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March 28, 2012

Growing Nape Hair

by Shelli of Hairscapades

Until a few months ago, I probably would have never thought about this or believed that it was achievable. I mean, nape hair is the same as the hair at our sideburns or like eyelashes and eyebrows, right? In my mind, this hair just had a very short terminal length and was meant to be shorter. Then, I was perusing the Fotki of Zhara after Jasmine aka CurlsDivine told us about her in a GOC update and I came across this picture. Go ahead, look at it and read the caption … I’ll wait.


Are you kidding me? Waist length nape hair? That’s impossible!! Right?!?! Guess not! I started thinking about my own very wispy, fine, thin (density) and tangle-prone nape hair. Could I possibly grow that hair to waist length as well? So, I started to do a little research to understand what others have done to grow their more delicate nape hair longer. These are some tips that I found or think make sense.

Tips:
Some of these tips are no-brainers and techniques that I already practice. Others probably wouldn’t work for me because of the fine and easily weighed down nature of my nape hair. So, I think it’s probably best to pick and choose the techniques that are likely to work for you and modify as needed:

  • Don’t over-manipulate the hair at the nape with brushing and/or combing.
  • Be very gentle when detangling the nape area (finger detangling is recommended).
  • Wear styles that prevent your nape hair from rubbing your clothing as excessive friction can cause damage and breakage.
  • Avoid placing a lot of tension on the nape hair with overly tight weaves, braids, bun and ponytail styles.
  • Protect the nape at night with a silk/satin scarf and/or bonnet ensuring that this area is fully covered. A satin pillowcase adds yet another level of protection in the event that your headgear is prone to “slippage” like mine.
  • If you use commercial permanent colors, apply dyes to the nape last so that it is processed for less time or don’t treat this area at all.
  • If/when you use heat, reduce the temperature and ensure the hair is adequately treated with a heat protector.
  • Moisturize and seal this hair more if hair it is prone to dryness. This applies to using additional conditioner through the wash session (regular conditioner, deep conditioner) and moisture during styling (leave-in, styler, sealing).
  • Massage the scalp to promote circulation and growth. (I use an essential oil mix that has been proven to stimulate growth. I have tried Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Grow Balm to increase density, not length, in the past. I didn’t notice any appreciable difference. However, I admit, I wasn’t diligent about using it every day either.)
  • Braid the nape hair into a horizontal cornrow and thread the length through the cornrow to protect it.

This last technique is the only one that I hadn’t really thought of or applied previously and I found this great “How to” on it on K is for Kinky: Protecting and Growing Out Your Nape with the Braid Method. Now, this may not work for every style, but it looks like a great way to protect the delicate nape when wearing hair down and out as the braid can easily be hidden. I’m thinking that even a simple braid bunned at the nape would work for those with very fine nape hair like me or those who can’t cornrow. So, don’t be surprised if the next time you see me wearing a Wash n Go or Twist-n-Curl, I’m packing a mini-bun under it as I’m on a mission now to grow my nape hair to waist length too!

***************************

Are you growing out your nape? What techniques have you found to be effective?

33 Chime in!:

Andrea S said...

My nape hair is pretty long, but I never paid it any mind. I don't do styles that really have my hair brushing up against my clothes or anything so that could be it.

coconutandcream said...

Great post. the hair on my nape is the longest, it measures about 12 inches whilst the rest is about 10. I had no idea it was the same as sideburns and eyebrows. Also it's so much wavier than the rest of the hair on my head.

Team Jacob said...

I clicked on the Jeopardy thing and sat waiting for a picture lol

Anonymous said...

NO PICTURE!!! My nape hair has always been the same length as my hair....and I disagree with the hair on the nape being the same hair as you EYE LASHES...WTF!!

Sydni_Michelle said...

Yeah my nape hair is short! LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised this is even an article. The hair at the back of my head has always been long, and in fact, I have to cut it a LOT to keep it in line with the rest of my hair, and I've never had a "kitchen" or anyplace in the back with short or hard to style hair. Last year I cut about 6 inches from that part of my hair as I was growing out layers, and my hair is still WAY longer than it was a year ago. If I didn't cut it so much, I'd have this random super long row of hair.

Hairscapades said...

Not clear on the "No Picture" statement?  But, just wanted to clarify that I am referring to the hairline of the nape, not the entire nape section.  I also was saying that I THOUGHT it had a terminal length that was shorter like the eyebrows or eyelashes. But, I know now that it doesn't after seeing Zhara's WL nape stands.  So, the post is to provide some tips that might help protect and retain length on the nape, as well as stimulate growth.  I know that everyone doesn't have this problem, but I believe that some do find growing/retaining nape hair challenging.  In regard to my own hair, the section above my hairline does tend to grow longer than my crown, but the hair right at my hairline is very fine and tends to break easily and is shorter than the nape sections above it.

And Team Jacob.  HEE-larious!  LOL!!

Shelli  

pinkgirlfluff said...

Wow clearly she said she "thought" that was the case. She never stated that it was a fact. Why are people so quick to be negative lately?

In real life I have noticed a great deal of very short nape hair. I too used to believe that nape hair was just intended to be short. When I went natural my nape hair began to grow like somebody put a growth spell on it. AWESOME!

Not everyone has the same hair experience and we can learn a great deal about our hair by sharing with each other what we have learned.

Thank you for sharing, Shelli! I for one can always used tips on how to maintain length. Happy Hair Growing!

Pamela Nicole said...

Thank you for this post I am one who is working very hard to get my nape hair filled in again so my TWA will look nice! I had so much damage around my edges and almost no hair in my nape area so I am very grateful for all these wonderful ideas and especially now that i have good peach fuse coverage I will continue to keep it moisturized and sealed with Maka Oil and as it gets stronger and longer i will try the bread idea. Thanks Pam great post

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say, U folks on this hair blog are really sharp when it comes to hair. I mean really! Some of the things I have learned on here I never even thought about. Thank you all for being so kind and so free in sharing your hair care information and tips.

