One of the unexpected consequences of having long natural hair (mid back length or longer in my case) was that many people assumed that I practiced “perfect” hair care. I suppose this is to be expected. After all, if I had the body of Pilar Sanders or Nicole Murphy most would assume that I had a pretty solid exercise regime. The difference with hair from other parts of our body is that fact that you can get to the point where shortcuts or unorthodox methods not only help maintain your hair but may also help your hair to thrive. Physical fitness, by contrast, is an ongoing commitment. Case in point: my hair now takes less effort than it did when it was 6 or 8 inches shorter. Part of this has to do with the fact that I’ve become better able to accomplish certain parts of my regimen but I’ve also adopted some shortcuts that make managing my hair easier.
One thing I can’t emphasize enough with unconventional methods is the fact that they are UNCONVENTIONAL. These may very well not work for you, but you might also find that some of them make your life a little bit easier.
In between hair washing you will not find me combing my hair out from root to tip. If I need to restyle my hair or freshen up a look I may detangle only the last 3 or 4 inches of my hair, while finger detangling the rest. If you wash your hair every 7-14 days, and thoroughly detangle, I have found that there is no need to spend time removing tangles in between washes. I also find that I diminish the chance of breaking my hair due to over manipulation. Once your hair has reached a certain length you risk breakage not because you don’t know how to care for your hair, but because of impatience due to over complicated regimens. Less is truly more when it comes to manipulation, which I choose to reserve for only a handful of times during the month.
2. Being Okay with Knots
Yeah, I said it. If you detangle before you wash, no need to detangle again after you’ve washed. Likewise, if you prefer to detangle after washing your hair, no need to detangle prior to washing. When my hair was a lot shorter I detangled because I thought that if a single knot remained in my hair that it would somehow create one giant super knot, resulting in a necessary haircut. This simply is not the case. Detangling removes shed hair and the knots created during the week. Any knots created during my washing or styling that week will eventually be detangled during the next wash session. Now, if you notice a big ole knot in the mirror while you’re getting ready, obviously remove it (preferably with your fingers). But do not feel that you need to get “every single one” in order for your hair to be healthy. Honestly, with highly textured hair, being knot free is a losing battle. Plus, you won’t hinder your hair progress. If anything, your hair will thrive because it’s being left alone.
3. Fairy Knots. What are those?
I was OBSESSED with fairy knots, also known as, single strand knots early in my hair growth journey. Now, I simply don’t stress over them because I’ve realized that they don’t hinder my hair journey. I honestly don’t even think about these little pesky knots anymore and have found that year after year my grows as long as I allow it and looks just as lovely even with a few mini knots sprinkled in. Like a fine fabric hair may have an idiosyncrasy here or there, but overall if it looks good and feels good, I won’t stress. It may be heretical to say this, but these little knots aren’t as dangerous to your hair progress as you may think.
There are a number of posts on this blog about trimming. I’ve gone from being pretty serious about trimming my hair every 3 months to being more relaxed about trimming my ends. Since reaching arm pit length I search and destroy (search for and cut split ends) every 3 months and trim about once a year. Because I very, very, rarely wear my hair straightened an even trim is unnecessary. Cutting perfectly healthy ends off with split ends is not necessary and, if my goal is length retention, may lengthen the time it takes for me to achieve my hair goals.
What unconventional methods do you include in your hair regimen?