Hair. Healthy, long, strong, gorgeous hair is the wish of many, especially women. But this same hair that’s yearned for isn’t very available for all.
Many Nigerian women end up with short hair or hair about shoulder length. And it stays that way or changes a little bit as the years pass.
So, can Nigerian hair grow long?
Nigerian women can grow long, healthy hair, relaxed or natural. With learning about your hair and consistently doing the right things, you can grow long healthy Nigerian hair and break the false norm.
But how do you care for your hair? How do you treat it well so that it grows? What should you do to maintain its length?
How to grow Nigerian hair long and fast
Know Your Hair
You’ve likely seen this or heard this a lot if you’ve been researching and it’s almost annoying because…
What should you know about your hair?!
Your hair porosity is a very important thing you need to know to know what to do with your hair.
Hair porosity is the rate at which your hair takes in and releases water due to how open the hair cuticles are.
Your hair, as thin as it is, has layers, and the cuticles are the outermost covering of a single hair shaft.
There are three types: normal, high and low.
Low porosity hair type has the cuticles covering the hair shaft closed.
High porosity hair type has the cuticles open, such that it’s easy for water to enter and leave the shaft.
Normal porosity hair type is in the middle. It gets water into its shaft at a good rate and holds onto the water for a good amount of time too.
It’s easy to find your hair’s porosity. You can find out here.
Knowing your hair helps you to know how to treat it right and the right things to do for it to grow.
Knowing your hair will also help you know how fast it naturally grows.
Imagine a flower bed filled with rich loamy soil and flowers of several colours on it. That’s what your scalp is.
A healthy scalp is a foundation to growing Nigerian hair that is healthy and long.
Clean your scalp regularly with shampoo. The pores on your scalp need to be free and unclogged to allow your hair to grow well.
Your shampoo should not be harsh in that it causes your scalp to be dry. It should also be free of sulphates.
Moisturise your scalp. It’s like the rest of your skin, it needs moisture; water and oil.
Hair Regimen; Your Hair Care Routine
- How often do you wash your hair?
This depends on a lot of circumstances. Once a week is usually recommended. Your scalp needs to be clean and your hair needs water.
- Which shampoo should you use?
One without sulphates and harsh chemicals.
- What temperature of water should you use to wash your hair?
Warm. Not hot, you don’t want to scald yourself. Not cold either.
Warm water opens up the pores on your scalp for thorough cleansing and lifts your hair cuticles to allow water to penetrate your hair shaft.
- What do you do after washing your hair?
Use a deep conditioner. You can make one from natural ingredients. You can also buy it from a store. Rinse it out. Don’t leave deep conditioners in your hair for too long. 30 mins or whatever the instruction on the bottle says is enough.
Work in sections as you deep condition. Rinse out each section and secure the sections back in their place.
Use a leave-in conditioner. From the name, it should be left in, not rinsed out.
Conditioners add moisture and nutrients to your hair. Nigerian hair needs more moisture hence the need for conditioners. Unlike straight hair, natural hair is coiled and its natural nourishing oil, sebum, can not go through the length of the hair. This is why your hair needs extra nourishment.
After the leave-in conditioner, seal with oil or butter. Shea butter, olive oil, black castor oil are examples of sealants.
Your hair care routine is crucial in retaining your tresses and growing out your Nigerian hair healthy and long and at a fast rate.
- Work in sections always.
- Use your fingertips not fingernails while you wash. Use your fingertips to massage your scalp to remove build-up. Scratching your scalp with your fingernails would irritate your scalp and injure your hair follicles.
- Avoid your scalp and roots when using conditioner. The scalp doesn’t need conditioner because it would build up and clog the pores and the hair roots already get sebum; they don’t need conditioner.
The shampoo is to the scalp as conditioner is to the hair.
Detangle with care
Work in sections. Section your hair into smaller parts for easy detangling. The number of sections depends on how densely packed (thick) your hair is.
Never try to detangle your hair altogether at once.
You would be overwhelmed and it won’t end well because you’ll break your hair.
Don’t be in a haste. Take your time.
If you can’t spare enough time, don’t detangle at all till you have time.
Detangle your hair with a product that has slip, a conditioner for instance. Other examples of detanglers are plant gels like aloe vera, ambunu herb and marshmallow root.
Finger detangle before using a comb. Natural hair especially is coiled and wraps around itself on a norm. So while detangling, you need to take care that more hair than necessary isn’t being pulled out.
