Pho­to Source: Essence Mag­a­zine

By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven

The love­ly Jad­ed remarks, ‘I find it so odd that african amer­i­cans just in gen­er­al have such a hard time *relaxed or nat­u­ral* grow­ing our hair.’ Well, the truth is that African hair is very dif­fer­ent from Asian or Cau­casian hair. Here are some more details:

Slow growth rate?

It has been sug­gest­ed that African hair grows much slow­er than Cau­casian hair ( Br J Der­ma­tol, pg 294–7, 2001.). African hair was mea­sured at between 3.7 to 4.3 inch­es per year while Cau­casian hair was mea­sured at 5.7 to 6.3 inch­es per year. This study unfor­tu­nate­ly is too small in my view to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the entire African pop­u­la­tion but it is nonethe­less a valid study.

Shape of the hair?

– Asian and Cau­casian hair is more round in shape com­pared to African hair which is more oval/elliptical (see the dia­gram!). Some sci­en­tists sug­gest that this can make the hair weak but stud­ies in 4 dif­fer­ent labs pro­duced con­trast­ing results (J Am Acad Dermatol,pg S106–S114, 2003). Two of them showed no dif­fer­ence while two found African hair to be weak­er — so there real­ly isn’t a con­clu­sion as to whether the ellipse shape affects strength.


– This one is a bit of a duh moment. The curlier the hair the more like­ly it is to break. African hair has more kinks and curls. Each of the­se turns rep­re­sents a weak point which can be test­ed by wash­ing, con­di­tion­ing, tow­el dry­ing, comb­ing, braid­ing (every­thing basi­cal­ly!).

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211 Comments on "Is Black Hair Harder to Grow?"

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Am I the only one trip­pin’ about the fact that we have so many tech­no­log­i­cal advances and have so many incred­i­ble dis­cov­er­ies about all kinds of major and minor things in the world but there has YET to be some­one to take the time to study African hair and dis­trib­ute that infor­ma­tion world wide? Yeah I’ve found info on our hair through my own research because I’m 6 months into my nat­u­ral jour­ney- had to fig­ure out how to keep it healthy for length reten­tion- but most info is either per­son­al expe­ri­ence based, not sci­en­tific fact based. Which is fine-… Read more »
Optimist Prime
You’re so right! But, I guess with any kind of research con­cern­ing the body, it just takes lots of time to study. Espe­cial­ly since their are SO many vary­ing fac­tors when it comes to African Amer­i­cans and hair. Like all hair, African Amer­i­can hair growth can depend on many many things such as (1.) type: 4b, 4c, etc. (2.) genet­ic influ­ences (3.) care (4.) expo­sure to the ele­ments (5.) hered­i­tary or con­tract­ed dis­eases (4.) health of indi­vid­u­al (6.) vir­gin­i­ty of hair (7.) con­di­tion of hair after use of chem­i­cals or relax­ers (.7) his­to­ry of pos­si­ble weave or wig usage(8.) con­di­tion… Read more »
To be hon­est the way I see it is, it has been proven that the human body is the most com­pli­cat­ed thing to under­stand. Not only is it com­plex but you can­not gen­er­al­ly say the body acts in a cer­tain for every­one. I am mean every­thing. No one hair, skin, heart, brain, and etc reacts the same way as anoth­er per­son. You could have the same reac­tion or two total­ly dif­fer­ent reac­tions. Plus I find it to be a unique or spe­cial thing that hair is dif­fer­ent from one per­son to the next because it helps peo­ple appre­ci­ate them­selves more.… Read more »
I’m just throw­ing mine out there. Hell yeah, grow­ing our hair is no joke. It takes every­thing just to get that year­ly quo­ta. But no oth­er race of wom­en can claim that super fluffy, extra curly good­ness. We have that grav­i­ty defy­ing hair that spi­rals, curls and coils like it’s nobody’s busi­ness! It’s not easy but I’m try­ing my best to see the hair growth issue in a more pos­i­tive light by focus­ing on hair health instead of length and see­ing it as part of my nat­u­ral hair jour­ney. I’m doing all I can to have fun with my jour­ney,… Read more »
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Prop­er exer­cis­es as well as a bal­anced diet are also pre­scribed.

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a min­is­ter, a num­ber of Chris­tian wom­en believe that mar­riage rep­re­sents the rela­tion­ship of Christ to
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Well that’s just one of the nut­ty things men do ’ turn it around.

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Great post.

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Thanks a bunch for shar­ing this with all of us
you actu­al­ly know what you’re speak­ing about! Book­marked.
Kind­ly addi­tion­al­ly seek advice from my site =). We will have a link trade agree­ment among us

I know for a fact my hair grows at a good rate.I don’t believe our hair grows slower.I belive the fragili­ty of our starnds makes reten­tion of that growth much more dif­fi­cult. Over 2 years ago I gave myself some high­lights, col­or­ing ran­dom chunks from root to tip all over my head. But I also shed hair dai­ly like crazy! I’m con­stant­ly sur­prised I’m not bald at the rate I shed hair! Anyway,just this year,I noticed the col­or wasn’t real­ly fad­ed ‚it was just much rfur­ther down my hair stands.I final­ly real­ized my hair has grown almost 8inch­es in the… Read more »

Lol whether our hair grows more or less or stronger or weak­er. our hair is high like a crow and there is no deny­ing that. Accord­ing to sci­ence; our hair is beau­ti­ful. That is sci­ence because it is. Do not ques­tion the sci­ence. I am a sci­en­tist now shh­h­hh let me con­tin­ue my exper­i­ments >:) mua­ha­ha­ha

Aliyah Morrison

Well the front and sides of my hair grows fast the mid­dle and back grows slow but I am hap­py with the mid­dle and back of my hair because I past my first hair goal months ago and on my way to my sec­ond hair goal .


