How To Retain Hair Length

Dominique Baker With Healthy Relaxed Hair

Since embarking on my hair journey, I’ve seen an incredible amount of growth. I chalk this up to being diligent with caring for my hair like its my full-time job!

I thought I would share the following tips for retaining hair length and growing long, healthy hair if that is your end game. For me, long hair is good, but long, healthy hair is GREAT.

Now remember, hair growth is determined by genetics. Some people are blessed with hair that grows quickly. You are more likely to see great growth results if you retain length, not speed up hair growth. If you were able to accelerate the growth of your hair, but you’re not taking care of the ends, you’ll get nowhere fast.

Products I Like:

Deep Conditioning

Deep conditioning your hair on a routine basis is listed as number one for a reason. It moisturizes your hair and allows for maximum hydration and can correct, to a certain degree, damage from styling and environmental pressures like cold weather, windy conditions and blazing sunlight.

Healthy Scalp, Happy Hair

Keeping your scalp clean is conducive to healthy hair growth. You’ll find that your hair will break less and hydration will be boosted.

Washing my hair once a week works well for me. Any longer than that, and it feels gross, itchy and frankly, dry. When I got on a solid wash routine, my hair thrived. This schedule may not work for all, so play around until you get it right for you. You may even benefit from co-washing (washing with conditioner only), but this also doesn’t work for everyone (this wash method weighs down my hair).

Dominique Baker combing out her hair

Wrap Your Hair At Night

I don’t care if you are tipsy from the 5 glasses of red you had before bed and too tired to do anything but pass out face down on your cotton pillow. You BEST GET UP and wrap that hair, girl. Choose a silk or satin scarf to carefully tie around your head to protect your strands from that evil cotton pillowcase.

Cotton will suck the moisture out of your hair (and face!). Do double diligence by wrapping your hair AND use a silk or satin pillowcase! If you’re interested in snagging a silk pillowcase for yourself, try one of these out by Lilysilk: https://bit.ly/2QDcVb1. Use code “Dom12” to get an extra 12% off!

If you’re interested, check out this post I wrote years ago on How To Sleep Without Messing Up Your Do.

Dominique Baker sitting down at Bluesfest

Protective Styling Saves The Day

Buns, up-dos and wash ‘n go styles (bantu knots, braid outs, etc) are great for keeping your ends tucked away and protected.

If you have relaxed hair in particular and wear your hair out daily, you are more prone to breakage due to your ends rubbing up against your clothing, and exposure to the elements.

Reduce Heat Styling

I was addicted to my flat iron until I realized it was the reason my hair was constantly dry. When I eased up and started moisturizing regularly, it bounced back to life.

Direct heat is a great way to sap moisture from your hair and keep it looking dull and lifeless. Learn to love wash ‘n gos!

Dominique Baker having brunch

Hydration Isn’t Just For Hair…

Drink a ton of water! Try to drink as much as you can (I aim for two litres a day). Not only will your skin thank you, but your hair and scalp will too!

Moisturize And Seal Your Ends

This tip is key, especially if you have relaxed hair and use frequent wash ‘n gos and buns. Moisturizing your hair with a good water-based moisturizer keeps your ends soft and strong. After moisturizing, sealing your ends with a good oil like jojoba, argan or almond oil locks in that moisture.

This will prevent breakage and keep your ends looking thick and healthy. Watch my tutorial on moisturizing and sealing below:

Get A Good Trim

Trimming my ends regularly makes my hair look fuller, thicker and healthier. You will not retain length if your hair has split ends. Have you ever seen a split end left to its own devices? It will travel up the strand and cause some serious frizz and damage. I aim for trims every four months or so.

The Wide Tooth Comb

Wide tooth combs are much more gentle on your hair than anything else. I use mine religiously when I detangle my wet hair. *Sometimes* I use a fine tooth comb to smooth my hair for sleek buns – but that’s rare.

Hair Treatments

I love a good oil treatment! Once a month, I mix Haitian black castor oil with my deep conditioner, heat it gently, and apply to my hair. I then wrap my hair in a plastic bag (glamourous!), and top off with my heat cap. This leads to extra hydrated hair that is soft, manageable and shiny!