The ideal comb to be used after finger detangling is a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush. It makes sure that all the tangles are gone.
Take caution as you comb through your hair, stop when you come across a knot. Remove the comb and use your fingers to loosen the knot.
If you have to detangle your hair while it’s dry,
- Spray some water onto your hands and then apply it to your hair, not so much so it doesn’t shrink up.
- Put some oil or conditioner on hand and apply to your hair.
- And then finger detangle. Don’t use a comb or brush.
Detangling right is one of the things we miss in Nigeria. It is an important secret to growing Nigerian hair long.
Silk and Satin are your best friends. A silk or satin cap would keep the moisture in your hair and not share it or steal it as a cotton or wool cap would. You can also get a silk or satin pillowcase if you’re not comfortable sleeping with a cap on.
Always work in sections
Dividing your hair into sections helps you to work with a little section at a time. It reduces the chances of breaking your hair while detangling.
It also reduces the chances of your hair tangling back up after you detangle when you secure it in those sections.
Your can secure the sections of hair by twisting or braiding it or with a hair clip to keep it in place.
Trim off split ends and knots
When you encounter a knot, add water, oil, moisturising cream or conditioner to add slip and make it easy for the hairs to slip through. If it won’t come loose and if it’s a single strand knot, cut it with hair scissors. Don’t rip the knot out. It can cause split ends.
When you come in contact with split ends, cut them. If you leave them, they would continue to split up towards the root.
Scalp massages are soothing; they help ease headaches and migraines.
Giving yourself a scalp massage increases blood flow to your scalp. Your scalp receives more nutrients from the blood and your hair in turn gets more nutrients.
P.S. It’s one of the hair growth secrets in India.
Eat a balanced diet
Eat well. Introduce fruits and vegetables to your diet as well. You are what you eat.
Your body needs water. And your hair, aside from the water it receives externally when you wash it or while you’re moisturising it, needs hydration from the inside.
You’re what you eat. You’re what you drink too.
If you don’t like drinking water, you can infuse it to add some flavour to it. You can add spices, herbs like mint, and fruits, among others.
Not anything that contains sugar though. The body would process it as food and not water.
Low Tension Protective Styling
Don’t do headache-provoking hairstyles. The reason for a protective style is to protect your hair while it grows, not pull out your hair and make you miserable.
I watched a video a few weeks ago. This girl made braids and they were so tight that she was crying. And the hairstylist was petting her and trying to console her.
Some hairstylists would even tell you to use paracetamol to relieve the pain. But the cause of the pain is still there, the damage is still happening and you’d end up losing much hair when you undo your protective style. Your edges may also become a desert. It happened with me once (and I’ve had trouble with trusting hairstylists since then).
But it should not be like this.
There’s a Yoruba adage that means someone who wishes to be beautiful must endure pain.
It may be true in some cases but not this one.
Your hair needs to grow and styles that cause much tension would only pull your hair out.
Heat hair styling tools
Reduce how regular you use hot styling tools. This would reduce the possibility of your hair getting heat damage.
Ayurvedic/ Herbal products
Ayurvedic or herbal products are natural products and natural products are, well, natural. They nourish the hair with the goodness of nature and are rich in essential nutrients for your hair.
You can learn more about them here.
Read and know more
There are books, ebooks, articles, videos; many of them out there. A vast collection of information.
Learn with an open mind, study the results, stick with what you agree with and keep learning.
Do what works for you
There’s a lot of information on hair secrets and hacks from around the world.
Engage in them one at a time and for a while long enough for you to see the results.
Don’t juggle everything at once.
You can incorporate different hair secrets into your hair regimen.
The key is to do them all consistently over time instead of doing one for two days and jumping to a different one for another two days.
Sleep well. Do things that reduce your stress level. Meditate, draw, it doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to make sense. Draw doodles. Write in your journal. Meditate.
Be happy. Make yourself happy. Be with people who make you happy. You deserve to be happy. Your hair needs you to be stress-free so that it thrives.
So, do you want to grow long healthy Nigerian hair and see a change in just 2 weeks?
Have you been searching for secrets to growing your Nigerian hair long and fast?
You have found them.
Do the right things and what works for you consistently and you’ll be on the path to growing long, healthy hair in Nigeria.
You don’t have to do everything on this list at once, you can add them to your routine one after the other.
I tried to make this comprehensive and short. (How do you make something comprehensive and short at the same time?) I failed at it though.
Did you get answers to your question(s)? Do you have more questions? Indulge me in the comments below.