0425Woman-mirror

 By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

There are many articles on natural hair sites about what you can do with or to your hair. While wading through this information and trying new things or retrying old experiments with new products or techniques, you should always bear in mind that some things we do, can cause damage that will eventually break hair or stunt hair at a particular length. Here are thoughts that I know were crucial factors that kept my hair at less than neck length. If you were taught or had these ideas as I did, you should challenge them.

1. Thinking your natural hair is thick when it really is not

Natural hair tends to have a lot of volume and texture which leads many of us to make the conclusion that our hair is thick. You may not really have thick hair at all. Your hair may actually be quite fine if you looked at an individual strand rather than the full head of hair. Do not automatically class your hair as thick or coarse. There are many tender little kinks that have ended up on the floor as the result of too much force applied while combing. This is because the person manipulating the hair thinks that the hair should be able to handle that force as it is thick. Compare your individual strand hair thickness to members of your family or to your friends and make a judgement as to whether it really is thick or fine or something in between.

Side note: I have never really understood the term coarse but some do use it to describe texture (as in hair with small coils and multiple kinks) while others use it to describe hair strand thickness.

2. Thinking your hair SHOULD be able to do a particular style or technique when it cannot

The versatility of natural hair is talked about frequently. We can wear our hair in an afro, in curls or straight………or can we really? There are certain things that some hair can simply not do. Someone with natural curls may be doing unnecessary damage to their hair by dry brushing it to get an afro texture. Someone with many beautiful kinks may never be able to shingle their hair into curls. Someone with fine hair may never be able to use high heat to get a perfectly straight style without causing immediate breakage and damage. This does not mean that you should fear trying new styles or techniques, it does however mean that you should trust the reaction of your hair and determine whether you should go on or stop based on whether that reaction is good or bad.

3. Thinking that EVERYONE can do a wash and go

Wash and go’s are the main stay of naturals who have done the big chop. When hair is short, they are fast, easy and one of the least damaging styles. However,  as hair grows, a second factor, shrinkage, can crop with some naturals. After a wash, if your hair shrinks to the point where strands start to intertwine or form knots, requiring you to detangle hair yet again, you are probably not suited to wearing a wash and go, at least not if your aim is to get longer hair. My suggestion is to modify the wash and go by stretching hair out in large braids or twists which can be pinned up and allow your hair to dry without the added shrinkage that free wet hair will produce. If your hair does not shrink much or if your hair forms orderly protective spirals, then a wash and go is for you.

Ladies, have you ever made one of these assumptions? How did you come around and “see the light?”

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39 Comments on "3 Assumptions that Will Stunt Your Hair Growth"

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Jazmin

I don’t think going a month without washing your hair is bad, you should go for it if you think that will help, sounds like you need to build a better hair regime also, my suggestion would be with or without heat keep your hair in low manipulation styles and also check out naptural85 YouTube channel she is very knowledgeable about hair are

cryssi

I have thick hair, but my actual strands of hair are fine…basically I have a pounds of fine hair on my head.

Basically having fine hair doesn’t negate having thick hair. Just like having course strands doesn’t make your hair thick.

Guest

I’m with you until no. 3. Just my opinion.

Sharen Foster

I am enjoying the accurate and detailed info and instructions on how to care for, grow and maintain healthy Natural/Afro-Centric hair. Thank you!

deepdimples
My mother always calls my hair course and thick, but its not. I have fine strands and not that many of them. My hair don’t do have the styles I like even though I have been natural for 10 years. Seems like I cannot retain length and have tried all methods. My twist look like little twigs sticking up everywhere. I look like Frederick Douglass with a wash and go. My puff shrink to non exsitance by the end of the day. Been wearing Havana twist lately, but I just want to be truely happy with my own hair. Maybe… Read more »
Colalover

This is a great thing to know. I was talking to a lady the other day, who mentioned how “thick and curly” my hair was! I thought my hair was thick too for so long. But it turns out I just have a big head 🙂

Amber
Thank you so much for the part that says your hair may not be ABLE to do certain styles. I’m multi racial and I shaved my head 12 years ago and I’ve had lots of black women look at pics of me as a kid and say that doesn’t look like ti would’ve been so hard to care for. My hair is thick, very easily tangled and heat AND chemical resistant and I have lots of it (When I shave my head it only takes 3 days before you can’t see my scalp anymore). Anyway I’m glad to see someone… Read more »
Naturallyfree

This is a great article. I never thought about the difference between texture and thickness. I think I will compare my strands. I have never tried a wash and go but believe I will this summer.

