9 Reasons Your Natural Hair Is Not Getting Any Longer
Do you ever feel like your hair is growing but it’s just not getting any longer? Cause girl, same! When I started my hair journey many years ago, my hair was relaxed and dyed and I was wondering why my hair was not growing. In fact, it was growing, I know this because my hair was dyed red and I had to re-dyed my roots every few weeks, but it was not getting any longer.
I then, a little later than I like to admit, realized that my issues weren’t as I had been typing into google: ‘growing my hair’ it was in fact retaining the length. After many years of growing caring for my natural hair, I found the answer to growing long hair and it is short: healthy hair. Keeping your mane healthy is the best way to retain length. So here are the 9 most common reasons your hair isn’t getting any longer and how to fix them.
1. You Trim Your Hair Too Often
Whilst it is true that you should cut off split ends regularly to keep your hair healthy and avoid breakage, it is important to know how fast hair actually grows before reaching for the scissors. On average hair grows around half an inch per month. So around an inch every 2 months. So if you are trimming your ends every 6 to 8 weeks you will probably struggle to retain length and not see the results you are looking for.
How often you should cut your ends depends, for example when I started my hair journey I trimmed my ends every 3-4 months because I was transitioning from my chemically damaged hair but didn’t want to big chop so I did it gradually.
Now I trim my hair between 6 or 12 months or when I feel like I need to. The reason this is so high up on this list is that I have heard people say they trim their ends every 4-6 weeks, yet are expecting their hair to get longer.
2 You Over-Process Your Hair
One of the most common reasons for breakage is chemically processing your hair like relaxing, bleaching, and dying with aggressive chemicals. All of the processes damage the outside layer of the hair, the cuticle causing it to wear away and exposing the inner layers of your hair and causing it to lose moisture, become brittle and break off.
The easiest way to avoid damage is to avoid any kind of harsh chemical treatments and opt for gentle natural alternatives where possible. If you chose to use chemicals like a relaxer or bleach make sure to follow with an intensive deep moisturising treatment and ensure to follow and good moisturising regime to keep you extra thirsty processed locks happy.
I love using a Hair Butter Treatment overnight as a pre-shampoo treatment before wash day to makes sure my hair is moisturised and nourished to the core of the hair and my strands are protected from harsh and stripping shampoos.
3 You Wear Protective Styles Too Long
Protective styles are great because they give your hair a break from manipulation and heat and allow your hair to grow in peace. However, leaving your protective style in for too long, especially with no breaks in between can cause damage to your hair for two reasons.
Because your hair is in a protective style like braids or twists, sebum, the natural oils from your scalp, which lubricate the scalp and keep the hair hydrated are not able to make it down the entire hair shaft, causing the hair to dry out and break off. Especially the ends, which are the oldest and usually the most fragile part of the hair, need extra moisture.
What to do:
Make sure you properly moisturise your hair before installing your style. If you have very porous hair and lose moisture easily, try the l.o.c/l.c.o method to seal or lock the moisture into your hair strands.
I usually like to spray my hair with a leave-in conditioner & water mixture to detangle and then add a butter, like the Sugarmane Repair & Nourish Hair Butter to seal the moisture into my strands before styling or restyling.
If I am wearing a style for a longer period of time and cant redo the style for example box braids, I like to spray my hair with either a water/conditioner mix or a Tea Rinse and apply an oil throughout my scalp and over my hair, focusing moistly on my ends of course.
The other reason for wearing your hair in one style for too long can be damaging, is that it puts a lot of pressure on the scalp and hair follicles. The tension and pull on the hair and the root out and cause hair loss.
To avoid any damage make sure any style, especially one like box braids with feed-in extensions are not braided pulling to tight on the scalp and aren't too heavy. Opt for medium sized braids so there isn't so much tension on small sections and avoid wearing extra long heavy styles for too long to avoid extended pulling on your follicles.
Photo credit: instagram.com/jessthe_mess/
4 You Use Excessive Heat
We have all heard of heat damage and know that styling with excessive heat, especially when applied directly to the hair can be damaging. Heat just like chemical treatments, heat damages the hair cuticle, meaning it wears away and the hair becomes unable to retain moisture, making the hair fragile and subject to breakage.
