Prior to transitioning to wearing my natural hair texture, I wore hair extensions and weaves to give my naturally fine hair a much thicker appearance. My favorite go-to styles were braids (that I usually wore in a bun on top of my head), weave ponytails, half wigs, full wigs– you name it.
My favorite style of choice was the “quick weave”, which consisted of laying the hair down with a thick gel, allowing it to dry until it was completely hard, and attaching the weave hair to my own hair using a specific hair glue. I cringe just thinking about the process and the unnecessary damage that was done to my hair in my own ignorance.
It wasn’t long before I started to notice that my already fine hair was starting to become even more thin, stringy and rather dull. Not to mention, balding edges… My edges had become so thin that you could see right through to my scalp. The middle section of my hair was in the same sad state. Hair extensions and wigs can be a great protective styling option, but it is vital that you maintain and care for your own hair at the same time in order to prevent breakage, hair loss, damage to the scalp, and even possible scalp infections.
I really didn’t have much of a hair regimen and I knew that my missing edges were the direct result of the constant pulling and tension to my hair when styling. After incorporating some changes and a few vital steps to my hair care routine, I noticed a tremendous improvement in the overall health, appearance, and abundance of my hair within five short months. My hair growth was attributed to the following steps:
1. Putting an end to Unnecessary Tension
One of the first things I did to help restore my damaged hair was to stop any type of styling that added unnecessary stress to my hair. Braids were causing way too much tension to my edges because of how tight my stylist would install them. They were so tight that for the first week after having my braids installed, very fine, white bumps would cover my hairline.
2. Taking the Time to Properly Care for Hair
When I was ready to remove my quick weaves styles, I would sometimes just pull on the hair tracks and release them instead of using the appropriate hair glue removal solutions. I would even saturate the hair wedge with conditioner and remove the hair while in the shower. Removing hair weave or any type of maintenance that requires excessive tension on the hair should never be done while the hair is wet. Natural hair is most fragile when it is wet and is more prone to breakage and other types of hair damage. I never slept with my hair covered and I had an “out of sight out of mind” kind of attitude about my hair. Slowly, I started incorporating small steps such as regular deep conditioning, detangling properly, using the right hair tools, trimming away split ends, and throwing out any snagged hair accessories that could potentially cause damage to my hair.
3. Taking Vitamins that Promote Hair Growth
I tried taking Biotin after hearing that it could help with hair growth, which it did, but I soon noticed that it wasn’t just the hair on top of my head that increased in growth. I started asking around in different hair care forums and found that I was not alone. Many other women (and men) noticed that after taking biotin, bodily hair started to increase rapidly. Because I suffer from a health issue called Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), I was already having issues with unwanted hair growth and taking full on Biotin was just not helping with my situation at all. Instead, I decided to try a hair, skin and nails multivitamin that also contained Biotin, but at a much lower dosage in a daily multi-vitamin.
Read about other adverse effects of taking biotin here.
4. Scalp Stimulation to Encourage Growth
Every other night I would give myself a 5-10-minute scalp massage, focusing mostly on my hairline and the middle of my head. Some nights I would use a mixture of oils to massage my roots and scalp. I would then wrap my hair in a satin scarf or satin bonnet before bed. By morning, the oils were absorbed by my thirsty strands and never weighed my hair down. I used my light oil mixture for regular scalp massages, and my heavier castor oil mixture 2-3 nights prior to wash day.
5. Using Organic and all-natural Oils to Boost Hair Growth
There are many oils that claim to help increase hair growth, eliminate hair loss, and promote a healthy scalp. Maintaining a healthy scalp is also essential to hair growth. I used two mixtures for my hair, a light mixture and a heavier mixture that I would use closer to wash day. The lighter oil mixture contained the following:
- Base: Apricot oil
- Neem Oil
- Vitamin E
- Rosemary oil
- Peppermint oil (2-3 drops is enough, trust me!)
- Rose hips oil
The heavier mixture contained the following ingredients:
- Base: Castor oil (not to be confused with JBCO)
- Neem Oil
- Black Seed Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Rose Hips Oil
- Raw Coconut Oil
More on oils that stimulate hair growth here
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these essential oils may help to stimulate new hair growth when used in scalp massage. All of the steps listed above were initially added to my natural hair care routine and within several weeks, I started to notice a big difference in my hair. It took approximately 5 months to regrow the hair along my hairline and the hair in the center area of my head.
The hairline is one of the most sensitive areas of the head. When dealing with thinning edges, wearing tight hairstyles such as ponytails and tight braids that cause stress on the hairline should immediately be avoided. Hair loss is an issue that a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about. Hair loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. There are many options and solutions available when dealing with thinning hair, balding or any type of hair loss issues. Some issues can be easily fixed simply by changing your hair care practices. There are other factors that may be contributed to hair loss as well such as poor eating habits, allergic reactions to hair care ingredients, prescription medications or other health concerns. When in doubt, be sure to make an appointment with your physician or dermatologist to rule out any underlying scalp infections or diseases.