Growing longer hair should be pretty simple for every woman- right? I mean, the hair just grows out of our heads. It’s not like we have to look at our scalps on a daily basis and say “Yo follicle! Handle your business!” So why is it that some of us can never seem to grow our hair to the length that we desire? Many women are surprised to discover that the answer to that question isn’t found in taking hair pills or hunting for a new hair product. Growing longer hair is simply about allowing our hair to grow more than we are damaging it. It’s actually that simple. So if you’re having trouble gaining length, you may want to look a little closer at your hair care regimen. Maybe there are specific things that you are doing to cause damage and counteract your hair’s growth. Here are 4 reasons you may not be gaining length:
1. You’re over-manipulating and under protective styling
I constantly get questions about whether women can get away with not protective styling and still achieve length. The fact is that curlier hair is more delicate (and finer) than straight hair. Because of this, you need to protect it from frequent manipulation. Sure, you can try your luck with infrequent protective styling- but more manipulation equals more hair damage, which equals more breakage. And more breakage will always counteract attempts to gain length.
2. You’re not moisturizing and sealing
Curly, kinky and coily hair CRAVES moisture. Moisture it what’s need for our hair to preserve elasticity. And when hair is deprived of moisture, the result is that not so pleasant “B” word again—Breakage! To gain length (and prevent breakage) you must help your hair maintain its elasticity by making moisturizing and sealing part of your daily hair routine. Hair that does not gain length is simply hair that is breaking faster than it is growing. In the case of curly hair (especially curly, porous hair), you always want to counteract dryness and breakage by moisturizing and sealing.
3. You’re using heat
With the exception of using mild, wet heat to deep condition, dry heat (i.e. from flat irons or blow dryers) should be avoided. Dry heat literally boils moisture out of hair- leading to dryness and ultimately breakage. I know there are women that like to flat-iron or blow dry their hair for the occasional sleek look, but those are two of the fastest ways to damaging your already-prone-to-dryness curly hair. I know it may be hard for some to accept, but to gain length you’re going to have to step away from the heat.
4. You’re not trimming damaged or spit ends
Hair doesn’t need to be put on a frequent trimming schedule. But if you are damaging your hair so much that splits ends and breakage become a common occurrence, then you need to trim your hair regularly to counteract this damage. If you don’t take care of these damaged ends on the spot, or ignore them, you’ll just have damage that will literally start to extend from the tip of your hair and up the hair shaft. In those cases you’ll end up having to do a bigger chop than when there was less damage. And this bigger chop will, once again, make it harder for you to achieve the length you want.
5. Keep Things Low Maintenance
Keep things simple with low maintenance and protective styling. All hair goes through normal wear and tear. But the less stress you put on hair by manipulating it with things like combing and heat styling, the less likely it will incur damage that will cause things like split ends and breakage.
Have you ever had a problem with growing your hair to the length you wanted? What changes did you make in hair regimen to help solve this problem?
If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx is a writer, media personality, and physician.