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Curly Nikki

Growing the Kitchen- Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202161 Comments

Growing the Kitchen- Natural Hair

Ronnie writes:

When I had relaxed hair, I always remember struggling to grow and maintain the dreaded “kitchen”. I’m sure most of us know what the “kitchen” is, but for those of you who don’t, the “kitchen’ refers to the back portion of your hair that is close to your neck, and that was usually shorter, “kinkier” and somewhat unmanageable. Even though I am natural now, I still struggle to grow this area of my hair. My questions to the CN Community are do any of you have problems growing your “kitchen”, or after being natural have you noticed it growing? And if you do struggle with this area at times, what do you do to help with growth??


  • Anonymous says:

    I definitely know what you mean by the "kitchen". However, for me it's not so much a problem with managing it (as it is very soft) but more so getting it to "grow". The right and left side at the nape of my neck grow like wildflower which always makes them about 1.5-2 inches longer than the middle. This use to make my twistouts looks weird but now that my hair in the hair directly above it is growing better it covers it. My twistouts don't look at weird now (unless I'm wearing my hair more stretched-you can see more of a difference). Any suggestions??

  • Anonymous says:

    My kitchen is very soft and coily but it is slower at growth than the rest of my hair.

  • NappyMarge says:

    As a pure african let me comment too.Having no american or other race gene in me and beeing pure african I dont agree in "pure African genes" hair being difficult to deal with. I had probs with the kitchen when I was relaxed but don't have any problem with it since I'm natural. My hair is streched reaching shoulder lenght and ther is no slight kitchen. When I started going natural I gave those part of my hair special attention when conditioning, oiling etc. and it did worked very fine for me no kitchen anymore. Try giving those parts special oil and moisture treatment.

  • Anonymous says:

    To: Anon on December 11, 2010 5:32 PM

    Please stop judging those who acknowledge that their texture is unmanageable. Some folks have that type of texture no matter how well they take care of their hair and I see nothing wrong with them describing it as such–it's those good ol pure African genes coming through–hahahaha. If these ladies have learned to love their texture what's wrong with them being honest. Everyone can't have Curly Nikki's texture. My Grandma called it "Can't-chee Don't-chee Hair (Can't comb it, and don't you try.)"

  • shamigreen says:

    I too have the "kitchen mullet". The back of my hair grows the fastest, & hangs straight (whomp whomp). I have to use less oil/shea butter back there than on the rest of my head, to keep it from looking like an oil slick.

    However the crown of my head is a tangly, dry, frizzy, crazy mess. It soaks up conditioner/oil/shea butter like nobody's business. A VERY strange contrast to say the least! But I guess you just have to work with what you've got.

  • A-Typical Girl says:

    Putting castor oil on that area before I put my satin scarf on at night helps with some of the breakage. My hair isn't greasy in the morning and I think it helps prevent friction from my scarf…hope that helps someone!

  • Kitty says:

    Never had one. Even when I was relaxed. My hair grows the same everywhere LoL! The hair on my nape has always been called "baby hairs". They were always soft and easy to trim. ^_^;;

  • Anonymous says:

    Back in my relaxer days, my kitchen was so bad, my own mother used to call me Chicken-butt Hair. (Yet, everyone still thinks she's just this sweet little lady with an accent, lol).
    Anyway, the back is actually my favorite part since it detangles easiest, grows fastest, and is always soft and moisturized. The only thing bad, is the curl pattern is looser so my twists fall out all the time.
    Instead, my crown has become my kitchen, with its weird, breaking, 2c scraggliness that tangles with the 4a-goodness all around. Not heat damage by the way, it actually grows in like that.

  • Anonymous says:

    I actually went natural because my hair was less than an inch long from the "kitchen" to almost my crown. It would get relaxed, immediately break off, and grow back to about a half of an inch. It wouldn't retain any more length than that. Now after a year of being natural and taking good care of it the back is the longest portion of my hair and is an inch past my collarbone. Also, it doesn't seem like a different texture from the rest of my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    My kitchen grows out straight. According to my father, it's always been like that. There aint much I can do w/ it.

    I've debating cutting it off.

  • Anonymous says:

    I never heard of the term "kitchen" growing up. I do think it's about location more than texture. I do not think it's relevant once your natural but…it is if you still straighten your hair.

    It bothers me when folks call their hair "unmanageable", "difficult" or "unruly". I think is sad that some people still have negative thoughts about their hair. This leads then to redefine the "kitchen" to denote other more tightly coiled locations on their head. They think of them as a problem areas. I disagree. I love the more tightly coiled section of my head. The hair is more dense there and slightly less fragile, IMO. It also holds styles better and has more volume.