Almost every Cau­casian per­son I know has long hair and doesn’t strug­gle to main­tain length so I agree that black hair is hard­er to grow. It requires know­ing your hair, mois­tur­iz­ing, gen­tly de tan­gling etc for many of us to grow long hair.


I agree it’s more com­plex to grow


fin­ger comb nat­u­ral hair… and work with the kinks and curls, not designed for it to be combed until it is straight. it is the yank­ing with combs that break the strands and keep it nat­u­ral

Kyanna Kitt
Is black hair hard­er to grow? It depends on who you ask. I was sur­prised to see that many black wom­en over receive between 3.7–4.3 inch­es of growth a year. I was won­der­ing if this study even took into account that hair can break off and seem like it hasn’t grown much. What were the wom­en doing to care for their hair dur­ing this study? My hair grows much faster than the rates in the study. For me, 8 inch­es of hair growth is a very very slow grow­ing year. I nor­mal­ly aver­age 12 inch­es per year. Peo­ple ask me… Read more »

What sham­poo and con­di­tion­er do you use? And how often do you wash your hair? What oil do you use?

Kyanna Kitt
Hi Bel­ladon­nia, I am so sor­ry for the late reply. I could have sworn that I replied to this last year. I wash my hair every 3–5 days. I have a bit of an oily scalp. I guess my hair type is like 4a/b. I’m not sure. The sham­poo that I am cur­rent­ly using is Nature’s Gate and Dessert Essence Apple Gin­ger sham­poo. I dilute them in a lot of water and pour it onto my hair when it’s soak­ing wet. I have also been oil­ing my hair with a mix of olive, coconut, vit­a­m­in e, rose­mary and cas­tor oil. It… Read more »
Juan Martin

They def­i­nite­ly need a larg­er group to study. My hair is nat­u­ral­ly thin­ning in some areas because of genet­ics, but cou­pled with my healthy habits, my hair grows like crazy. I have to cut it close(about a cen­time­ter) about every oth­er day or else it gets too thick and feels like a wool blan­ket in this Cal­i­for­nia sun. .

Black hair isn’t hard­er to grow. It’s hard­er or more com­plex to RETAIN length. Peo­ple say nat­u­ral hair is becom­ing more big­ger than relaxed hair, nope. Relaxed and weave is a big­ger that nat­u­ral hair and we more are wom­en with short dam­age hair under weaves being more com­mon and the media push­ing it, peo­ple still believe we can’t grow hair long, even Alot of black peo­ple think that way. I retained 5 inch­es in 10 months, which means I grew 1/2inch of hair every mon­th. Which is nor­mal growth. Some­thing I though I didn’t have because of being taught… Read more »

Grow­ing our hair long can be chal­leng­ing but it can be done suc­cess­ful­ly. After tri­al and error I devel­oped my pro­to­col for grow­ing my Type 3c hair long. I have hair arti­cles at:

Author: Long Hair- If you Dare! The DIY Guide to Grow­ing Long and Healthy Hair

I have been grow­ing my hair with­out using weaves and chem­i­cal straight­en­ing for years before it became a bit of a move­ment among younger wom­en in par­tic­u­lar in recent years with blogs, videos, etc. I am quite a bit old­er than the young wom­en who are inter­est­ed in the­se things and pro­mote it via the inter­net and social media. I believe that the regimes work for some, but oth­ers, who are quite new to nat­u­ral hair, are liv­ing on the feel­ing of pride about the deci­sion to embrace their nat­u­ral hair which is all good, nat­u­ral high expec­ta­tion and belief… Read more »
Do you comb your hair or wash it with sul­fate more than once or twice a mon­th? Because I think for us black wom­en with type 4 hair the­se things actu­al­ly are par­tic­u­lar­ly bad for our hair. The “default” hair type has been type 1 to 2c every­thing after that has not been prop­er­ly given atten­tion in the mar­ket until late­ly. I am a mil­lenial but so long as I remem­ber I don’t recall see­ing many hair prod­ucts for type 3 and espe­cial­ly type 4 hair that was actu­al­ly good for the hair and not focused on get­ting it straight.… Read more »
I can’t speak for all black peo­ple but I know my hair does not grow slow at all. I grow around half an inch a mon­th I know from years of relax­ing and con­stant­ly hav­ing new growth be an issue back then I would relax every 4–6 weeks and I always had a good amount of new growth. I have dense hair too very coarse, the prob­lem is retain­ing the length, my hair is very dry and brit­tle, high poros­i­ty (though I am not sure if this is due to heat dam­age or if it is genet­ic) and 4b/4c very… Read more »
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