The natural hair growth struggle is real. While many naturals feel their hair just won’t grow, the truth is your hair is most likely just breaking off as fast as it grows. This means that while your hair is growing, you can’t see its progress.

The best way to grow long natural hair is to grow strong and healthy hair, while  retaining your hair as it grows. With three easy steps, you could grow full long hair like Oprah or a luscious mane like Keke Palmer. The only thing you’ll have to worry about is how to style it.

Cleanse your hair and scalp thoroughly

Washing your hair and scalp thoroughly is important, especially if you want to help your hair grow. Oil and dirt build-up on your scalp from hair products can hamper your hair’s health and growth.

Washing your hair is important, but over-washing your hair can lead to the loss of essential oils. Alternate between shampoo washing and co-washing with just a conditioner at least every two weeks and don’t use shampoo more than twice a month.

Protect your hair

Hair growth depends on many factors, some of which are not in your control. You can do a lot to prevent hair loss though, which will help you on your journey to growing long natural hair.

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Manipulation, destructive hairstyles that pull on your hair, heat and dryness can all cause hair breakage. The secret to long natural hair and helping your hair grow is hair retention.

  • Put your hair in a protective style to avoid daily manipulation. Make sure your hair is not styled too tightly and doesn’t pull on your edges (otherwise known as your hairline). Over styling and tight styling are the most common causes of traction alopecia.
  • After washing your hair, it is tempting to use heat to dry your hair and make it more manageable. However, heat can make your hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage. Instead, soften your hair with a conditioner that protects each strand of hair, preventing friction while styling (friction leads to hair breakage) and makes your hair softer and more manageable. If you need heat to dry your hair, rather use a lower heat for a longer amount of time.
  • Your hair can also be caught in fabric and break off a little bit at a time so slowly that you may not even notice. Clothing and pillows can snag strands of your hair, which breaks it. Keep your hair off your clothing and wear a satin head scarf or bonnet when you sleep. Satin-lined hats will also help avoid snagging and retain moisture in your hair that may otherwise be absorbed by these fabrics.

Nourish your hair consistently

Get the most out of your hair care routine by making sure the products you use are nourishing your hair and not damaging it. Read the ingredient list of your hair products carefully and make sure they don’t contain chemicals that could damage your hair and set you back on your journey to growing long natural hair.

Related: 5 Chemicals you should ever use in your natural hair

Moisturisers are very important for kinky and coily hair, which is naturally prone to dryness. Balance creamy moisturisers with light moisturising sprays and oily hair food depending on your hairs’ needs in a particular style, depending on the season or where you are in your hair care routine.