When you’ve been stuck with the same hair length for a while, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that your hair has stopped growing, but unless you’re suffering from a medical condition, rest assured--your hair is still growing.
The average hair growth rate is about half an inch every month, meaning we get about six inches of new growth every year. The reason your hair may seem like it’s not growing is because curly hair is so fragile that, if not properly taken care of, it may break at almost the same rate that it grows, if not more.
Here are some reasons why your hair growth seems to have stagnated:
1. Dryness/Lack of Moisture
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With all the coils and kinks on our hair strands, the sebum produced on our scalp can’t travel down our hair shaft, meaning our strands are left dry and prone to breakage. To help curb this natural phenomenon, you need to keep up with your hair’s moisture needs. After every wash day, make sure that you use a water-based leave-in like theOuidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner, to boost your moisture levels, seal the moisture in with your choice natural oil and then proceed to style your hair. In between your wash-days, you can lightly spritz your hair with some water to re-moisturize it.
2. Excessive use of heat
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Using too much heat, or frequently using heat to style your hair can cause your hair to be extra dry, leaving your strands brittle and prone to breakage. Always ensure that you use a heat protectant like the Fantasia IC: Heat Protector Styling Cream; it seals in moisture and protects your hair from intensive heat damage.
3. Harsh chemicals
Frequent use of hair dyes and other chemical-laden products containing sulphates, parabens and silicones will leave your hair dry and brittle and prone to breakage. Opt for henna instead of your usual hair dyes, and always be sure to read product labels to ensure they don’t have any harsh chemicals in them.
Our hair strands grow in cycles. Each strand individually goes through the Anagen phase, which is the growing period of a hair follicle; this is followed by an intermediate phase called the Catagen phase, characterized by slower growth; and finally, the Telogen phase, which is the resting and shedding period. Each person’s growth phase differs, and is largely determined by genetics. It typically lasts between two and six years, advises Dr. James C. Marotta, plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist.
Foods rich in nutrients that help promote hair growth. Image via Daily Whatz
Not eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated could slow down hair growth. Hair follicles need to be nourished to help them function at their optimum. “Your hair is comprised of 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”, adapted from the Harley Street Hair Clinic magazine. Aim to eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, D and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, protein and essential fatty acids.
6. It’s time for a trim
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Clinging on to our damaged ends actually hinders hair length retention. Split ends left unattended could travel all the way up your hair shaft, damaging your hair and leaving it susceptible to breakage. Trim your hair at least every 4 months to get rid of these rugged ends, help keep your hair healthy, and encourage more length retention--supporting your overall hair health, and growth.
7. Health issues
Sometimes slow hair growth could be attributed to underlying health issues. If you’re doing all of the above, and your hair growth is still stagnating, Stephanie Scuoppo, a hairstylist and hair extension specialist at Oscar Blandi Salon, advises to pay the doctor a visit to rule out any allergies, dermatitis, hormonal disorders and general health issues.
Feel like your hair isn’t growing? Share how you’ve overcome your own hair growth challenges in the comments below! Also, check out this other article about hair growth.