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Since going natural, I thought avoiding chemicals was all I had to do to grow my hair thicker. Wrong! There’s so much more to growing not just longer but fuller hair. I did some research and it all boils down to these seven things.

1. Visit Your Doctor And Take Your Vitamins

My hair was getting longer, but not thicker, so I went to my physician’s office and had some blood work done. As it turns out, I had a few deficiencies. Per doctor’s orders, I’ve been taking high potency iron (because I’m anemic, which can cause thinning hair), vitamin D, zinc, B-12, and calcium, in addition to my usual multi-vitamin. Taking these supplements, I’ve noticed my hair getting much thicker. Note: The blood work is essential, as you do not want to overdo it on vitamins that your body isn’t deficient in.

2. Trim Your Ends

Natural or relaxed, long hair doesn’t necessarily mean healthy hair. First thing I did to go fully natural was make a big chop. This gave my hair room to start over and grow out sans chemicals. Also: Every three to four months I trim my hair to get rid of split ends. Split ends equal breakage. Breakage equals less hair throughout the length, which means the hair is not as thick or dense. Occasionally trimming the ends of your hair will allow for healthier hair to grow.

3. No Heat And Minimal Indirect Heat

I mostly air-dry my hair, and when I use heat I do so on the lowest possible setting. Direct heat such as blow-drying and flat ironing can be very damaging to hair, causing it to lose volume--especially with black hair, which is prone to dryness–and be more susceptible to breakage. Alternatives include using a hooded dryer, which applies indirect, diffused heat; a blow-dryer with a diffuser attachment; or the dry wrap method.

4. Daily Conditioning With Penetrating Oils

My hair is naturally dry, so I need to keep it moisturized at all times. Twice a day I use an applicator bottle to dispense a mix of Jamaican castor oil, olive oil, and coconut oil onto my 4C hair.

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