Diane
I have hair that is like telephone wire mixed with pure frizz. I can get a decent curly fro but I’ve always been natural and my hair still breaks off. I only realised this a month or so ago because I started watching you tube videos. When I was young my hair was sooooo long as my mum cared for it. Then I went to university and not that I noticed or cared at the time but it just got shorter and shorter….weird I thought….my hair is not growing! So I’m 26 and never cut my hair (trim here and… Read more »
deRHEA

The story of my life.I am going through this at the moment.

Lori
@Diane, I can feel your frustration!! I went natural about 3/4 yrs ago. I had relaxed it for years & years! With relaxed hair, I had pretty good hair length, but once I stopped relaxing, it’s like my hair shrunk!! & my texture is tight coils. I wear it in a wash & go curl style. But it looks so short, & I’d like to grow it out. I have corn rowed or twisted it at home overnight,& then untwist, & that seems to add a little length. Do you ever braid or wear twist styles? That might help for… Read more »
Naturallyfree
I do not wash my hair every week. I am currently participating in a protective style/protect ya ends challenge, so I am learning as well about sealing my ends and moisture. My hair is also shoulder length and I never thought about retaining length until recently. I do not straighten my hair because I am too lazy. I do not believe straightening hair is damaging if done properly. I know hair will grow when there is not a lot of manipulation, so maybe not touching it, styling it so often will help. Everyone’s hair is different. You should probably monitor… Read more »
Diane

Thank you for the advise!

One thing I do get is an itchy scalp after not washing for a week…but my way of dealing with it is to be completely disciplined and rub or massage to relieve the itching instead of scratch!

I’ll definitely try documenting as it will be nice to look back on when I have the hair of rupanzel 😉

Yvonne

In my younger years I had hair almost to my butt. Since it was huge hair like a lion’s mane I always thought it thick. Fortunately a hairstylist informed me that my hair was actually fine, however I had alot of strands that made it appear to be thick. Now that I’m enjoying my natural hair journey I keep this information in mind.

danette

This article brought something to my attention that I never thought about before. Maybe a lot of natural hair wome assume that our hair is thick because the texture and volume create the illusion of it being thick. I know my hair has very fine strands, but I just realized that it isn’t as thick as I always thought it was.

CherishBomb

If you braid your hair and let it dry, isn’t that a braid-out instead of a wash-n-go? js

Michelle

yeah.

Michelle

Nos. 1 and 2 I have done but never no. 3, I’ve seen my hair after a wash day … it can’t GO anywhere in that state lol. But I have been quite frustrated when trying to wear a twist out and my hair just screwed me over but braid-outs work perfectly fine; and maybe when I was younger my hair was thick but that isn’t the case anymore, I find as I get older I have to be gentler with it or it just breaks horribly.

Tahirah

It always seemed like I was the only one for whom twist outs didn’t work. I can get results from braid outs though. And I had tons of hair when I was younger, but age, health, and a stylist who refused to wash a “just tingling” relaxer off have robbed me of my “enough hair for 10 kids” status. My individual strands are very fine.

Ugonna Wosu

Course is another word for “thick”, as in the diameter of a strand of hair. It is not about curl pattern at all. Asians have the coursest hair, and therefore the strongest. Blonde, caucasians have the densest hair, because they have the greatest number of strands on their head to make up for the lack of pigment in their hair(which is needed for protection against the sun). All of this was found over research I did over many months, lol.

Ugonna Wosu

you can read about certain hair terms here http://www.manage-my-curly-hair.com/hair-analysis.html

Ana

great article 100% true.

Seven

I prefer the LOIS “system” when it comes to typing hair. It’s most accurate and less confusing

Ekene
I used to make these assumptions in the months before my big chop. I’d watch youtube videos and I’d be like “oh, I can’t wait to recreate this style or that style”, then I saw the light. I realised that some of my favourite vloggers have very different hair textures from mine. This is why I appreciate the system of hair typing and find it weird that many naturalistas find it restricting or dismiss it as unnecessary talk. You can be saved a lot of problems if you identify your hair texture or type, and recognise that some styles and… Read more »
Jane T

I have to disagree with the last point, if you want to rock a wash n go with your hair in its shrunken stage, just do it..shrinkage isnt a bad thing and not everyone has spiral curls, so even if you dont have spiral curls n you feel like rocking a wash n go, I say just do it ladies, dont restrict YOUR OWN hair because it may lead to resentment

Jade

The author meant that it isn’t worth it to rock a wash and go because it might be really hard to detangle at the end of the day and therefore causes breakage, not that the shrinkage makes it ugly

sandy

I like this article. But I have hair that really shrinks and wear wash and gos with no problem. What I do is use a detangler product before I do the low sulfate. No problems. But it all depends on your hair characteristics. My hair is fine, medium density, and tightly coiled. I would say to test and see what happens for you. Even though my experience is different doesn’t mean your point isn’t true. I like the emphasis in this website that each head of hair is different.
Thank you for the post.

Jane T

Yup! I knew that but I was just saying…..

Ms.Amena

JC,

Your question of the use of the word coarse is a good one and speaks to the issue of general hair typing charts/guidelines not initially including “highly textured” hair. For consistency sake fine medium coarse refers to the diameter/thickness of individual strands in the cosmetology world. whereas thin medium thick referto the density (# of hairs per sq in of scalp) of the entire head. But alas, there are those licensed professionals and non who use the words interchangeably. As always…appreciate you!

-Ms.Amena
fb/instagram: Torrid Tresses by Ms. Amena

Jasper

Wash and gos weren’t made for me.

Lena03

“Someone with fine hair may never be able to use high heat to get a perfectly straight style without causing immediate breakage and damage.”

THIS! I’ve learned it the hard way. Now when I want to straighten my hair, I just stretch it by braiding it or putting it in a bun and then I flat iron it. I don’t use a blow dryer. In fact I haven’t straightened my hair since July and I don’t think I will do it anytime soon. It takes too much time and does a lot of damage to my fine, fragile and thirsty hair.

Pseudonym

Interesting. I have fine hair, but it’s fine as in thin and still strong, so find straightening for me to be easier. Sometimes it I stretch my hair too much, my hair will actually go straight/limp on its own (which is NOT complimentary to curly wash-n-gos). 🙁

Iva

A thousand times yes to #1. I have a lot of hair. A lot. It looks thick when really its just dense. The indivdual strands are literally fine, fine and super fine but because there are so many of them, many a past hairdresser has treated it as if were thick or coarse which led to incredible damage and breakage. It took a very knowledgeable hairdresser to tell me and show me how thin my strands were despite the immense number of them. Knowing that has really helped me on my natural journey.

Natalie Josephs

I have made all of these assumptions. The way I came around was by reading this article. Thank you for the wisdom. 😉

Candi ( Naturally Sexie™ ) Lee

I work with my hair for what it is. I do not go my the letters & numbers thing to define my hair. I feel that’s what make people more confuse. My hair is medium(density) with tightly coils pattern (texture). What ever you do for your hair. Make sure that your hair likes it. Listen yo your hair not the world.

kira

#2 is soo true I have no idea what hair type I am but my hair has never responded well to being loose. No afros or puffs for me. Detangling nightmare!

Rhea

In re thick hair, I thought there were two thoughts about what was thick hair: if your strands are thick, or if you just have a lot of hair.

Pseudonym

I don’t know the official definitions, but my hair is craaaaazy thick (as in I have a lot of it), but my strands are fine (makes for easy straightening, but I tried braid extensions last winter and it was a nightmare!!!).

Shon

I think having a lot of hair is describing density and thick is the individual strands…that’s my understanding so far 🙂

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