By Chin­we of Hair and Health

In the world of black hair care, opti­mal hair growth has become syn­ony­mous with the appli­ca­tion of growth aids and the pop­ping of sup­ple­ments. The real­i­ty is that it nor­mal­ly does not require such extremes. In many cas­es, achiev­ing opti­mal hair growth can be as sim­ple as fol­low­ing the steps below:

1. Maintain a clean scalp.

After genet­ics and diet, main­tain­ing a clean scalp is prob­a­bly one of sev­er­al impor­tant fac­tors in achiev­ing your max­i­mum hair growth poten­tial. A filthy scalp is more prone to fun­gal and bac­te­ri­al infec­tions that may adverse­ly affect the fol­li­cle — the area where hair growth begins. Pol­lu­tants, pro­duct buildup, sweat, and dead skin cells can con­tribute to the filth. A reg­u­lar wash rou­tine will help to remove the­se items from the scalp.

2. See a doctor regularly.

Cer­tain med­ical con­di­tions can be the root of slow hair growth, but you may not know for sure until you vis­it a doc­tor. Some con­di­tions include iron defi­cien­cy ane­mia, folic acid defi­cien­cy ane­mia, vit­a­m­in B-12 defi­cien­cy ane­mia, hypothy­roidism, and dif­fer­ent forms of alope­cia. Mild forms of the­se con­di­tions can go unno­ticed and undi­ag­nosed, yet affect the hair. Stay on top of your annu­al phys­i­cals and doc­tor vis­its!

3. Exercise regularly.

It is a big belief of mine that reg­u­lar exer­cise helps with opti­mal hair growth. After all, exer­cise increas­es blood cir­cu­la­tion in cer­tain sec­tions of the body, includ­ing the scalp. Increased blood cir­cu­la­tion in this region may allow for more nutri­ents to reach the fol­li­cles. The more the­se fol­li­cles are fed, the more they flour­ish.

4. Massage with an essential oil and carrier oil.

DISCLAIMER: Essen­tial oils are very potent. Please con­sult your doc­tor before using them, espe­cial­ly if you are preg­nant, breast feed­ing, or have a med­ical con­di­tion.

The spec­u­lat­ed cause of alope­cia areata is an attack on the hair cells by the immune sys­tem. Some believe that stress may aggra­vate the con­di­tion. Accord­ing to the results of one study, dai­ly mas­sag­ing of the scalp with an essen­tial oil mix­ture proved effec­tive in treat­ing alope­cia areata when com­pared to mas­sag­ing with car­ri­er oils alone. The rea­son for the improve­ment in hair growth is unclear; per­haps aro­mather­a­py is ben­e­fi­cial in reduc­ing stress?

For the time being, aro­mather­a­py as a hair loss treat­ment remains a debat­able top­ic in the research com­mu­ni­ty. It couldn’t hurt, how­ev­er, to incor­po­rate it into your hair care reg­i­men and per­form your own per­son­al study (assum­ing you’ve heed­ed the dis­claimer).

5. Drink your water.

Water car­ries nec­es­sary nutri­ents to var­i­ous parts of the body — includ­ing the fol­li­cles. With­out it, achiev­ing opti­mal hair growth is next to impos­si­ble. Be sure your body is absorbing suf­fi­cient water, whether via fruits and veg­eta­bles or the actu­al drink­ing of water.

6. Eat hair foods.

Because healthy, grow­ing hair starts from with­in, a diet con­tain­ing hair foods is key. Accord­ing to doc­tors on Web­MD, the­se foods include salmon, nuts, poul­try, beans, and eggs for pro­tein; dark green veg­eta­bles for vit­a­mins A and C; whole grains for zinc, iron, and B vit­a­mins; and car­rots for beta carotene, just to name a few. Many of us wor­ry about the exter­nal (i.e., what prod­ucts to apply to our hair) and for­get about the inter­nal (i.e., what to eat for our hair). No mat­ter what top­i­cal pro­duct we use, if we are not on our “A” game on the inside, we will not achieve opti­mal hair growth on the out­side.

