The 10 Best Steps to Growing Long Afro Hair

Gaining length relies on a good, solid hair care regime. To get you on track hair blogger Amla Ruddock of imparts her advice

Amla Ruddock

 Hair holds such a cacophony of meanings to a black woman that it would take a talented psychologist years to unravel. It can be a source of pride, a display of our political or religious beliefs or even in some circumstances a source of shame. Based on research done in the UK, black women spend six times more on hair related products than white women, yet the one thing that we are seemingly in search of, long hair, eludes us. It begs the question: ‘Are we doing something wrong or it is encoded into our DNA that long hair was never on the cards for us?’

What if I told you that you could have whatever length of hair you wanted? There has been a wave of information sweeping the online hair community in the last few years from women not willing to accept short hair as the norm. This information is changing the lives and hair of black women across the globe and as such changing the way we view ourselves.

Most things are easy to achieve when you know how. The problem is a lot of black women still don’t know how to grow their hair long, but I hope to rectify that and show you that real hair growth is possible regardless of your background or hair texture. To begin with it is important to do away with some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding black hair care.

• Genes determine your hair length – False

• Water dries out your hair – False

• Oil or grease moisturises your hair – False

• Kinky hair cannot grow long – False

I have lived and breathed hair, both my own and the thousands of women who I have helped in my years of giving advice online and I have seen all types of textures begin to grow and thrive when proper black hair care techniques are applied consistently.

Everyone’s hair grows but when your hair is breaking at the same rate that it grows, it remains the same length year afteryear. I was in the same boat myself. My relaxed hair was stuck between neck and shoulder length for years until I developed a way of caring for my hair, otherwise known as a hair regimen, that would  finally help me grow the long hair I had always dreamed of having. Here I will share my top tips for growing long healthy hair.

Amla’s hair journey

1. Deep condition with heat

Using heat expands the hair shaft allowing for more of the conditioning ingredients to penetrate the strands making your hair stronger. Do this every week without fail.

2. Track your growth

Let’s face it, hair grows slowly so don’t rely on your memory to track your progress. Buy a length check T-shirt or make one yourself. There are even phone apps that can track your growth for you like the ‘Hair Journal’ app available on the iPhone.

3. Moisturise and seal daily

This should be done right before bed every night. Apply a water-based moisturiser over the length of your hair and follow this up with a natural oil which will seal in the moisture and keep your hair supple.

4. Buy a satin pillowcase

Cotton robs your hair of moisture and causes friction while you sleep resulting in breakage. Sleeping on a satin pillowcase or covering your hair with a satin bonnet will prevent this.

5. Always finger style

Learn the art of finger detangling and use your fingers when styling. Black hair is fragile and combs and brushes often cause unnecessary breakage that takes away from thriving length.

6. Be ingredient conscious

Make sure that the products you purchase are good quality by reading the ingredients. Avoid products laden with sulphates, mineral oil and petroleum. Opt for natural oils and butters like coconut oil, olive oil or pure shea butter.

7. Protein is key

Protein treatments and conditioners can mean the difference between success and failure. Protein strengthens your hair which is particularly important in preventing chemical and styling damage.

8. Get the right support

There is wisdom in crowds and you will find plenty of other women going through the same hair challenges as you. Join a hair community like and get help with your hair problems from women experiencing the same thing.

9. Be patient

Understand that your hair will not grow long overnight and if it is very damaged it will take a while to see the fruits of your labour, but success will come if you are persistent and consistent.

10. Natural is best

It is a fact that natural hair is stronger than relaxed hair and it’s actually much easier to grow natural hair long. Going natural will often resolve issues like thinning edges too! Relaxed hair can also grow long but generally it takes more time and effort.

There is a lot more to learn about black hair growth that goes beyond the scope of this article. If you are excited about starting your long hair journey today visit our online hair community www. so that we can help you achieve hair goals!


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  1. by Kim on 29/12/2015  1:28 PM Reply

    Could you please recommend some products that I can use at home to help my hair grow? I go to the salon every 3-4 months to have my hair relaxed, treated and trimmed- is that often enough?

    • by JCousins on 28/01/2016  11:47 AM Reply

      Hi thanks for getting in touch. I've tried so many products over the years and what works for me are hair supplements. I had speedy results with Hairfinity but unfortunately suffered from severe breakouts. I now use The Mane Choice - the growth time is slower but it's making a difference. I also like to use hair products with biotin - I highly recommend Jason Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner and FAST Shampoo & Conditioner.
      Your regime sounds good. Stretching a relaxer to three to four months worked for me, however if it starts to shed in that time it's a sign that a relaxer is due. And yes, keep up with the treatments and trims :-)
      Hope that helps!

      Jemima, BBH TEAM

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