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  1. #1
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    Default How to grow longer fine natural hair?

    My hair is the most fragile thing, I am starting to get very frustrated. I have been natural almost 3-4 years. Although it has grown much thanks to using extension braids most of the time for a low manipulation style, I feel like growth has become slower. It's very fine, but dense and is low porosity. I can't afford to get my hair braided anymore, so I have to style every few days, which I feel is breaking my hair (I just do twists or put it in a loose ponytail). Maybe because my hair is so fine I can never enjoy my hair being free and out there like other girls? I honestly feel like giving up. I have been getting so many terrible knots and tangles lately... a lot of breakage to get these things out. And I hear that naturals with fine hair should get trimmed a bit more often but I feel if I keep trimming I won't reach my goal. Is there a simple routine I can follow to grow my fine low porosity hair? My biggest goal is to have healthy, shoulder length natural hair (without stretching).

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    I don't think its because your hair is fine, it could be your curl pattern (ie tightly coiled). I have thick, dense, coarse hair and I don't wear it out for the same reasons you state. My experience is that styling every few days (when not in a protective style) is the norm. I don't know about the trimming thing when it comes to fine hair but others will chime in. Shoulder length hair (without stretching) is a hard one. My hair is BSL and it always shrinks up middle of my neck when in a fro. When in twists, it is shoulder length but that comes with alot of time and care. Be patient - waiting for hair to grow is like watching water and waiting for it to boil.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturalbeauty898 View Post
    My hair is the most fragile thing, I am starting to get very frustrated. I have been natural almost 3-4 years. Although it has grown much thanks to using extension braids most of the time for a low manipulation style, I feel like growth has become slower. It's very fine, but dense and is low porosity. I can't afford to get my hair braided anymore, so I have to style every few days, which I feel is breaking my hair (I just do twists or put it in a loose ponytail). Maybe because my hair is so fine I can never enjoy my hair being free and out there like other girls? I honestly feel like giving up. I have been getting so many terrible knots and tangles lately... a lot of breakage to get these things out. And I hear that naturals with fine hair should get trimmed a bit more often but I feel if I keep trimming I won't reach my goal. Is there a simple routine I can follow to grow my fine low porosity hair? My biggest goal is to have healthy, shoulder length natural hair (without stretching).
    The things that you're talking about sound like normal parts of having long(er) natural hair. It requires gentle treatment. My hair is shoulder length when stretched, and I can't wear it out every day. If I did, I'd be asking for tangles and trouble.
    Instead, I rely on protective styles. For example, I wear twists using my own hair. But I leave them in for around a couple of weeks at a time.
    "Coal mining is harder [than writing]. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig."
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  4. #4
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    Like Claire I can't even think about wearing my hair out with any regularity. I wear loose buns 99% of the time (not the kind where you brush every hair tautly into place, my hairline would not appreciate that). Minimizing my handling of my hair overall (mostly finger detangling as opposed to combing regularly, minimal styling, I live in California so I keep it covered in the harsh summers, etc.) made a huge difference for me in length retention.

    EDIT: Also - braiding jacked my hair up, so if your hair is really fine like mine is you may want to look at that as well. Synthetic braiding hair dries out my hair something fierce and actually cuts my own hair. I have successfully yarn twisted my hair a few times now (I use silk yarn because synthetic fibers dry my hair out dramatically). Perhaps yarn twists are another option you can look into
    Last edited by Soul Rebel; 09-18-2012 at 09:13 PM.
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    My hair is not fine, but it is very dense and tangle prone. VERY. The length is about mid-back length stretched; shoulder length un-stretched (it hangs past shoulders in an old braid-out). Unlike others who have posted, I do wear my hair out often. Not all of the time, but often. I typically twist my hair 2-3 times a year and keep those twists in for up to 6 weeks. And I wear buns for a couple days to a week at a time many times a year (depends on the weather, how well my hair is cooperating with me, and if my ends are showing the need to be hidden away for a while). Outside of that, my hair is usually in braid-outs - either fully out, or in ponytails or pony puffs.

