Continuing the debate, there are some questions I really don't know the answer to! As fascinating as it would be to research curly hair in depth, scientists really aren't that interested. Some questions that are thrown at me I have no answer to. Here is one and just a forewarning, I chose to be controversial on this one!
Tejuana writes, 'Please help me. I am trying to grow my hair a little longer. I often read that for curly hair I have to
1. Curl the ends on a roller to stretch them out
2. Heat train the hair - Gently flat iron the ends of my hair to stop them curling up
3. Henna to loosen the curl
4. Use twists or braids
5. Bun up my hair when it gets to shoulder length to stop the ends rubbing against my clothes.
Now I have tried all of the above and I would estimate that this year my hair is thicker yes but not longer. I also sustained some damage to my ends and I've had to cut off about 2 inches. I really think that all this pulling, rubbing, rolling and heating is counter productive. I focus on the last 4 inches of hair, should I just look at the last inch? What am I doing wrong?'
I think you are doing too much. Perhaps it is time to get some nice hair accessories and simply keep your hair off your shoulders. If your hair is type 4, you can probably style it to appear shorter than it is.
I cannot emphasise how much patience it takes to grow hair longer. You have to find a simple routine that works and you have to wait. The fact that your hair is thicker is an indication that you hair is growing.
Now over to you, what would you advise Tejuana?
1. What do you regard as the ends of your hair? My view is anything more than 4 inches away from the scalp is regarded as an end.
2. Is roller setting the ends of your hair useful? I am not certain that roller setting is anything more than a styling technique.
3. Henna to loosen the curl? We've been through this one (hit the search button!)
4.Twists or braids as a protective style? This is probably only useful if you can put them in gently and keep them for a long enough time to make a difference (2-3 weeks in my opinion). Otherwise, save yourself the time and get a hair clip.
5. Hair off the shoulders? I like this idea. However, if your hair is not long enough to get into a bun then you will probably end up just needlessly stretching your hair. Banana clips and claw clips are good alternatives.
6. Heat train hair? Argh, you don't want me to get up on my soap box! I have not heard this term for a while. I actually heard it from one of my Indian Kenyan friends. She flat ironed her hair with some oil regularly (upto 3 times a week) to attempt to get rid of the wave in her hair. Scientifically this means use either regular application or high heat to break the bonds in hair. Is this damage? Yes. Is it permanent? Highly likely. Will my hair break? It depends, some people like my friend just had super dry hair after but she still had hair. Others may not be so lucky. I am not saying don't flat iron your hair or don't blowdry it but I am saying that too much or too often can kill the curls.
Ok I'm off my soap box and you may have it! Thanks Tejuana for contributing and for allowing me to give a lecture lol.