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Fall/Winter Is A Great Time To Gain Some (Hair) Inches

'Tis the season to grow your hair out.

Hair

Not too long ago, a girlfriend of mine sent me a picture of her hair. After shoot, about a decade of being natural, she decided that she wanted to get another perm and chile, her hair is all down her back. After I said a few cuss words under my breath (because she never struggles with hair growth while my tale is a bit different), I decided to use her as inspiration as I'm still on the journey to grow mine out. So far, it's looking like this fall and winter are gonna do more for my progress than this past spring and summer did. And a big part of that is because I'm actually being focused on implementing some fall/winter hair hacks that I learned about a couple of years ago, but I wasn't the most consistent in.

If one of your 2021 goals is to gain a few more inches come, say, March, I've got 10 tips that could have you actually being the envy of your friends when it comes to hair length retention.

1. Eat More Vitamin C

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First up, consider adding more foods that are high in Vitamin C into your diet. There are a couple of reasons why this is a good idea, as far as your hair is concerned. For one thing, Vitamin C is loaded with antioxidants that can help to reduce oxidative stress; that's the kind of stress that can affect hair growth (and not in a good way) over time.

Another cool thing about Vitamin C is it helps to trigger the production of collagen. That's a good thing because collagen is what helps to hold your hair follicles and the dermal layer of your hair together, so that your hair is able to retain length. Some Vitamin C foods that are in season this time of the year include broccoli, oranges, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, butternut squash, leafy greens and pears.

2. Do an Herbal Tea Rinse

I wouldn't be surprised in the least if something that you're drinking more of, right through here, are herbal teas. Aside from a cup of hot cocoa, there are few things that feel more warm and comforting than tea on a chilly day. Well, the next time you're making some, make enough to create an herbal rinse for your locks. Remember, herbal tea is full of all kinds of nutrients so, pouring some of it onto your hair will help to promote healthy hair growth.

For instance, if you go with black tea, it can decrease the hormones in your body that may be triggering hair loss (black tea can reduce hair shedding too). Sage tea is able to prevent oil build-up on your scalp. Rosemary tea is known to increase hair growth. Green tea is the ultimate scalp soother. Peppermint tea stimulates your scalp and increases blood circulation. All you need to do is put two cups of water into a pot and add 2-3 tea bags of your preferred tea. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat and let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Then, once it has cooled completely, pour the tea onto your hair after washing and conditioning it. Let the tea sit for 30 minutes and then rinse a final time with cool water (it will help to seal your cuticles). Your hair will instantly feel softer and your scalp will feel revived.

3. Massage Your Scalp with Bergamot Oil

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One of the best ways to de-stress is to give yourself a scalp massage. It can also benefit your hair in the long run because it helps to increase blood circulation to your scalp which ultimately encourages hair growth over time. If you want to really pamper your locks, warm up a little bit of bergamot oil. This spicy-yet-citrusy oil contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help to soothe an irritated scalp and keep a healthy scalp in great shape, so that long-term growth can transpire. Just mix 5-7 drops of the oil into one-fourth cup of a carrier oil like almond, grapeseed or coconut. Zap the mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, put some on your fingertips and then use your fingertips to gently massage your scalp for 15 minutes or so. It will feel heavenly and your scalp will only benefit from you doing it.

4. Turn the Heat Down

Because there is oftentimes less humidity during the colder seasons (more on that in sec), the less heat that you apply to your hair the better. Now, as someone who is team blowout, I'm not saying that you should go without your blow dryer or flat iron entirely. However, make sure that you use styling tools that are made out of ceramic, that you stay around a medium-level of heat, that you apply a thermal heat protectant and that you keep the "less is more" approach from now until spring. Heat-damaged hair is irreparable. The only real solution is to cut it off. If you keep that in mind, each and every time that you apply heat to your tresses, it should help you to constantly handle your hair with extreme care.