    There are three things that I believe help me the most in decreasing tangles: 1)I stretch my hair DAILY with plaits, twists, buns, or bands. NEVER wear my hair shrunken anymore. Love the look, but it's not worth the many hours long detangling session and breakage. 2)I moisturize and seal religiously. A spritzing of aloe vera juice diluted w/ water, sealed with a healthy cream & castor oil are my daily (or every other day) staples. 3)I lightly finger-detangle every couple days, and I thoroughly detangle with oil & conditioner BEFORE washing. I canNOT fully wet my hair before detangling & twisting. Loose soaking wet hair immediately starts to knot up for me. Tried that recently and paid the price

    Hope that helps!

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    Georgia: Thank you! I guess you are right, my curls are very very tight (but I am 4a mostly and 3c along the edges). My hair shrinks like CRAZY. I can't stand it. I mean, it's cute, but it takes so much time to deal with along the way. I caught myself wishing I had looser curls for the sake of time. I was just wishing just the other day that I had a head full of 3c hair and not other textures (it gets frustrating). LOL I LOVE the look of springy tight curls (my European girl friend ALWAYS complements my hair, saying it's "just so cute!"). But I wish my hair wasn't so time consuming. Sigh. That's life.

    Claire: Thank you, I did notice that I can't have my hair out a lot because of all the tangles and knots. It really sucks because I want to show how long and healthy my hair has become but I can only do that once in a while

    Soul: Thank you, I wear loose buns too, but I always worry about my hair line. Most of the time I twist the front but I really wish it was long enough to pull all the way back (shrinkage again, the bugger). Actually, many women had said synthetic braids has ruined their hair and dried it out, but it's actually opposite for me... My hair has grown wonderfully from those braids. I want human hair ones but I am hurting for money right now as a college student. And I can't keep getting my hair braided because it costs too much. I also tried braiding myself, let's just say it didn't go well. But I had always moisturized my braids a few times a day, so maybe that helped me particularly. I feel my hair is in best shape when in low manipulation styles... unfortunately. Except I keep the edges or hair line out of those braids.

    CC: Thank you a lot! I am going to definitely try to do some of those things you mentioned, you are so lucky you can wear your hair out often. I wish I could. You hair sounds kind of similar to mine in other ways. I really want to have un-stretched shoulder length hair (well maybe really arm pit length) though. hate it when I stretch my hair then sweat when exercising (like dancing) and get into a shrunken tangled mess. It's always worse for me to have stretched hair revert back to shrunken vs starting out with detangled shrunken hair it seems. Again, thanks for sharing!

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturalbeauty898 View Post
    Soul: Thank you, I wear loose buns too, but I always worry about my hair line. Most of the time I twist the front but I really wish it was long enough to pull all the way back (shrinkage again, the bugger). Actually, many women had said synthetic braids has ruined their hair and dried it out, but it's actually opposite for me... My hair has grown wonderfully from those braids. I want human hair ones but I am hurting for money right now as a college student. And I can't keep getting my hair braided because it costs too much. I also tried braiding myself, let's just say it didn't go well. But I had always moisturized my braids a few times a day, so maybe that helped me particularly. I feel my hair is in best shape when in low manipulation styles... unfortunately. Except I keep the edges or hair line out of those braids.
    Two things:

    1. I don't mean to negate your experience with braids. However I think the main thing that your hair benefitted from was simply not being bothered (manipulated) for however long your hair was styled that way.
    2. Why do you think it's unfortunate that your hair is at it's best when it's in low manipulation styles? (Are you feeling sad about not manipulating your hair?) For many of us, low manipulation is the way to go. It's one of the main tactics that folks with natural hair use to grow it out.
    "Coal mining is harder [than writing]. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig."
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  9. #8
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    Sorry, I meant that me not manipulating my hair helped! Sorry :P Most women tell me that their hair drys out in those braids and it hurts their hair even with all the spirtzing and washing, etc. I was pointing out that my hair was fine with synthetic extensions. Most tell me not to go that route (but it was most afforable at the time, but I do want to try real hair extensions some time just to see if it's better).

