The 4 Expert Secrets (& 2 Bonuses!) to Long, Strong, Locks

I have always had “good hair”.

Everyone in my family does.

I just figured it was genetic, and would always jokingly respond to a hair compliment by saying, “Everyone has something great. I got good hair.”

But now that I am menopausal and have solid grey hair (underneath my henna-coated hair), I’m realizing that even my grey hair is still good, and stronger than ever.

Even at 50 years old, my hair sits, thick, strong, and healthily at my waist, 28 inches long (I just measured it for this post), and could easily be longer if I let it.

So I started to think: maybe it’s something I’m doing that has kept my hair strong and healthy, because if it is, then I can share it with YOU and you can do it, too.

I did what I always do: dig DEEP into the abyss of the interwebs, searching for the most in-depth information on how hair works and how to nourish it for longevity.

And I was happily met with what I suspected: good hair can be naturally attainable by anyone who has hair.

And it isn't very complicated to do so!

Let's start with the science of hair.



The Science of Hair

Just like skin, all hair works the same.

Underneath the surface of the scalp lies hundreds of thousands of follicles. Within each follicle contains a keratin-strand (hair) in varying stages of growth and expulsion.

The number of follicles on a person's head determines the fullness of hair on a scalp. The less follicles, the less fullness. 

The shape and size of the follicle determines the type of hair a person has:

  • Big, round follicles make thick, straight hair. Small, round follicles make fine, straight hair.
  • Big, oval follicles make thick, wavy hair. Small, oval follicles make fine, wavy hair.
  • Big, flat follicles make thick, curly hair. Small, flat follicles make fine, curly hair.

Every hair on a person's head goes through three phases: the growth phase, the transition phase, and the release phase.

  • The growth phase lasts 3-8 years, and is *technically* genetically predetermined. 
  • The transition phase lasts 2-3 weeks, and is when the hair detaches from the nutrition supply of the follicle. 
  • The release phase lasts about 3 months, and when the hair drops from the scalp.

At any given time, each hair is in one of these phases (thankfully not all in the same phase at once! I'm imagining all 500,000 stands of hair on my head in full growth at once, and then shedding all at once. Hard pass.🤣)

Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, and since hair on the head is programmed to grow in the first phase for at least 3 years (but up to 8 years!), a person can expect their hair to grow to at least 18 inches within its lifecycle.

The reason many people don't see this as a norm for their hair is because it breaks before it can extend to its fullest potential. (There's a life lesson in that statement.)

Breakage is caused by many things: clogged scalp preventing sebum to moisturize hair shaft, dehydrated hair shaft, bleaching and coloring hair, wrong products, too much of a good product (too much keratin will cause brittleness), heat styling, ponytails and braids, etc...

But breakage can be avoided through employing 4 simple steps to your hair care routine.

And the interesting part of it all is that when your hair is protected, nourished, and given freedom to BE, you will see that it was able to grow and thrive and bring beauty and confidence to your life, even when you previously thought it was as good as it could get, based on all you had already experienced. (There's a life lesson in that statement, too!)

These Expert Secrets will override what you formerly thought were your own genetic limitations. 

4 Expert Secrets to Long, Strong Locks

For hair to thrive, it needs to experience the following:

  • Proper nutrition to lend the body nutrients to supply to the follicle.
  • Clean, balanced scalp to allow hair shaft to emerge with ease, and to allow sebum to be released down onto shaft for daily moisturization
  • Moisture added daily to protect shaft and keep it soft and flexible.
  • Sealant to hold in added moisture.

How to achieve those experiences:

Expert Secret #1: Avoid Bleach if Possible

The hair shaft is like an umbrella. The color of the hair (melanin) is on the inside of the shaft. Ammonia in hair color causes the outer cuticle of the shaft to open up like an umbrella, while hydrogen peroxide "lifts" the natural pigment at the cortex from the hair. Dyes then color the cortex up to 4 shades lighter or darker, and other synthetic ingredients are added to close the cuticle again. That means, when hydrogen peroxide is applied to the hair, the melanin of that bit of hair is forever altered. Dyes fade, and what is left behind is whatever happened when peroxide left its mark. This causes the hair to become porous and less able to retain moisture. And moisture is THE KEY to long, strong locks.

