What products can I use to protect my hair while I am trying to get it to grow?
My hair about 2.5 feet long and usually hits at about my tail bone. It is fine stranded, but moderately thick. However, it will not get any longer. And for a long time I thought it simply was not growing past that point, but now I realize it is simply breaking off. I would like to add another 6 inches to a foot to my hair.
I am fairly gently when I brush it. I carefully pick out any snags with a wide tooth comb and my fingers and I brush with a boar bristle brush. I try not to over brush, but I do thoroughly brush it at least once or twice a day.
I very, very rarely use or allow any one to use heat on my hair. Maybe a handful of times a year. The only heat I use myself is a blowdryer maybe twice a year and the other times would be curling done by a hair stylist for a photo shoot. Same with any other types of styling (backcombing, etc), a stylist does them.
I generally wear my hair down or in a simply style like a braid or bun. I use very little product, usually a light hair oil (Organix Vanilla Silk) or a Garnier smoothing creme for flyaways.
My diet is fairly healthy, certainly the best it has been in my life, but if there are certain foods that would help I can try to work more of them in.
Currently, and for about two years, I use a sulfate free shampoo (Organix or BioInfusion to mix it up on occasion) and I condition my hair with the matching conditioner every time I wash (maybe 3 times a week). I have also started doing a second condition to my hair using a deep conditioner (either the Organix Argan Oil one or the EverSleek deep conditioner)
I have seen some things like hairdresses and coconut oil will protect, but I have tried oiling my hair before and that stuff is so hard to wash out and I just cannot deal with the oily look of it. My hair is already quite straight and flat and any more and I just look pitiful.
Here are a couple photos:
Note that all my hair is in front in these photos, so it looks kind of thick. Here is one with a loose fishtail braid to give another idea of thickness.
One final note, I am starting to use henna and indigo to dye my hair (the braid photo is the current color), but previously I was using regular blue black hair dye. Usually the Garnier. I stopped maybe 3 or 4 months ago now.
And again, because the pose is so long (sorry! just wanted to give all details I could think of), my question is: how can I protect my hair to prevent breakage so I can grow it longer? Product suggestions, simple hair styles (I usually like to wear it down), or different methods for doing things would be great, just with the products keep in mind that I am on somewhat of a budget. Thank you in advance