7. Get adequate sleep.

Sleep is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the body to recu­per­ate from a day’s worth of activ­i­ties and stress. With­out this rest­ing process, our bod­ies — includ­ing our hair — may suf­fer. Accord­ing to some researchers, “los­ing sleep for even part of one night can trig­ger the key cel­lu­lar path­way that pro­duces tis­sue-dam­ag­ing inflam­ma­tion.” In oth­er words, insuf­fi­cient sleep can be detri­men­tal to our health. What does this mean for hair growth? Well, healthy grow­ing hair begins with a healthy lifestyle, and ade­quate sleep is a part of that lifestyle. For your hair to reach its opti­mal grow­ing poten­tial, be sure to get the nec­es­sary sleep!

8. Take your multivitamins.

Did you know that canned veg­eta­bles and fruits con­tain few­er vit­a­mins than fresh ones? Did you know that boiled, steamed, and microwaved veg­eta­bles con­tain few­er nutri­ents than raw ones? The same is true for cer­tain meats, dairy prod­ucts, etc. There­fore, it is pos­si­ble that some of us are not absorbing suf­fi­cient nutri­ents from the “healthy” foods we do eat. With that being said, be sure to pur­chase and pre­pare your food for opti­mal nutri­ent absorp­tion, or at the very least, invest in a good mul­ti-vit­a­m­in to make up for that slack.

Do you have any extra hair growth tips?


Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

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47 Comments on "8 Ways to Optimize Hair Growth from the Root"

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Myleik Teele

help­ful arti­cle! It’s bet­ter to under­stand the root of a mat­ter than try­ing to find a solu­tion, and car­ing hair in nat­u­ral way is the best. 


Tanya diwan

hair fall major con­cern the­se days so many peo­ple uses dif­fer­ent prod­ucts look­ing pos­i­tive feed­backs or adds even i used so many prod­ucts and in last a pro­duct called amiri hair cream iam using it from last 10 days and slow­ly slow­ly it my hair stop falling and i am get­ting back hairs from roots which i lost i think in a mon­th time i will get all hairs which i loose my age is only 35…

tsimba nadege


tsimba nadege


I won­der why this arti­cle didn’t cov­er reduc­ing stress. Stress to the body can do more dam­age than avoid­ing any one of the­se sug­ges­tions. Caus­ing a healthy per­son to have dete­ri­o­rat­ed health mak­ing all the­se efforts use­less. Stress can age you faster, slow down your health, weak­en your immune sys­tem and actu­al­ly kill. So I think that it shouldn’t have been over looked espe­cial­ly since going to your doc­tor, exer­cise and sleep are all sug­ges­tion for hair growth. I know stress is an impor­tant one because I had real­ized that some my hair turned white and start­ed change back to… Read more »

well exer­cise does relieve stress

ms. v

Try. Onion juice on scalp. Works. Won­ders


As in juice the onion?

I think the arti­cle offered great tips on hair care. And I also think peo­ple real­ly do need to high­ly con­sid­er genet­ics. If you are tak­ing care of your hair with opti­mum care and you’re in good health and your hair has been the same length for years with no change no mat­ter what you do, then may­be you have reached your “ter­mi­nal length”. Not every­one will have hair drap­ing down their backs. Love what you have because that’s may­be just what you’re going to have. It can be quite frus­trat­ing look­ing for more, when there is no more. I’m… Read more »
Trevor Batson

Foods with folic acid in them include leafy green veg­eta­bles, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Enriched breads, cere­als and oth­er grain prod­ucts also con­tain folic acid. If you don’t get enough folic acid from the foods you eat, you can also take it as a dietary sup­ple­ment…;:.

My cur­rent blog site


[…] I want to encour­age those with slow hair growth.  First, check out this ear­lier post to see if you have exhaust­ed all avenues to reach your opti­mal growth rate.  Sec­ond­ly, there is no […]


I hav a prob­lem with my hair..pliz help


Great blog arti­cle. Keep up the good work BGLH. I hope every­one learns from the­se great tips.

