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Olayinka Olagunju: There is No Short Cut to Real Hair Growth! 8 Things I’ve Learned



If I tell you that you can’t get long hair in 3 days, let alone 3 months or even a year would you still care about your hair?

I see so many people who are fascinated about growing their hair. They watch YouTube, read articles or listen to others proclaim that they grew their hair long in a short amount of time. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Well, sorry to disappoint you but there is no easy shortcut. If there was, your hair would grow regardless of how you mismanage it, even with the “magical growth serum”; but that is not the case.

The truth is, your hair growth takes time and patience. Patience is virtue. You have to take the time to know your hair; to understand what it likes and dislikes. But most of all you have to step away from what does not work; if you are relaxed and you do not see results try being natural. If you are natural and don’t see results try being relaxed. If you wear a weave the entire time, try stopping that and pay attention to any changes.

Another issue is that people jump from bandwagon to bandwagon not giving their experiment enough time – hence the need for patience – to see if they are getting results. We are obsessed with instant gratification that we take a scissors to the hair every 4 to 6 weeks under the false guidance of so call experts. We also think we must shampoo every day, or relax every so often.

Those who truly know hair know that none of the above is accurate for all hair types.

I used to feed into the false notion that I couldn’t grow my hair; I used to envy my younger sister who was blessed with the “Rudy Huxtable” type of hair- thick and long. While we were young we did not have relaxers, but things changed while we were in Junior High. I loved the styles that relaxers provided, and boy did I take advantage of them all, even the shaved back.

One thing that was consistent was that my hair grew back after years, but seemed to stop at a certain length and it was so thin. I went years with relaxers trying to obtain those wonderful long locks, but all the relaxer ever paid me back was thinner hair and fading edges.

After much research I went from relaxer to transitioning for more than a year to a semi big chop, and the latest big chop after 3 1/2 years as a natural. It has been almost two years now and here are some of the things that I have learned along the way.

Don’t Buy Into the Hype
Not all products are special; most are made with the same ingredients… just a different way of marketing them.

Know your Hair
What works for some might not work for all. Eggs are a big craze now for conditioning the hair. I eat eggs, but have always had a disaster when attempting to use it on my hair. In fact, I attribute it as the reason why I had to do my last big chop. I developed a scalp infection which caused me to itch like crazy.

Maybe it wasn’t eggs, but picking out remnants of scrambled eggs in your hair is not cute. There are better ways to condition your hair effectively.

Keep Your Money
Going natural or relaxing should not be expensive. Black hair care is a money making machine, and many people are taking advantage of this. They will claim their product is the best and jack up the price because they know we are chasing length, manageability or thickness.

As a natural I once heard that going natural was expensive. I was so upset with that comment. Starting anything is only expensive to the newbie on the block because they believe the hype and don’t know the ways of the land yet. There are hair products out there that have to charge more because of distribution, marketing and production since they are made by smaller companies fighting for recognition. However, once you know your hair you will come to the realization that the products you need are simple and cost effective.

Keep it Simple
Yes, most people with long hair will tell you that they do not have time to do all this 24- hour hair regimen that most people talk about. It is bad enough that we go into the salon and spend half of the day; but why should you continue to do the same out of the salon? Of course some take the time to give their hair extra TLC, but it should not be an everyday event. Take the time for your hair to miss you and miss being fussed over.

The conditioner IS Your Best Friend
It doesn’t have to be fancy; as long as it is a conditioner that works for you, it is good.

I once got into conditioners when I asked a white guy in my college chemistry class what made his blond hair so long. The boy said lots of conditioners. This was odd to me back then (80s and 90s) because as black people we didn’t use conditioners. You were fancy if you did. Shampoo was the only hair product next to the black hair care products. But the idea didn’t sink in till I used my college roommate’s conditioner and fell in love with it. Shhh…don’t tell her that!

Our Hair Does Grow
It might not be at the astronomical rate that you desire but it does grow. Try taking pictures at intervals and by the end of the year check the progress. If you don’t see a change, think of what you might have done wrong. It could be that you trimmed more often than you should; and breakage or split ends could be another culprit.

Minimum Heat is Required
If you know anything about black hair care you know that we are raised to believe that heat (extreme at that), is our hair’s best friend. This is false. Heat causes damage to the follicles, which can lead to breakage or split ends.

Be Wary of Myths & Hair Legends
There are so many myths about our hair that it is taking us a long time to dispel them. Majority of us used to believe that our hair can’t grow – that if you have long beautiful hair it must be genetic… or that we all have the same hair type. It took some time, but those myths as well as others are going out the door and never coming back.

Patience calls for you to give your new texture almost the time you provided the previous texture, as well as the same understanding. There is nothing more annoying than a person who was natural for a hot second after being a relaxer for more than a decade only to rant about being natural. You didn’t exercise patience to see if being natural works out or not. Knowledge is important, and so is patience.

Finally, take the time to truly understand your hair.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime