Tips and Tricks: Number Fifteen
Hello, my name is Jasmine and I really hope that you receive this email, because I am just about desperate for a reply from anyone.
I am sixteen years old and I am from Texas. I have been natural all of my life (and sadly, I still don’t know how to take care of my hair at this point). I have done at least 3 big chops in my life and I would like to try and avoid having a fourth one. My hair, in the center especially, is bald because I glued in some tracks. What would you recommend I do to grow my hair back? I have been taking Biotin (2 pills = 2,000 mcg) daily (one at night and the morning) and would like to grow some hair in those bald areas so that I have some hair for my senior pictures coming up in the summer. I always wear my hair in French braids daily, since I can no longer afford to get my hair braided. Please help me!
Thanks in advance.
First, I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I think it’s really important for younger ladies like yourself to be careful with DIY hair treatments like weaves, dyes and chemical relaxers as you can cause damage that could traumatize your scalp and/or seriously damage your hair. I don’t frequent salons often, but as a teenager, my mother applied my relaxers or I went to a salon. So, I would recommend the same if you are contemplating potentially damaging processes.
Next, it is important to remember that hair grows a 1/2 inch a month on average. So, you most likely aren’t going to grow 6-7 inches of hair by summer. However, in regard to your question about what you can do to help grow your hair back, I suggest you attack the problem from three angles.
DIET and EXERCISE:
So often it seems that we are looking for the easy fix to our hair problems that comes in the forms of tonics and pills. However, truth be told, I think that nutrition and exercise are probably at the very top of the list of the most critical things to address and help improve the condition of one’s hair. That being said, take a look at your diet. Are you drinking around 60 ounces of water a day or half your body weight? Are you eating enough protein? Leafy and colorful vegetables? Fruit? Do you eat a lot of processed and refined foods like pre-packaged snacks, soda and fast foods that are filled with saturated fats and transfatty acids, added sugars, salts and preservatives? If so, I’d suggest starting there. Here are two good posts that were on BlackGirlLongHair about foods and nutrients that promote growth and healthy hair:
10 Foods for Healthy Hair
13 Nutrients That Promote Hair Growth
In addition, it’s important to make certain that you are getting adequate amounts of cardiovascular activity. Oxygen fed via the blood and circulation are critical to supplying those hair cells with the great nutrients that you are now ingesting ;). Not only will exercise improve your hair, it will improve your health and overall well-being.
TOPICAL PRODUCTS and TECHNIQUES:
Oils, Essential Oils (EOs) and Oil Mixes:
Okay, so though I said that these are often sought as the easy fixes, I think there is something to be said for topical “tonics” and mechanical techniques. There are a variety of essential oils (EOs) that are touted as promoting growth and a variety of homemade recipes that you may want to try. That being said, be careful when using EOs. A few drops will do ya’ … and they need to be heavily diluted in a carrier (base) oil such as jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or virgin coconut oil (VCO). Here are links to a few posts with oil mixes that might help encourage growth:
Essential Oil Mix for Hair Growth (My post that includes an EO mix that I first learned of via MopTopMaven and corroborated was proven effective via clinical studies.)
Product Review Aloe Gro (Her Best Hair’s post on Aloe Gro, a mix of aloe juice and various EOs.)
My Staples: Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) (Some have found success re-growing thinning or non-existent edges by simply applying Jamaican black castor oil [JBCO] to their scalps on a daily basis.)
Scalp Food (Friend, fellow blogger and Grow Out Challenger, Marsha of Hairology, recently posted about how she has been able to regrow a thinning spot at her crown with water and jojoba oil.)
Ultimately, what may be partially responsible for improvements in growth appreciated with these tonics are the regular scalp massages that take place when applying these oils. Scalp massages help stimulate circulation, which helps the hair follicles become receptive to the nutrients and oxygen they need for maximum health. I’d suggest incorporating a scalp massage daily or as often as you can and for as long as you can, up to 10 minutes a day.
Reduce/Eliminate Tension Styles:
French braids are probably fine as you shouldn’t be using a lot of tension with those. However, try to alternate your styles so that tension is not always in the same areas and so that it is minimal.
LENGTH RETENTION REGIMEN:
Ultimately, it doesn’t make a difference if you grow hair if you don’t retain it. Therefore, it is very important to build and maintain an effective regimen that allows you to keep your hair clean, moisturized and protected. Check out this post on CurlyNikki.com if you need some basic pointers on building a simple, but effective, regimen: Building a Hair Regimen: Keep it Simple.
I would add protective, low-manipulation styling to the regimen line-up, as well as careful and patient handling of your hair every step of the way. You might also be interested in my post, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day … And Neither is a Hair Regimen. My point there was that it’s not important that you get your regimen perfect overnight, it’s just important that you start to actively think about what you are currently doing and things that you may need to change to improve your results.
Hope that helps!
What say ye ladies? Any other words of advice to help with bald spots caused by mechanical trauma?