You probably are making natural hair mistakes that are preventing you from achieving your hair goals but you are not aware.
In my first year of transitioning to natural, my growth was extremely slow. I later learnt that I was making very common natural hair mistakes that I could have easily avoided.
Here are the most common hair mistakes that are preventing your hair from growing.
1. You are not moisturizing well
Your hair thrives on moisture, and there is a chance that you are doing it wrong if your hair is looking dull, dry and brittle.
Moisturizing your hair isn’t just about slathering your hair with water or oil. You need to understand your hair and then develop a moisturizing routine that actually works. You also need to ensure you are using the right products that will keep your hair moisturized.
To retain the moisture you’ve worked so hard for, use techniques such as the LOC Method. You may need to go an extra mile and use advanced techniques such as Maximum Hydration Method if you want hair that stays moisturized for long.
Even when you are wearing a protective style, remember to moisturize your hair otherwise the ‘protective style’ will result in more damage.
A good example is when you are wearing braids. Lightly spraying your braided hair with warm water and oiling the scalp will ensure your hair stays moisturized and healthy the whole time.
You also need to think about your hair porosity to determine the most effective ways to moisturize your hair. There are specific techniques you should use if you have low porosity hair , same to high porosity hair.
Another consideration you should make is your curl pattern. Extremely coily hair gets dry faster than straight hair and therefore the moisturizing routine for curly, coily and straight hair should be different.
2. You are not paying attention to your diet
In order to grow healthy hair, paying attention to your diet is key. If you’re lacking specific nutrients in your diet, you may start to see the effects on your hair. (1)
Essential fatty acids such as omega 3’s are important in keeping your hair healthy. Vitamins will also boost your hair growth while proteins are also critical in maintaining healthy hair.
A deficiency in these nutrients and important minerals can lead to brittle hair and even lead to hair loss.
A healthy person sheds off between 50-100 hair strands per day, this number may be extremely high if your body is not getting the right nutrients.
Malnutrition or the lack of a proper diet can take a toll leading to excessive loss of hair thus inhibiting hair growth.
Related Article: Nutrients & Minerals for Hair Growth
3. Using the wrong hair products
With the cosmetic industry churning out new hair products every day, it’s important to take your time and choose hair products suited for your hair type. Using the wrong products could lead to hair damage and stunted growth.
Before picking that hair product off the shelves, think of your hair needs and your hair type.
Do you have thin hair? Choose shampoos with a gentle cleansing agent or one that will boost collagen production to give you thicker and longer strands.
Is your hair oily? Get shampoos that can help in removing the excess oils.
For dry and damaged hair, shampoos with gentle and natural ingredients may be the best to ensure your strands are moisturized.
Moisturizing products can help in hydrating and moisturizing dry, flaky hair while protein-packed products will help in revitalizing hair that breaks easily after a wash or styling session.
Look at the ingredient list. Ensure the products you pick are not stuffed with harsh and harmful chemicals.
I am always drawn toward products with natural ingredients, and with as minimal processing as possible.
If you are part of a hair community, get feedback from others on these products or read reviews by people with your hair type . At the same time, try out the products yourself and if they are working for you, keep them on your shopping list.
4. Too much/Too little product
Using the wrong products is one mistake, using too much or too little of the right product is another. Whether you are a product junkie or simply love experimenting out new products, be careful not to overdo or under-do product use.
The amount of product to use is a matter of trial and error and learning what your hair loves. This might take a while to determine but you’d rather take your time in learning how your hair behaves with products before you can determine the right amount of product.
What is the length of your hair? Shorter hair will NOT take up as much product as long hair would. What your hair volume? That too will determine how much you use.
The product type is also an important consideration. Shampoos that lather well will only require you to use a very small amount.
What is your intention? If you are applying a hair mask you may need to use more products that you would if you are doing a regular conditioner.
5. Over-washing or under-washing the hair
Yes, you can damage your hair by over or under washing.
Hair produces sebum on the scalp, and it is vital to keeping hair shiny and healthy. Over-washing your hair will strip the hair of these oils making the hair dry and damaged. Using harsh products when washing also contributes to this damage and may even lead to hair loss.
