So, two years ago (literally down to the day), I cut my hair from waist length to shoulder length. For the first few months, it was great not having to spend forever washing, conditioning, brushing, and styling my hair; it was even better not slapping my arms all the time in fear that a bug was crawling on me, when it was actually my hair. After the second month, though, I began missing my long hair. So, in August of 2013, I decided to grow my hair back out to waist length, and I am SUPER excited to say that I am almost there! After two years of DIY trims, masks, the inversion method, and all kinds of other insane things, I am only two inches from my goal length.
DIY Hair Cutting:
Nothing catches attention more than when people hear me say that I cut my own hair. The looks I got from my roommates when I started cutting my hair in my trash can were absolutely priceless. One actually began biting her nails while I cut a half inch off of my hair. To be perfectly honest, the way I cut my hair is almost cheating, it is so easy. All I do is pull my hair into a pony tail, where the hair tie is actually touching the hairline along my forehead, measure out the amount I want cut off, and cut right below that point. You should cut a bit less off than you initially want in case you mess up, so that you have room to go back and touch it up without losing desired length. Once you take the hair out of the ponytail, you have a very pretty V-cut with some subtle layers. I love how my hair looks both straightened and in its' natural, wavy state. For my bangs, I just cut down at an angle until I get the length I want. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?
Masks and the Inversion Method:
So, the internet is bursting with success stories concerning the Inversion Method. I won't swear by it, but I did see some pretty decent results. I usually do this an hour before a shower so that I can wash out all of the oil before going out in public. Basically, all you do is heat up some oil, such as Argan (Moroccan) Oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or any other hair-nourishing oil, flip your hair upside down, and massage your scalp for 3-5 minutes. After that, I usually put my hair up in a messy bun after slather a bunch of the warm oil onto the end and length of my hair and leave it in for an hour before showering. In the shower, I rinse the oil out, put in a K-pack, leave it in for 5 minutes while I get clean, rinse it out and wash my hair like normal. You're supposed to do this every day for a week, but my hair just got so greasy, even after I would wash my hair with extra shampoo, and I had classes and two jobs to look decent for. Needless to say, I just kind of do this when I have time or I know it won't matter if I look nasty the next day. However, I try to use a deep conditioner once a week and do a DIY hair mask, like an egg mask or hot oil massage once a month.
To be honest, I am lazy. I am not the girl that wakes up an hour before she has to be somewhere so that she can get her hair and makeup done. If you are that girl, congratulations, I am too crabby and lazy to pull that off. Instead, I am the girl that wakes up 15 minutes before class, yanks the pony tail or bun that I slept in out, flips my hair upside down to make it look like I made an effort, maybe put in a head band, throws some clothes on, and runs to class. It is very rare that I show up to class with so much as a layer of mascara or a simple braid or pony tail. I have mastered the art of looking like I spent 20 minutes on my appearance, when I really spent 5. If I did not take such good care of my hair at night, I would never be able to do this. That being said, here are some things that are major do's and don'ts for healthy, natural hair:
1. Heat is a major no no! If you style your hair with heat even as often as every other day, put away the heat tool and look into heatless styles. The heating tools strip your hair of moisture and leave your locks dry and brittle...even if you use heat protectant. So, if you want long, healthy hair, try to limit your heat styling as much as possible.
2. Do not wash your hair every day. Personally, I can't shower every day, because I have sensitive skin and would have issues if I bathed daily, and I also live in an area in extreme drought, so showers are something to regulate. Anyway, if you shower daily, you may want to look into a shower cap. I have heard that you should wash your hair at the most, every other day, but that it's best to only wash your hair every third day. I would die if my hair went 3 days straight without being washed, so I wash my hair every other day.
3. Never, EVER brush your hair when it is wet! I am guilty of this whenever I cut my hair, because I like to cut freshly washed, damp hair. Unfortunately, when your hair is wet, brushing it will cause stretching and breaking of strands. So, if you must detangle wet hair, try using a wide tooth comb and also look into using a detangler. To be honest, I use the Suave kids detangler...it really works.
4. Drink lots of water and minimize junk food intake. So, I struggle with this one. I tend to drink maybe a cup of coffee and a sip or two of water a day...which is horrible. I also tend to have a really, really, really bit sweet tooth. This is really just bad all around. Nourishing and hydrating the body from the inside is going to give you positive results all around. A healthy body functions better, therefore, causing it to produce healthier hair and a healthier you.
Once I finish my hair growth journey, I will try to post some before and after pictures in a follow-up post. I hope this helps!