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
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Masturdating & Why You Need More Of It In Your Life
“Just date yourself” could easily be crowned as the worst advice you could impart to a single woman. The all-too-common expression has become blanket advice for us dating folks and is typically met with eye-rolls and dismissal. In most cases, it’s coupled with the dash of “just work on yourself” and a sprinkle of “let love find you,” leaving some to believe that love enters our lives when we’re on the offense.
But in recent times, the conversation surrounding dating yourself has been reclaimed to mean something that’s less about turning ourselves into a DIY project and more about making time to give ourselves the love, attention, and quality time that we desire.
Masturdating & What Exactly Is Solo Dating
Solo dating, otherwise known as masturdating — as Urban Dictionary defines it, is the act of “going out alone” and enjoying one's own company without the presence of a romantic partner. The method is all about taking the time to explore your interests and passions while discovering acts of self-love that truly make your heart flutter.
While popular culture has made singleness out to be a sort of loveless life sentence, solo dating takes the focus from outward expectations to an inward commitment. It can be a liberating and empowering experience for women to go on solo dates, especially if they’re used to putting their own needs and desires aside for the sake of others.
When you participate in going on solo dates, you in turn, learn to appreciate and enjoy your own company, build self-confidence, and develop a stronger sense of self-awareness.
How Do You Go on a Solo Date?
Solo dates can take many different forms, depending on one's interests and preferences. For example, some women may enjoy going to a museum or art gallery on their own, while others may prefer taking a solo hike in nature or trying out a new restaurant.
Whatever your speed is, the key to a successful solo date is to approach it with an open mind and a positive attitude. Sans the lonely girl energy. Why? Because there’s no shame in being single and exercising the muscles of treating yourself.
Many single women understand that there’s no real substitute for romantic love when your desire is to be in a loving relationship. However, solo dates help you to stay in the practice of hopeful anticipation and set the standard for when you begin to get courted by potential suitors.
It’s not always about overindulgence and buying your way to the contentment of singlehood; but more so about taking the focus away from finding “the one” and creating moments with yourself that remind you that regardless of your relationship status, you are always the number one priority in your life.
So if you're feeling hesitant or unsure about solo dating and where to start, we’ve put together a list of four steps you can take to connect to master your dating needs through masturdating.
1. Start with some personal foreplay.
There’s nothing like getting yourself in the mood and the right headspace to take yourself out on the town. To prepare your mind for your solo date, start by taking a relaxing shower and follow up with your favorite body care and makeup routine. Light a candle. Play your favorite playlist and speak affirmations and compliments to yourself. Tell yourself how beautiful you look in that dress you’re wearing and how you single-handedly beat your soft-glam look to the gods.
The moments you have with yourself before your date are just as important as the date itself, so be your perfect hype woman.
2. Make plans in advance.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a spontaneous date night, but if you’re a girl who loves an itinerary or is new to the solo dating world, you’ll want to plan in advance. Setting a date on the calendar for when you want to take yourself out not only gets you excited for the night but sets the standard that if you or any man wants to get the most out of your time, they’ll have to make the time. Set a reservation 24-48 hours in advance. Plan out your itinerary. Know the showtime for the movie you’re headed to. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
3. Be open to something new.
If you’re taking yourself out on a solo date, congratulations! You’re already taking the first step to breaking out of your comfort zone and trying something completely new. The first few times you take yourself out, it will feel awkward and unfamiliar, but you’re getting the experience of dating yourself while gaining the experience of a new restaurant, cooking class, concert, or museum too. And once you’ve gotten over the discomfort and conquered your fears, all those nervous butterflies that come with a first date will be a little easier to manage.
4. Come home and reflect.
What feelings were brought up while you were out? Was the night a success? Did you strike up a conversation with someone at the bar? Journaling is an essential tool to use while solo dating to discover new layers of yourself. When you take the time to reflect on the personal time and dating experience that you had, you’re able to get a visual of what your core values are, what new things you learned about yourself, and even script what the perfect date night would look like when love enters your life.
Not to mention, it gives you the space to show gratitude for your single season because it deserves to be celebrated too.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by DragonImages/Getty Images