  • Ms. Sassy says:

    My kitchens were always short when I had my relaxer. That is the first thing I noticed is how much they grew once I stopped relaxing. I can actually twist them now!

  • Anonymous says:

    I never had any problem with my kitchen area when I was permed,when loc'd, nor since being natural now. It was all I could do to tell the beautician to not let the perm sit in my hair esp in the back and the front because it took to soon. Even when I got my hair loc'd it took almost a year before it actually loc'd, and even now the back is still lovely in its natural state. My hair always grown out quick and very thick and coarse, I have sent a couple of combs and brushes to the grave because of…

  • A. Michelle says:

    Oh wow!!! I thought I was the only one! For so long I just accepted my kitchen as part of my hair. i thought everybody had kitchens! But as I began to transition and was more mindful of my hair and its health I began to notice that everybody didnt have a kitchen and that KITCHENS ARE NOT NECESSARY! lol! So i began to pay special attention to that area. No matter how my hair was styled (sew in, twist out, ect) I applied shea butter or some type cream, anything for moisture, back there everyday…even on days when I failed to apply anything to the rest of my hair. And sometimes when I wore twist outs i even left that area twisted and just hid it with the rest of my hair. Within a few months I saw growth and i no longer have a kitchen!!!

  • Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful says:

    I see a few of us no longer have the dreaded kitchen!


    The back of my hair is the longest. While it is still the kinkiest it holds curl definition and styles longer.

    I generally moisturize that area more often with shea butter. I also like wearing the back of my hair tucked up in twist.

  • Unknown says:

    My kitchen was always short and curly when I was relaxed. Since I've been natural, it has grown like crazy. It quickly grew long enough to braid in or pull up with a ponytail. I had the biggest smile when the day I realized that for the first time.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    Mine's weird. ^^; It's a much softer texture than the rest of my hair (the thickest/coarsest parts are from the middle to the front of my head), but it grows at a slower rate. Or at least it seems to…maybe it just shrinks more when I wash it.

    When I relaxed, I lived in ponytails since I hated having my hair out. Hence, it didn't grow much. Now that I have my hair in protective styles much of the time, I'm seeing a difference in kitchen growth. ๐Ÿ˜€

    'Kitchen' is such a funny term. I've never heard of it out here before.

  • Anonymous says:

    If anything, my "kitchen" is a problem because of the opposite reason, it has a looser curl pattern and seems to grow faster than the rest. It's more of a 3c/4a curl pattern while the rest is a 4b curl pattern. Makes it a pain to do wash and go's because it looks ackward.

  • Anonymous says:

    I didn't know there was a "kitchen" until I started reading blogs! That part of my hair is soft and is easier to stretch than the rest of my hair. It seems to grow just fine too!

  • Unknown says:

    I guess I have a kitchen too. It's in back @ the nape, much looser curl and silkier texture. I honestly figured it was like that because I sleep on the back of my head a lot, which I am trying to stop!

  • battlekat says:

    My kitchen is bald. There are hair down my neck. It almost looks like I shaved a line across. Like most my nape is softer and has looser curls. Its longer than it was relaxed but because of the bald spot the hair looks very thin.

  • agbeke says:

    Mine is at the nape of my neck and it's much longer and straighter than the rest of my head and can barely hold a twist, talk less of a twist out. What's up with that!? I would really love an explanation. It just lends more evidence to the wide variance in African genes. Though an actual scientific study would be amazing to read.

  • Anonymous says:

    when I wear braid outs I do not pull the hair up to make a braid near the kitchen. What I do is do two strand twists pointing down around that area so there is no tension on the hairline. On other parts of the head I proceed with my braids or twists. In other words twist the kitchen separately and never pull it out 90 degrees or up 180 degrees. Always twist down gently with no degree. In the end you will have these little twists which point down the neck. This takes the tension off at night.

  • Renee says:

    The back of my neck is actually fastest growing part of my hair. The crown of my head is the slowest but overall I've had good hair growth. Just want my bangs to grow faster!

  • Anonymous says:

    My "kitchen" is at the back of my hair and the sides. The rest of my hair is a loose curl. The kitchen does irritate me, especially when I do twist outs because i have to do smaller twists so it won't frizz up.

    My kitchen doesn't break off, it just doesn't seem to grow – at all. I'm not sure what to do with it, so I just add some extra moisture to it to try to keep is soft.

  • naturallyu says:

    My nape is the same length as the rest of my hair and surprisingly all I did was stop relaxing and lay off the heat. It used to be the worst section of my hair.

