Let me guess, you have been growing out your hair for years now, and for some reason your hair seems be stuck and stagnant at the same length. You've tried tons of product lines on your hair and the products seem to work for a while and then to no avail something happens and your hair doesn't like them anymore. I am guessing If you clicked on the article more than likely you can relate to how frustrating this can be. I may say some things that maybe a little opposite of what you are accustomed to hearing and certain things which may be a part of your hair care routine now. Take a read and see if maybe making these few adjustments can help you achieve your goals with your hair. You can look at it this way. What else do you have to lose, trying something new will not hurt ya!
Here's some basic knowledge to get a little understanding. We all must understand that the hairs on our head go through a life cycle. These cycles are the growing phase, resting phase, and a shedding phase. With that being said, it is normal for your hair to shed roughly around 80 strands daily. Our hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, which totals about six inches a year. In certain seasons like the summer our hair tends to grown faster. Yes things like your genetic factor play a part in how long you hair will grow. The average person will get 3-5 years of hair growth. Which will give you between 18-30 inches of hair. Some other things play an a factor in hair growth like our health, diet, activity, stress levels, and tons of other reasons including the things that we physically do to our hair. So the problem is not hair growth, but rather length retention. Now that we have gotten those things out of the way let's Jump Right in.
#1 Not Cleansing Enough
I cannot express how important proper hair and scalp hygiene is to having a healthy head of hair. As a licensed Cosmetologist my professional advice is to shampoo the hair at least once weekly. If your are working out I suggest twice weekly. I am not talking about conditioner rinsing, that is precisely what co washing is. Co-washing does not clean your hair or scalp. That method freshens up a style, but should not take the place of regular shampooing. Knowing what types of shampoo are important as well. There are tons of different options out there. From clarifying, moisturizing, detoxifying, dandruff, protein, anti thinning, anti aging. You name it, it's out there. Seek a professional that you can trust with giving you a regimen for your personal hair and scalp needs.
*Did you know using the no shampoo or co-washing only can cause your scalp to breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Using the wrong shampoo could cause your hair become dry, and your scalp to become a breeding ground for bacteria*
#2 Too Much Oil
Yep that is right too much oil. I know, I know we are taught that oil is a necessary part of our hair routine. Especially for us who have curly, coily, or kinky hair types. We have been told that oils are a must. From our shampoos having tons of oils in them like Shea butter, argon oil, black castor oil, and of course coconut oil. Then our conditioners both rinse out and leave in contain oils. Of course our styling creams and then you know we are told that we must use an oil blend of some sort on a daily basis. The truth is oil is not a moisturizer although they truly give our hair a softer feel. We associate temporary softness as moisture and hydration. I do understand that oils can even make the hair more pliable to move without breakage and control frizz. The problem is that's a lot of people think that oil adds moisture to hair, It does not. Most oils sit right on the surface of the hair strand leaving a coating or build up on the hair. Now let's think about this. I can tell you now that your truest form of hydration will come from water and water soluble hydrating products. As a professional the biggest thing that I see come into the salon is dry dehydrated hair. When I put my clients on a hair detox and have them eliminate oils as much as possible the results are remarkable. So if you are experiencing dryness and breakage of the hair you might want to consider this.
The pic below is a image of my curls when I was using oils in my hair regimen. look at how shiny the curls are without the use of oil. I now use tons of water, liquids and a water soluble styling agent. I did get a big trim in between this process as well. You can literally see the transformation of my curls.
#3 Mechanical Damage
Your hair needs to be handled gently if you want to reach your hair's full growth potential. Some of us handle our hair a little to roughly. From the types of combs, brushes, hair ties, and choice of style play a factor in mechanical damage. Here are some few examples, using a small tooth comb on tightly coiled hair can cause much breakage and extreme pain. Another example would be using a boar bristle brush on fine hair can actually cause the bristle to puncture the hair shaft and cause cracks in the hair. The last example would be using an actual rubber band instead of elastic band. The rubber bands snag and pull around the hair causing your hair to rip easily. Your style of choice as well can cause mechanical damage. I believe that hair does better in its most natural state, which is why I wear my hear in a curl and define A.K.A. wash & go 80% of the time. Curly hair is truly better with low manipulation. However I think that we have the right to be versatile as much as we like with proper knowledge. Other styling options that cause mechanical damage is , braiding, weaving, tight ponytails, etc. These styles can be worn in moderation. You can cause your hair to have repetitive stress from doing those same things over and over again. I know they are called protective styling, but they should not be permanent styling, your hair does need a break. So keep in mind how you handle your hair
#4 Avoiding Trims
This quite a huge one that I see in the salon quite often. I have encountered so many who avoid trimming their hair due to fear of the hair being cut off to short. Some go years without trims, so when it's time for a trim they end with a cut because they have waited so long. To have healthy hair that is free from breakage 9 times out of 10 you need to keep your hair trimmed regularly. Now the how often depends on the person's hair type, and how they style their hair. A person who uses minimal heat will not need a trim as frequent as someone who does manly heat styling. I prefer to keep my hair on a schedule of being trimmed every 3 months so that I can avoid having to get a cut. My preference is not waiting until the signs of trimming manifest however I am realistic and I know that not everyone will commit to that so here are some signs that it may be time for a trim. (A) excessive shedding out of nowhere. (B) tangling and or knotting at the ends (C) hair appears shorter without being cut (d) your hair is very thin/see through at the ends. *Let me say this if you have any of those symptoms your hair will eventually break and if your hair is breaking off from the bottom you will not see your hair grow to its healthiest potential* Please do not avoid the trims! Find a stylist that you can trust and one that will listen to you.
