Do you want to know how to grow black hair long? Many women with Afro hair types struggle to grow their hair out because it’s dry, thin and breaks easily. This article will show you how to achieve the best results with growing your hair including tips on what products are best for every step of the way.
How to Grow Black Hair
Growing your hair out can be a difficult process if you have an Afro hair type. Dry hair is the cause of most problems with black hair since when the hair is deprived of moisture it can become brittle and break before it has a chance to grow.
In order to grow healthy, moisturised hair it’s important to adopt a regular hair regimen which includes using the right moisturisers, conditioning treatments, oils and herbs.
Understanding The Structure of African Black Hair
Afro hair comes in all types of curl patterns, from tight spirals to large loose curls. The basic structure is a flat hair shaft which tapers down to a point at the end. Unlike other curly hair types it has more twists and turns in its spirals, as well as considerably smaller hair diameter.
This structure causes issues when it comes to growing the hair long. This is because the natural oils produced by the scalp find it more difficult to travel down a tightly coiled hair shaft and so often don’t reach the ends. This means the hair doesn’t get enough nourishment or moisture and easily becomes brittle.
Black hair is also prone to dryness because of its flat structure and the small diameter of the hair shaft which makes it more prone to breakage in comparison with other hair types.
Adopt A Daily Natural Hair Regimen
Adopting a regular natural hair regimen that includes washing, conditioning, deep treatments, sleeping in protective styles and using herbs and oils, will give your hair all the nourishment and moisture it needs to grow long.
As well as this you should also aim to keep your ends trimmed in order to keep the hair strands healthy and prevent them from becoming split or dried out.
Whatever you do to maintain and preserve your hair, it should be done on a regular basis. Using the tips and advice below will help you to start forming the perfect hair care routine to promote growth.
Use Pre Poo Treatments
Pre poo involves applying a treatment or oil to your hair before washing. This helps to protect the hair during the washing process and prevent it from being overly dried out or stripped of its natural oils.
In Ayurvedic treatments pre poo is usually an oil but it could also be a deep conditioner, hair mask, or even a homemade treatment with ingredients like egg, avocado, yogurt or coconut milk.
Pre poo has many advantages for natural black hair and you may find it becoming an essential part of your hair routine. Here are some of the reasons why pre-pooing your hair help you to grow longer and healthier hair.
1. Pre poo helps to prevent over-shampooing dryness and breakage
Shampoos, even those that claim to be moisturizing, will always remove some moisture from your hair. They can also cause over-drying if they strip away too many natural oils or if they contain harsh detergents. Pre-pooing your hair helps to offset these effects and keep your hair looking healthy.
2. Pre poo adds vital nourishment to the hair shaft
A pre-poo treatment is a great way to add extra protein and moisture to your hair shaft, making it stronger and more resilient. Growing natural black hair with length requires the right nourishment in order to keep the hair healthy and strong, so pre-poo treatments are great for this reason.
3. A good pre-poo treatment will seal the cuticle of your hair
By sealing the cuticles it helps to lock in moisture as well as improving the sheen of your natural hair. Your hair looks more shiny and healthy when the cuticles are closed.
4. Pre-pooing can also make it easier for you to comb through your hair after shampooing
A lot of women have problems with knots in their hair after washing. The sealant action of some pre poo treatments can give the hair a “glazed” look so that it is easy to run your fingers through without snagging. Pre-pooing can also reduce the amount of tangles that you get after washing your hair. This is particularly beneficial for naturals who have curly and tightly coiled hair types.
5. Pre poo treatments are usually cheaper than deep conditioning products
If If you make your own pre-poo treatment from hair friendly ingredients you won’t have to spend as much money on pre-poo products. You may also find that homemade recipes are more effective than some off the shelf deep conditioners.
6. Pre poo can give curly hair more curl definition after washing
This is particularly beneficial for naturals with tight coiled or coarse textured hair, since these types are often left looking frizzy and undefined following shampooing.
How to make a homemade pre-poo
You can make your own pre poo treatment by mixing a few ingredients together, stirring them until you get a smooth consistency and applying the treatment to your hair for about 30 minutes. Coconut oil and egg are commonly used as natural pre poo ingredients because they both have many benefits for natural black hair.
