Fake it Until You Make It.

When I first started my hair journey I remember watching a youtube video where the hair vlogger was talking about the things she did to get her hair to longer lengths -- products, regimen, etc.  But one tip really stood out to me -- act like your hair is long from day one.  And I mean it makes sense, as you embark on your healthy hair journey the length will be added gradually.  It's not like on Day 271 you will have long hair and will have to instantaneously change up how you treat your hair.  So, why not act like it's long from Day 1.  That way when long hair sneaks up on you, you'll already be prepared to handle it.

Day 1: Aug 21, 2009
How do you act when your hair is long?

Well, you've got to be gentle with your hair because at longer lengths it's delicate and more susceptible to breakage.  Plus, the hair you've got on your head now will likely be the hair that ends up grazing your goal lengths.  If you want that to be the case, you've got to be easy with it now.  From day one I wore kitten gloves when handling my hair and now that my hair it longer, I believe it's what has kept my hair as thick as it is now.

Avoid unnecessary breakage by keeping your hair off of your shoulders.  When I started my hair journey, my hair was barely touching my shoulders and despite that I started protectively styling immediately.  I just knew that I'd have APL hair in no time (it took me 16 months to get there, lol) and didn't want it to be thin due to breakage.  The first things that I tried to learn how to do were twist outs, braid outs, roller sets and other flattering ways to pin my hair up.
My first Twist-Out Attempt

Others Tips:
Remove all jewelry when washing your hair.  It's really easy for my rings to get caught in my hair and yank at it, which means no jewelry for me on wash days.
Keep your hair hanging straight down while shampooing it.  Even when I am towel drying my hair, I keep my hair hanging straight down.  The point is to keep your hair in its neutral position as much as possible.  It minimizes how much you'll have to manipulate your hair and it cuts down on tangles.   That means no more washing your hair upside down in the sink, that's a big no-no for me.
Shampoo your scalp and Condition your hair.  Shampoo can be stripping, but it's a necessary element in your regimen to keep your scalp clean.  I focus the shampoo on my scalp and give it a nice healthy message.  Just before I rinse the shampoo, I allow the suds to run down the length of my hair, keeping it in it's neutral position.

My last tip is probably the most controversial (because almost everyone wraps their hair -- I did it daily before my healthy hair journey), but I stopped wrapping my hair.  It was a lot of manipulation on a daily basis and it had my hair in a non-neutral position.  For me personally, wrapping my hair made my scalp tender and so it wasn't hard for me to give up.  Instead of wrapping I wear my hair in a high bun at night and I don't miss wrapping my hair at all.

Of course you don't have to abide by all of these rules, but you'll be glad you did even if you just adopt one or two into your healthy hair journey.  Plus all of them can be boiled down to one of three important things to keep in mind as you do your hair: (1) keep your hair in it's neutral position as much as possible, (2) try to minimize how much you manipulate your hair and (3) do whatever you can to avoid breakage.

What long hair practices do you embrace that you believe contributes to you attaining and retaining longer lengths?

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