You have to be serious about getting a proper regimen and stick with it! It's just like a health and fitness journey you have to put in the work to get the results. There are the beginning stage, the middle stage, and then lastly the maintenance stage. I am going to use the comparison of a health and fitness journey to compare them to a hair journey . Just like fitness, some people wake up and work out and eat right without help. She may run marathons and do fitness challenges every once in a while. She will be the type of woman who manages her own hair on her own and does well and only comes in for trims and possible deep conditioning treatments and trims. Now there are those who need to meet in the gym for classes to get the motivation from others to keep going. That scenario is like the woman who may go to the salon to hang out and be around other people, she also gets help from the stylist to help her on her hair plan. She will also frequent the salon more than the woman who does great on her own. She realizes that she needs a little more help. Last you have the person who needs a personal trainer. That is the woman who needs a hair care professional to help her closely with her hair. She knows that she needs hands on accountability when it comes to her hair. All 3 types of women have the same goal in common, and that is Healthy Hair! So ladies no matter which category you fall under you must be consistent to see the results you want.
#6 Too Much Heat A.K.A. Heat Damage
There is nothing wrong with heat styling. I love a nice blowout or silk press every once in a while. I love that I can go from curly to strait. As women we like the versatility of wearing. I do believe that you can abuse your hair. As a curly hair professional I have people who come into the salon week after week with excessive breakage. A lot of these women come from a salon where their hair is being blow dried at a heat temperature that is just too high. Do not get me wrong these blowouts are beautiful. To be honest as beautiful as they are they are damaging. Now I am not speaking of all blowouts I am speaking of a certain technique. Here are a few signs that are an indication of heat damage. (A) Uneven hairs throughout your head. Example really short spots really long spots. (B) Excessive fly aways (C) if you do not relax your hair and your hair used to be curly but when you wet it now your curls have not returned. Back in the day they used to call that heat training. This happens when you wear your hair pressed all the time. Or got it blown out once and the heat was that high that on the 1st visit the curls were shocked and will not return. Now I do have clients who choose this option instead of a chemical relaxer. In most cases the hair is still in tack it will just not curl naturally any longer. It is possible to have this and still grown you hair out fine. However it has broken down the bonds in the hair so therefore it is considered a type of damage. If you wanted your natural curls to return you will have to transition out like a relaxer process. If the heat damage was to high. *Making sure that your hair is truly hydrated makes a difference when maintaining your curls. Steam treatments, leave in conditioners, and of course heat protectant will help you do heat styling properly. Remember everything in moderation *
#7 Lack of Holistic Balance
Whether or not you know it. You are a Spirit who lives in a body that contains a soul. 3rd John 1:2 says " Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." God desires that we are to be in good health. When we are not regulated in our spirit (Mind) uneasy or stressed out that plays on our soul ( emotions) and the end result that then effects your body. Your hair is a part of your body. It is possible that you can worry so much that your hair will be effected. It is also possible that if you become sick you will see changes in your hair. Minor things low vitamin D and Iron can cause changes in your hair as well. If you have a poor diet your hair can become unhealthy. Getting enough sleep plays a part as well. Bottom line your hair grows inside out. Your body mind and spirit play a part on you hairs health.
Now that you know 7 things that may cause your hair to break off. If you have found hair "growth" to be problematic try making some of those adjustments and see if these steps help you. Please remember that your problem is not hair growth but rather length retention. I hope following these steps will help you on your journey! Comment below and share this to help some that may be having this same issues. Blessings!