5. At the Same Time, Apply Some Steam

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On the flip side, something that can definitely do wonders for you hair is applying steam to it. Think of it as being a humidifier for your hair. Since you already know that you need to work a little overtime to make sure that you replenish the moisture that fall and winter zaps out, steaming your hair can help to lift the cuticles of your hair, so that water is able to deeply penetrate your tresses, giving it more elasticity and making it more manageable too. As a bonus, if you know that you struggle with dry scalp, steaming your hair can also soothe your scalp while increasing blood circulation to it too.

Some people steam their hair by putting a plastic bag over it and standing in a hot shower for about 10 minutes. Or, if you'd prefer to use a literal hair steamer, there are some good ones on the market that are less than a hundred bucks. I've got one of them for you right here.

6. Make Sure Water Is the First Ingredient in Your Hair Products

You might think that cold wet weather would equal your hair getting a lot of moisture, yet actually, that isn't really the case. As the temperatures begin to drop, oftentimes that results in low humidity. Then, if you add to that cold harsh winds and then the central heat going up in your house in order to keep your body warm, again, it's very easy for your hair to become zapped from the moisture that it requires in order to remain healthy and avoid breakage.

That's why, if you do happen to be a bit of a product junkie, it's a good idea to look for items that list water as its first (or at the very least, second) ingredient on its label. That way, you can be certain it's something that is full of moisture that can help to keep your hair protected.

7. Keep Your Ends Off of Your Clothes

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Personally, my favorite time of the year is the fall. I like the beauty of the season. I also like how it provides us with the opportunity to layers our clothing like nobody's business! Still, with all of the flannel, tweed, velvet, wool and corduroy that a lot of us are rocking, when we wear our hair in a style where our ends are constantly rubbing against the fabric—whew, that can not only zap moisture out of our hair but it can lead to constantly snagging (and fairy knots and breakage) too. So, as much as you can, try and style your hair in a way where it's not rubbing against all of your fly fashion. Also, on wash day, make sure to seal your ends. The more extra conditioner your ends receive (because they are the oldest part of your hair 'n all), the better.

8. Invest in Some Baobab Oil 

Speaking of your ends, an oil that doesn't get brought up much (tell me if you've heard of it in the comments) is baobab oil. Oh, but it should. Baobab oil is great because it's loaded with fatty acids, Vitamin E, calcium, tannins (which are basically tea compounds) and beta-carotene (which is a precursor to Vitamin A). Something else that's dope about this particular oil is it's loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. All of this works together to strengthen weak hair cuticles, deeply moisturize your strands and "feed" hair follicles, so that your hair can grow healthy and strong. Applying a little bit of this oil every morning and night to your ends can help to protect them from the bitter cold that can try and zap the moisture out of your tresses.

9. Be Careful with the Hair Accessories

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Remember what I said about how certain fabrics can dry your hair and snag your ends? Some hair accessories that are currently all the rage are hair clips, velvet hairbands, and fancy hairpins. Those things and a dope fedora are never gonna go out of style. Those are all prone to do some pulling and snagging too, so just make sure that, before putting them onto your head that you dab a bit of a light oil (like sweet almond, avocado or jojoba) and that you're extra gentle when taking them out. Oh, and that you definitely don't sleep with any hair accessories on your head. Oh, one more—that you make sure your wool hats are lined with satin.

10. Wear More Wigs

So long as you've got on a quality wig and you take extremely good care of the hair that is underneath it (check out "This Is The Way To Properly Care For Your Hair While Rockin' A Wig"), I think fall and winter are the perfect times to become Regine (the real ones know what I'm referring to) and rock your wig out! It's a great way to keep your hands out of your head, protect your hair from the harsh weather elements and give your tresses the stressless time that it needs in order to grow. Plus, what keeps your hair warmer, right? Definitely bless yourself with a wig in the next couple of weeks. Watch your hair thrive because you did. Enjoy these next couple of seasons, sis. From head to toe. Literally.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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