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  • Aaliyah Iona

Nourishing my Natural

If there is one thing I want to be clear about, it is this: I do not hold the knowledge or secrets to grow extremely long hair. I wish I did, but, I don’t. It’s honestly a disclaimer I believe everyone discussing hair should start with as one size does not fit all. In regards to most things in life I believe everyone should give things a try, expect minimal results, and if those results surpass your expectation, you’ve hit the jackpot. These are my five tips to stop you losing patience with your kinks and coils, and to encourage your hair to grow

  1. Take responsibility

I used to swear blind my hair was weak and never grew - this was a lie. The reality was I was extremely impatient and naive to the damage I had exerted on my hair. As a teenager, I dyed it back-to-back with the cheapest dyes I could find and zero aftercare.  I overused the straighteners and barely conditioned my hair. All of which resulted in my hair never maintaining length. After years of denial, I accept my hair was not my priority. Anyone wishing to grow or maintain the health of their hair has time to make the time to do so. How long do you take to wash your hair? Do you use a conditioner or masque? Are you regularly using heat? Do you use heat protectors? Reality is you get out what you put in. Give your hair time and effort, and it will flourish. I make it my priority to style my hair before I've even got in the shower, why? I want it to look its best. Seven months ago, I would have happily prioritised sleep but not now. Make the time and watch the magic happen.

2. Don’t devalue your hair based on someone else’s

For years I regarded my mom’s hair as the image of “good” hair. Her curls are looser than mine, she rarely had breakage and she had length. I truly thought my hair breaking and “uncooperating” was due to its thickness and kinks. Again, I was wrong. If you look after your hair, she will look after you.  My mom conditioned and steamed her hair far more than I ever did; this was why it didn't break. Furthermore, everyone's hair strength is different. As for her curls, they're equally as beautiful as mine. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the hype. Being able to identify what curl pattern you have is a great thing particularly as it allows you to share tips and tricks to get the best results for your hair, but, it isn’t Bible. Sometimes products won’t give as good results to your hair as others and this okay. There is nothing wrong with trial and error. One thing all hair needs is a sufficient amount of moisture and oil. As long as you know how to regulate this for your hair type, you will be fine.

3. Heat damage is real, but, it doesn’t completely stunt your growth

Another saying I believe can be applied to multiple areas in life is 'everything in moderation'.

There is nothing that makes me eye-roll harder than someone suggesting if you use to heat, your hair won’t grow. It’s nonsense. Once my keratin treatment started to weaken,  I would straighten my hair once a week or (two weeks dependant on plans), trim my hair monthly and use rich conditioners in-between washes. Guess what happened? My hair grew. What happened to my curls? They bounced back. Don’t be afraid to use the blow dryer because some Natural Know-it-all Nancy said so. It’s your hair. Invest in a good heat protector and use heat sparingly.  It's not a crime to want straight hair from time to time. My favourite heat protectors are by Keracare.

4. Embrace a good trim

Don’t hold onto split ends because you believe it equates to holding onto “length”. You are fooling no-one. If you’re not brave enough to go for a big chop, have monthly trims. Your hair will thank you later. Don’t ignore all the signs for a short-term gain. Still unsure? Think about how often men visit the barbers. Why is that? Their hair grows. Not at an irregular pace, but, because they have regular haircuts. Be it you visit the hairdressers or do it at home, get it done.

5. Ultimately, your hair will do what it wants

Not that long ago I wouldn't have worn my natural hair down because it didn’t fall a certain way. When I considered why that was, it was because I became too dependent on my weaves. I've finally accepted that my hair will do what it wants. My hair is neither Peruvian or water wave, its Aaliyah. Good curl creams, twists and rollers are a great way to try a variety curls. However, your hair will ultimately do what it wants and when it wants. Have patience with it and love it. After all, no-one else can grow it like you.

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