Coconut oil is good for natural black hair because it penetrates the hair shaft to provide moisture and nourishment. It seals the cuticle so that your hair looks smoother and shinier, helps to reduce the amount of frizz and increases curl definition in curly hair.
Egg white is also a great pre-shampoo treatment ingredient because it contains protein that can add body and strength to natural hair. You should always take the egg yolk out since it is too heavy and will weigh your hair down. Egg yolk can also leave behind a residue that could make your hair look dull and greasy if you don’t wash your hair thoroughly after applying it.
Another great ingredient for a pre poo treatment is aloe vera gel, which can also give your hair extra shine . Aloe Vera gel provides nourishment, shine and body to natural black hair, so it’s another popular choice if you’re looking for a natural pre-shampoo treatment.
Related: Pre Poo Treatments for Natural Hair + DIY Recipes Using Ayurvedic Oils
Use A Sulfate Free Shampoo or a Co-Wash
It’s important to wash your hair with a product that doesn’t strip the natural oils from your hair. Depending on how greasy your hair gets you should opt for a co-wash or sulfate free shampoo.
Sulfate Free Shampoos
Sulfates are often used as cleaning agents in shampoos as they effectively remove dirt and grease, but they can also strip your hair of much needed moisture. If you are washing your hair frequently with sulfates, the excessive removal of natural oils can lead to hair becoming brittle and breaking.
Sulfate free shampoo is sometimes called “low poo shampoo“. They are free from sulphates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES). The are a better option than co-washes if your hair gets particularly oily or greasy.
Recommended Sulfate Free Shampoo to Grow Black Hair
The Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Sulphate Free Shampoo helps to improve hair texture and maintain a healthy scalp. It’s infused with Argan oil, to add moisture and reduce hair breakage. This is a popular product in the natural hair community and is free from any harsh chemicals.
Related: Best Cheap Sulphate Free Shampoo to Keep Hair Moisturised
Co-washing simply involves washing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Co washes help to preserve the hair’s natural oils. They also prevent tangling, breakage and dryness since they reduce the amount of friction on the hair and scalp.
Co washes help to pull dirt and oil away from the hair and scalp, however they are not as effective as sulfate free shampoos at removing all product build up from the hair. For this reason it’s a good idea to alternative between a co wash and a good sulfate free shampoo, depending on your hair’s needs.
Recommended Co-Wash to Grow Black Hair
The As I Am Coconut CoWash is a great option if you’re trying to grow longer hair. It gently cleanses the hair whilst promoting growth and enhancing curls and coils. It contains natural oils such as coconut oil and castor oil which provide the best way to pull away dirt without stripping the hair’s natural protection.
Related: What is Co-Washing for Curly Hair?
TREAT THE SCALP
This step is very important to grow long black hair because most of the times, breakage happens at the root. Black hair needs regular conditioning from root to tip and not just on the ends as you might think.
Invest in a nourishing scalp treatment every week to improve the health of the scalp and hair follicles. There are lots of scalp products available for black hair however you can easily make your own scalp treatments at home.
For example, massaging an oil into your scalp or spraying it with a DIY herbal spray can help to improve the health of the scalp and hair root.
For those of you who struggle with dandruff, an apple cider vinegar rinse or herbal rinses like rosemary and thyme are a good choice because of their antiseptic properties. The natural acids in the vinegar kill bacteria and loosen grime trapped in the scalp so that it can be easily washed away.
The following posts have tips on using natural products to create scalp treatments that promote hair growth:
- Black Tea for Hair: Benefits & How to Use to Stop Shedding & Grey Hair
- Burdock Root Benefits for Hair & How to Make a Tea Rinse
- Coconut Oil Spray for Hair to Get Strong Roots and Promote Growth
- Olive Oil Spray for Hair: Get Beautifully Nourished and Conditioned Hair
Use Leave-In Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner is a great way to reduce tangling, breakage and dryness. It can also make curly or kinky hair more manageable and easier to comb.
If you are trying to grow your hair long, using leave-in conditioner regularly will help to keep the hair moisturised and supple while you are growing it out. Since dryness can cause your hair to break easily, a leave-in conditioner is an important step if you want to grow long black hair.
It’s also a good idea to massage your scalp with the leave-in conditioner before you apply it to the rest of your hair. This can help stimulate blood flow and improve circulation on your head, which is an important step in growing healthy hair. It can also provide nutrients to the hair root that stimulate growth.