Anonymous said...

It has only been in recent years that my nape hair has not been shorter than the rest of my hair. I can only assume the length might be due in part to me taking better care of my hair, but yes in the past the back nape of my hair seemed to be much shorter than the rest.

In the future I am going to keep the nape area and the edges braided. I will report back to u in a few weeks.

Migdalia said...

I have never been one to cut my nape hair because my hair has always been long, so my nape hair was just as long. Never did anything special to it, it just grew. Whenever I get my hair braided, nape hair and all is braided too :)
When I did the BC, I had to cut off my nape hair along with the rest of it, lol!

TMS said...

Thanks so much for this post it is right on time. The only oil I need to purchase would be the cedarwood.

Question: Are you wrapping your head with a warm towel each time you apply the recipe? Please do tell your application method.

Again, thanks for taking the time to help a curly out!

Spokenheart said...

wow i never gave much thought on how to grow nape area hair, this is a very interesting article. thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

Also a way to save your nape and edges is to wear your satin/silk bonnet inside out. The elastic on the bonnets can do something terrible to those areas. In my experience JBCO+inside out sleep bonnet = growth.

LBell said...

For the record, here's a citation (not a link; sorry) of the study involving the EO mix Shelli's quoting:

Hay, Isabelle C., et al. Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy – Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. Archives of Dermatology 1998;134:1349-135

The only time I ever had an issue with nape hair breakage was when I was relaxed. Stylists would always apply the perm back there first even though only 1 of the 3 distinct textures back there (no, I'm not kidding) required it. That same patch of hair is among the longest on my head now.

adelh said...

the previous poster had the same issue as me - when i was relaxed i saw breakage at the nape, despite all the care i took. now, everything has grown back, but i put a bit of burt's bees avocado butter treatment back there at night just in case. the hair is very soft and baby fine back there!

Anonymous said...

you have to be a member of fotki to view the picture, which not everyone is

Zaralynette said...

Goodness gracious!! This is EXACTLY the information I've been searching for!! My nape area is super delicate! Thanks a lot!! <3

hairscapades said...

TMS, no I don't use the towel. On wash day, I apply the EO mix when I pre-poo. Then, I don a baggie and usually apply a "heat" source like a winter hat or the thermal heat wrap for an hour or so. During the week, I apply the mix when I remember to do so, which isn't too often. I apply maybe once or twice a week. I'm sure it would be better if I applied it daily, but I just haven't gotten to that frequency yet.

Thanks all!!

Shelli

Anonymous said...

I must be treating my nape hair better than the rest, because it's actually where my hair is longest besides the front. :\
I've actually never had a problem with hair at my nape...

thebrownesteye said...

like really??? This iz possible?? *taking out shea butter and sealing as i type*

sammiegotsoul said...

This article is VERY HELPFUL ! I think that there are, in fact I know there are meny women who could benefit from this article. Even though I don't have this problem, I have found that I do most of this stuff so that may be why.

We should all remember that curlynikki is a website for encouragement and positivety. In fact the reason why this woman has created this post was for the very fact. If its something that I may not need help with , isn't still good to be informed
of the good things you are doing for your hair that is a problem for many other women. Either way, no nape hair or nape hair, this article is very informative.

octavia said...

I'm trying my hardest to grow my back area I usually plait the back , moisturize daily , intake on water and vitamins and garlic pills to retain as much length as possible I believe I grew a itch or two I came a long way.

Anonymous said...

The hair on the nape of my neck is like the hair on the left and right side of my head. Its super curly and it grows really fast. When I was transitioning, I big chopped just the hair on the nape of my neck first because it was way longer than the rest of my hair.

NajMaj said...

Does Zhara have a youtube page or a facebook? I noticed on her Fotki that she's into documentaries and so am I. I would LOVE to get in contact with her, so that she can suggest docs. Please help.

hairscapades said...

Thanks all for the feedback about the variety of experiences. Also, thanks for the kind words!!

LOL @ thebrownesteye!! Girl, I know, right?!? The shea won't work for me, but I'm gonna work on the rest!!!

Octavia, that's awesome! Hope that you continue to see progress!

NajMaj, I don't know. She has a couple of videos via Fotki, but they weren't on YouTube. I think that you can send her a message via Fotki though. I'm not really a regular user. I just signed up so that I could see her pics. As anon above stated, you have to sign up for Fotki to see her album. Some users have their albums marked to private so that non-members can't see them, I guess. I'm not really too familiar with Fotki.

Shelli

Afro Geisha said...

My nape hair grows naturally. Once I stopped getting relaxers, it has started growing on it's own. I treat it like the rest of my hair on my head (wash, condition, braid it in its own plats). Same went for my temples (once the chemicals disappeared, the hair came back.

TMS said...

Thanks Shelli!

liyahmomma said...

This was very helpful. Since high school I have worn my hair in tight buns every single day and was basically bald at the nape. This was due to me not knowing what to do with my curly hair. Thank God I stumbled upon a natural hair video on YT last summer. I have stopped wearing the buns for about a year now and my nape is slowing growing back but not to where I would like it to be. Thanks for the info. I will be definitely using these tips.

naturallychique said...

My nape hair is almost straight while the rest of my hair is kinky coily. I have little to no curl definition and it seems to be growing just fine.

hairscapades said...

Thanks for the comments ladies!

And Liyahmomma, so happy that you found this helpful!!

Shelli

Hilary B. said...

My nape hair is finer and looser than the other textures on my head. It also grows at a much faster rate, so much so that I have a reverse mullet going on lol.

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