When bleach is used on the hair shaft, it lifts the natural hair pigment up to 10 shades lighter (completely pigment-free), causing the hair to become extremely porous and brittle, shortening the life cycle of the strand. I've seen hair snap and break off DURING the bleaching process. 

While there is no safe way to lighten the hair, measures can be taken to protect and soothe what remains, understanding that color and bleach-treated hair requires extra daily nourishment.

[Note: If you have light or grey hair and put a toner on it to make it golden, you definitely want to look into Cassia/ Senna. It works wonders! See bottom of this post]

This is where the next steps come into play:

Expert Secret #2: Wash Hair Vigorously, Less Often.

"Wash, Rinse, Repeat."

We used to think that was just a gimmick to get us to use more product sooner, so that we have to buy more shampoo.

But it's actually the way to remove dead skin buildup, get a squeaky-clean scalp, and allow you to wash hair less frequently.

This is why your hairstyle lasts longer after you get it styled in a salon than it does at home.

Next time you wash your hair, and every time thereafter, try this: The Double-Cleansing Shampoo Method

Apply your shampoo directly to your scalp- don't lather it into your hands first. Then, massage the shampoo into your scalp all around- get to the roots and really scrub the scalp for a minute or so. If you have a silicone scalp scrubber, use that for more effortless results.

Rinse well, and then repeat, but with slightly less vigor. This time, you are removing any residual left behind from the first wash. Pull the lather down into the strands of the hair, ensuring a deep total cleansing. Rinse well again.

By doing this, you will notice over the next few days how much longer your scalp remains oil-free and your hair less limp and oily, and wonder why you didn't do this decades ago.


Expert Secret #3: Condition Hair & Oil Your Scalp Regularly

First: all hair needs conditioner because all hair is dead. Conditioner acts to remoisturize and nourish the inner cortex of the hair. The trick is to find a brand that works for your hair type. 

Look specifically for one that deals with issues other than "dry" or "oily"- that will be a condition that YOU change and control with this process. You will balance your hair and scalp as you do this hair routine. Instead, look for "color-treated,", "brittle", "repairing", "volumizing", etc...

Once you find your favorite conditioner, it is vital to use it after every shampooing.

The important thing to note is that conditioner soothes the inner parts of the hair, but like a straw, begins to lose moisture as soon as it is rinsed off. That's why sealing the hair strand is critical. We do that through hair oiling and a good leave-in conditioner.

Again, I have heard it so many times throughout my life: don't put oil on your scalp (or face)- it will make it more oily.

But again, that isn't how hair or skin or oil works.

Here's the thing: Oil releases oil. But you have to use the RIGHT kind of oil.

If you have a buildup or overproduction of oil in your scalp or on your face, massaging oil into the area will loosen oxidized oil and release remaining debris from the skin.

 The trick is to oil your scalp a few hours BEFORE you wash your hair, at least once a week (twice if you have extra curly hair), and then double cleanse hair after.

As you do, the oil will travel down the hair shaft, locking in moisture and conditioning the strand as well. 

In fact, brittle, dry, split hairs are a direct result of a lack of oil coating each strand. And the more curly the strand is, the less capacity oil has to travel down from the root to end. This is why hair oiling is critical to nourishing and protecting hair.

But the RIGHT KIND of oil is critical for the successful balance of your hair and scalp.

That's where WE come in.

