My last relaxer was in 2012 and when I decided to transition I started taking really good care of my hair in the process. During that time period my hair seemed to be growing like crazy. I couldn’t even believe how fast the process was going. After 7 months of transitioning I did the big chop on myself and y hair grew even faster! I was through the roof! Then… after a while I started to feel as though my hair growth had slowed down dramatically to the point where I felt stagnant. At the beginning of the year I had a great growth spurt out of the blue that reminded me of my original growth pattern during my transitioning period and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was that I did differently? In April I started taking Mielle Organics Hair Vitamins and felt like I had another growth spurt in my growth pattern. However when I took my box braids down in September, I noticed that my hair was the exact same length as it was back at the beginning of the year and looked completely unhealthy. I was frustrated! My hair didn’t seem to be making all the strides it used to, and I felt that for 3 years of natural hair (2 years after big chop) I didn’t have the amount of hair on my head that I wanted to.
Why Did This happen? There are several reasons why my hair growth seemed to be stunted (and I say “seems” because your hair never stops growing”) and most of them were my own fault! So here are 7 reasons you want to pay close attention to when managing your hair and promoting growth retention. Because promoting growth is great, but its the retention that makes the length possible!
Terminal Length Reached: It is quite possible that you’ve reached your “terminal” length. What that means is the amount of time it takes you to reach a certain length of hair that you can have on your hair before your growth cycle is reached. Our hair growth cycle is predisposed through genetics and usually lasts 2-6 years. We then go through a dormant stage until the cycle repeats. If you feel that your hair gets stuck at a length and never gets past it, that could be that you are not retaining the length that you have grown during your growth phase.
Poor Hair Habits: I am guilty of this mistake (raises hand in embarrassment). The common poor hair habits that we usually fall into are over use of heat, over manipulation, chemical alteration (dyeing/bleaching)…etc. However I was doing something that I didn’t even realize was a poor hair habit until I saw a professional. (More on that habit in reason #5). So to adjust your poor hair habits its best for you to lay off the heat a while until the damage can grow out (because it can’t be undone) or protective style in order to avoid constant styling and manipulation.
Poor Diet: Our eating habits directly affect our hair and sometimes it is easy to forget that fun fact. It can be extremely difficult to eat as health as we’d like, but making an effort to do so will make the process in growing your hair easier. There are obvious things you need to lower/cut out of your diet like too much sugar and too much salt. If you are looking to balance your diet there are 9 foods that can help boost your growth while helping you balance your diet properly. You may also want to consider taking a multi vitamin to help with any minerals or vitamins you may be missing. Balance is key!
Hair Lacks Moisture/ Protein: Our hair requires a gentle balance of protein and moisture. If our balance gets out of whack then our hair pays the ultimate price. If your hair lacks moisture and protein you are going to be dealing with dry dry dry hair! If you are experiencing dry hair and you feel that you are doing everything right in your natural hair regimen there may be some things you are not focusing on. Sealing your ends, moisturizing using the LOC method and doing protein treatments every 6-8 weeks will help keep your balance in tip top shape. Granted everyone’s hair is different so pay attention to the needs of your hair, and how it responds.
Hair Has Too Much Moisture Or Protein: This reason pertains specifically to me!!! I was doing the most with protein based products and my hair was not happy with me. Protein Overload is no joke and is easy to fall victim too with the ingredients in natural hair care products being riddled with them unknowingly. Now while I’ve been dealign with protein overload that causes dry brittle hair, too much moisture can also be detrimental. Hygral fatigue will make your feel mushy and lifeless. Either surplus will make length retention impossible and cause an immense uphill battle in getting your hair back to its normal healthy state.
Health Issues: As a woman battling PCOS every day is a struggle to make sure my hormones are in check. Several health issues cause issues with hair growth that we just can not control. You could be lacking certain vitamins or minerals, or your hormones can be imbalanced. If you feel your hair has stopped growing, or is shedding at irregular patterns, your body may be trying to tell you something. Take a trip to your doctor and explain the symptoms you are seeing so tests can be run to rule out or pin point anything you may not be aware of.
Using the wrong hair tools: If you are using hair tools that are damaging to your hair STOP! What exactly are the wrong hair tools? Blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons aren’t the only culprits. You should be using conditioner with great slip, wide tooth combs, rough brushes…etc. You need to pay attention to any of the products you put in your hair that could be potentially causing harm and preventing proper length retention.
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