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
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, is herbal tea. 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
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
On the flip side, something that can definitely do wonders for your 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 zap 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 their 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
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 layer 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 the 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
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 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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