Recommended Leave-In Conditioner to Grow Black Hair
The Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner contains natural ingredients such as shea butter, peppermint and apple cider vinegar to seal the hair cuticle and promote healthier, stronger hair. It is free from mineral oil or anything that could dry your hair out or weigh it down. It is one of the best products for length retention and to prevent further damage to the hair.
Related: Best Leave in Conditioner for 4c Hair
Deep Condition Regularly
Use a deep conditioning treatment regularly on your hair. A deep conditioning treatment will help to restore and maintain moisture in the hair by penetrating the cuticle layer of the hair shaft.
There are lots of different types of treatment available with some including herbs such as nettle, horsetail and chamomile which act a natural hair conditioner.
Depending on your exact hair type and hair porosity you may also benefit from a protein treatment.
Try to apply a deep conditioner to your hair once or twice every week and leave it on for about 20 minutes before washing it out.
Regular deep conditioning will help to prevent dryness, breakage and tangling by locking in the moisture that your hair loses during the day.
Recommended Deep Conditioner to Grow Black Hair
The Cantu Natural Deep Treatment Masque is among the top recommended hair products for black women. It helps to restore strength to dry and damaged hair while you are increasing your hair length. This is a good option if you have relaxed hair or over processed hair and are trying to grow it out. The conditioner increases hair elasticity in strands that are brittle from mechanical damage or over use of a blow dryer.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Hair Growth
If you want to grow healthy long black hair then consider adding herbs to your daily regimen.
Popular Ayurvedic herbs for hair growth and health include:
Amla is an Indian gooseberry that acts as a natural conditioner to restore shine, fight dandruff and encourage hair growth. It can be found in the form of tinctures, tablets, and powders. It is also available as a home remedy shampoo which can promote hair growth and restore shine. Amla is often used for dyed hair because it helps return colour to its former vibrancy.
Nettle an excellent herb for promoting strength and thickness. It can be found in the form of tinctures, tablets and powders. Nettle will also help to get rid of dandruff, which is an important step in getting the best results from your hair growth regime.
Black cumin helps treat dandruff, supports hair growth and boosts hair health. It can be found in the form of oils and powders. Black cumin is an essential ingredient in many Ayurvedic hair growth products because it improves circulation to the scalp, encourages hair growth and helps trims split ends.
Brahmi is a a fantastic herb that promotes healthy hair growth whilst also protecting your scalp from losing moisture. It is often used as an Ayurvedic herbal treatments to promote healthy hair growth and prevent alopecia.
Shikakai has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries to help promote hair growth. It can be found in the form of powders, shampoos and oils.
Saw Palmetto has been proven to significantly increase hair growth. It helps prevent split ends and loss of hair structure, which are the two main causes of premature hair loss and thinning hair. This herb is available in tablet form or as an Ayurvedic shampoo for promoting healthy long hair.
Creating an Ayurvedic Hair Care Routine to Grow Black Hair
If you are interested in learning more about how you can use Ayurveda to promote black hair growth, I have written a basic guide for beginners to help you get started.
The book will help you to :
- Discover which herbs & oils work best for your hair
- Find out what hair problems you are more susceptible to
- Discover how your hair is connected to your bones
- Find out what you should eat or avoid to get beautiful hair
- Get recipes to create your own hair products
Use Oils on Your Hair
The best oils to add moisture to your hair are either olive oil, coconut oil or castor oil. They will help to protect your hair and keep it soft while also helping to lock in moisture.
Olive and coconut oils are relatively inexpensive and easy to use by applying them directly on the scalp, and then covering with a shower cap for at least 30 minutes before rinsing well. Castor oil is also really beneficial if you want to grow healthy black hair.
Essential Oils for Hair Growth
A popular Ayurvedic practice when applying oils on the scalp is to add essential oils such as rosemary, thyme or clove oil because they help to stimulate blood flow around the scalp while also stimulating hair growth and making hair thicker.
Other essential oils such as neem oil and mint oil are also commonly used for black hair growth since they combat skin dryness and keep the scalp healthy whilst also promoting healthy growth.
Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil into your hair oil and use it on the scalp 2-3 times every week to promote healthy hair growth, boost circulatory activity to the scalp and improve blood circulation around the head.
