7 Reasons Your Black Hair Is Not Growing And How To Overcome Them…starting Today
Trying to grow and keep up healthy black hair sounds far-reaching for thousands of women. According to celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, “Black women are spending more at the counter because “there’s little satisfaction. She keeps buying with the hope that this product will do what it’s supposed to do.” Only to be disappointed.
Most times the problem is not the product but some hair problems that make growing and maintaining healthy black hair difficult. These problems are dry hair, frequent hair breaking, excessive hair shedding, lack of moisture, dandruff, Inadequate protein, and highly porous hair.
So, to meet your hair goal, you have to first deal with any of these problems your hair might be facing.
In this article we will discuss all the 7 black hair problems in details and suggest ways to overcoming them.
1. Extreme Dry Hair
The number one problem for most black hair is dryness. When your hair shaft is robbed of it’s natural sebum it becomes dry.
What is Hair Sebum?
Hair sebum is the hair natural oil. It comes from the sebaceous glands located all over the scalp. Sebum passes through the hair follicles down to the shaft. But the curly, wavy, or kinky nature of black hair makes it difficult for sebum to travel down fast from the follicles to the hair shaft. Therefore, making black hair naturally dry.
The use of Heat styling and chemical treatment also contribute to dry black hair . Frequent use of blow dryers, flat-iron, curling iron and hot combs dry out the hair shaft. Furthermore, if you use chemical treatments like hair color and relaxers they strips the hair shaft of moisture.
How To Overcome Naturally Dry Black Hair
The first place to start will be:
- Cutting back on heat styling.
- Put your hair in protective styles like braids, cornrows, and buns to prevent your ends from constantly rubbing against clothing material.
- Use water based moisturizing products or plain water to moisturize your hair and seal-in your gained moisture with any oil of your choice.
- As much as possible, cut down on chemical treatments.
2. Frequent Hair Breaking
Frequently Breaking hair makes retaining hair length almost impossible. Hair breakage is caused due to damages to the hair’s cortex.
A quick hair lessons might be necessary here. From Better hair through chemistry.com:
Each hair shaft is made up of two or three layers: the cuticle, the cortex, and sometimes the medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer. Made of flattened cells that overlap like the tiles on a terra-cotta roof, the cuticle protects the inside of the hair shaft from damage.
Underneath the cuticle is the cortex, which is made up of long proteins that twist like the curly cord on a telephone. Try stretching a hair and you’ll find that it’s elastic—it stretches before it breaks. When you stretch a hair, you are straightening the coiled proteins in the cortex. When you release the hair, the proteins coil up again. The pigments that give your hair its natural color are tucked among these protein strands and protected from the elements by the translucent layer of cuticle cells.
When you get split ends, you’re seeing the cortex at its worst. You’ve worn away the protective cuticle on the tips of your hairs with harsh treatment like hard brushing or too much sun and water. Without the cuticle, the fibers of the cortex fray like the strands of a rope. Since the cortex can’t heal itself, the only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off.
Normal wear and tear will also cause the hair shaft to break especially areas close to the ends that are weaker.
How to stop Your Hair From Breaking
- Fit regular ends trimming to your hair routine. Regular trimming reduces the chances of your ends becoming so bad that you might have to do a chunk cut.
- Keep the brush away when your hair is still soaking wet. It is okay to comb your hair when it is still wet. Wet hair is still saturated with conditioner making it the ideal time to comb.
- Fighting breakage? This might be a good time to introduce protein treatment. Take it slow with the protein though, excess of it can cause dry hair. Follow each protein treatment with moisture-rich deep conditioner to keep your hair healthy.
3. Excessive Hair Shedding
A typical hair grows one-quarter to one half-inch per month. But excessive hair shedding prevents hair from reaching its full length. In hair’s natural life cycle hair shedding is normal. Your hair goes through three phases: growing phase (anagen), resting phase (Catagen), and the shedding phase (Telogen). How long your hair stays at the growing phase is genetically determined which means your hair can’t grow beyond a certain length. That is why you will notice your hair stops growing at a certain length.
Hair shedding occurs when your hair reaches the end of its growing cycle, it detaches from its nutrient source before it naturally fall (shed). Hair sheds 80-100 pieces per day. Who counts! Shedding is the hair’s natural way of releasing old hair to make room for new ones.
Shedding becomes a cause of concern when you are losing more hair than you use to or you start noticing thinning hair due to your hair not growing back as it should.
Causes of Excessive shedding
- Physical/Emotional stress
- Styling methods that place stress on the follicles
- Hormonal changes: birth control, menstrual cycles, menopause, pregnancy
- Poor diet
- Certain medications and major surgeries and treatments like chemotherapy
How to Stop Hair Shedding
Because hair shedding except excessive shedding is part of a natural process hair must go through, it will not typically respond to topical treatment. To fight excessive shedding some people recommend using garlic. Garlic produces allicin also found in onions when crushed.
Allicin is a natural substance that improves blood flow to the scalp. It helps to get rid of bacteria or fungi living on the scalp making your follicles healthier.Though there is no consensus on how garlic helps hair shedding but it is worth trying. I have been using onions to treat my daughter’s hair shedding. Since I started, her hair strands doesn’t have white bulbs at the roots anymore.
Some sections of her scalp had white bulbs attached to her hair strands at the roots. Little manipulation and the strands will pull out. Her edges were gradually receding.
Right now I feel her scalp is healthy and I can work on growing back her hair.
4. Lack of Moisture
Moisture is the amount of water in the hair’s cortex. Moisture gives hair strength, elasticity and texture. The absence of moisture makes hair break easily and not manageable. Some common things that strip the hair of moisture are: chemical treatment, harsh products, porous hair, heat styling, and dehydration.
