Below are some of the hair practices that have hindered the growth and health of my hair over the years:
Over shampooing: I used to believe that hair had to be shampooed severally (twice or thrice) per wash to be clean not knowing that I was over doing it and stripping my hair of oil leaving it dry and prone to breakage. Nowadays short of having been in a mud bath ha! I only shampoo once sometimes twice very rarely though (using very little shampoo the second time) on my shampoo wash days and my hair is still clean. Besides I currently don't use as much products in my hair to warrant several latherings.
Over/under trimming split ends: Taking off more than is necessary when you are due for a trim or trimming too often leads to a stagnant length. The opposite which is not trimming often enough leads to breakage and that is why you feel like you are not retaining length. I plan to trim thrice a year to coincide with my touch up/retouch. I stretch my relaxer up to four months since I am usually in a protective style for the last two months when my growth starts to get very thick. Always pay attention when you are getting a trim ALWAYS.
Frequent use of heat: Blow driers, flat irons, tongs, hot combs etc frequent use of these on your hair weakens it and makes it prone to breakage which will happen. I have limited my use of direct heat to once a month if I have to blow dry for whatever reason after my one heat use then I set it on cool but no more than a maximum two heat uses a month and the second one is only when absolutely necessary. Quite frankly I think sitting under a hooded dryer is much better than the rest for your hair.
Under moisturizing/oiling: I am so guilty of this one. I am lucky enough in that I tend to have somewhat of an oily scalp and I retain quite a lot of oil. The downside of this is that because I knew this I would most times go for long periods without moisturizing my hair and oiling my scalp since hey after all I have enough oil to fry an egg! It was only when someone mentioned that my hair was looking dry that I moisturized it. This is why i skip the whole moisturize and seal daily routine if I did that my hair would be weighed down and limp I tried it didn't like the effect so I just use a moisturizing leave in conditioner on my wash day and maybe once before the next wash day (I currently wash weekly) depending on how "dry" my hair feels after and use light carrier oils every two to three days and i am good to go.This part of my regimen is still a work in progress and I will keep trying different time frames of moisturizing and sealing without weighing down my hair until I find a suitable routine.
Too tight braids/cornrows/weaves: Like most black women I preferred my braids a little bit tight so as to keep longer while unknowingly damaging my hair especially hairline. I usually keep extensions in for 6-8 weeks and strangely enough I used to take better care of them than my own hair. Now I have them in for 3-4 weeks take them down have my hair out for a week and then braid again if necessary and have them braided less tight than before. 3 weeks for corn rowed styles since by this week they are usually ready to be taken down anyway and 4 weeks for individuals. I may stretch to 5 weeks for individuals according to my schedule(If travelling etc) this is not set in stone and may change but I will try different options until I find what works best for me. Plus I get bored real quick with braided hairstyles and change them quite often I like the versatility of braids/cornrows there are thousands of styles to choose from.