A dirty scalp and hair are not a breeding ground for growth but rather bacteria. A clean scalp is a healthy scalp. The reason why so many associate a dirty scalp with growth is because of the low manipulation. The dirt buildup is not stimulating growth, quite the opposite, rather the hair is experiencing less mechanical breakage. Dryness and over manipulation are the two main causes for breakage, so washing and styling the hair less leads to more length retention, which is often perceived as growth. And leads to my next point.
Trimming your ends
Your hair grows from the scalp and not the ends. Trimming your ends removes the damage that naturally splits and breaks over time due to overmanipulation, excessive heat usage, chemical processing, and natural weathering. This also gives the perception that trims make your hair grow when in reality you are retaining more length because you are removing the damaged ends before they break off and taper.
Greasing your scalp
Peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and jojoba oil are great for scalp stimulation and lubrication, but using grease formulated with mineral oil and/or petrolatum oil suffocates the scalp, which can prevent it from functioning at its healthiest potential. Remember that the scalp is a part of the epidermis, which needs oxygen to function properly like the rest of your skin. If your scalp is experiencing flaking and dandruff, then the grease is not eliminating the problem, but merely causing the shed skin to stick to the scalp and clogging the scalp. If your scalp is excessively dry and flaking, then you should consult your licensed beautician or a trichologist like Dr. Kari Williams. Here's what Dr. Kari Williams has to say:
"The scalp consists of skin cells that are constantly replicating and shedding to produce new cells on the scalp. Like the skin on the rest of our body, this process happens synchronously and microscopically; it is invisible to the naked eye. It is only when something disrupts this process that scalp problems arise. These problems manifest in the forms of flaking, pimples, or bumps on the scalp and severe itching. Any of these symptoms can be a sign that there is a need to change your diet, hair regimen, or there is a medical issue."
Biotin and castor oil
According to product chemist, fellow natural, and NaturallyCurly contributor, Erica Douglas aka Sister Scientist, biotin and castor oil do not increase hair growth or thickness:
“However, there is no scientific basis for these claims. After perusing through some of pictures, I believe that thickness could be misconstrued with hair density, as defined earlier. Improved hair density due to a castor oil treatment could be attributed to the lubricating of the scalp with an oil known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help clear up bacterial infested follicles… Biotin is most commonly associated with ingestible hair and nail supplements. However, the scientific evidence available that supports biotin as an effective growth and thickness enhancer is weak.”
Read more: Biotin and Castor Oil: Do They Really Work?
So, what makes your hair grow?
As mentioned in another article, nothing will make your hair grow. A healthy lifestyle consisting of a balanced diet, exercise, clean scalp, and low stress levels are how you ensure that your body is performing at its best to properly nourish your hair’s follicle. There are cases where the follicle has been damaged and a dermatologist and trichologist can properly diagnose and treat the problem, as scalp conditions can affect your scalp’s ability to foster and grow hair. Aside from that nothing can expedite the growth process. When products make claims to grow your hair, what they really mean is they can moisturize and strengthen your strands so that it breaks less often and you retain length. Also, there are certain ingredients that can stimulate growth by encouraging blood flow to the scalp, but this does not increase your hair growth rate.
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What were you told makes your hair grow?