By Terez Howard

Natural black hair is beautiful.  When I discovered the multitude of natural hair styles I could do on my own natural hair, I got greedy.  I wanted more hair, so that I could do more hair styles.  Perhaps you feel like me.  Maybe you want natural long hair because you have never had it before.

It is important to remember that fast hair growth is only a result of genetics.  The hair growth cycle has three stages.  The growing phase, which produces an average of 6 inches per year, can last anywhere from 2 to 6 six years, and your genes dictate how long yours will last.  That doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to wear short hair forever.

I’m going to share some hair growth tips I feel are the most important to growing your hair’s longest length.  Protective styling is a must.  A regular scalp massage, moisturized hair and proper nutrition all contribute to my top hair growth tips.

1. Protective Styling

This is the most important of the 4 hair growth tips.  Protective styling is a natural hair style that protects the hair’s ends from the elements.  The ends experience the most abuse and have been around the longest.  They need some tender, loving care.

Some protective styles include two-strand twists, braids, buns, Bantu knots and palm rolls.  Because protective styling does not require combing, detangling or manipulation after the style is done, you reduce possible breakage, thus retaining length.

The ultimate protective hair style for natural hair is locs.  In any form – dreadlocks, braidlocs, Sisterlocks – locked hair is not disturbed by any combing or manipulation.  That is why natural black hair flourishes in locs.

2. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

This is definitely second in importance of the 4 hair growth tips.  Natural hair is fragile.  Each point where a strand coils is a weak point and a possible breaking point.  To give your hair strength, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.  Use moisture-rich conditioners.  Try a hot oil treatment to lock in moisture.  Style with shea butter, aloe vera, jojoba oil or water.  Steer clear of moisture-sapping products like shampoos filled with hair-drying ingredients.

Yet, it is possible to over-moisturize the hair.  If the hair feels very weak and limp, then you have applied too much moisture.  This can lead to breakage.  To avoid this issue, try to not over apply product.  Most products only require a small amount to get the job done.

3. Scalp Massage

A scalp massage stimulates blood flow, encourages hair follicles to sprout and even reduces stress.  According to a Livestrong article, a scalp massage helps hair follicles to be more receptive to the oxygen and nutrients needed for optimum health.  The increase in blood flow from a scalp massage keeps natural hair from prematurely going into the resting phase, the second phase of the hair growth cycle.

A scalp massage is a simple way to promote hair growth.  It doesn’t have to cost a thing.  Use the pads of your fingers to gently massage your scalp in circular motions, moving through one section at a time.  You can use oil if you like.  Rosemary oil would be a top pick since this oil specifically promotes hair growth.  You don’t have to use anything, though.  Some naturals report the greatest success by massaging while water is running over the scalp in the shower.

To see the most results, a scalp massage must be done regularly.  This can be particularly effective if you focus on an area of the scalp where you’ve experienced hair loss.

4. Diet and Nutrition

The last of the hair growth tips, but certainly not least is diet.  All the other hair growth tips mean nothing if you do not maintain a well-balanced diet.  If your body does not take in the nutrition it needs, your body will suffer, including your natural hair.  Web MD had an awesome article that outlined the top 10 foods for healthy hair.  It included salmon, dark green vegetables, beans, nuts, poultry, eggs, whole grains, oysters, low-fat dairy and carrots.

Remember, too much of a good thing is bad.  So watch your caffeine, sugar and fat intake.  Too much of these foods can be detrimental to your hair health and your total body’s health!

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