After read­ing sev­er­al books on black hair, I now know the secret to grow­ing hair! All the­se tips are cor­rect but here’s the deal, if your hair grows half an inch each mon­th, and you keep trim­ming at your hair each mon­th, you will sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly clip off all the growth you would have accu­mu­lat­ed in a year. The best thing to do is find your hair’s poros­i­ty, bal­ance your mois­ture an pro­tein, don’t use heat, keep your hair in a good pro­tec­tive ‚low ten­sion hair­style and keep a bal­anced lifestyle. Don’t over­load your hair with prod­ucts. Just trim your hair… Read more »
Adrienne Salter

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The sur­vey will be used for a uni­ver­si­ty project, and will give us infor­ma­tion regard­ing online usage and hair and beau­ty pro­duct pur­chas­ing habits!

Ms. Polo
I feel this arti­cle is very infor­ma­tive. A lot plays a role in why many of us feel we are suf­fer­ing from our hair not bein­g­long. It real­ly doesn’t mat­ter how long our hair grows. Bot­tom line is when­we were younger times were dif­fer­ent n stress real­ly wasn’t too much of a fac­tor. All we real­ly had to d was let mom­my or who­ev­er did our hair do it. Now that we are old­er we may need to relax a bit n allow some­one else fig­ure out a hair regime for us n keep up with that per­son s much… Read more »
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I think we should all care for our hair in a way that is best for the indi­vid­u­al. I refuse to spend half my day wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing and detan­gling my hair. My hair is bra strap length when stretched. I think hair main­te­nance should not take long to do. I enjoy read­ing hair reg­i­mens from oth­er nat­u­rals but some­times peo­ple do too much. My moth­er is from Hon­duras and back then, all she used was coconut oil. I don’t even comb my hair because I think my kinky hair is not meant to be combed. I wish every­one the… Read more »

Wow! The­se are real­ly great tips! It’s great to see all this infor­ma­tion in one place to ref­er­ence. Great arti­cle!!

as oth­ers have said, my hair was grow­ing but my strands were frag­ile and to main­tain any real length was a chal­lenge and the care my strands required to pro­tect them was a major task. in my 13+ years of being nat­u­ral i’ve been loose, had tra­di­tion­al locs, was loose again and now have sis­ter­locks. i’ve come to final­ly real­ize that if i want long hair, locs are the way for me. i don’t have to manip­u­late the strands and the process of loc’ing means i don’t lose hair so i have vol­ume and length. if i want loose hair… Read more »
Ernestina Fallow

Vir­tu­al­ly all of what­ev­er you artic­u­late hap­pens to be sup­pris­ing­ly accu­rate and it makes me won­der why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. This par­tic­u­lar arti­cle tru­ly did turn the light on for me as far as this speci­fic sub­ject goes. Tem­pe Den­tist, Tem­pe Den­tal Stu­dio, 4427 South Rural Road Tem­pe, AZ 85282


To each it’s own. All I need is a good cut/trim, a good oil and drink more water and my hair will grow like a weed. Great tips but I’m not gonna stress myself try­ing to keep up with all that. Just use good com­mon sense.


“Did you know that canned and frozen veg­eta­bles and fruits con­tain few­er vit­a­mins than fresh ones?”

Actu­al­ly, this is true if you’re talk­ing about fresh veg­gies you just picked (like veg­gies you might find at a farmer’s mar­ket). A veg­etable los­es its nutri­ents the longer it’s out of the ground. Frozen veg­eta­bles actu­al­ly have more nutri­ents if they’re imme­di­ate­ly frozen after har­vest (as note­able com­pa­nies prac­tice).
Can’t say the same for canned stuff so, in that case I agree.