The frequency of washing your hair varies from hair type and the overall condition of your hair. Dry and damaged hair should be washed mindfully, while greasy hair may require more frequent washes.
Straight hair should be washed more frequently compared to curly hair because straight hair is more prone to oiliness.
Related Article: How often should you wash 4C hair?
6. Sleeping without protecting your hair
No matter your hair type it’s important to cover your hair as you sleep. A lot goes on when you sleep. From friction between your hair and the bed sheets which may lead to moisture loss and damage to excessive tangling resulting from wiggling around in your sleep.
Covering your hair with a bonnet as you sleep helps to prevent the formation of tangles making it manageable when you wake up to style.
Covering your hair also minimizes frizz by preventing friction of your hair strands in the night. By minimizing frizz, you also prevent split ends.
You can use a cotton fabric to cover your hair BUT YOU WILL END UP losing moisture. A better alternative is to either use either a silk or Satin.
Using a bonnet, scarf or silk pillowcase also helps in keeping hair moisturized thus preventing breakage.
7. You are over manipulating your hair
Keeping your hands entirely off your hair is IMPOSSIBLE, as you need to wash it, style it and even apply products on it. However, over manipulation of the hair will lead to breakage.
Natural hair is fragile and should be handled with care. If you are looking to grow your hair, avoid excessive combing, brushing and styling as this may lead to breakage.
An easy to avoid excessive manipulation is by wearing low-manipulation protective styles that will protect the hair from day to day manipulation and at the same time give you alternative styling options.
8. Wearing a protective style for too long
Protective hairstyles have been proven to be a good way of growing natural hair and to give your open hair a break from excessive manipulation. They are easy to handle and style too. As such many natural hair enthusiasts have learned the importance of wearing protective styles.
However, many people make the mistake of wearing protective styles for too long.
Wearing a protective style for too long will put too much tension over a long period of time which may lead to breakage, which beats the essence of wearing a protective style in the first place.
9. Leaving split ends unattended
We all experience split ends at some point. What you do to with the split ends is the difference between healthy hair and damaged hair. Split ends should not be left unattended as they can snag onto healthy hair leading to further damage.
The best way to fix split ends is by trimming your hair.
I know, trimming!
No one likes trimming but trust me it’s important to trim those split ends for better hair growth. Before you actually get to the point of experiencing split ends which will force a trim, read this article to learn how to prevent the spit ends.
10. Using excess heat on your hair
While heat is a styling technique that is widely used , excessive use of heat on hair does more damage than good on natural hair.
Excess heat dries out the hair. It also changes the structure of hair proteins which affects the growth pattern of hair.
Hair that is damaged by heat will often be overly dry, has a rough texture, tangles, and knots, harder to style, and has split ends that easily break off. If you are looking to grow your hair, minimize use of heat styling tools.
11. Wearing very tight hairstyles
Did you know that wearing your hair in tight hairstyles could be costing you your precious strands? Wearing a tight hairstyle causes a strain on the hair follicles which may lead to damage.
12. Skipping deep conditioning
A common mistake people make with their natural hair is thinking that regular conditioning is all the got to do. Regular conditioning may not provide your hair with all the nutrients that it requires. Therefore, don’t skip deep conditioning.
Deep conditioning will give your strands the nutrients that it needs to keep growing. It also keeps your hair moisturized and adds strength to the strands of your hair.
Deep conditioning protects your hair from the normal wear and tear of everyday life. It prevents hair from damage of heat and keeps it moisturized and provides vital nutrients for hair.
Deep conditioning restores your hair into its lustrous strength and healthy state.
13. Drying your hair with a towel
This common mistake is actually so common that it is controversial.
Drying your hair with a towel.
Most people make the mistake of drying hair with a towel after washing. Wet hair is more susceptible to damage, wrapping and rubbing it in a towel makes it worse.
Drying the hair by rubbing it with a towel increases friction with the towel fibers and therefore increasing the chances of damage. Instead of drying your hair with a normal towel, a simple cotton t-shirt will do the trick. Watch out and avoid the above common mistakes to achieve your hair growth goals.
Before you leave, you may find this recommended products page useful. Here you will find the natural hair products that my friends & I have found to be very good for natural hair.