”My hair doesn’t grow!”
If I had 1,000 Naira for each time I’ve heard that statement, I’d be considerably wealthy by now. A lot of us are concerned about the length of our hair, especially because of the glamorous looking styles we see on Social Media, and simply because we see growth as a sign of healthy hair.
It might surprise you to read that on the average, human hair grows at the rate of 1/4 to 1/2 an inch every month (believe me, your hair does that too…) which is about 3 to 6 inches per year, as long as the individual is healthy and eating well. So we have to ask, ”If my hair is growing at this rate, why am I not seeing it?” The answer is simple. Your hair is breaking faster than it is growing.
Remember how many strands of hair fell out the last time you combed it? What about when you took out your braids 2 weeks ago without conditioning first? Let’s not even talk about that time when you decided to try your cousin’s hairstyle… Basically, almost every form of manipulation causes shedding. From combing to changing styles to just touching. Especially when the hair dry or in a weakened state, or both. So if you think about how much hair you lose on a daily basis, you’ll understand why your hair is ”not growing”, and you’ll see that the issue isn’t growth, but length retention.
The next question then is ”How do I prevent breakage?” abi? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you can’t stop breakage entirely, but you can bring it to minimal levels, and the first thing is to identify its major causes which are listed below:
- Your hair is dry. Dry hair tends to be brittle, and brittle hair tends to break, so to prevent this, the key is moisture, moisture, moisture. It cannot be over stressed that Natural Hair doesn’t get enough moisture because of its coils which do not allow enough sebum to get to the hair ends, leaving them vulnerable to breakage. The best way to get moisture is Deep Conditioning.
- You disturb your hair too much. I understand that you want sleek edges, or a fluffy ‘fro. That’s fine, but you don’t need to pluck out all your hair strands to achieve this. Personally, I comb my hair only once a week, when I Deep Condition and style. I generally do something that can be worn in different ways all week without needing a comb.
- Your hair isn’t healthy enough. If you suddenly begin to experience weak, discoloured hair (not hair that has been dyed o!) it could be because of underlying health issues. Check your scalp for skin issues like eczema, dermatitis, etc. and then your diet and exercise regimen, you may even need to see a Doctor if it worsens over time.
- You’re using the wrong styling tools. It is very important to use the correct styling tools for your hair. Any thing from excessive heat, to wonky bobby pins, to small combs could cause extensive hair damage, particularly when done on dry hair.
I often advise Naturals to treat their hair like delicate lace. no tugging, excessively tight hairstyles, manipulation, or unnecessary stress, particularly to the ends which are the oldest part of the hair strand and the farthest from the root (and sebum). It is vital that the hair ends are treated with a lot of TLC to retain hair length. A healthy hair routine will also help a lot, along with love and patience. I’d love to know how you retain hair length, please share!