For the past few months I have experimented with several different regimens in an effort to maximize my hair growth and retention. My main focus is growth and retention because my hair is already at a healthy state (i.e. no extreme breakage, dryness, or dullness), but I have yet to meet my length related goals. Below is a list of things I have tried and the results of each experiment:
- Mane-n-tail Shampoo: The word on Youtube in regards to this shampoo is that it speeds up hair growth with at least one month of continuous use. I used this shampoo weekly for the entire month of April and saw no difference in the length of my hair. I did however notice that this shampoo left me with soft, shiny, strong, seemingly thicker, and more manageable tresses.
- Bunning/Protective Styling: I normally wear my hair flat ironed and curled with flex rods, but wanted to give my ends a break from rubbing against my shoulders and decided to protective style for the summer. At first it was a sporadic thing, one week off- then one week on because I was so used to my hair being out and free, but by the end of the month I was able to consistently wear my buns.
- Mid-week Co-Wash: Still not seeing a difference in the length of my hair I wondered if a lack of moisture was my issue and instituted a mid week co-wash session. This lasted all of two weeks because I hated the way co washing left my hair feeling weighed down and coated; I resumed my normal weekly wash routine.
- Air drying and roller setting weekly: I also wondered if using the flat iron weekly was drying out my ends and causing breakage - I had not seen any hairs on the sink, floor or my shoulders and upon inspection the ends of my hair looked fine - but I decided to take the advice of most relaxed hair bloggers and vloggers and cut out the heat. With air drying I noticed my hair felt dry and I experienced shedding and breakage, but I liked the idea of cutting out heat and the time the air drying/roller setting process saved me throughout my week.
- Bunning/Protective Styling: I rocked a bun three out of four weeks this month.
- Inversion Method: This was something I used to do in high school/freshman year of college. I would oil my scalp every three days with Doo-Gro and tilt myself over at the waist while massaging my scalp for about two minutes. I saw a great deal of growth and my hair was between BSL and MBL. I tried the method again only following the advice of a few successful bloggers: I oiled my scalp every day for seven days, massaged for a few minutes, then inverted for four minutes.
- Mid Week Shampoo and DC Sessions: Since co-washing was a fail I wondered if I could shampoo twice a week and DC? My logic was wetting the hair, cleansing the scalp and replenishing moisture via deep conditioning had to be a more effective option than loading on products via the moisturize-and-seal method. On top of that I was worried about an itchy scalp from using so much oil. I also switched to a sulfate free shampoo to prevent dryness from more frequent shampoo usage.
- Bunning/Protective Styling: If my hair was not in a bun it was in a ponytail ALL month long.
- Carrots: yes, carrots! I was watching a vlogger on Youtube who mentioned how carrot juice seemed to make her hair grow like a weed; desperate for some growth I was willing to give it a shot and ate carrots daily for the entire month.
- Air drying and roller setting: despite the shedding and breakage I was experiencing I continued to air dry and roller set my hair throughout the month, trying different methods to combat the harsh results. Although nothing I tried curbed the problem once I flat ironed my hair at the end of the month I noticed it had grown and I was now grazing my bra strap.
- #TeamNoScissors: I tried and failed epic-ally (LOL). A recent flat iron session revealed not only some growth but some stringy ends as well and I just did not have it in me to hold on to scraggely ends and walk around looking dusty. Last night I trimmed about 1/4-1/2" off and my hair looks much better. More power to those of you on Team-No-Scissors but I am officially Team-Let-Go-Of-Ragged-Ends.
- Inversion and GHE: One blogger I enjoy following with particularly long tresses did a study on the different growth aids and how they affected her hair. She found that with the inversion method although she gained an inch her ends were thin and scraggely after the process and she had to do a light dusting, I experienced the same results. She mentioned that the GHE gave great results without the thin ends and conducted an experiment combining the two methods. Her results were phenomenal as she gained about two inches in one week. I have opted to try this method and for the last three days I have applied oil to my scalp, massaged and inverted, then applied a plastic cap and two scarves to my head for a minimum of six hours. I plan to do this every night for seven days and hope for the same results.
- Mid Week Shampoo and DC Sessions: this is something I plan to continue since I have not seen any damaging affects from the extra sessions; this will be my routine for the rest of the summer.
- Air drying and roller setting: withstanding the unfavorable results of this process, if I am going to continue shampooing twice a week my only option for styling is to air dry and roller set since I am a little afraid of what twice weekly heat styling sessions will do to my hair.
- Carrots: I don't know if eating carrots actually increases hair growth but I love carrots and if they can make my hair grow I don't mind munching on them daily.
Finding the perfect regimen that keeps my hair healthy, provides me with a look and style that I like, while maximizing my hair growth has been difficult; maybe I am simply impatient with my hair's growth. Although I will continue to tweak my regimen until I see the results I want the basis of what I do will remain the same: Shampoo, Deep Condition, and Style.