Essential oils are also great treatment if you have any skin condition that affects your scalp and even if you have dandruff.
To following posts have more information about the best essential oils for black hair growth:
- The Surprising Benefits of Spearmint Oil for Hair Growth and Health
- Make Your Own Shampoo with Lavender Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil for Hair: Uses and Benefits for Growth
Recommended Ayurvedic Oil to Grow Black Hair
Navratna oil is my favourite ayurvedic hair oil to encourage growth. It is formed from nine carefully selected herbs and oils to create the optimum environment for healthy hair growth. It works well on African hair and helps to improve the hair’s texture and enhance shine. Read more about the benefits of Navratna Oil
Related: 10 Best Ayurvedic Hair Oils for Hair Growth
Try Homemade Hair Care
You don’t need to buy expensive products if you want to grow your hair out. There are lots of other natural recipes that promote black hair growth. These include using inexpensive ingredients such as pineapple, yogurt, honey and avocado.
Pineapple contains bromelain which helps to soften hair strands making them easier to comb as well as promoting healthy growth.
Yogurt is rich in protein and helps promote strong hair roots while also protecting the scalp from drying out since it’s a natural moisturizer. It can be used in a wide range of ways to encourage healthy hair growth.
Honey has antibacterial properties which help to reduce dandruff and other scalp conditions that can prevent your hair from growing normally. It also helps to remove blockages in the pores, which is especially beneficial if you suffer from oily scalp problems.
Avocado contains vitamins E, K and B6 in addition to other nutrients which are all good for promoting healthy hair growth. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which aids circulation to the scalp and helps improve blood flow around the head.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use natural products to promote hair health and growth, check out the following posts:
- How to use Beeswax for Healthy Hair Growth
- Soybean Oil for Hair: Benefits & Uses for Healthy Growth
- Goat Milk Benefits for Hair: Best Goat Milk Shampoo and Conditioner
- Baobab Oil for Hair: Benefits, How to Use and Best Baobab Oil Products
- Mango Butter Benefits for Hair: How to Use & 9 Best Natural Products
- African Black Soap Benefits for Hair
- Fenugreek Seeds for Hair: Benefits and How to Use
- Bamboo Tea for Hair Growth: Discover the Amazing Benefits of Silica!
Regularly Trim Any Split Ends
Regularly trimming dry, damaged ends will help to keep your hair healthy, and prevent the split from travelling up the hair shaft. Hair that is regularly trimmed is also less likely to becoming frizzy or unmanageable.
How frequently you trim the ends of your hair will depend on your hair’s condition, but it’s recommended you should trim a quarter of an inch every 4-6 months.
If you are trying to grow your hair long, trimming split ends is an important step to ensuring your hair remains strong and healthy.
Put Your Hair in Protective Styles
Protective hairstyles are a great way to keep the hair moisturised and protected while you are growing it out. Some good protective styles for growing black hair include:
- Marley twists
- Knotless braids
- Enegalese twists
- Passion twists
- Bun updo
- French braids
- Crochet braids
The benefits of protective styles include:
- Keeping the hair moisturized
- Saving time on hair care
- Protecting the hair from extreme weather conditions like sun and rain
- Promoting healthy growth of black hair in a relatively short time
- Reducing breakage
Since you don’t need to style your hair every day this is a great way to ensure that it stays in good condition until it achieves its target length.
Related: 31 Protective Hairstyles You’ll Want to Try This Year
Use the Right Hair Tools
Afro hair needs a lot of TLC when you style it as it is more fragile than other hair types. It’s important therefore that you use the right hair tools to help maintain your hair growth.
Bristled brushes and combs are recommended because they reduce breakage when you style your hair. Plastic bristles that come with most combs and brush sets are not as effective at reducing damage so you should avoid these.
Wide tooth combs are also good for gently detangling the hair without pulling or breaking any hair strands.
Wooden combs are also another option to consider due to their gentle hair detangling properties.
Wide tooth combs are perfect for reducing hair breakage whilst growing black hair. They won’t put as much stress on the hair as regular combs and help to reduce frizz and split ends.
Related: Best Wide Tooth Comb: 15 Amazing Detangling Combs
Wrap up Your Hair up in a T Shirt Towel
To protect the hair after washing consider wrapping it in a T-shirt towel which will keep the moisture in and reduce frizz.
