• Protective styling is very important for natural hair growth. Try to keep your hair away for a least 3 weeks out of every month. If you are not into weaves or wigs*, you can do this by twisting your hair and wearing the twists for two weeks before releasing them for a twist out on the third week. That way you are keeping your detangling sessions to just 1 a month!
• Redo the perimetre and parting sections of braided or twisted styles monthly. You don’t have to redo your entire head of hair but taking down and re-braiding or re-twisting the perimetre sections allows your braided styles to look freshly done for the duration of the style.
• Hard protein treatments for naturals are on a ‘needs must’ basis. Black hair in it’s stucture is inherently weaker than other hair types so it does tend to need a helping hand in the strength department. Some naturals may be able to maintain a good moisture protein balance just with alternating their conditioners weekly but others will find that they do better with an Aphogee every 8 weeks or so. If you have every lifted color from your hair with bleach or peroxide however, protein treatments are a must!
• For weave wearers, I would strongly suggest that you take them down and re-do them monthly. This allows you to give your hair and scalp a good cleaning, get rid of shed hair and prevents matting which inevitably leads to more breakage when left unchecked.
• If it is too time consuming or expensive to re-do braided styles monthly don’t let them go over the 8 week mark because matting will almost certainly happen which could lead to a major setback.
• Hair color – If you regularly use hair colorants that contain peroxide or ammonia; for the same reason as with relaxers you will want to wait until you have a fair bit of hair growth before retouching them obviously to avoid double processing your hair and weakening it. Of course if you are using herbal colorants like henna*, you can touch up your roots monthly if you wish.
• Although I am pro-choice when it comes to how you want to wear your natural hair, and some natural ladies prefer to wear it straight, I am also well aware that it is counterproductive to give the green light on regular use of heated tools. If you are a veteran and you have conclusively demonstrated an ability to retain length while using heated tools regularly, then carry on! If things start to go a bit wrong in your regimen though, heat should be the first thing you should remove.
• A final word on heat, (and you are going to have to take my word on this ;)) you will find that as your hair grows longer, it will become harder and harder to go through the process of straightening your hair with any form of regularity. Eventually for the sake of saving time (and sanity) you will probably find that you want to use heat only a few times a year to check length or for a special occasion.