8 Easy Ways You Can Grow and Keep Your Hair length Long
For most women growing and retaining their hair length is an endless struggle. As a black woman, there is tendency you constantly worry your hair is not growing. It is even more if you have natural curly hair pattern. Natural curly hair pattern makes it difficult to notice how long your hair is growing.
In most cases the question isn’t whether your hair is growing or not because it is. The fact is, your hair grows 1/4 inch on average every month. For some people the growth can continue for up to 6 years before it falls off making room for new hair.
Others aren’t so lucky with their natural hair cycle as it can end at 2 years instead of 6. If your hair cycle is just 2 years it is natural for your hair to peak at shorter length. We will look at natural hair growth cycle later.
How long your natural hair cycle last impacts how long your hair can grow.
The same goes for the thickness of your hair: Thick hair grows out of large follicles; smaller, narrower follicles produce thinner hair.
You start experiencing baldness when the hair follicles that produce new hair shrink or become inactive.
Understanding Natural Hair Growth Cycle
Losing your hair is a part of natural occurrence in the hair growth cycle. However, you can start experiencing thinning when hair does not grow back as it should. Or when your hair enters shedding stage prematurely causing you to lose your hair before they reach full length.
There are three distinctive stages of hair growth cycle: Anagen, catagen, and Telogen.
Anagen or growth Stage
This phase last between 2 to 6 years and can go on as much as 7 years in some people. How long your growth stage last depends on your genetics. While the hair strand might be dead, a healthy hair regimen helps keep it looking beautiful.
Catagen phase last between 2 to 3 weeks. This is a transition stage and Club hair occurs. Club hair is the detachment of the follicles and cells that produce new hair from blood supply. At this stage the hair stops growing because it is detached from its source of nutrient. The hair goes into a resting stage.
Telogen Stage or resting stage
At the telogen stage the resting hair is released and falls off. For 3 months the follicle remain inactive before the whole process again (growing, detaching, and falling off). Each hair follicle is at different phase of the hair growth cycle, otherwise you lose all your hair at once or a significant portion at once.
If your hair is constantly challenged, it will cut short your anagen phase making it difficult for your hair to reach its desired length.
5 Things that Make Holding Hair Length Difficult:
Damage to hair’s cortex causes it to break. Hair cortex is the middle layer of your hair that is not visible. When the hair cuticle is damaged as a result of overstyling, it exposes the cortex and cause it to dry.
What affects the hair cortex are chemical treatments such as, perms, bleaching , permanent body waves, permanent hair color, excessive heat styling, over processing, and also harsh handling.
All these will cause damage to hair cortex therefore making your hair cuticle fragile and easy to break.
2. Hair Products
Using harsh products leaves your hair unhealthy. Some ingredients you need to avoid in your hair products are: Silicone-based products though coats the hair shaft for a shiny finish, it is difficult to get rid of. Silicone like dimethicone is not water-soluble so it accumulates on the scalp and heavy on the hair.
Alcohol-Based products drys out the hair. Avoid alcohol products especially those in styling spray-gels. Also, Products containing high sulfates strips your hair of its natural oil.
Hair shedding that is between 50 – 100 per day is normal. Anything above that is totally not cool. Causes of hair shedding could be hormone, pregnancy (some women are lucky, their hair flourish during pregnancy. I was among the unlucky ones. I lost significant part of my hair when I was pregnant), stress, birth control pills, specific medication.
It is always helpful when you know why your hair is shedding.
Hair dryness is as a result of low production of sebum (oily or waxy matter) on the scalp that helps protect and keep your hair healthy. Because of the dry nature of most black hair, you need to moisturize you hair regularly.
If you have always had thin hair or started noticing it after some time, the first place you might want to check is your estrogen level. Estrogen promotes the growth of hair. A decrease of it can contribute to hair thinning.
Other causes of thinning hair are moisture deficiency or protein deficiency. Moisture or protein deficiency makes it difficult to hold hair length. Before you decide to do a protein or moisture treatment you need to do moisture and protein text.
