Ene asked on facebook: “…do you have any tips for the natural undergrowth to grow faster. “
To give you some background, Ene is transitioning. This means that she currently has both relaxed and natural hair on her head. She is trying to grow the natural hair to a certain length before she chops off the relaxed hair.
My advice would be keep the hair in protective styles (braids, cornrows and maybe weaves if you can be careful enough) until you are ready to chop off the permed bits. This will help you manipulate the hair as little as possible. For “transitioners”, hair is weakest at the point where the natural hair stops and relaxed hair begins. That part of your hair is prone to breakage. Low manipulation styles help you preserve your hair until you are actually ready to chop it off.
Shampoo your hair regularly, focusing on your scalp. Ideally this should be done weekly. This will clear your scalp of any dirt, excess oil or even shed hair. A clean and healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair. Follow shampooing by a conditioning session even when you are wearing braids or woven hair. You really shouldn’t take a break from your hair even when it is not “exposed”.
Equally important is massaging the scalp. This stimulates growth and relaxes you too.
Massage your scalp with stimulating essential oils mixed with a carrier oil of your choice. My favorite recipe are a few drops of rosemary and peppermint essential oils mixed with either castor or coconut oil.
Try to avoid using conditioners that contain silicones. These are written as Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone on product labels. While silicones are touted to have their benefits, they require using sulfate shampoos to remove them from hair. Sulfate shampoos are drying to hair and African hair does not like dryness in any form.
Now, let’s tackle this question from a different but equally important angle. Hair is connected to the body so if you treat your body right, your hair will reap the benefits. Here are a few ways to do this.
Stress: Keep this as low as you possibly can. Hair can actually fall out as a result of stress.
Diet: Drink lots of water and eat well. Foods rich in iron (Eggs, green leafy vegetables, whole grains), potassium (bananas, avocados, nuts), Zinc (oats, soybeans, raw tomatoes), calcium (cabbage, carrots), sulphur (cabbage, fish) are very beneficial to not just your body but to your hair as well. You can also take vitamins and supplement (only if your doctor tells you it is okay to do so and prescribes a dosage).
Exercise: Exercise regularly to increase the flow of oxygen to the bloodstream. Your hair will benefit from this. (I feel guilty typing this as it has been a while since I last exercised)
Genetics: Sometimes it is really down to DNA. What your hair will be like and at what rate it will grow could already have been pre-determined. It may have been pre-determined that as you age you will suffer hair loss. On the other hand your hair may be full and thick even when you are old and gnarly.