Congrats on going natural and boldly rocking that cute 'fro of kinky curls. Now here's the not- so- easy part; caring for your natural hair and retaining it's length. Natural hair growth is such a huge deal now and you might be worrying over why your hair isn't growing as fast as you want it to. Probably, you are a little bothered over why you haven't achieved your desired length or why your hair won’t grow past a certain length.
Well honey, it is perfectly okay to experience all these on your natural hair journey. Because it is hard to figure out what is going on at the roots of your hair, I will be explaining the 3 natural hair stages which determine your hair growth potential.
Understanding how your hair works
The average human has around 100 000 hair follicles on the scalp and grows about 1/2 inch of hair per month. To understand natural hair growth, you've to compare it to the human development process. Just like the way a person grows, the first three years are usually seen as the most active growth years after which the individual grows gradually until their teenage years. To better understand how your natural hair grows, here are the 3 natural hair stages.
The 3 Natural Hair Stages
The Anagen Stage
This natural hair stage is the primary growth stage. For an average of 3-5 years your hair grows quickly from the roots before the hair follicles become inactive. During this natural hair stage, you could experience hair growth from 18-30 inches. This is because your hair is well connected to the blood vessels in your scalp and these vessels feed it with the essential nutrients it needs in order to grow.
The Catagen Stage
The catagen stage also known as the resting stage, has a shorter cycle than the anagen stage. You can compare this natural hair stage to the human development process when a person has fully developed physically, sexually and mentally. At this point your natural hair would achieve its maximum length as it detaches itself from the vessels and prepares to move on to the final natural hair stage. This usually takes up to 3-4 weeks.
The Telogen Stage
This is the natural hair stage where the shedding process begins. This is a natural process where the hairs at the catagen stage falls out to allow new hair to grow through the hair follicle. This would typically last for about 3 months. However you won't lose large chunks of hair at once, you would only shed 50-100 hairs every day. 11% of your hair is currently in the telogen stage and would either fall off or get pulled off during styling, braiding or combing your hair.
How to maximize the natural hair stages for hair growth
About 88 to 90% of your hair is at the anagen stage if you’re healthy. To experience years of active hair growth and possibly healthy longer hair, your hair needs to remain at the anagen stage for as long as possible. The anagen stage can be extended by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet and an optimum natural hair care routine. Stimulating your scalp every evening with a natural hair growth oil like jojoba oil can be really helpful. Also it is important to avoid hair breakage by preventing constant manipulation of the hair and wearing protective styles like wigs, ponytails, or twists often.
@Maryam Hampton shares in this tutorial some really cool tips on how you can maximize your natural hair growth cycle: