By Chin­we of Hair and Health

You have been doing every­thing “right” when it comes to hair care, but your strands just do not seem to be retain­ing any growth.  Your reg­i­men appears to be intact.  You fol­low a rigid pro­tec­tive styling rou­tine.  How­ev­er, no mat­ter how much care you put into your hair, it remains the same length.  Here are five rea­sons why your hair growth may “seem” stunt­ed:

1. Underlying health conditions

Cer­tain types of ane­mia and thy­roid dis­or­ders can make hair growth and length reten­tion dif­fi­cult.  The­se health con­di­tions may present them­selves via oth­er vis­i­ble symp­toms, but that is not always the case. Be sure to speak with your doc­tor if you sus­pect that you may have a health-relat­ed root to your hair issue.

2. Certain medications and birth control pills

Break­age, thin­ning, and even hair loss can result from the intake of cer­tain med­ica­tions or birth con­trol pills.  Com­mu­ni­cate with your doc­tor ear­ly on so that he/she can give you an alter­na­tive pre­scrip­tion that will not adverse­ly affect your hair.

3. Using detangling tools

While it may work for some nat­u­rals, for oth­ers, using a Den­man brush or even a wide-tooth comb while detan­gling can be equiv­a­lent to cut­ting the hair.  You may have to use your fin­gers instead in order to start expe­ri­enc­ing length reten­tion, and this may espe­cial­ly be true for those with fine hair.  Also, be sure to lubri­cate your strands with oils or a con­di­tion­er.

4. Protective styling on wet hair

Hair is most frag­ile when it is wet, and putting in your twists or braids at this stage could mean break­age (espe­cial­ly at the ends) for some nat­u­rals.  Wait until your hair is damp or par­tial­ly dry as opposed to styling while soak­ing wet.

5. Approaching terminal length

Every indi­vid­u­al has a speci­fic ter­mi­nal “time” when it comes to hair growth.  This time can be two years or five years, and some have men­tioned sev­en years as well.  The length that you retain dur­ing this peri­od is ter­med your “ter­mi­nal length”.  If you find your­self stuck at twelve inch­es in spite of prop­er hair care and good health, then it is pos­si­ble that you have reached your ter­mi­nal length, and that is not unusu­al at all.

Have you had a dif­fi­cult time grow­ing your hair?  Share your sto­ry.


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

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31 Comments on "5 Reasons Your Hair Growth Seems Stunted"

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[…] still not grow­ing, I would encour­age you to read this arti­cle from Black Girl Long Hair enti­tled: 5 rea­sons your hair growth seems stunt­ed. And as always, you can ask your ques­tions down […]

I don’t believe in “ter­mi­nal length”. That just sounds like an updat­ed ver­sion of “black girls hair nev­er grow past their shoul­ders,” which this nat­u­ral hair move­ment has already debunked. “Ter­mi­nal length” is very easy to dis­prove. If there were such a thing as ter­mi­nal length, then any­one who has hair of a spec­i­fied length would not be able to regrow their hair if they cut it all off. If you’re able to chop off all your hair and watch your hair grow back (which just about any­one who doesn’t have a health prob­lem can do), it’s proof that your… Read more »

Hey, i was won­der­ing if seb­or­rhe­ic dermti­tis can stunt hair growth too?

I know this sub­ject has already been debat­ed, but some good info to explain the last tip on the arti­cle can help us unde­stand why our hair can reach that “ter­mi­nal lenght” Here’s how wikipedia explain the cycle of humain hair growth : I under­stand why it can be hard and long or even seem impos­si­ble to grow longer hair (past shoul­der, bra-lenght…) But we should seri­ous­ly con­sid­er the stages of our hair growth and take advan­tage of the one where our hair seem to be grow­ing and try to make our hair grow the most. And that of… Read more »

I used to have this prob­lem but the­se tips helped me con­sid­er my rou­tine. I did every­thing but not reg­u­lar­ly. I got lazy & didn’t mois­tur­ize the back of my head which broke off & stayed short. I mois­tur­iz & seal with oil dai­ly. I also take vit­a­mins. Now I have even growth that has final­ly passed my nape.

Ara Ambres

Oil fol­li­culi­tis is inflam­ma­tion of hair fol­li­cles due to expo­sure to var­i­ous oils and typ­i­cal­ly occurs on fore­arms or thighs. It is com­mon in refin­ery work­ers, road work­ers, mechan­ics, sheep shear­ers. Even make­up may cause it.*-..-

Our new web-site


My hair used to grow to shoul­der length, but since 2011 when I came to the UK I start­ed los­ing my hair quick­ly. I do apply oil espe­cial­ly coconut oil but my hair keeps break­ing.

Anoth­er prob­lem I have with my hair is that the front rarely grows, when my hair was longer I always do part to cov­er the front. I have read dif­fer­ent arti­cles on grow­ing your hair and tried them but my front hair still didn’t grow. I have come to the con­clu­sion that my front hair may nev­er grow. Help any­one?

Hair Styles For Pin Ups

Real­ly nice. But when my hair get back to old growth? Stunned???


i’m at around 12 inch­es on aver­age on my head. i just want about three more inch­es. is that too much to ask?


I agree with the birth­con­trol state­ment everys­ince I start­ed my birth­con­trol last year the tex­ture of my hair has changes along with my edges begin to get thin I just recent­ly start­ed get­ting them to grow back. I’ve been wear­ing weaves! I plan on stop­ping my birth­con­trol!

I have been nat­u­ral for 4the years now and recent­ly went to a hair salon and asked for a trim and got a hair cut 2 1/2 inch­es cut off, but the real­iza­tion that Im back to 8 inch­es of hair is so dis­heart­en­ing. Why is my hair not grow­ing or break­ing off? I do not use heat and I wear my hair in two strand twist 90% of the time. I have start­ed tak­ing hair vit­a­mins again. I want some hair growth. Lets have an arti­cle on how hair vit­a­mins help hair growth. Some­times we need a sup­ple­nent to aid… Read more »
The Natural Haven

Yes detan­gling tools were the worst thing for me. I knew you were step­ping into all kinds of mess by men­tion­ing that a short­er ter­mi­nal length is pos­si­ble, many wom­en do not want to hear that. When my hair was 12 inch­es, it was just past APL, not quite BSL and indeed what I would con­sid­er long. It is now about 3 inch­es longer than that but I do con­sid­er 12 inch­es my hap­py place :)


Hey, Jc! Lol, yes, I was debat­ing whether to step into a pos­si­ble mess with that state­ment. Some­times the truth hurts, but some­times the truth must be men­tioned. :o)

Hey Loo. I liked your respon­se to the ter­mi­nal length point. Hair on your head just like your eye­brows, eye­lash­es and on your arms has a cycle- mean­ing indi­vid­u­al hairs will shed and new hair will sprout to the sur­face. Few peo­ple ques­tion the verac­i­ty of body hair only reach­ing cer­tain lengths but if you apply the same log­ic to hair on the head, it brings out the naysay­ers and debate. May­be it’s becuase head hair is so per­son­al and the con­cert­ed efforts put into try­ing to get that bomb APL twist out of BAA. Few peo­ple say “Damn I… Read more »

Admit­ting to ter­mi­nal length would mean defeat! For decades we have been told by every oth­er race that our hair cant grow long! That’s why wom­en dont admit to TERMINAL LENGTH instead they will ask if u have a med­ical con­di­tion lol. 

My hair nev­er grew past shoul­der as a relaxed head so im going to try my luck as a nat­u­ral cur­rent­ly tran­si­tion­ing. ^_^


Thank you, Lou! I agree with every­thing you’ve said. Well artic­u­lat­ed.

Yes … “We should be able to have a trans­par­ent dis­cus­sion about all aspects of hair grow­ing.”


eh, i don’t agree with num­ber 4.


I hate that term tem­i­nal length! I think that in a way it’s the oppo­site of what we are try­ing to accom­plish; the fact that Black wom­en can grow long hair. 

For YEARS we have said, “my hair just doesn’t grow” or oth­er peo­ple may have said, “my hair doesn’t grow long” or “you will nev­er have long hair”. Now we are say­ing that just may­be, some wom­en may only get to 12 inch­es?

I think we need to fig­ure out which one is it; can we grow our hair long or not?


Ter­mi­nal length at its short­est would be back bra strap length. Far longer than most black women’s hair gets to grow to due large­ly to over­pro­cess­ing and poor pro­tec­tion. That’s still quite long. Oth­er races have ter­mi­nal hair length as well. I knew a white girl whose hair nev­er grew beyond a inch past her shoul­ders. Our hair is just more prone to dry­ness and break­age than oth­er races but tru­ly that has noth­ing do with our ter­mi­nal hair length being any short­er over­all.

