Hair Progress: How did you get your hair to grow healthy and long?

I recently straightened my hair after a five month long journey of no heat exposure. This was one challenge I knew would be hard for me. Although, I wasn't always manipulating my hair by using hot tools I would straighten it about once a month. This was enough to cause heat damage and unwanted split ends. I also noticed I wasn't retaining as much length and decided to eliminate the problem...HEAT! The challenge was to not use any heat for the whole summer. I had to figure out styles that were manageable and still looked decent enough to be cute. This also included products that were suitable for my hair. The first month was hard seeing as that I had never had to actually deal with my natural texture on a regular basis. I watched every tutorial on youtube to master the perfect braidout, bantu knot, bun, curly fro etc. Finally, the first month was over and it became much easier after I knew what styles I could go to. Immediately after the first month I noticed my hair felt fuller and my curls were a lot more defined than before. During the second month I used henna treatments to add a bit of red tint to my hair but realized this was actually making my hair thick. I was surprised at this effect and decided to keep up with the treatments. I did these treatments almost every week. I got carried away because I was loving the thickness it provided. My regimen consisted of mainly deep conditioning 3-4 times a week like crazy and using natural oils to seal my curls. I used just about every oil you could think of from coconut, olive, lavender, argan, and castor. I did occasionally get the fairy knot and had to snip them off in order to not cause anymore damage. The most important part to remember in these type of challenges is to have patience. You are not going to see length retention over night. Natural hair takes more time to manage because you have to be careful when detangling. Most of the time I detangled with wet hair that was drenched with lots of conditioner and shea butter. I used my fingers and not a comb (hair will snap when wet combing). My diet was healthy during these months which I think also played a part in the appearance and length of my hair. I wish I had taken before pictures to show the appearance of my hair as well as length but I didn't think I would see much of a difference. I was definitely wrong. Natural hair can be healthy and long if we just use heat in moderation or eliminate it altogether. This has significantly changed my views on how much heat I will put on my hair from now on. Heat causes breakage and breakage stunts growth massively. During those months, I also understood what exactly was hurting or helping my hair which allowed me to either add more, if it was helping, or get rid of it, if it was hurting. I am already on to the next challenge and hope to see impressive results such as these! This time I will document with pictures.

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