Whether you are rocking a big chop look or medium length hair, as a natural you somehow fret about your hair growth. You might be trying out new things or products with your hair and soaking up all the hair advice on YouTube yet your hair doesn’t seem like it has grown any inch longer. Well, this happens to the best of us.
The average human grows about ½ inch of hair every month, but this might not ring true for everyone. Factors like genetics or your lifestyle choices could be why your natural hair isn’t growing.
To get you more excited about your length checks, we would be sharing 13 other reasons why your natural hair isn't growing. You will find out what you might be doing wrong with your hair care routine and how to grow out your hair and retain length.
Our guide is this tutorial by Eugenia Kelcy where she shares tips on why your hair might not be growing.
Here are the tips she highlighted in her video:
1. You are cutting your hair often
Since the average human grows ½ an inch of hair per month, let’s say in 6 months, your hair grew about 3 inches, you combed your hair and 0.5 inches broke off. You have 2.5 inches left and most blogs you read tell you to cut off your split ends, so you cut off another one inch and now you have 1.5 inch of hair left. This constant cutting of your split ends or hair wouldn't let you grow out your hair to maximum length. Unless your hair is heat damaged, put down those scissors and allow your hair to grow. It's also not advisable to cut your hair every 6-8 weeks.
2. You are not moisturizing your hair
Imagine this scenario, you put your hair in braids or any protective style, then you take them out at the end of the month and that's the only time water get to touch your hair. This can be a problem because your hair needs water and moisture to grow and thrive. Leave your hair alone, feed it with water or other water based products and watch it grow. If you wear protective styles like braids or twists a lot, put some water on it. If you happen to use oils, make sure you are moisturizing your hair before you put in enough oils. Oils are sealants so if your hair is dry and you apply oil to it, you are sealing in the dryness and it's going to break. Ensure your hair is well moisturized with water before applying your oils. The number of times you moisturize your hair is entirely up to you, for Eugenia, she moisturizes her hair every three days.
3. You have a poor hair care routine
Natural hair youtubers are supposed to provide a guide for new naturals, so use youtubers as a guide to build your own hair care routine. If you take any hair advice from a youtuber and you try it out on your hair and it doesn’t work out, don’t do it on your hair again. Basically YouTube should be a guide to finding out what works and doesn’t work for your hair. After Eugenia takes out a protective style, she measures her hair and if she lost some length, she isn’t going back to do that same hairstyle because she knows that hairstyle didn’t help her retain length. So stick to the hairstyles that help you retain length and make sure you are always measuring your length after you take out your protective styles.
Read this in-depth guide on how to retain length for your natural hair.
4. You keep picking your hair
This is especially for new naturals who achieve a little bit of growth and go ahead to pick it out. Or let’s say you want to style it into an Afro and you pick it out. If you get the urge to pick out your hair, you can go ahead and massage your hair instead, that way there is more blood circulation around your scalp and it actually helps your hair grow.
5. You don’t have a proper diet
Diet is really important for hair growth, you have to make sure you are caught up with your vitamins and irons. Irons are essential in bringing blood to your scalp and the more circulation of blood you have in your hair follicles, the more your hair grows.
6. You have a buildup of products and oils on your scalp
What oils or products do on the scalp is that they block the hair follicles and when your hair follicles are blocked, there’s absolutely no way you can grow your hair. If you have flakes on your hair it eventually will cause your hair to thin out or break so you are going to end up having patches of no hair on your head. Make sure your scalp is clean too, she suggests using peppermint shampoos as they do a good job of keeping the scalp clean. If your scalp is clean and you have no dirt or extra oils on your hair, then your hair follicles are free to receive oxygen and grow.
7. You experience excessive shedding and breakage
If your hair is actually growing but you are unable to retain that length or your hair is more susceptible to breakage, you would want to do less manipulation, low manipulation hairstyles or no manipulation to the hair at all. You shouldn’t touch or style your hair too much, instead put them in twists or wear a wig.
8. You use chemicals on your hair
Don’t use chemicals on your hair, your hair is natural so stick to natural products. Chemicals are not your best friend, try out DIY natural hair products and use them on your hair. Silicon products are not really bad for your hair, they give your hair slip and make the detangling process a lot easier. However, make sure they do not get on your scalp.
9. You don’t know your hair porosity
Because you have no idea about your hair porosity, whatever products you grab, you use them on your hair. If you have low or high porosity and you don’t know what products work for you, your hair wouldn’t grow. If you are doing all these DIYs on YouTube but not seeing any results, this is because you don’t know your hair type and your hair isn’t absorbing the nutrients that you are applying to your hair.
Find out what is hair porosity and how to test your hair porosity.
Eugenia shared 9 tips in her video but we want to add 4 extra tips to this list.
10. You are using heat on your hair a lot
As much as you would like a blown out style or bone straight hair, over exposing your hair to heat can be actually very damaging to the hair. Anytime you use a blow dry or hair straightener, your hair literally takes the heat, becomes dry and brittle and starts to break off. You will also notice your hair thinning and then shedding, these are factors that do not contribute to your hair growth at all. Take a break from the constant use of heat to give your hair room to grow and retain length. And if you have to style your hair with heat tools, always apply a heat protectant first or wear a blown out protective style that closely resembles blown out hair.
11. You are washing your hair with hot water
Hot water is a big no for your hair, it dehydrates the hair and leaves the hair more susceptible to breakage. Instead wash your hair with warm water or lukewarm water. And if you can handle it, wash your hair with cold water to seal moisture into the hair.
12. You are not protecting your hair at night
Your hair may not be growing because you go to bed without covering the hair with a satin bonnet or scarf. Worse still, you use a cotton pillowcase which sucks moisture out of the hair overnight and cause split ends. Wrapping the hair with a satin bonnet or scarf will protect the hair at night and also prevent the loss of moisture from the hair. You can also use silk pillowcases in place of your cotton pillowcases.
13. You are over processing your hair
By now, you already know relaxers are not your hair's best friend. Relaxers destroy the protein in your hair and then result in breakage. But for natural hair, the frequent use of dyes in your hair means you are over processing your hair and the end result would be excess breakage. Dyes contain chemicals which strips the hair strands of its natural oils, dries out the hair and causes split ends. So if you keep over processing your hair, you wouldn't be able to achieve maximum hair growth.
As you try out these tips on your journey to longer hair and learn more about your hair, you can still achieve your desired length with these cool protective styles for natural hair.