Hi Avas­peaks! Twelve inch­es on many wom­en is BSL. That is not short at all. By men­tion­ing ter­mi­nal length, we are not say­ing that black hair can­not grow long. We are just say­ing that one shouldn’t be frus­trat­ed if one is doing every­thing right but doesn’t grow past BSL or waistlength or etc.  Just as our eye­lash­es and eye­brows have a ter­mi­nal length/time, so does the hair on our head. The men­tion of ter­mi­nal length should not dis­cour­age those with short­er hair (i.e., much short­er than twelve inch­es) but edu­cate those with longer hair who feel stuck in spite of prop­er… Read more »

Well may­be my head is real­ly big or long or I am using the wrong kind of tape mea­sure, because 12 inch­es on my head is no where near BSL.

Or on oth­er people’s heads as well. So again, my head is real­ly long or may­be I am using the wrong kind of tape mea­sure.

Hi Avas­peaks, to clar­i­fy, when I say 12 inch­es of hair I mean the mea­sure­ment you get when you take por­tions of your hair at any given point, stretch it out and mea­sure from ROOT to TIP.  Nap­tural demon­strates this here: Para­phras­ing an expla­na­tion tak­en from LHCF: If your hair is 2″ long from root to tip, but you mea­sure your hair length start­ing from the front of your hair­line, pull the mea­sur­ing tape over your head and to the end of your 2″ strands in back, you’ll end up with a 14″ mea­sure­ment for hair even though the indi­vid­u­al strand… Read more »
yeah i think that ter­mi­nal length thing is a major copout. i don’t believe there are many peo­ple float­ing around with a ter­mi­nal length of only twelve inch­es. and the ones that do i’m sure have med­ical con­di­tions or are tak­ing med­ica­tions. if some­one had a ter­mi­nal length that short they would know because half the hair on their head at any given present time would have to be shed in a years time if their hair grew the aver­age of 6 inch­es. that would be a hel­lu­va lot­ta shed­ding for the aver­age per­son. so that’s why i don’t buy… Read more »

Ter­mi­nal length is deter­mined by genet­ics and exter­nal fac­tors, many are stat­ed above. It doesn’t specif­i­cal­ly refer to peo­plet of col­or.

I learned that my hair is not stunt­ed it has grown. Unfor­tu­nate­ly after march of 2012 dying test (dyed just a few strands)I found out that my rate of growth is only about 0.25“to about 0.375″ per mon­th which means for me to see growth I must avoid a 1/4 inch break­age at all times I trim about 6 months that’s when about time notice the mini-quar­ter inch break­age. But what is a good solu­tion for a indi­vid­u­al who only grows at a rate of quar­ter inch a mon­th? exten­sion may­be? I know my oth­er big prob­lem is stress it… Read more »

Hi Nora! For me, long-term pro­tec­tive styling and less (or even, no) comb­ing have helped. I also try to trim an aver­age of once a year. The rest of the time, I just do a search and destroy.

If you haven’t tried the­se meth­ods, they may be worth try­ing. When it comes to slow­er growth rates, you have to manip­u­late your hair less fre­quent­ly in order to expe­ri­ence length reten­tion. 1/4 inch break­age over two or three months is not as bad as 1/4 break­age per mon­th. That’s where long-term pro­tec­tive styling comes in.

I hope that helps!


I’m 3 years nat­u­ral and my hair is still short. I’ve just come to accept the fact that may­be short­er hair is in my DNA.


well now I know why my hair won’t grow I have no hair start­ing from both side to almost back of my head no hair in the front I just gave up try­ing to grow my hair I just have to accept the fact I want be able to wear my nat­u­ral hair out in pub­lic due to humil­i­ty all I can do is wear wigs

I agree with Cher­ish­Bomb that that type of hair loss may be a result of the wigs. I per­son­al­ly love my wigs but I try not to over­do it because it takes a toll on my edges (espe­cial­ly the lace front wigs) Is that how it has always been or is this new? You should look into under­ly­ing health prob­lems. For about 2 years or so I lost most of my hair in the back and in the sides of my head. I had about 1/4 inch of hair in the­se areas I went to tons of doc­tors & der­ma­tol­o­gists… Read more »

may­be the wigs are the prob­lem? you may want to wear your hair out for a while and see if it improves