slowgrowth

By Chin­we of Hair and Health

Let’s be real.  Not every nat­u­ral grows the aver­age 6 inch­es of hair per year under opti­mal health con­di­tions. Some grow 7 inch­es or more.  Oth­ers grow 5 inch­es, 4 inch­es, or pos­si­bly less.  Remem­ber, 6 inch­es per year is just the aver­age – not everyone’s – hair growth rate.

Today 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 need to feel defeat­ed or infe­ri­or.  This is not a race.  This is not about how you fair again­st oth­ers.  This is about reach­ing your own per­son­al goal, which can be done.

I want to dis­cuss how you can reach your goal length if you have been strug­gling until now.   The real­i­ty is that your method may have to dif­fer great­ly from some­one who has a faster growth rate.  This is because every one third or quar­ter of an inch is cru­cial in your case.  The fol­low­ing is a strat­e­gy that helped me to reach my goal in five years:

1. Detan­gle once a mon­th or less

Detan­gling is prob­a­bly one of the biggest sources of mechan­i­cal break­age of the hair, so the less often you do it, the bet­ter – with the excep­tion of a caveat.  That caveat is to keep your hair as untan­gled as pos­si­ble (for exam­ple, via pro­tec­tive styling) dur­ing the mon­th.

With fre­quent or exces­sive detan­gling, break­age or mid-shaft splits can accu­mu­late over time.  This is why it is impor­tant for a nat­u­ral with slow growth to detan­gle once a mon­th or less, if pos­si­ble.  Week­ly or even biweek­ly detan­gling may hin­der length reten­tion.

2. Lim­it trim­ming to no more than half an inch a year

As a nat­u­ral with slow growth, if you need to trim off more than half an inch (or even one inch) of dam­aged ends a year, then you may want to eval­u­ate what in your reg­i­men is caus­ing that dam­age.  Are your ends split­ting due to exces­sive and improp­er heat use? Are they split­ting because of inad­e­quate mois­ture or over-manip­u­la­tion?  If you keep your ends under good care, there is no rea­son why you should have to cut more than half an inch every year.

3. Find a great sta­ple con­di­tion­er and invest in good nat­u­ral oils

Though many nat­u­rals can ben­e­fit from this tip, it needs spe­cial empha­siz­ing for those with slow growth.  You see, a great sta­ple con­di­tion­er and good set of nat­u­ral oils can help immense­ly with retain­ing almost every bit of growth you get.  The­se prod­ucts can trans­form a break­age-filled detan­gling ses­sion into a vir­tu­al­ly break­age-free one.  They can coat the hair strand to reduce fric­tion from comb­ing and styling.  They can also strength­en OR mois­tur­ize the strand to decrease for­ma­tion of splits on the end and mid-shaft.  Use your oils and con­di­tion­er reli­gious­ly.

4. Be EXTREMELY patient when detan­gling

Even with the above tips, a rushed detan­gling ses­sion can cost you all the growth you achieved in the mon­th or over the course of a few months.  Take your time as you detan­gle through each sec­tion, and if it helps, play some calm­ing slow music in the back­ground.  (I per­son­al­ly like Maxwell and Daley.)

5. If you can, incor­po­rate long-term pro­tec­tive styling

The rea­son I say “if you can” is that some nat­u­rals sim­ply do not fair well with long-term pro­tec­tive styling.  How­ev­er, if you want to give it a try, then start by extend­ing your twists or braids from one week to three weeks and then even­tu­al­ly to four or five weeks.  Check out this ear­lier post on how to make pro­tec­tive styles last a long time.

Ladies, have any of the­se tech­niques helped you with length reten­tion?

Chinwe

Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

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80 Comments on "5 Length Retention Tips for Naturals with Slow Growth"

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monisola
HALLELUJAH for this post! I am a slow growth nat­u­ral and it took me 4 years to fig­ure out that all of the­se tips were beneficial.I wish I had seen this post back in 2009– Espe­cial­ly detan­gling infre­quent­ly BUT gen­tly and doing longer term pro­tec­tive styles. Oily fin­ger detan­gling using coconut oil not a water based con­di­tion­er, is best for me. (water=weaker shrunk­en-tan­gled hair for me) 4 week mini braids and 3 week kinky twists, havana twists, or yarn braids with ADEQUATE mois­ture have been a god sent to my length reten­tion. Also using a leave in with a lit­tle pro­tien. I… Read more »
stephanieb
I agree this post is great and I def­i­nite­ly need­ed it a few years ago as well. Nev­er­the­less, I’ve gone back to the draw­ing board and did the BC about a mon­th ago and have been wear­ing a wig since then and my hair has done so good. I had a great deal of heat dam­age and had to cut it off because my hair was split­ing like crazy, but my hair has done so well since then. I have 4a/b hair and out of all of the things I’ve tried, and I “done tried them all”, from Carol’s Daugh­ter,… Read more »
monisola

mini braids with my OWN hair.

mangomadness

I don’t know (or care to know) about my rate of hair growth but I am gen­tle with my hair so as to fos­ter length reten­tion in my kinky, coily Afro-tex­tured, super dense hair.

I con­sis­tent­ly fol­low tech­niques 3 and 4.

Oth­er things I do to fos­ter length reten­tion are:
— detan­gle before sham­poo-ing
— fin­ger-detan­gle 98% of the time (2% of the time I use a seam­less wide-tooth comb)
— wash and con­di­tion in twist­ed sec­tions (10)
— wear stretched styles (braid-outs)
— pro­tec­tive style often (cinnabuns, donut buns and updos)
— trim 1/4 inch to 1/2 an inch every 4 months

msboogee

I don’t believe in slow growth

dawn
i agree inso­much as it’s all rel­a­tive. if you come from an area or eht­nic­i­ty (hypo­theth­i­cal­ly speak­ing, as always) in which all or most of the indi­vid­u­als have a hair growth aver­age of 3 inch­es a year, then to you, 4 inch­es a year would be excep­tion­al­ly fast. by con­trast, if you hail from a region or eth­nic group in which most indi­vid­u­als or all tend to grow about 7 inch­es a year, then to you, 6 would seem unusu­al­ly slow. it’s tru­ly rel­a­tive, when you think about it. so from this per­spec­tive, there IS no such thing as slow,… Read more »
Jax

Looks like the troll is back for her dai­ly episode of ‘Mind­less Fool­ery’…

Kate

You don’t have to believe in it. It exists whether you do or don’t believe it.

adashofk.blogspot.co.uk

cb

Is it because the words ‘slow’ and ‘growth’ does not make sense? This is a won­der­ful post

ladyluo

How does it not make sense? The rate of growth is dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Some can be slow, some can be fast, aver­age, etc.

JENNID

Good tips. I,‘d also add try using some pro­tein based con­di­tion­ers every so often to help strength­en your hair.

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