  • Sharese says:

    @@Arielle Thanks so much for the tips! @Jeanette I have the same problem with my kitchen relaxed/natural. I have stopped putting any tension styles or chemicals in my hair. It has always been short, extremely breakage prone & slow growing! After my 3rd & final BC in July, I put in color a week later & it broke off again! I'm nixing ALL chemicals & it's growing back slowly but surely! I faithfully deep condition weekly & coconut oil has been my best friend! Patience & practice makes Healthy Hair ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    My kitchen has always been my problem area. Henna, castor oil, looser styles and time has changed that.

  • Anonymous says:

    My kitchen is super curly and the most tangled section of my hair. I use more conditioner and marshmallow root to detangle. It just takes patience. I think it grows well but is so curly, it'll always be behind the rest of my head.

  • Anonymous says:

    After going natural, I forgot all about the kinchen until this post. To keep it short, no problems with the hair breaking off at the mark where natural(new growth) meets relaxed, exposing the new growth(thats mainly what the kinchen was, broken off relaxed hair that exposed the un cared for natural hair).

  • Silkee says:

    I suffered with this problem as well when I was relaxed. That part of my hair would only grow to maybe 1 inch long. Now that I am relaxer free, that section of hair is rougly 7-8 inches long. I also thought of that part of my hair as being hard to manage and I hated wearing updos when I was relaxed. Now that I am natural, that is one of the easiest sections of my hair to handle.

  • modest-goddess says:

    the back of my hair is fine. I guess I'd say my kitchen is a small batch over each ear that seems to be dryer than the rest of my hair. Maybe cause I sleep on my sides?

  • Vivianne says:

    What a timely post! Just yesterday I noticed with delight that I was able to pull up my kitchen into a ponytail and it remained smoooooth! It's actually growing faster than my sides to my surprise. When I was relaxed that section of my hair was the absolute bane of my life and I was always self conscious about it.

    BTW- Arielle I couldn't stop laughing at the "basting chicken" comment!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    like many of you, my kitchen is also located at the crown. It's dry, grows slow, and has zero definition. It breaks easily and is super hard to tame. But I love it anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    my kitchen area is still short, but its so smooth and soft and much finer than when i was relaxed…it used to be rough and kinkier and coarser when i was relaxed, but now its almost straight

  • Anonymous says:

    Man this is so interesting. Whenever I have a hair problem or issue that seems mine alone, along comes another wonderful CurlyNikki post to educate me and the natural masses. The thought of the kitchen being in another area of the head is genius and makes so much sense. What I used to consider my kitchen in the back has the same texture as the rest of my 4a/4b hair. I have now dubbed those brillo pads on the side of my head my new official kitchen.

  • diddydiu says:

    i don't have problems with my 'kitchen' but same kind of problem on my upper head/ middle back hair. it's dry and grows slowly, so im having my hair longer from the front than back. i was planning to try henna and if that will loose my curls a bit, i will cut my hair to be same length all over.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have found that adding a bit of castor oil to the back when dry or after washing seems to promote some growth.

  • Tai says:

    Like the others have mentioned, my "kitchen" is in my crown area(4C). The back of my hair however, has a much looser curl pattern. Weirdness

  • Miss A says:

    When I was relaxed I had difficult time getting the kitchen to lay down. My kitchen grows up not down, so I was constantly try to get it lay down. The as able to retain much length in the back of my hair. Now that I am natural it does matter that my hair pattern grows up and I've had more success retaining lenth.

  • Unknown says:

    My "kitchen" is in my crown. The hair there grows the slowest, is the coarsest and it soaks up moisture. The nape of my neck is where my hair texture is the loosest and grows the fastest (I call it my mullet hair)

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually for me since I have been natural my "kitchen" has grown like crazy and it is the longest part of my hair. It is also the finest hair on my entire head, almost as if it doesn't belong…lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    Since I stopped pressing and developed some good habits, my edges all around have improved. The trick for my I think was to stop trying to manipulate them so much. I detangle them while wet, add a little shea butter to them when they feel a little dry, and lightly tie them down at night. I used to yank and brush them a lot, them suffocate them with gel. I don't do that anymore, for the most part I let them do what they want.

  • Doc says:

    strangely…my "kitchen" is on the sides. the hair in the back has the loosest curls. my sides are very kinktastic, though.

  • Jeannette says:

    Ronnie…I'm still tryna figure that out myself! LOL For some reason I cannot grow the back of my head and yes, it is much kinkier than the rest of my hair. I haven't tried any thing to solve it, I've just deal with it. Maybe some ladies will have some suggestions, so I will read along with you :).