Hi Shades! Some reports show that frozen veg­eta­bles will not have more nutri­ents but sim­i­lar when com­pared to store-bought “fresh” ones. Veg­eta­bles that will be frozen are first blanched or steamed, so there is some nutri­ent loss there. Addi­tion­al­ly, if frozen veg­eta­bles are kept in one’s freez­er for a long time, fur­ther nutri­ent loss can hap­pen grad­u­al­ly over time. There is also nutri­ent loss dur­ing the thaw­ing process. “Fresh” veg­gies found in the pro­duce sec­tion of gro­cery stores lose some of their nutri­ents on the way to the store and while sit­ting in the store due to oxida­tive degra­da­tion. So… Read more »

I have to agree with Denise… Can so many of us be doing it “wrong” that we have such a hard time retain­ing length? I’m all for putting the extra ener­gy to take care to grow but after a two year bat­tle of “grow­ing” and it still looked like a TWA, it was just eas­ier to cut it as a TWA, and leave it at that.


“Did you know that boiled, steamed, and microwaved veg­eta­bles con­tain few­er nutri­ents than raw ones?”

this state­ment is some­what inac­cu­rate. some vit­a­mins and min­er­als do degrade through heat­ing, but some­times heat­ing releas­es more nutri­ents for bet­ter uptake. the key is to eat a vari­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles pre­pared in a vari­ety of ways.


Hi Sarah! Good point on the real­i­ty that heat­ing some­times releas­es more nutri­ents for bet­ter uptake. One exam­ple is lycopene (I believe) in toma­toes. Toma­toes must be cooked to bet­ter absorb this nutri­ent.

In gen­er­al, many vit­a­mins and min­er­als (espe­cial­ly those impor­tant to the hair) do degrade with heat­ing. But you are right in that raw does not always nec­es­sar­i­ly equal bet­ter.

micah rose

Very true.…but microwav­ing is a whole dif­fer­ent sto­ry. A dr friend of mine sug­gest­ed NEVER using a microwave, as it kills near­ly all the nutri­ents in food. I stopped microwav­ing and only heat things on or in the stove.

fluffy in flight
I agree with you — I don’t use micro waves at all, in fact in some coun­tries they are banned. they change the mol­e­c­u­lar struc­ture of foods that are microwaved, they destroy the nutrients,and they cause prob­lems with the immune sys­tem. A few years ago I went to this lady that spe­cial­izes in herbs, and she told me to stop eat­ing food that has been heat­ed by the microwave, because I have burns all over my pan­creas. She didn’t ask me if i was using a microwave, she told me to stop using it, and it was at a point… Read more »

Inter­est­ing arti­cle, it’s good to see the arti­cle focused on a person’s over­all health because there is a mis­con­cep­tion that as long as we cleanse, mois­tur­ize, and seal our hair we will have longer hair. But in real­i­ty what you eat and drink also plays a sig­nif­i­cant role. Also good that there is a dis­claimer about the essen­tial oils I know rose­mary oil should not be used for a per­son who is preg­nant or have high blood pres­sure.

The­se sug­ges­tions are good but oth­er groups of wom­en don’t have to do all this to get their hair to grow at a steady rate. I real­ly do believe black wom­en have to do a bit more to get their hair to grow. If they didn’t we wouldn’t need blogs like this. We wouldn’t invest so much (for years) in wear­ing weaves and braids to hide our short hair (yet still pro­tec­tive styles so it should’ve grown right?) and still be stuck in the chin to shoul­der hair length. I had mid-back length hair unstretched in my child­hood and my… Read more »

It’s true the­se blogs are here for a rea­son! Black hair is NOT EASY

I can’t speak for all black wom­en. But I can speak for the ladies that are in my fam­i­ly and cir­cle of friends and myself. The times when I have the most prob­lems with my hair is when I’ve relied on relax­ers, press­ing combs. col­or­ing and oth­er styling tech­niques and prod­ucts that altered my hairs nat­u­ral state. Wear­ing those braids, weaves and straight hair is what has dam­aged my hair the most. I only did that stuff because I wasn’t com­fort­able with who I was and the per­son that I appeared to be to oth­ers. I’m 36 and hap­pi­ly mar­ried.… Read more »

PREACH! If I could like your com­ment twice, I would! You just hit sev­er­al nails on sev­er­al heads, girl take a bow!

