“Length check time!”, Anna said with a frown as she snoozed the alarm. “Why on earth do I still have this reminder on my phone? Moreover, why is my natural hair not growing? This is my third year keeping my natural hair and no improvements. Am I doing something wrong?”, she said as she stared at the mirror before her.
Okay, we get it. You are probably asking yourself the very same question as Anna—Why is my natural hair not growing? The truth is, as long as you are alive and without any medical condition, your HAIR IS GROWING. However, if you are not seeing any significant changes in your hair length, then, you are not retaining length (which means your hair is breaking as much as it grows).
There are also factors that contribute to how long your hair grows such as genetics, diet, hair care routine, underlying medical conditions, and many others.
Hair Fact: The Human hair grows an average of ½ inch per month. So, in a year you would have grown about 6 inches of hair.
Generally, our hair grows about half an inch per month but the rate differs from person to person. Everyone has a genetically determined length their hair would reach. You can also stimulate your own hair growth too.
Here are 15 reasons why your natural hair is not growing and what to do about it
1. Lack of moisture
The need for moisture for African hair cannot be overemphasized. The makeup of our hair doesn’t allow natural oils from our scalp to get to the ends of our hair, so we need a way of getting moisture or else we run the risk of dryness (you don’t want to experience that).
What to do: A great way to infuse moisture into your hair is using the LOC or LCO method of moisturizing your natural hair daily. Using these methods will help keep your hair moisturized all day and every day.
2. Using wrong hair tools
There are basic natural hair tools every naturalista should own. When you use the wrong hair tools, your hair is prone to breaking. From the kind of comb you use to detangle your hair to the kind of hairbands you use to style your hair, all contribute to whether or not you would retain length.
What to do: Ensure you know and buy good, durable and necessary tools. Stick to the basics.
3. Hands- in-hair syndrome
Constantly putting your hands in your hair (most of the time unconsciously) can cause stress and break off of your fragile ends. The more your hair breaks, the less likely you would retain length.
What to do: If you find that you’re always touching your hair, try wearing protective styles. Keeping your hair braided, twisted, or in a bun for a week or two will force you to keep your hands out of it.
4. Using too much heat
Using too much heat, or frequently using heat to style your hair can cause your hair to be extra dry, brittle and prone to breakage. Furthermore, you can lose your natural curl pattern.
What to do: Stop using heat to dry your hair. Allow it to dry naturally (air drying). Also, always ensure you use a heat protectant as it protects your hair from intensive heat damage.
Hair fact: Your hair is the second fastest growing cell in your body and you have around 120,000 hairs growing on your scalp at any given time, all of these hairs need support.Harley Street Hair Clinic
5. Not eating healthy
Your diet plays an important role in your growth as a human (and that includes your hair). Not eating a well-balanced diet could slow down your growth. Your hair follicles need to be nourished to help them function at their optimum.
What to do: Aim to eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, Zinc, Iron, Biotin, Protein and B vitamins. Also, you can incorporate supplements into your diet.
Learn more about foods that can help your hair grow faster.
6. Over-manipulating your hair
Yeah, I know you love to change your look every now and then. You just want to try out that latest YouTube tutorial from your favorite hair vlogger, but too much styling can lead to over-manipulation. Constantly combing, brushing, and detangling your hair causes breakage.
What to do: Wear protective styles that don’t require daily manipulation such as twists, braids, cornrows and even wigs. Additionally, style your hair with natural hair care products that protect your hair from breakage.
7. Impaired moisture/protein balance
If you notice your hair strands are limp, stringy or losing its pattern, it could be a sign that your hair lacks protein. Having healthy hair involves maintaining a moisture/protein balance. When your strands are absent of either, it can kill your hair’s elasticity, thus making your kinks brittle and prone to breakage.
What to do: Include a protein deep condition treatment in your hair care routine. However, try not to overdo it (especially if your hair is the low porosity type). A protein treatment every 4-6 weeks would do the job.
8. Exposing hair to extreme temperature
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can be harmful to our hair. This is the same for extreme winter (harmattan) temperatures. These temperatures cause internal fluctuations of moisture in our hair strands.
What to do: Try wearing protective styles once in a while. A scarf/turban, box braids, kinky twists, etc., would protect the hair.
9. Inconsistent hair care routine
Do you remember when you were a new natural and followed your natural hair regimen with all diligence? Yeah, I have been there. So, what changed? You started skipping steps. Perhaps, you don’t even have a hair care routine at all. Girl, this is why your natural hair isn’t growing. It’s important you create and stick to a natural hair care routine that works for you.
What to do: Follow this guide on how to create a natural hair care routine that works for you.
10. Using the wrong products
Not all hair products are meant for you. Yes! I said it. What may work for your hair crush may not work for you. Hair type and porosity play an important role when choosing products. Also, using harsh chemical products can make your natural hair rough and prone to breakage.
What to do: Rather than jumping on every new product in the market, focus on observing if your current hair product would work on your hair. Do your research, read labels to look for the ingredients and invest in quality products.
11. Not trimming your hair
Many naturals think that trimming their hair would reduce their hair length (obviously! But not in a bad way). Holding on to those dead ends actually hinders hair length retention. Split ends can travel from the ends of the hair all the way up to your hair shaft damaging your hair and leaving it prone to breakage.
What to do: Trim your hair at least every 4 months.
12. Not drinking enough water
To grow your hair long and healthy you should drink around 2 liters of water per day. You will notice visible differences within a few weeks if you stay hydrated. Moreover, making sure you eat plenty of fruit and veggies, will feed your follicles to promote growth and reduce the chance of breakage.
What to do: Set a reminder to drink 2 liters of water every day. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.
13. Not protecting your hair at night
If you are still going to bed without a satin bonnet/scarf or pillowcase, then, you know why your natural hair is not growing. Scarves and pillowcases in satin or silk material help protect your hair from loss of moisture and prevent breakage from the cotton material of your regular pillowcase.
What to do: Get rid of those cotton pillowcases and replace them with satin or silk pillowcases. Alternatively, you can get a satin scarf to wrap your hair at night.
Hair growth cycles differ from person to person mainly due to genetics. One person’s cycle can have a growth phase of three years, while another has a growth phase of five years before it’s time for the hair to shed. So, it may simply be that your growth stage is shorter than others, which makes it seem like your natural hair isn’t growing at all.
What to do: Use the hair care tips above. Your hair should grow fine at its own peak rate.
15. Health Issues
If you’re doing all of the above, but you still feel like your hair isn’t growing, then there could be some underlying health issues that need to be addressed. It can be anything from a vitamin or hormone deficiency to scalp issues.
What to do: To know for sure, by all means, seek the help of a medical professional.
Do you have more to add? Do you have any questions? Do share in the comment section below.
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