Every other month or so, I will use Olaplex in my hair (my full review here), a hair bond builder that smooths strands and repairs heat and styling damage. I will also occasionally use a protein treatment, but I have yet to find one I really like.

Don’t Use Old, Battered Hair Tools

Regularly replacing combs, brushes, hair clips, any hair tools is key for maintaining healthy hair. As these products age, they tend to get little nicks that snag and break hair. Remember to clean them regularly too!

A Blow Drying Tip

Never blow dry soaking wet hair and give air-drying a chance! Wet hair is prone to breakage, so ensure it’s at least half-dry before blowdrying.

Dominique Baker With Healthy Relaxed Hair

Too-Tight Hairstyles: NO

Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hairline for long periods of time (too-tight buns, braids, weaves, etc.) as they can cause a myriad of problems like traction alopecia.

Using weaves and braids for extended periods of time can also cause scalp dryness and brittle hair. Give your hair a chance to thrive!

A Solid Routine Is The Way To Go

I have tried a ton of different hair products that I think would work for me but I always keep the all-stars in my usual hair product rotation. If a product works for you, stick to it! Don’t mess about trying this and that.

Above everything, consistency is the way to go. Be diligent and dedicated about your hair journey and I promise you will see results. Try not to cut corners or buy candy hair vitamins hawked on Instagram by reality stars too. Remember, hard work pays off (not that it has to be hard). And if you feel you may have a physical ailment preventing hair retention, be sure to consult your doctor!

Have any other tips that help with your hair retention? Please leave them in the comments!

8 Comments

  1. August 24, 2019 / 7:57 pm

    Awesome tips! I cut my hair 2 months a go (big chop) and I love it but I am also on a hair journey. I find that sleeping in my deep condition once a week is amazing I do not get any breakage and I heat style my hair once a week because it’s so short I have no choice right but now that it’s grown a little I can wear it in it natural state more often.

    • Dominique
      Author
      August 26, 2019 / 2:53 pm

      That’s great to read! I love deep conditioning. When I started using my heat cap too as part of the deep conditioning process, I really noticed a positive difference! And I LOVE the new short cut. So chic!

  2. Dorcas
    August 25, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    I apply most of these tips (apart from the silk pillowcase , and I have seen a lot of change. In fact, I want to keep my hair natural for, possibly the next four years. 😂
    Rice water is a staple for me, and it really softens my hair.

    • Dominique
      Author
      August 26, 2019 / 2:51 pm

      Ok! So you do find rice water works? And what about the smell? Good for you, keeping the natural hair! xoxoxo

  3. Suliène Hazel
    September 6, 2019 / 6:12 am

    Dear Dominique, I am a newcomer. I am from the caribbean and grew up and live in Europe, The Netherlands. I have been relaxing for years now.
    I used to wash and blow dry my hair every two weeks or sometimes every week (Dominican hairdresser). I was thinking on going natural but didn’t want to do the big chop. This year May I decided to stop blowdrying my hair because I was noticing a lot of shedding, my hair was dry & brittle and stopped growing like in the beginning. So I started research on how to to care and maintain healthy relaxed hair.
    On a normal wash day after I air dry my hair I moisture and seal and this is working out great so far. Since this is new for me my question is; how do I maintain my hair daily after flat ironing my hair or after blow drying my hair? After 11 weeks I had a relaxer and my hairdresser blow-dried my hair. And how can I reduce the shedding? Thanks in advance!

    • Dominique
      Author
      September 23, 2019 / 9:41 am

      Hi Suliène! I’m so glad you found a routine that works for you! Honestly, I would stop flat ironing so frequently. I wash and condition my hair, then let it hair dry. I will comb it out with a wide tooth comb as it’s drying to make it straighter. I then moisturize and seal nightly, wrap it and then go to bed. The reduction in heat really reduces shedding!

  4. Yvette
    September 20, 2019 / 7:13 pm

    I’ve been following you for a while, and you’ve always gave, and continue to give great support and help. My only issue is that i’m Trying to grown my hair past my shoulders, and I always run into breakage. Any suggestions on how to keep it up? I’m not into wigs, braids etc.

    • Dominique
      Author
      September 23, 2019 / 9:39 am

      Hi Yvette! Can you please let me know what your hair routine is currently? That can help me offer some targeted advice. Thanks for reading!

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