If you're an OG in the natural hair game and have been noticing stagnancy on your hair growth journey, there could be a host of reasons why this is the case. This could potentially be a scalp issue, a health issue, or you could just simply have a slower hair growth rate due to genetics. Now, we know that these common reasons sound extreme but that's because they are. They're all hindrances to hair growth, however they are certainly not things that everyone will deal with. The most common reason you're not seeing length is because you don't understand how to retain it.
Why yes, yes it was but here's the tea. When most people start a natural hair journey, they begin to think about the ways in which they are going to grow strong, healthy hair. All of the water and nutritious foods that they will intake, the scalp massages, the biotin and collagen supplements, and the most carefully thought out wash days. While all these things are important, in my opinion, nothing is more important than knowing how to care for the length that you currently have.
Let's get into some facts! Hair growth happens at an average rate of half of an inch per month. A half inch per month is only 6 inches per year. I did say "average rate", so your hair can also grow a little more or a little less than 6 inches per year. The growth rate of your hair is specific to you and is largely based on genetics; Meaning: there is not much that you can do to change the rate of growth. So learning how to retain your hair is going to be paramount on your natural hair journey. It is also important to remember than hair growth is unique to the individual, so try not to compare yourself to others. In the meanwhile, here are some tips on how to retain that length!
We've all heard about protective styles at this point. Protective styles allow those precious ends to be wrapped up and not rub against clothing or other materials that can break the hair and cause split ends. Protective styles also free you from styling your hair on a daily basis, which leads to further damage and breakage. This is amazing for convenience, but it also serves a purpose for length retention. When you comb and style your hair, you will naturally lose about 150 strands per day due to the hair being at the end of its growth cycle and falling out. However, a lot of people don't know how to gently detangle and style their hair without pulling out more hair than necessary.
People with thinner hair and broken hair at the sides and edges of the hair line (that just so happen to be on the same side as their dominant hand)...yea, I'm talking to Y'ALL!!! We should be detangling our hair slowly from the ends going down, with each stroke getting closer up towards the roots going again in a downward motion. If this isn't something that you can see yourself doing every day or every other day, then a protective style will surely be for you!
Aside from protective styles, we have to talk about protecting your hair while styling it. Make sure that if you're heat styling that you are also protecting your length. You should be using a heat protectant spray before each heat styling tool that you apply to your hair. That means spray before you blow dry, then again before you straighten, and then a 3rd time if you plan to use a curling iron.
Moisturizing mid-shaft to the ends of your hair can be so important. Barring that there are any scalp issues, I confidently reccomend that you skip moisturizing the top of your hair next to the scalp and focus solely on the mid-shaft to ends. The hair thats not close to the top of the head doesn't have access to the nourishing oils that the scalp naturally creates, especially if you have kinky or curly hair. The turns in kinky-curly hair strands makes it harder for the natural oils to travel downward. Moisturizing the hair creates a barrier of protection around each shaft. The hair needs moisture because simply put, brittle hair breaks. I often compare hair strands to rubber bands. If you've ever touched an old rubber band or one that's been in the sun too long, you know that as soon as you try to stretch or manipulate it, it will snap and break. Your hair is similar in that way.
TURN DOWN TENSION
Tension coupled with any type of rubbing is a surefire way to break your hair shaft. Let's use the rubber band as an example again. When you have a rubber band that is in its natural form, if you rub it with your finger or fingernail nothing really happens. Take that same rubber band now, and notice that if you stretch it and rub your fingernail against it, it will snap rather quickly. Your hair works the same way in regard to tension. So while buns and ponytails may be super cute and really convenient, if they're too tight they are not the best way to wear your hair. The tension along with the rubbing of the elastic can break the hair if you wear the styles repeatedly.
I hope that you found these tips helpful to you on your natural hair journey, and may you reach your length goals this year!
Writen by: Asiya Juleese