How I Retain Length

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Throughout my hair journey, I've discovered a couple techniques and methods, that I swear by, when it comes to retaining length. Retaining length is probably one of the hardest goals to achieve. I've come across many ladies who are convinced that their hair doesn't grow, but the truth is, your hair will forever grow, you're just not retaining length!

Below are 4 key factors that have contributed to my length retention. They are simple tasks that anyone can incorporate into their hair regimen.

1. Moisturize - Extremely essential in any hair care regimen! Hair that is dry and brittle will snap and break off, thus leading to shorter hair. Hydrated moisturized hair has elasticity, so when stretched (due to manipulation i.e. combing, brushing, etc.) it will return to it's original state, without breaking off. Sealing moisturized hair with an oil (applying a dime size amount of oil on the ends) locks in the moisture into the hair. Highly textured hair tends to be very porous (moisture escaping the hair quickly), therefore, sealing helps prevent the moisture from escaping the strands. The natural oil (olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil etc.) will help improve the shine and pliability of the hair. Moisturizing and sealing should be done daily!

2. Protect - Protect the hair! Reduce hair manipulation/combing, cut back on heat use, or keep the hair up and off of the shoulders. Incorporate buns, braids, clipped up/updo's, weaves, wigs etc. into your regimen. Keeping the ends protected from the elements is essential for hair health and length retention. I suggest protective styling 5-6 days out of the week. In the category of protection, wearing a satin/silk scarf, satin/silk bonnet or sleeping on a satin/silk pillow case prevents dryness in the hair. Cotton tends to suck the moisture out of the hair. Dryness = breakage = shorter hair.

3. Low Manipulation - Leave your hair alone! They say "when you comb your hair often, it's as if you are giving yourself a hair cut, each time". Put down the comb, hot comb, flat iron, blow dryer and just let your hair be. The less you do to it, the better. Try finger combing, that way you don't loose hair unnecessarily. If you need to detangle, use a wide tooth shower comb to do so, but finger detangle first. In a week, you should detangle from root to tip 2-3x max! Finger comb in between.  Also. opt for styles that require no heat  i.e. buns, braid outs, twist outs etc. Give your hair a break and it will thank you for it.

4. Deep condition - At least once a week! Deep conditioning is essential in any hair regimen in order to have healthy hair. It prevents dryness, frizz and breakage.  Deep conditioning restores strength and elasticity making the strands more resilient. Strong hair = less breakage = length retention. Deep conditioning is best done with heat (heating cap, steamer, hooded dryer) for 20-30mins or 1hr without heat. Heat allows the cuticles to swell open, thus allowing the conditioner to penetrate the strands and nourish the hair from the inside out.


Be consistent!

Have patience :)

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  1. Sunshyne, the things you've written here are literally steps I've started doing since April. Along with stretching my relaxers and doing a protein treatment, my hair growth has been PHENOMENAL! I get so many compliments and questions from people, and I constantly send them to your site for encouragement and guidance.

    Thank you so much! May God bless you and provide you much fruit for your labor.

  2. So glad you made this post. I've always had difficulty with length retention. I need to incorporate more moisture consistently because this seems to be my biggest challenge.

  3. Great tips! Question, how long do you smooth/leave your relaxer on when you relax to reach that medium btw bone straight and texlaxed?

  4. I'm just really curious and wouldn't believe this at first. However, as I'm seeing more and more studies about it, I'm beginning to understand that this is really one of the coconut oil benefits that anyone can get aside from moisturizing the skin and hair. Yes, I use coconut oil as moisturizer and this is the coconut oil product that I use.

  5. I'm excited because i see how BEAUTIFUL , thick & long your hair is so the fact that I'm doing these things that u have done will give me great results too! :)
    I really like that your ENDS r so healthy and not thin. Since u have reached your goal length, how do u maintain your ends ANd length?Do u still wear protective styles a lot even though ur done growing your hair out?,

  6. Thank you ladies for reading my blog. I'm happy that it was useful to you.

    @Anonymous - I leave my relaxer on for max 20-25 mins. Nothing more. I apply and then smooth 2 times (the entire head) and then rinse. Neutralize 3 times and deep condition.

    @Anonymous - Aww thanks hun. I'll do a blog on healthy ends :)

  7. Hi Sunshyne,
    I've been reading your blog and trying to incorporate your tips especially moisturizing as my hair is very dry. However I had my son in June and recently my hair has been coming out in heaps even if I finger comb. I read online that losing hair is natural after giving birth but I was wondering if you had any tips on this as I know you are a new mom.
    Thanks for your great advice!

  8. Great tips, I have a problem with being lazy when it comes to moisturizing my hair. Also, I don't have a hair dryer, does anyone know of a good one I can purchase. Thanks.