This is to make sure you are giving your hair the right care.
How to retain your hair length
Having trouble retaining your hair length on your natural hair journey or with your relaxed hair? You are not alone! Wunmi Akinlagun and Toia B in their blogs shared some of her secrets to growing and retaining hair length.
Most times you can assume that because you are not seeing significant changes in your hair length that it is not growing. It is possible that your hair has no problem in the growth area. “what may actually be happening is that the hair is breaking off at the same rate that it is growing.
Which makes the outcome of your hair goal appear to stay at one length. Even more daunting, your hair may be breaking faster than it is growing and your hair may start to appear shorter” writes Wunmi. So, before you go ahead and rip out the hair you have manage to grow try these:
1. Re-Evaluate Your Current Regimen
It’s imperative to evaluate how you are currently treating your hair. Be honest with yourself, could you be putting a little more effort into tending to your tresses? Do you even have a regimen or routine you follow? Building a regimen that is based off of what your hair needs can really help you to keep on top of the health of your hair.
2. Use Less Heat
The worst thing you want to experience in your quest for longer locs is heat damage hair. This damage will be characterized by issues such as dryness, split ends and breakage which will ultimately result in less length being retained.
Because your actual hair strand is dead the use of hot curlers, chemical processing, and hard plastic combs can cause serious damages to your hair.
In essence, “don’t Overdo it with Heat Styling. It’s okay to want to switch it up every now and then with a sleek, straight look or a fierce blow-out. But if you want to retain length, it may be wise to keep it to a minimum”. Toia B
3. Trim Regularly
If you have already damaged slip ends, it is better to trim them off. These split ends have the potential to continue causing damage right up the hair shaft resulting in more hair loss.
In this case if you are suffering from damaged ends it may be more productive to trim those early on before they become worse as this hair loss stemming from the damaged ends will negatively impact your length retention.
4. Protective & Low Manipulation
Whether your aim is to conceal your hair from harsher environmental elements or simply to minimise the amount of rubbing the ends of your hair does on clothing and other material, protective styling is one avenue that is worth pursuing. Examples include wigs, weave, braids, updos and buns.
Protective style do not make your hair grow but they help you retain the hair you do grow. Toia B
5. Moisturise & Seal or L.O.C
Utilise techniques such as Mosturising & sealing or the L.O.C method which are ways to retain moisture in the hair for longer period of time.
Hair that is curly and tightly coiled is prone to dryness due to the shape of the hair. The natural sebum produced by the scalp cannot make its way down the entire hair shaft fast enough so, it’s necessary to give it some help.
Starting with slightly damp hair- because water is THE moisturizer- apply your favorite leave-in conditioner and follow up with a butter or an oil to seal the moisture in.
6. Condition! Condition! Condition!
Do not skimp out on conditioning your hair, whether this is to introduce more protein or moisture. Set up a schedule to condition your hair or pay close attention to its needs so that you can execute the appropriate treatment that your hair is craving.
7. Have a Good, Balanced Diet
The very first thing I ask those who complain about their hair not growing is “how’s your diet?” It cannot be stressed enough that healthy hair starts from the inside out. I like to reference the old adage “you are what you eat”.
It’s so true when it comes to our hair as it will reflect how we’re treating our bodies. Our follicles will only produce and grow healthy hair if we are healthy on the inside. This means drinking lots of water to moisturize the strands and keeping fruits and veggies in our diet to feed those follicles the nutrients they need.
8. Reduce the frequency of chemical use
Irrespective of your hair type, I know it is tempting to want to retouch every time you feel a slightest new growth. Especially if you don’t like protective styles. Administering relaxer on your already relaxed hair in less than 6 to 8 weeks causes more harm than good. And, when you are relaxing your hair ,make sure the relaxer is applied just to the new growth.
How do you grow and maintain your hair length? Let us know below.