    I meant it was unfortunate that my hair always has to be in low manipulation styles 99 percent of the time. I love my braids, don't get me wrong (as I do like to look of having my own long braids and styling them in so many different ways), but I always wanted to wear my hair down like other girls. Nice and curly--I think that's a super cute look. By curly I mean loose curls, tight curls, I like them all.

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    I'm going to keep it really real here:

    Not all of us are going to have thick, strong hair that hangs down to our butts (or hangs at all). I really wish we could accept this and not see it as some kind of inherent flaw. Too many black women already feel inferior about themselves as it is and I keep on seeing it in hair blogs and forums. "I wish my hair did this (like looser- or stronger-textured person's)...why won't my hair do that (like looser- or stronger-textured person's)." Comparing your hair to someone else's is poison...The fact is that we (and by "we" I'm talking about those of us with tightly-coiled, fine-stranded hair) DON'T have the kind of hair we can wear out and still have it retain length.

    So that gives us two choices (actually more than two but I'm going to leave chemicals and weave out for now): Either we enjoy our loose hair as it is and accept that length will come more slowly (and be OKAY with that) or we learn to protect our ends and "restrict" the number of styles we can do in order to retain more length in a faster amount of time (and be OKAY with that).

    I hate protective styles. (See "For those who hate protective styles" threads in the Challenge forum.) I think my twists look terrible for the first week or so and there are days I wish I had thicker hair so my twists would at least look better. For a long time I decided I'd much rather have a big loose bush that didn't retain as much length than have these anorexic twists. But this year I've been trying to warm up to twists. I spent two months wearing them in the spring and I just took out mini-rope twists that I wore for 3.5 weeks. And as much as I hate how they look, when I take them out and see my hair doing something that it couldn't do before I put the twists in...I have to confess that for me and my fine hair, protective styles WORK. Today, for instance: My ballerina bun is a little bit bigger than it was three months ago. It takes up more of my palm than it did before. I've always suspected that my hair grows at a rate that's close to the half-inch-a-month average, but the only time I really see the proof is when I have a TWA and when I wear protective styles.

    If I want longer hair, protective styling is pretty much what I have to do. And that's just the way it is. Sure I'd love to have thicker strands. But I DON'T so I work with what I've got.
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  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturalbeauty898 View Post
    Sorry, I meant that me not manipulating my hair helped! Sorry :P Most women tell me that their hair drys out in those braids and it hurts their hair even with all the spirtzing and washing, etc. I was pointing out that my hair was fine with synthetic extensions. Most tell me not to go that route (but it was most afforable at the time, but I do want to try real hair extensions some time just to see if it's better).

    I meant it was unfortunate that my hair always has to be in low manipulation styles 99 percent of the time. I love my braids, don't get me wrong (as I do like to look of having my own long braids and styling them in so many different ways), but I always wanted to wear my hair down like other girls. Nice and curly--I think that's a super cute look. By curly I mean loose curls, tight curls, I like them all.
    Re extensions: What I meant was that many people like to give extensions credit for helping with their hair growth. However the real praise should go to the fact that when wearing extensions, people are wearing, by its very nature, a protective style. Their "real" hair is getting a break beneath the braids.

    Re your second paragraph: What you wrote is no different from what I figured you meant. Hence, what I said earlier.

    But for now I'll refer to what LBellatrix said. If nothing else, her last two lines. In the quest for longer hair, protective styles are a reality that some (many?) people with natural hair have accepted as a part of their regular routine.
    "Coal mining is harder [than writing]. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig."
    --Sugar, a writer from The Rumpus
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