Many women desire to have longer hair, especially African American women, but are convinced it’s just not in the cards for them. Reality is that with a little information and some extra TLC, an additional inch or even an additional 10 inches of hair growth, is very possible.
On average hair grows approximately .5″ per month; give or take. This includes African Americans as well. Hair has a growing phase of 2-6 years; so if hair is given optimal care, ideally, the person with the shortest hair will have 12″ of growth, which isn’t bad. But the average person doesn’t have the shortest growth phase of 2 years; most people fall in the middle, 3-4 years, so the average person can grow well over a foot of hair during their growing phase.
Our hair goes through three phases; it grows for 2-6 years, stops growing for a few months, and then sheds. Each strand is on a different part of each phase, meaning you will always have strands that are shorter or longer and, you will have new strands coming in while others are falling out. Hair doesn’t really stop at a certain length, but after a certain amount of time. If you could grow it faster in that amount of time, then it will be longer when time is up. If you are wondering why your hair isn’t reaching its full potential, and would like to learn how to get it to do just that…keep reading. I will provide you with some logical explanations and solutions.
1. You aren’t retaining length. If you are losing more length than you are growing each month, you may be under the impression that your hair isn’t growing, but it definitely is. Excessive breakage or over trimming the ends each month may not allow you to see your progress.
2. Very slow growth. Most people have the capacity to grow 1/2″ per month, but they are stunting the growth because of practices or products used.
3. You are stressed. Stress doesn’t just affect you mentally and emotionally, but physically as well, including hurting the health and growth of your hair.
4. Illnesses or medications taken for illnesses. Thyroid issues, hormonal changes, diabetes, lupus and medications that treat depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease may be causing your hair concerns.
If you aren’t retaining length, there are a couple of things you can do. First of all, you will need to make sure the hair is strengthened. Stronger hair is more resilient and won’t break as easily. The hair also needs to be well hydrated; this gives flexibility. Protein treatments or deep conditioner containing mild protein will strengthen the hair, but needs to be used in moderation. Too much protein will actually cause the hair to become brittle. Keeping the hair hydrated is easy if you use a good moisturizer. Not all products that claim to be moisturizers are. Many of them will actually dry your hair out, so choose your moisturizer wisely. If it has ingredients such as mineral oil, paraffin gel, petrolatum, propylene glycol, or other synthetic chemicals, you may be causing excessive dryness, which may be leading to breakage. You also want to eliminate sulfates out of your shampoos.
Clipping your ends too frequently may also be stunting your progress. Many women are under the impression that clipping the ends often leads to accelerated, thicker hair growth, and this is a myth, it only gives the illusion of healthier, thicker hair. When you eliminate thin, damaged hair, it’s natural for the hair to look better. There isn’t a real time table on how often to clip the ends, but if you only grow 1/4″ per month and you are clipping as much, you will never have any progress. If you take extra special care of the last 3-4″ of your hair by protecting them and eliminating harmful practices such as over using heat and brushes, you will notice more progress.
Just because you’ve only grown a 1/4 of hair a month for most of your life, that doesn’t mean that’s all you are capable of growing, which is what I learned when I got serious about my hair growth. I believe I have a growth phase of about 4 years. After measuring my hair for 7 months and documenting exactly.25″ of growth per month; I surmised I would likely never have the length of hair I had longed for! But because I wasn’t ready to give up, I decided I would do all of the right things for it, feed it a healthy diet, massage my scalp, eat right, and take extra care to do the right thing to retain length, within 2 years, my hair had grown 14″ Yes, more than DOUBLED its original rate! Taking optimal care of your hair, or even just improving the practices and using healthy products can make a significant difference.
Every person stresses, it’s a normal part of life, but it’s the way you manage your stress that will make a difference in your health, including the health of your hair. Being proactive instead of procrastinating may cut down on stress. Meditation, journaling, and counseling are also effective ways to handle stress. I personally am a list person, I keep a list of the things I need to do, so that I can get them out of my head. I don’t worry about them once they are written down because I know I won’t forget about them. I also do a lot of journaling so that I can see my progress and stay on track with my goals. Prolonged and severe distress may take more than journaling; this may be a cause for counseling or medication, so seek professional help if you are experiencing stress that isn’t manageable.
If you are losing hair, it’s thinning, or just doesn’t seem to grow; you may be suffering from an illness that you aren’t aware of, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. A doctor visit may be able exclude or include illness as the issues you are having with your hair. Medications that are used to treated several illnesses may cause hair issues as well. If you are able to get healthy enough to not need the medications, this would be ideal, but if this is not possible, talk to your doctor about alternative medications. There are some medications that may treat the same illness, but doesn’t cause hair issues.