I'll make it simple:

How to Oil Scalp & Hair

  • On dry hair, apply oil directly to scalp. A little goes a long way.
  • Massage oil into scalp with fingertips or silicone scalp massager.
  • Gently brush oil all the way down to ends of hair using a "wet" brush or wide-toothed comb. And remember with oil: less is more. A little will do ya, and the straighter your hair is, the less you need.
  • Let oil sit on hair for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 2 hours.
  • Double cleanse hair after. You can double cleanse first with African Black Soap, and then your favorite shampoo, or just use shampoo for both cleanses. African Black Soap works great on dandruff. (Don't apply the soap cube directly to hair; Lather in palms, and use lather on scalp OR create a lather by rubbing a wet silicone scalp massager over the soap and then applying the lather to the scalp.)
  • Reapply a drop of oil to ends of hair only, as needed, between washes. This will keep the ends sealed and coated. (Place a drop of oil in palm of hand, rub hands together, and lightly touch ends of hair, allowing oil to coat tips.)


Expert Secret #4: Apply a Leave-In Conditioner After Every Wash

This secret was new to me- I've never used leave-in conditioner before. But as I have been practicing all that I'm sharing with you today, I have found that this one product has been the key to allowing me to go 5 days between styling my hair. It has kept my hair smooth, manageable, and very bouncy- vastly different from the big, puffy frizz-ball that I usually have.

The trick on this also is to find the product that works best for your hair type:

Fine hair needs one type; Thick, coarse and curly hair need another type. Pick your favorite product and use it immediately after you get out of the shower. If you wait for it to airdry, your conditioner will be lost with the water dripping from your hair. You want to lock that good stuff IN. Leave-In conditioner will do that.

How to Apply Leave-In Conditioner:

  • Immediately after showering, detangle hair with a "wet" brush. (It doesn't have to be that brand, but that type of brush is best for wet hair.)
  • Spray leave-in conditioner on each hair section as you brush, from midsection to the ends, avoiding roots.)
  • Brush thoroughly, ensuring product covers ends.
  • Blow dry hair or let airdry, as you prefer. 
  • Finish with one drop of oil applied to tips of hair.

Expert Secret #4: Trim Ends Only Twice a Year

For many decades, experts taught to trim ends every six weeks or so to ensure healthy growth. But they were wrong.

All hair grows at an average of 1/2 inch per month. Trimming ends frequently neither speeds up hair growth nor prevents split ends- it merely keeps your hair at the same length indefinitely. But with a proper haircare routine, that growth will be allowed to remain and extend as long as it is nourished and protected.

Applying these tips and secrets will do just that, and give you the length and health you desire for your hair, and you will finally have the hair you thought wasn't possible for you!

Expert BONUS Secret #1: Sleep With a Satin or Silk Pillowcase or Wear a Sleeping Bonnet

This bonus secret is well known by our African and Asian friends, but we would be very wise to follow their lead.

Satin and Silk pillowcases reduce friction on the hair, preventing breakage while we sleep. They are also less likely to crease or irritate the skin, and lend for an uninterrupted nights' sleep.

Sleeping Bonnets do the same, and help to preserve the hairstyle.

Expert BONUS Secret #2: Use Henna, Indigo & Senna/ Cassia to Strengthen the Outer Hair Shaft and Watch Hair GROW!

If you currently color your hair, I want you to know there is another way to achieve rich full color without any of the damage caused by peroxide in hair dyes.

Henna, Indigo, and Cassia are the color alternative for strong, protected hair.

They are plants that have been dried and pulverized, and when mixed with hot water, will permanently coat the outer shaft of the hair with color according to the blend of powders and the person's existing color. 

Using them does have limitations- they can't "lift" or lighten hair color, they require trial and error to get the color you desire, and they are PERMANENT. As in...they ALMOST NEVER fade. (Which is my favorite attribute as a red-head!)

But if you desire what those plants can do, you will have very happy hair.

In fact, I've used henna and indigo for at least 14 years, and I am confident they are part of the reason my hair is so healthy. 

For more info on them, check out these blog posts, or message me to schedule a consultation. (I don't perform services, but can tell you how it's done in great detail.)

And be sure to grab your favorite scent of L'Huile Corp Botanical Oil or Real Clean Deep Cleansing Oil for your scalp and hair! 

These secrets will get you on the road to the hair you've always wanted!

Let me know how it works for you!

In the near future, we'll chat about dandruff and how Savvy B products can help!