Whether you’re just starting out your hair journey or you’ve been natural for a while, you’ve probably tried a lot of things in an effort to grow your hair.
I know having long natural hair isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a primary goal for everyone – but it is for a lot of us. Especially us type 4 girls. We’ve seen type 4 hair grow long and we want to be more proof that we aren’t at any kind of disadvantage because of our curl pattern.
We follow all the tips and care for our hair relentlessly. However, it just doesn’t seem to be growing as long as we want or at the pace we want.
Trust me, I know the struggle.
I was stuck in this cycle for a long time until I changed just a few things in my hair care routine. Surprisingly, most of the results actually came from stopping things, rather than adding new ones in!
Now, here’s a list of the 11 things I stopped doing to grow my type 4 natural hair past a plateau.
11 Things You Should Stop Doing to Grow Your Natural Hair Long
1. Trimming your natural hair the wrong way
This is a big one. I know I was personally notorious for believing that “health over length” was just something people who already had long hair used to say. I would hold on to straggly, breaking ends for longer than I should have and tell myself I was saving the trim for the end of the year.
Leaving the damaged hair on my head gave me the illusion of growth. However, it caused tangles and knots on my hair that led to even more damage from detangling efforts.
When I would trim my hair, I would use any old pair of scissors I found lying around. Kitchen scissors, sewing kit scissors — literally anything.
I didn’t realize that this was actually doing more damage than good. When you trim your hair with blunt scissors, the “new” ends of your hair are already damaged from the friction.
You’ll be shocked by the difference cutting your hair with sharp hair shears makes!
2. Washing / co washing your hair too often
The next thing worth reconsidering when trying to grow long natural hair is washing your hair too often. At worst, I was washing my hair 3 times a week! This was especially bad because I had high porosity hair and didn’t even know it.
Everyone said natural hair needed moisture and the best way to do this was by doing a weekly co wash.
(Co washing is simply washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.)
In the end, I suffered from moisture overload. I had mushy, overly soft hair that slid off in clumps.
As soon as I knew better I stopped doing this and saw my hair flourish!
I switched from washing my hair with shampoo twice a week, with a mid-week co-wash; to washing my hair with shampoo every 4 weeks, and with a clay wash every 2 weeks.
You have to find your own rhythm and routine when it comes to washing your hair. It should neither be too often nor too infrequent.
3. Changing your hairstyle too often
This counts as over manipulation. Changing your hairstyle too often means too much friction on your hair which could lead to split hair and breakage.
And as noted from the first point, the more frequently you get split ends, the more often you have to trim your hair, and the less likely you are to see your natural hair grow long.
I used to feel the need to wear a new hairstyle every week. Put intricate natural hairstyles, take them down to wash, and install tight new styles.
This was too much for my fragile hair and hairline. When I stopped doing this and started wearing long term protective styles like braids and mini-twists instead, my hair changed dramatically!
4. Wearing your natural hair loose too often
This one ties into the point above. I used to wash my hair and let it dry shrunken.
I would also wear lots of puffs, and loose hairstyles on my natural hair. While these styles are beautiful and show off natural hair, it is really easy for hair to tangle and knot when it is loose.
Switching this out for mini-twists or twisted buns made all the difference for my hair’s health.
5. Wearing cornrows
I don’t know if I’m the only one who experiences this, but cornrows break my hair off!
Especially in the nape area. I’ve seen tons of YouTubers with videos about wearing cornrows for months at a time to promote hair growth, but I can’t relate.
Over time, cornrows lift and lift from the bottom breaking the hair on the back of my head off with them.
Wearing flat twists instead of cornrows changes this. It also helps to avoid hairstyles that lead to the nape and cause tension in that area.
6. Wearing crochet braids / styles
Similar to the point above, when I stopped crochet hairstyles, my hair dramatically improved!
I noticed that crochet hair would weigh down my hair strands so much that the cornrow it was attached to, would lift right off my scalp.
If this doesn’t happen to you, then maybe you don’t need to stop these styles.
I just personally realized they weren’t a style that safely preserved my hair.
Related Post: Natural Hair Care: The Simplest Beginner’s Guide
7. Only deep conditioning your natural hair with moisture
This was something I, unfortunately, learned too late into my natural hair journey. Moisture is important, but so is protein.
Deep conditioning my hair week after week with moisture-based products and never using protein caused my hair to remain overloaded with moisture, mushy, and easy to break off!
Incorporating protein and other strengthening treatments like henna, and rice water completely changed my hair!
8. Using the wrong products in your hair
This usually happens when we don’t know our hair porosity, or don’t understand which products are actually moisturizing for our hair.
At some point, I just used to use any old hair creme on my hair not understanding the difference between products that are for moisture and products that are for curl definition.
Pay attention to your products. Don’t be like me using a styling product with hold as the “L” step of my LCO method.
9. Using the wrong techniques
Another thing I had to stop doing is taking care of my hair using the wrong techniques.
There was a time when I knew nothing about techniques for moisturizing my hair and I didn’t even see the point of a spray bottle in a natural hair routine.
I didn’t use small enough sections when applying product to my hair and would often neglect the very ends of my hair. Stopping these when I learned better made a real change to my natural hair.
10. Tying your scarf on too tight / in the same place
Another major thing I learned to stop doing was tying my scarf on too tight.
After I noticed my hairline and edges thinning as well as a bald spot in the front of my hair where I tied the knot of my scarf – something had to change.
I invested in satin and silk pillowcases so I was assured that even if my scarf slipped off at night, my hair would be protected.
11. Being anxious about your natural hair
This was the number one thing I had to stop to see growth in my natural hair.
Being anxious about your hair and stretching it down every day to check your length doesn’t help it grow any faster.
Especially if you keep it in mind that hair grows only about ¼ – ½ an inch on average every month!
This literally means it would take you about 2-4 months to gain just one inch of hair!
The frustration you feel when you take your protective styles down too early because you want to see your new growth is enough to not only cause damage (see point no. 3) but also to frustrate you.
At the end of the day, these were just the things I stopped to get my hair past a plateau!
You should always experiment with your hair to find what works and what doesn’t work.
Some of these things I had to stop may currently be working for you — and if you are please don’t stop doing them!
Don’t forget to write down what your experience was with using this in your state of the union list!
You can find one in the free Hibiscus Roots hair journal here!