moisturizers from the hair strand. This will leave your hair more dry and less flexible. A less flexible hair strand will break more easily because it can not bend.
All hair touching has the potential to cause damage; so touch your hair wisely. Afro-textured hair is super vulnerable to moisture loss (dryness) and breakage.
If you have kinky, tightly coiled hair, it is more at risk of losing moisture and breaking OFF 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 to new longer lengths. Long, healthy black natural hair is achieveable. Experiment with protective styling.
If you do not like the simplicity of protective hairstyles; then try moisturizing your hair regularly. Adding adequate moisture to black natural hair is another hair grow secret that is often taken for granted or done incorrectly.
Add moisture to your black natural hair regularly to help it grow longer.
Whatever moisture you've placed on your hair will slowly evaporate into the air throughout the day. It is your job to regularly replenish water to your dry hair. Have you ever placed a glass of water on the counter and noticed that it will slowly disappear? The moisture on your hair strands gradually dissolves within the same manner.
The correct moisture will allow your hair strand to become flexible and resist tension. When your hair is flexible it will not resist the sway of an object. It will bend freely, without tension. Moisturized, flexible black hair is stronger, healthier black hair.
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 against the hair in a way that can cause unnecessary damage.
When the hair strands are overlapping and clumped together, they hold moisture on black hair longer. Protective hairstyles can help keep moisture in your hair longer.
I achieved longer hair by wearing weave braids, but I had no idea how to keep my hair long and healthy.
Although black, kinky hair may look thick and strong, structurally it is the weakest and driest of all other hair types.
It is a challenge for some black women to grow long hair. It is a fact that the odds for growing longer Afro-textured hair are against us. The shape of our hair follicle makes our hair curl but it also makes our hair strand fragile.
The main reason why our natural hair texture is more susceptible to breakage is because our natural scalp oil, sebum Sebum (our hair's natural oil) is meant to flow from the scalp to the ends of the hair strand. Our coily curl pattern hinders the even distribution of sebum throughout the hair.
These oils move 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 extremely susceptible to dryness.
My hair was growing like weeds. It got to the point where my hair was almost the length of the weave I used to braid my hair.
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 wearig 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.
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 crystal clear that something was wrong with my hair care regimen because each month my hair was becaming shorter through breakage.
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 video 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 predictibility 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 an 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.