Step 1: Use a gentle shampoo.
Many common shampoos contain harsh sulfates that can strip your hair, causing it to become dry and eventually leading to breakage.
Harsh sulfates include:
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- TEA Laureth Sulfate
- TEA Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
These types of harsh shampoos should be used for clarifying only. Using a clarifying shampoo removes excess dirt or buildup, but it’s not necessary for healthy hair. You shouldn’t use a shampoo with harsh sulfates as your regular day-to-day shampoo.
The following sulfates are gentle and will not damage your hair:
- Polyoxethylene Fatty Alcohols
- PEG 80
- Sorbitan Laurate
- Decyl Polyglucose
- Cocamidoprpyl Betaine
- Sodium Myreth Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
The best type of shampoo is one that is gentle and moisturizing, and a good example of a gentle shampoo is Essentious Exonerate Shampoo.
Step 2: Use protein treatments to rebuild hair structure and strength.
When hair is chemically straightened, its protein bonds are broken, causing the hair to lose strength. If the protein is not replaced, the hair will eventually break. Egg treatments are an effective protein treatment for black hair and usually stop breakage immediately. A protein treatment should be used every other week (for chemically relaxed or damaged hair). If using an egg treatment, heat should not be applied. The treatment should be applied to the hair and covered with a plastic cap for 60 minutes. If using another type of protein product, it should be applied and covered with a plastic cap for 10-15 minutes. For healthy hair, a protein treatment should be used every other week, alternating with a moisture treatment.
Step 3: Use moisture treatments.
Moisture treatments help build hair’s resilience and prevent breakage. If protein treatments are not balanced with moisture treatments, dryness and breakage can result. A good moisture treatment for black hair is Essentious Rejuvenate. It can be used after your protein treatment, or every other week. This treatment may not leave your hair feeling as “smooth” as many conditioners that contain silicones; but if you like, you can use any instant conditioner after your treatment to get a smoother feel.
Step 4: Use water-based and oil-based moisturizers correctly.
Your hair may be dry, even if you’re using a variety of moisture products on it. Oils and other moisturizing products that contain petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil do not moisturize your hair effectively; instead, they seal moisture in or out of your hair. They should only be used to seal the hair and add shine. Water-based moisturizers effectively penetrate and moisturize the hair.
Some examples of Water-Based Moisturizers are:
- Triple Moisture
- Silk Touch Leave-in
- Profectiv Anti-Tangle Leave-in
- Profectiv Mega Growth
- Cantu Shea Butter Grow Strong
- Elasta QP Mango Butter
- Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in
To combat dryness, apply your oil-based moisturizer after rinsing out the moisture treatment. Use a light oil moisturizer following the application of a water-based moisturizer, to seal moisture in the shaft.
Step 5: Use hair vitamins to increase your growth rate and lengthen your natural growth phase.
Hair grows at an average rate of about 1/2 inch per month. Your hair vitamin should contain nutrients such as Biotin and Folic Acid to make your hair grow faster, as well as MSM, which lengthens your natural anagen, or growth phase. Your anagen phase, or growth phase, is genetically determined and limits the maximum length that your hair can reach.
Every hair on your head goes through three phases: growing, resting, and shedding. Your growing phase (or anagen phase) will last a certain length of time – and there isn’t much that will change it. A person with a very long growing phase will grow longer hair than a person with a shorter growing phase. That’s why the anagen phase determines the maximum length your hair will grow. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring form of sulfur believed to extend the hair growth phase.
Learn how Hairfinity Vitamins with MSM can help your hair grow longer.
Step 6: Use a wide tooth comb.
Step 7: Use a satin scarf or satin pillowcase for sleeping.
Cotton scarves and pillowcases can absorb much needed moisture from the hair. Satin does not. It allows your hair to retain moisture, while protecting it from friction and damage.
Step 8: Limit heat styling to once a week and use thermal protectants.
Heat styling can damage your hair, especially if you do it too often. When you straighten your hair with heat, you are temporarily altering the protein bonds in your hair and weakening it. A good thermal protectant should be used when flat ironing hair, such as Silk Elements MegaSilk Heat Protection Spray. It should be sprayed directly on each section of hair just before it’s flat ironed, and it’s only available at Sally Beauty Supply.
Step 9: Wear protective styles.
To minimize breakage and retain moisture, try wearing your hair in a protective style at least 3 days a week. Protective styles are those that don’t expose the ends, such as buns and French twists.
Step 10: Properly neutralize after applying chemical relaxers.
When you relax your hair, you need to make sure you properly neutralize. First, wash all relaxer out with water. Then, wash with neutralizing shampoo at least three times. Then, apply the neutralizing shampoo once more, and let sit for 10 minutes. Then wash and proceed with conditioners and styling.
In order to achieve the longest hair possible, you need to do the following:
Stop Hair Breakage – By following the hair care techniques in Secrets for Faster Hair Growth, you can minimize your hair breakage, and allow your hair to reach its maximum length.
Increase Anagen (Growth) Phase – Using Hair Vitamins with MSM will naturallly lengthen your anagen phase and allow your hair to grow much longer before entering the resting and shedding phases.
Address Any Other Problems that May Limit Growth – Using specific types of products as part of a hair care regimen can help reduce breakage and increase your hair length.