  • Sharmer says:

    Wow I didnt know that the "kitchen" had virtualy the same characteristics on everyone's head. That is definitely a troublesome part of my hair. I hope it will really start growing as my transition goes along.

  • Arielle says:

    I had the problem of getting things cooking in the kitchen myself. < corny! Lol but I do a few things so it will help stop the breaking off 1. Turn your bonnet inside out so that the lining is on the outside and the smooth part is on the kitchen(use silk or satin, no cotton) 2. add a little extra moisturizer and oil there, just a bit tho, we don't wanna baste chicken back there or anything and have that dreaded oil seepage going down your back O_o 3. make sure the bonnet/silk satin scarf is pulled down onto your skin not just touching your hair. Hope this helps lady's happy cooking/growing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • CollegeGirl says:

    When I cut my relaxer off, I saw that my kitchen was way longer than it had ever been before!

    It actually grows faster and longer than the rest of my hair, which is really awkward when it comes time to style. It makes these weird coils that look like pen-sized Shirley Temple curls.

    Anyway, all I do it braid-outs, twist-outs, and puffs from those two, so that might help. I almost never allow my hair to shrink up, so it's never really tangled and I can go soft with the comb, which especially helps in that area.

    I hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Loving Me says:

    When I said bye bye relaxer I had a short halle berry cut and my kitchen grew in very nice (which was previously damaged from being hot combed to death before I even permed in 2005). It seems to be just an inch shorter than the rest of the hair growth ive been able to acheive. The thing though- it grows in almost straight a totally different texture than my kinky coils on the rest of my head.

    Interesting…. gotta love the kitchen!

  • MARJORIE says:

    Henna treatments have loosened my kitchen and has helped me maintain growth.

  • The Retro Natural says:

    my kitchen has grown but I haven't really done anything to it. I don't wear ponytails anymore though and I think that contributed to it breaking off. It's free now lol so it thrives ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Anonymous says:

    The front, sides and back of my hair are more finer, more loosley curled and less densely packed than hair than the middle of my head. Those sections don't hold a pattern when I do a braid out and they always fall out of the high puff and buns I like to wear. *sigh* To be honest, I wish they were more tightly curled. But…I have to love what I've got.

    With that said, I don't have a problem growing out my "kitchen". However, I found an article on 'K is for Kinky' that may help those who do (

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the "kitchen" as described (shorter, "kinkier" and somewhat unmanageable) may very from person to person. Mine is at the crown of my head. It has always been the driest part and prone to breakage. The hair at the back of my head is actually the easiest to manage.

  • Sherri says:

    I also have a front kitchen now. When relaxed it was the back. But now my nape has a patch of 3c coils with no frizz at all. While the rest is mainly 4a coils surrounded by frizz and a 4b frizz patch smack dab in the front!

  • Anonymous says:

    My "kitchen" is on the sides (so I guess I have 2 of them). I, like FoxLox, have a looser pattern in the back. I'm not sure what's preferable- a kitchen in the back (where I wouldn't have to look at it ) or on the sides for me to see all day, every day. LOL Henna and DC treatments have helped these areas conform to the rest of my head.
    I do have a solitary curl in the back that "hangs out", no matter what I do. I have named her Exodus. She makes her presence known regardless of ANYTHING.

  • Over40fab says:

    I agree with Han Dock and FoxLox. My "kitchen" is more softer and lays smoother than the rest of my hair. It's actually the easiest part to manage when I put my hair up in a bun.

  • Anonymous says:

    Taking the relaxer away from the equation actually resolved my issues with my kitchen. I love the way my natural hair grows back there now!

  • FoxLox says:

    I don't know about you guys, but my "kitchen" is not in the back of my neck, it's definitely in the front of my head for the world to see. The back of my neck is actually a lot finer and has a looser curl pattern than the front. I have seen more growth in my kitchen, but since it is in my crown I do have to tame it with pins more often. To help with growth, I usually will two-strand-twist the kinkier portions and put on a headband. The twists camouflauge into the rest of my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    The back of my hair's texture gets drier and more coarse than the rest of my hair but actually over the past month it's been growing more rapidly and is longer than the rest of my hair.

  • Han Dock says:

    I don't have trouble growing my "kitchen" and my "kitchen" is very soft and almost straight at all times (Wet, dry, no moisture). Unlike the rest of my porous kinky coily hair.

  • KCAS says:

    When I was relaxed, I used to hate that area, I barely wear ponytails or buns because the kitchen never cooperated. Nowadays, I don't see any improvement as to growth, but the hair is very smooth and soft. Maybe there's a lenght limit there??!!

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