Another year is here. A year to “get it right” if there are some things that, admittedly, you know you got all wrong in 2021 when it comes to your tresses. As for myself, I’ve got to admit that last year just might be the one that helped me to see the most personal progress. A part of the reason is because I applied some of the very tips that I’m about to recommend to you. So, if you’re ready for your hair to be longer and healthier than it’s been in a really long time, these 11 tips are some of the things that can help you to reach your goal.
1. Get More Vitamin D into Your System
Last spring, I wrote “A Lot Of Black Women Are Vitamin D Deficient. Here's The Fix.” for the platform. There are a myriad of reasons why Vitamin D is important to your overall health and well-being; however, when it comes to your hair specifically, it’s good for you because it stimulates the production of new hair follicles, helps to strengthen old ones and, because a Vitamin D deficiency is connected to hair loss — well, it’s clear that it is imperative to either take a supplement that contains this nutrient and/or eat foods that are high in Vitamin D. Some of those include salmon, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice and eggs.
2. Eat More Foods That Are High in Zinc
Speaking of foods that you should be consuming, nuts like cashews and peanuts, whole grains, potatoes, kale and pumpkin seeds are all really good for you because they are high in zinc. Your hair needs zinc in order to thrive because it helps to keep your hair follicles moisturized. Not only that but zinc is great when it comes to hair tissue growth and repair. So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce breakage from the inside out, consuming zinc-enriched foods is an effective way to do it.
3. Invest in a Conditioning Cap
There’s no way that your hair is going to stay healthy and grow longer if you’re not deep conditioning it, pretty much on every wash day. If you want to go “2.0” on it, you should cop yourself a conditioning cap. It helps your hair to generate heat, so that whatever conditioner you are using, it will be able to deeply penetrate your hair’s cuticles. Natural Hair Insights is a site that has a list of some conditioning caps that are great for natural hair. You can check it out here.
4. Buy Yourself a Hair Steamer
Speaking of tools that will help to moisturize your hair, if you don’t own a hair steamer, there’s no time like the present to make a move. It’s something else that helps your conditioner to penetrate your hair. It also helps to produce elasticity. If you happen to have low porosity hair (which means it’s hard for your hair to maintain moisture), a hair steamer can keep moisture in your hair for a longer period of time. It can also reduce scalp dryness, itchiness and irritation. As far as the best hair steamers that are currently on the market for us, NaturalHair-Products can totally hook you up. Read their list here.
5. Use More Plastic Sectioning Clips
Trust me, if you’ve got super long, really thick and very curly hair, you are definitely going to need to get yourself some plastic sectioning clips. They will keep you from pulling out a lot of your hair (especially when it’s wet) while doing a lot of brushing and combing. They also work really well on wash days or when you want to detox your scalp (read more about why that’s something you should consider doing by checking out “Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend”). By the way, plastic ones are better than metal ones because metal ones tend to snag your hair which can lead to tangles and breakage.
6. Treat Yourself to Some Almond Milk Rinses
Your hair is made up of mostly protein; so, of course, it needs protein treatments from time to time. All-out protein treatments are recommended every 4-8 weeks but if you want to do some upkeep in between those, DIY an almond milk hair rinse. By combining one-third cup of almond milk (for the protein boost), two tablespoons of honey (honey is a humectant which means it pulls moisture from the air) and one tablespoon of grapeseed oil (it’s loaded with Vitamin E and oxidants) and pouring the rinse on your hair and letting it sit for 20-30 minutes prior to shampooing and conditioning your hair, your locks will not only feel softer but stronger as well.
(By the way, signs that you need a protein treatment include your hair being spongy, being limp and not being able to hold a style. Also, if you’ve got high porosity hair — which means you’ve got “gaps” in your cuticles that make it easy for your hair to get too much moisture — you definitely could benefit from consistent protein treatments as well.)
7. Massage Your Scalp with Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood essential oil is good for your scalp and hair for a few reasons. It increases blood circulation to your scalp, so that your hair follicles are able to receive the nutrients that they need. It contains properties that help to keep dandruff and product build-up from irritating your scalp. Cedarwood oil also reduces scalp inflammation, decreases stress levels and helps to keep your scalp and hair moisturized. And since a scalp massagealso stimulates hair follicles and decreases stress levels, I’m pretty sure you can see why adding a few drops of cedarwood to your favorite carrier oil, warming it in the microwave for 10 seconds and then gently massaging your scalp with your fingertips can feel super amazing while being really beneficial for your hair, from root to tip, too.
8. Use More Texturizing Serum
When it’s used in moderation, I’m a pretty big fan of hair serum; especially on natural hair. It gives your hair the kind of “slick” that makes it easier to style. It helps to bring sheen to your locks while adding lots of curl definition. It also reduces frizz which is always a huge plus. And if you decide to go with a texturizing cream, it can accentuate your natural texture without making your hair stiff (like some hair serums tend to do when there’s been a bit of build-up). Texturizing serum is also dope because it gives structure to blow-outs and can give you the perfect finger waves if that’s what you’re after. While there are plenty of serums on the market, a brand that’s currently getting a lot of attention in these streets (as far as a texturizing serum goes) is Davines. You can order it here.
9. Ease Up on Your Edges
I once read an article that said that the reason why a lot of us are obsessed with creating “baby hair” is because we’re still falling for the myth of what “good hair” looks like. Whether you believe that or not, what is a fact is hair around your edges and nape are pretty fragile (check out “7 Tips For Getting The Edges And Nape Of Your Neck To Grow Faster”), alcohol-based products will dry them out and could lead to breakage and the less manipulating you do to them, the better. Listen, I know more women than I should who were super caught up in having “laid” edges and/or being careless with lace fronts who are now bald around their edges as a direct result. It’s not worth it when it can be avoided; for a lot of us, taking the “less is more” approach with our edges is the key.
10. Be Super Gentle with Your Ends and Style More with Your Fingers
Your hair is always growing, so to think that you’re not gaining inches because it’s not doing just that is a lie. So long as you don’t have some sort of scalp or hair disorder, the main thing to focus on is making sure that your ends aren’t breaking off at the speed that your hair is growing out of your scalp. Here’s the thing — unless you are styling your hair in a way that calls for clean and precise parts (or you’re detangling on wash day), more times than not, you can survive styling your hair without combs and brushes. This is a good thing to know because when you opt for using your fingers instead, you can feel for knots and tangles; plus, it’s easier to control the amount of pressure that you apply.
As a result, you’ll have less tearing, less breakage and that means you’ll have longer and stronger strands. I won’t lie to you, styling with your fingers requires quite a bit more time and patience — but hey, if that means that there will be less hair in your comb and more on your head, isn’t it worth it? Exactly.
Sleep deprivation is directly tied to excessive hair shedding and even hair loss because a lack of sleep reduces the amount of melatonin that your body produces which can hinder hair growth. A lack of rest can also result in your hair being pushed into a “resting phase” where it no longer grows. So, if you know that you’ve been getting less than five hours a night, at least for your hair’s sake, try and push it up to seven. Something tells me that if you do it on a consistent basis, your hair just may surprise you when it comes to how it picks up a bit of speed on the growing tip. Keep us posted.
Featured image by Getty Images
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images