To avoid heat damage avoid any direct heat when styling your hair like blow-drying with a concentration nozzle or flat ironing/straightening.
Try to blow dry your hair on a low heat and hold your blowdryer further away from your strands to avoid any damage to your hair.
Heat is actually a controversial topic in the natural hair community. Because it can, if used correctly be a very beneficial tool in your hair care regime. Think hot oil treatments for example. Moderate heat can help oils and moisture penetrate into the hair shaft and hydrate the hair on a deeper level. This can be especially helpful if you have low porosity hair and struggle to get moisture into your strand.
How to use heat on your hair - the safe way.
If you have low porosity hair and are having a hard time getting products and oils to penetrate your strands heat can be very helpful:
Try warming up your favourite oil, I used a blend of baobab, avocado and argan oil enriched with essential oils. Both the Repair & Nourish Hair Oil & Growth Oil Scalp Oil work great for this. it should be warm but not as hot as to burn your skin, before applying it to your hair. The heat will cause the hair cuticles to open and allow the oil to penetrate more easily to the core of the hair.
You can do the same with your favourite deep conditioner: warm it up a little before applying. You can also add in your favourite hot oil for an added boost.
If you are like me and what to do the most try a hooded blow-dryer or steamer. You can portable ones that inflate for pretty good prices on Amazon etc. Sit under the dryer with your treatment in and allow the how/warm air to deliver your products deep into your hair.
5. You Don’t Take Care Of Your Scalp
Whilst there are no miracle positions that can actually make your hair grow magically overnight, you can definitely help your hair along by making sure that you keep your scalp healthy and ensure it has all the essential nutrients it needs to grow healthy strong hair.
Essential oils like lavender, rosemary, sage and tea tree have been proven to be very effective in stimulating hair growth in people with and . They have been shown to increase blood circulation to the scalp and provide the with oxygen keeps the hair follicles healthy.
To get the most out of try a oil blend like the Growth Oil Stimulating Scalp Treatment and massage into the scalp once a week before shampooing. The massage with help increase blood flow to the scalp and help stimulate hair growth.
If you are using a lot of heavy non products, make sure to regularly cleanse your clap with a clarifying shampoo. These products can clog your pores and cause build up itchy and flaky scalp.
6. You Wash Your Hair Too Often Or Not Enough
How often you should wash your hair depends on a lot of things like how much oil your scalp produces, how much your hair can absorb, or how quickly your hair gets oily. It also depends on what kinds of products you are using and how much of them.
Washing your hair too often could mean that you are regularly stripping your hair of its natural oils, which it needs to be healthy and grow strong. Depending on how you are drying and styling your hair it also creates added stress to the hair.
On the other hand not washing your hair regularly enough could mean that you have products build-up on your hair and scalp. This means that any products you apply to your hair are not able to get into your hair and are basically not doing anything for your or your hair. As a result, your hair still looks dry and dull even after you have applied plenty of products.
Make sure to cleanse your hair regularly to remove excess products from your hair and scalp to ensure that the products you apply are actually able to get into your hair and scalp. When washing your hair make sure to be ever so gentle. Only apply shampoo and lather the roots and avoid the ends. The rest of your mane will be cleansed in the process.
7. You Detangle Your Hair Incorrectly
Depending on your curl type, detangling can be a lengthy and tiresome process as well as being one that causes breakage. Always moisturise your hair before detangling or manipulating in general and add a generous amount of conditioner to give you extra slip. Use a wide-tooth come and gently start detangling your hair from the ends up. Work in sanctions and grip sections firmly to avoid pulling on the hair follicle and never work on dry hair.
8. You Don’t Sleep On A Satin Pillowcase
Not covering your hair at night is another no no when it comes to growing and caring for natural hair. The friction of your hair rubbing against the fabric of the pillowcase can not only cause damage and breakage it can also soak up all your hairs oils and product and leave your locks dry-out.
Because hair products are not cheap enough to waste on your pillow make sure to wrap your hair at night with a satin scarf or bonnet or get a satin pillowcase, your ends will thank you.