How to Restore Moisture Back to Hair
The best form of moisture your hair needs is water. And to trap in moisture use an oil based products. Oils like jojoba, castor, coconut, almond and olive oil are great. Apart that oil is all natural, it does not penetrate the hair strand. Oil coats the strand sealing in moisture already in the strands.
Some women make the mistake of blow drying their hair after washing before applying oil. Basically you use oil as a moisturizer instead of a sealant. That is why your hair still feels dry after applying oil because there is zero moisture in the hair. And because oil coats the hair strands, it does not allow moisture into the hair except the one already in.
So, make sure you use plain water or water based moisturizing product before sealing it in with oil. How often you moisturize your hair totally depends on your hair needs.
Deep conditioning is also vital when working on restoring moisture to your hair.
5. Inadequate Protein
Human hair is made up of a long string of protein called keratin which is the same protein present in fingernails. Your skin is made up of keratin as well.
Keratin is important in hair because it gives inner and outer hair structure strength and elasticity.
How do you Know If your hair needs protein?
If the hair stretches more than it should and then breaks, it’s likely your hair may need some protein. But before you start protein treatment first determine where your hair stands on the Protein/Moisture Scale.
It is important to note that dry and brittle hair could be signs of several other hair problems and not just lack of protein. You can experience dry and brittle hair as a result of improper diet, chemical treatments like coloring and perms, humidity, medical conditions, or even medication.
Good Homemade Protein Treatments
1. Egg, yogurt, Olive Oil & Almond Oil
This is a conditioner black homemade protein treatment. The olive oil and almond oil add moisture to your hair. What that means is that you wont need to wash your hair with a moisturizing conditioner after the protein treatment.
Egg white is a good source of protein and bacteria-eating enzymes while egg yolk supplies good amount of healthy fats that deeply nourishes and adds shine to your hair. If you have a natural oily scalp, you don’t need the yolk (the yellow part of the egg). That will be adding more oil to your scalp.
What you need: depending on the length of your hair is 1 or 2 whole egg, plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon almond oil. Mix in a bowl and work into a damp hair.
2. Mayonnaise and Avocado
Mayonnaise has both egg and oil providing your hair the rich blend of protein from egg and moisture from the oil. Avocado is also rich in oil, protein, amino acids and vitamins. It provides your hair all the good stuffs to soothe, rejuvenate and moisturize the scalp for a healthy and strong hair.
Two tbsp of mayonnaise and half squashed avocado is all you need. Mix both together until they become creamy. Apply to your hair from roots to the ends, rinse after a while. Leave til morning before you shampoo your hair.
3. Banana, Egg, and Yogurt
Adding banana to your homemade protein treatment is definitely a must. Banana has potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates and vitamins. It helps softens the hair and Protect its natural elasticity against split ends and breakage.
It also helps control dandruff. With egg and yogurt your hair benefit from protein and healthy fats leaving your hair shiny and less damage.
6. Annoying Dandruff
Dandruff is caused by irritated oily scalp, not shampooing often enough (oil build up), sensitive to some hair products, and a yeast like fungus called malassezia. An excess of these fungus causes white flaking and itching on the scalp. Having too much oil on your scalp will aid dandruff, because malassezia thrives on oily scalp.
Dandruff has been associated with hair loss and that is why you have to deal with it.
How to deal with dandruff
Washing your hair often with shampoo will lead to dry and breaking hair. A good substitute is co-wash. Co-washing will keep your scalp clean and moisturized at the same time. Co-washing is short form for “conditioner-only washing”. It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner. If you have natural oily scalp, frequent cleansing with non-oily conditioners will help stop dandruff.
Some non-oily conditioners
head and shoulder smooth and silky dandruff conditioner
Dove oxygen moisture conditioner
Herbal essence naked cleansing conditioner
Jason normalizing tea tree treatment conditioner
Living proof perfect hair day conditioner
Paul Mitchell tea tree lavender mint moisturizing conditioner
2. Don’t deep condition after co-wash.
Most deep conditioners contain oil. Deep condition your hair before co-washing that way you can get rid of excess oil in your scalp.
7. Highly Porous Hair
Hair porosity refers to how well your hair is able to absorb moisture and keep it. Moisture is important in your hair because it helps prevent breakage during handling.
There Are 3 Types of Hair Porosity
High Hair Porosity
Your hair is highly porous if it absorbs a lot of water very quickly but also releases moisture very fast. A highly porous hair makes retaining moisture in the hair hard leading to dry and breaking hair.
Low Hair Porosity
Low hair porosity will have hard time taking in water. such as, if you get under the shower and it feels like your hair is taking time to take in water or you have hard time getting it soaked with water. The good side about low porosity is that it keeps a lot of the moisture it take in.
Medium Hair Porosity
Medium Hair porosity allows water to enter and stay in the core. Water does not escape easily because the cuticle is neither highly raised or closed.
How to Care for High Porous Hair
1. Use Heavy Oils and Rich Butter and Cream
High porous hair benefits from using heavy oils (castor oil, olive oil & coconut oil) and butters (whipped shea) that help to prevent moisture loss by creating a protective barrier.
2. Protein Treatment
Protein treatments (wheat protein, amino acid & hydrolyzed protein) are recommended to help fill in the gaps and holes that make it challenging to keep moisture in high porous hair. Hair is made of Keratin which is a protein. When you use protein treatments it helps to build up and fill in the areas that may be lacking.
3. Deep Condition Your Hair
Using leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers will help your hair hold moisture better. Also try sometimes apple cider vinegar rinse.
Which of the above black hair problem (s) have you experienced and how did you overcome it. Let us know in the comment section below.