Have you ever felt like your hair is just not growing? We’ll have you know that you are not alone. Slow natural hair growth a common ‘struggle’* experienced by many type4girls. Here’s a weird thought – unless there’s some medical issue that prevents your follicles from producing new hair, your hair is most likely always growing. So what’s the issue?
In this article:
In many cases, it’s not that your hair isn’t growing, but that the length you attain from growth isn’t being retained well. Basically you’re losing hair as fast as it grows so it ends up seeming like it isn’t growing. It’s as frustrating as trying to fill up a bucket with gaping holes – it’s never going to happen!
Here are 4 possible reasons why your hair isn’t retaining its length and, therefore, doesn’t seem to be growing.
1. You’re always doing something to it
Over-manipulation occurs when you’re always styling your hair and using combs and brushes to achieve those high-manipulation high-pressure styles. It increases the breakage you experience, slows your overall hair growth and stresses your edges. You need to give your hair a break. The less your hair breaks, the more likely it is for it to actually grow. A good way to keep your hair untouched for some short periods is to keep it in a low-manipulation protective style like two strand twists or a low-stress bun for a week or two.
2. Your hair has heat damage
Trying to switch up your hair by stretching it with heat occasionally is not the end of the world. The issue is when your hair isn’t moisturised when you do, you don’t use a heat protector or you simply do it too often. All that heat can dry your hair out and cause it to break. As you now know, if something causes your hair to break, it affects your length retention. A great tip is to use a low to medium heat setting whenever you apply any heat. But even better, opt to stretch your hair with threading or mini-twists from time to time.
3. Your protein:moisture balance is skewed
If you aren’t moisturising your hair enough or vice versa, it sets off an imbalance that could be affecting your hair growth. Too little moisture and too much protein throws off this balance and can leave your hair dry and brittle making it prone to breakage. Make sure you keep up with your protein:moisture balance and know how to react to the slightest symptom of an imbalance.
How often do you Explore hair journeys on Instagram and see a “how it’s going” picture of a 6-month natural that has the growth of a 3-year natural? That’s because we’re different and so are our hair growth cycles. Don’t beat yourself up about it, especially if you already take really good care of yourself and your hair. You’re doing the best you can. But you need to always remember that you can only meet your genes halfway, the rest is beyond your control.
There are many schools of thought over the things that really affect our hair growth. There’s a fair contention that not drinking enough water (moisturising from the inside) and eating your fruits and vegetables could be starving your follicles – discouraging growth and increasing breakage (because your hair is dry). For some people, this topic altogether isn’t a factor because no matter how many times they big chop their hair, it always grows back fast regardless of their diet. Not all of us have that luxury though. If length retention is a goal for you, it might be worth it to pay attention to your water intake and diet.
The same applies to trimming our hair. While others swear by it, some have never tried it and have still enjoyed fairly okay length retention. The benefit of a regular trim is to refresh your ends by getting rid of split and damaged ends which may continue to split and break your hair. It makes sense to think of a split end as a rotten potato. If you don’t throw it out, it spoils the whole bag. If you’re looking to maximise your length retention, trimming might be your answer.
There are many approaches to hair growth including oils like Castor Oil and many-a creams and supplements. However, all of these are wasted on unhealthy hair. Before you set a goal to retain length, make sure you have a firm handle on the health of your hair.
*Type 4 hair is not difficult nor is it a struggle. The term ‘struggle’ is used in a “pick a struggle” context, meaning it’s a common thing (slow natural hair growth) experienced by more than one person and is now considered usually hard or widely desired.