  9. I just ordered a PIIIIIIIIIIIIIBB!!!! :) I do everything you listed except the 'low manipulation'. I wish I could just finger comb my hair and go but there is no way when I'm wearing a neat bun everyday (military) lol. I wear the bun cause it's the easiest style and it keeps my ends protected. I used to keep my bun in 2days @ a time but that prevented me from moisturizing & sealing everyday :(. I have to say tho, when I was leaving that bun in I didn't see as much shedding. Thanks for all your help with my journey! Can't wait for your healthy ends blog :)

  10. Hi Sunshine, I have done exactly everything you just written but it has been a struggle to get to APL!! I will continue to still with it but I will be lying if I didn't say I 'm losing hope lol.

  11. Hi Sunshyne! I'm emailing you because I've run into a bit of an issue while following your regimen. I stretch my relaxers to 9 weeks, and either shampoo/deep condition and deep condition/co-wash every 4 days. I do protein treatments with Joico K-Pak reconstructor every week, and I've found that my ends always end up appearing thinner (so much so that I always have to trim to keep my hair even). I've decided that since I don't have damaged/split ends, I won't be trimming my hair regularly. Would you suggest doing protein treatments every 2 wks instead?

  12. Hi Sunshyne, thank you so much for taking the time to share all your secrets about hair growth. I have to admit out of all the information out there yours was the most helpful, doable, practical piece of information. The video clips really helped to explain everything I needed to do. I watched all your clips and read your information and decided to follow as much of your regime as possible (some products were not available in the UK) after my relaxer at the start of the Olympics. I could not believe how easy it was to do. It really changed my life. No more long blow drying sessions. My hair felt so good and strong. But the growth was amazing. I have just recently relaxed it again after three and a half months of new growth. I hardly had any loss. My hair kept even from the last trim 3 months ago and my scalp is so clean thanks to jbco. My hair is the longest I ever had it- not far from apl. Thank you for making this possible. My next stage is to learn to relax it myself because the person doing my hair gives me a lot if grief about my regime and leaves the relaxer in too long making the hair limp after relaxing. However she is impressed about the health and length of my hair but thinks not combing my hair is ridiculous and wants me to keep it looking straight with straightners look. As you can imagine her hair is not that long and has a lot if broken bits. Anyway Thanks again for your wisdom. I do signpost a lot of people to your site.

  13. @abi19 - Thank you hun for reading. Yes, it's very common to experience shedding after pregnancy. I experienced approx. 9 months after I gave birth. I kept it in line by spraying my scalp with aloe vera juice diluted with water and taking my prenatal vitamins. There's really nothing you can do as it is a natural process that must take place. Don't worry it gets better. Just keep up with your regimen or else your hair will really suffer.

    @Princess - Don't skimp on moisturizing and sealing. That is essential in any hair care regimen. Ends come first. A good hair dryer would be Gold N Hot. You can get it from Sallys beauty supply. It's reasonably priced too.

    @Tiffany Nicole Finks - Pibs is a great dryer!! Congrats on the purchase. Although bunning may be boring, I agree, it does the job. I'm lazy with styling so buns works perfectly. Yes, healthy ends blog coming right up. LOL

    @Darcelle Paul - Don't lose hope. Email me so I can help you with your regimen. I must admit getting to APL is not an easy task, however, it can be done. Send me a tweet or email me :)

    @Anonymous - Sorry to hear hun. It seems as though the weekly dose of protein may be the culprit. Cut it back to biweekly and see if that works better for your ends. Also, what are you moisturizing with? Your moisturizing and sealing routine needs to be on point as well to prevent frequent trims. Are you protective styling?

    @Gadgie Girl - Wow hun I'm completely grateful and appreciative of this post. Thank you so much for taking the time out to write me. I'm so happy and proud of you. It sounds like you really took charge of your hair and it's thanking you!!! Amazing. Please be careful when self-relaxing. Practice, practice, practice!! It's not an easy task so take your time. Maybe you can get some assistance with the back portion of your hair since it's harder to reach and see. As for your hair stylist, pay her no attention. You have a goal to reach and she's definitely not experienced/knowledgeable. It's so common among stylists. Thank you so much for spreading the word.
    You're amazing!

  14. these steps have helped my hair get healthier & retain so much length. i send everyone who needs hair help to hairlista because i know they will get results.

    1. Thank you Lala for your support and appreciation!!

  15. you have a kid? lol. random i know and nothing to do with hair...but all this why i thought you were like 19! anyways, your blog has def helped my hair groooow!

  16. Ive read that massaging rosemary essential oil into your scalp ensures stimualtion in the hair. Also, that getting a trim every two months helps maintain some elasticity. These are good tips though!

  17. thanks so much for this post. im trying my best to reach apl or better yet mbl ....can i email you to get some tips please sunshyne?