The technique of wrapping wet hair in a t-shirt is called “plopping”. Hair plopping is a popular drying method for curly hair since it helps to reduce frizz and give curls more definition.
You start by wringing excess water out of just-washed hair, followed by wrapping it in a T-shirt. You can also wrap the hair in a microfiber towel instead of a T-shirt if you prefer.
Recommended T-Shirt Towel For Growing Black Hair
Since t-shirts can be a bit awkward to use I found this cotton hair towel really easy to use! It’s super absorbent and gentle on the hair and helps to dry the hair quickly when you’re in a rush. In my opinion a good cotton hair towel is one of the best hair care products you can invest in! In time you will notice an improvement in the overall health of your hair, less frizz, less dryness and less breakage.
Related: T Shirt Towel for Curly Hair: How to Plop Your Hair and Prevent Frizz
Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase
Silk pillowcases benefit the hair by reducing any friction damage caused by rubbing while you sleep.
Since silk is also a natural hair moisturizer, it helps to reduce breakage, split ends, and frizz. Silk pillowcases also have anti-microbial properties which help to prevent any scalp infections that can affect the hair growth cycle.
You may want to consider using a silk scarf as an alternative to a silk pillowcase if it’s more comfortable for you. In the long run a silk pillowcase can help to protect your hair and keep it moisturised while you are growing it out.
Recommended Silk Pillow Case For Growing Black Hair
This silk pillow case is made from 100% mulberry silk. It’s incredibly soft and works well to protect your hair from friction damage. Investing in a silk pillowcase was the best thing I did to stop my hair from breaking in the night.
Eating a Healthy Diet to Promote Hair Growth
If you are trying to grow black hair long you also need to consider your diet and ensure you are getting the right nutrients for your hair. Your body needs to have all the right building blocks for healthy hair growth.
Some foods that promote hair growth include salmon, oysters, walnuts, flaxseed oil and eggs. You should also consider taking a good vitamin that promotes health and strong hair that includes iron, vitamin E, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and biotin.
Biotin is known as the “hair vitamin” and is probably the best supplement for healthy black hair growth. Biotin helps to tame breakage, boost cell formation for faster hair growth, strengthen new roots and keep dandruff at bay.
Recommended Vitamins to Grow Black Hair
I love Hairburst vitamins. If you’re in the UK I managed to get a unique discount code for readers of the UK Beauty Room blog – click here for the Hairburst discount code (UK customers only). These vitamins contain everything you need including zinc, selenium, biotin and vitamin C. Taking a good hair supplement is the easiest way to ensure your hair gets all the nutrients it needs from the inside!
I have written another post listing all the best hair growth vitamins for different needs. If you’re looking for a different hair growth supplement checkout: 23 Best Hair, Skin and Nails Vitamins
What to Stay Away From When Growing Black Hair
If you are trying to grow black hair long try to stay away from relaxes, chemical straighteners and frequent use of rubber bands. All of these could cause damage to the hair and make it more difficult to grow out.
You should also use heat sparingly or avoid it altogether. If you want to use heat, always use a heat protectant before blow-drying or hot-ironing your hair.
You can also try air drying your hair which is great for natural locks and twists, and curl your locks using rollers instead of electric curlers to reduce heat damage.
It’s important to remember that even with heat protection, the longer you expose your hair to high heat the more likely it is that your hair will be damaged.
If you are looking for ways to grow your black hair long and healthy remember the following tips:
- Use a sulfate free shampoo or co-wash, or mixture of the two!
- Remember, to keep your hair moisturised with regular conditioning treatments
- Avoid heat styling or using it sparingly
- Eat foods that promote healthier locks or take vitamins like biotin
- Use protective styles such as twists and braids to protect the hair from breakage while growing it out.
- A wide tooth comb is a must have when detangling those curls!
Further reading: The Ancient African Secret to Hair Growth
This post was all about how to grow black hair long
Thank you for reading my post about how to grow black hair long. If you are growing your hair out please leave me a comment below and let me know how you are getting on!
Thursday 19th of August 2021
Your comprehensive and detailed guide for taking care of black curly hair types was really helpful, covering multiple aspects. This must be the best guide ever. Thank you Olivia, I love reading all your articles.