Just because you can’t grow any hair doesn’t mean you speak for every­one. The­se are sound tips. If one were to look at the aver­age Amer­i­can black wom­an com­pared to “oth­ers”, one would notice a lack of good hair prac­tices and a lack of good hair diets. Most black wom­en depen­dent on weaves, braids, exten­sions and haven’t even given their hair a fight­ing chance and have defeat­ed the poten­tial for growth before it’s begun. Black wom­en are also guilty of “selec­tive sight”. Many oth­er wom­an hide their stunt­ed growth with exten­sions and hair pieces designed to blend with their nat­u­ral hair (unlike… Read more »
I don’t think that is the case, I think because we live in a very white ori­en­tat­ed world, prod­ucts and hair regimes are not read­i­ly avail­able to us, we eat a lot of processed foods and we use a lot of tox­ins on our hair includ­ing the water we wash it with. As black peo­ple I feel our envi­ron­ment is what caus­es some black people’s hair to take long to grow because it is tox­ic and their hair hasn’t adapt­ed to the sur­round­ings and our lifes. Some peo­ple adapt real­ly well, thus there hair grows longer eas­i­ly. I cut my… Read more »



Hair grows from the scalp, and genet­ics do play a role in how fast the growth rate is. But the bot­tom line is that all hair DOES grow! If you hair is “stuck” in the chin to shoul­der length, as you say, after 20+ years, and you are lead­ing a healthy lifestyle you may need to see your PCP as there may be a med­ical issue.


But how do you explain a lion share of black women’s hair growth being stuck (unless they loc it)? Every­body ain’t sick.

I’ve noticed too that in our cul­ture we seem to have an issue with our hair not grow­ing or not grow­ing the way we want it to, but I do think genet­ics plays a role and also a lot of us perm our hair too fre­quent­ly which caus­es break­age and chem­i­cal dam­age, and have unhealthy prac­tices like not wash­ing hair, high tem­per­a­ture flat irons, hot combs, curling irons, tex­tur­iz­ers. I think a lot of us nev­er got the prop­er edu­ca­tion on how to take care of our hair whether its nat­u­ral or relaxed, in a healthy way. My hair was… Read more »



Agree, Landry is crazy to say peo­ple whose hair is stuck at one length for 20 years is sick. If you are ill, your hair gen­er­al­ly becomes brit­tle, thin, dull, and fall out.


She isnt say­ing that your sick, she’s say­ing that there is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that some­thing much deep­er IS wrong, if your not get­ting the desired amount of growth. Not everyone’s hair grows exact­ly 1/2 inch every mon­th and its unre­al­is­tic to take a gen­ral­iza­tion of hair growth and put it to a group of peo­ple. This arti­cle is tips and advice on how to achieve MAXIMUM growth. Not on how to make it grow. As was stat­ed before Hair nev­er “stops” grow­ing. You just lose the abil­i­ty to attain any new length.

Also the major­i­ty of Black wom­en didn’t/don’t know how to care for our hair. Which is why we have use­ful forums like this. In the past mar­ket­ing was geared specif­i­cal­ly for non-black hair, but as time evolved we our­selves began research­ing, study­ing, and even exper­i­ment­ing on our own hair to learn more about it. I was one of those ladie swho used to beleive I just couldn’t grow my hair past APL, but now it’s graz­ing BSL and on the way to MBL. It takes time and lots of patience to learn your own hair and to be patient with your… Read more »

Hair that is curly and/or kinky is more prone to break­age as the kinks are areas of weak­ness and so retain­ing growth is a major issue. As point­ed above genet­ics, diet etc play a role but on the whole growth rate is sim­i­lar. This is why pro­tec­tive styling, low manip­u­la­tion, han­dling hair gen­tly, ensur­ing that hair is mois­turised and that the ends are tucked away are impor­tant prac­tices. I hope that helps.


Yes! our grows but keep­ing it (reten­tion) is the trick.

Shamaia Veira

Won­der­ful arti­cle! I agree with all of them!! This is how to grow ones hair!!!