When you finally reach #lengthgoals, you soon find out that not only is your hair gorgeous and long, but it takes 4 x longer to do, and your arms hurt more, and it takes WAY MORE TIME to dry, and...
So ya curlfriend has some tips for you! I've finally reached a length I love (let's see how much longer it can get though *insert crazy face emoji*) but there are some things I've learned the hard way, so I'm here to give you some insight I wish I had!
Avoid harsh shampoos. Use a hydrating and gentle shampoo—AND prolong the days between your next wash day!
When your hair gets longer, sometimes it takes a while for those natural oils to make their way from the hair follicle to the ends of your hair.
Of course, harsh shampoos aren't great for short hair either.
But if you have shorter hair your oils are more likely to make their way from the follicle to the ends of your hair.
I have quite friendly sebaceous glands, so my hair is well coated with natural oils. This means, that I wash my hair quite frequently but can do so because of using a shampoo that doesn't strip my natural oils (and just removes dirt and all the bad stuff).
If you're washing your hair infrequently and still are experiencing dry hair, your shampoo may be harsh or strip the necessary oils your hair naturally produces to keep it healthy and moisturized.
Switching my liquid shampoo to all-natural alternatives (aka shampoo bars) has been super beneficial for me and my hair health!
Check out my Shop with Me! page for some affiliate links and view my favorite products.
Apply a generous amount of conditioner to your ends and detangle with conditioner in very small sections—if you have a knot— FIRST, use your fingers to detangle it, then detangle the rest by starting from the bottom working your way to the root.
This is a general tip for all curlfriends, but it's especially important for us curlies with longer hair to work our way from the bottom to the top, to avoid large knots, tangles, and adding tension to the hair strands.
Finger detangling sucks (L O L) but it's helpful when you feel a knot has formed. Whenever I have knots I use my fingers to gently take them out (sometimes I don't ... but we aren't going to talk about that).
Gently taking out single-strands or larger knots can help against breakage. I also find it helpful to use a small toothed comb to help untangle hair (if it's being super stubborn).
It also doesn't hurt to leave a little extra conditioner (like half rinsing the conditioner out) on the ends of your hair. This can keep them from tangling and keep them moisturized!
(If your hair is dry then also trying a little oil on wet hair while smoothing out those tangles may help too! We all know how our pores can open up, during a steamy shower, so adding a penetrating and sealing oil(s) can help keep the hair quenched!)
Speaking of detangling...After getting all the knots out of your locks, place your towel under your neck and gather your hair with both hands and gently dry it.
Throwing your hair up into a towel can be counterproductive and recreate knots (especially if you're hair is super thick, your flipping your hair in the opposite direction you detangled—this always creates tangles for me).
Another "pro-tip," is make sure you detangle your hair in that direction you want to style your hair in, to save yourself time once you're out of the shower.
Whenever I plan to put my hair up in a high sleek bun I detangle by flipping my head over (generously applying conditioner) and comb from the nape of my beck to my crown.
This gets all the knots out and prevents tangles when putting your hair up after getting out of the shower.
Avoid wearing buns for longer than a day. Buns are sometimes considered a protective style...but personally, I think they are only protective if they are loose (not pulling the roots of your hair) and your ponytail braided or in twists, and ends sealed.
Otherwise, buns can make hair dry (and when using bobby-pins) they can pull on curls, cause tangles, and breakage.
If your hair is very long wrapping your hair around and around to create a bun can cause unnecessary knots (especially when your hair is already prone to breakage or high porosity and you leave it in a bun for an extended period of time—aka overnight and some—).
Even if you sleep with a silk cap or pillowcase, the bun can shift and matte if your strands become loose or bobby-pins move around in your bun while you sleep.
I've found my hair super detangled after keeping it in a bun for more than a day and my hair is typically nice to me when it comes to detangling...
Once I stopped doing so many buns, I've noticed how much more cooperative my curls have been!
Pay attention to how your curls are interacting with your environment. One thing I've noticed is my hair gets super frizzy and styles can sometimes dry poorly and are less defined/shiny when my hair interacts with certain materials and causes friction.
For example, after I do my hair in braids or twists, I avoid sweatshirts with hoods, leaning my back on the couch, car set, or materials that can suck up the moisture in my hair.
Long hair that reaches down your back can cause you to interact with a lot of surfaces with different materials.
These materials can cause your hair to rub against things that create frizz and potentially affect how hairstyles turn out.
So whenever sitting down with freshly styled hair I wear a thin robe that doesn't absorb a lot of moisture or avoid leaning back on furniture with fabric.
If my hair is already styled and dry, I sometimes put it up to preserve my protective styles! (Or you can even wear your bonnet curly!)
One thing that I discovered is that some bonnet companies create car seat covers for us naturals—UHM yesss please! Once I find a brand that works, I'll let y'all know *wink*