by Shelli of Hairscapades

Tips and Tricks: Number 19

Until a few months ago, I probably would have never thought about this or believed that it was achievable. I mean, nape hair is the same as the hair at our sideburns or like eyelashes and eyebrows, right? In my mind, this hair just had a very short terminal length and was meant to be shorter. Then, I was perusing the Fotki of Zhara after Jasmine aka CurlsDivine told us about her in a GOC update and I came across this picture. Go ahead, look at it and read the caption … I’ll wait.

Are you kidding me? Waist length nape hair? That’s impossible, right?!?! Guess not! I started thinking about my own very wispy, fine, thin (density) and tangle-prone nape hair. Could I possibly grow that hair to waist length as well? So, I started to do a little research to understand what others have done to grow their more delicate nape hair longer. These are some tips that I found or think make sense.


Some of these tips are no-brainers and techniques that I already practice. Others probably wouldn’t work for me because of the fine, easily weighed down nature of my nape hair. So, I think it’s probably best to pick and choose the techniques that are likely to work for you and modify as needed:

  • Don’t over-manipulate the hair at the nape with brushing and/or combing.
  • Be very gentle when detangling the nape area (finger detangling is recommended).
  • Wear styles that prevent your nape hair from rubbing your clothing as excessive friction can cause damage and breakage.
  • Avoid placing a lot of tension on the nape hair with overly tight weaves, braids, bun and ponytail styles.
  • Protect the nape at night with a silk/satin scarf and/or bonnet ensuring that this area is fully covered. A satin pillowcase adds yet another level of protection in the event that your headgear is prone to “slippage” like mine.
  • If you use commercial permanent colors, apply dyes to the nape last so that it is processed for less time or don’t treat this area at all.
  • If/when you use heat, reduce the temperature and ensure the hair is adequately treated with a heat protector.
  • Moisturize and seal this hair more if hair it is prone to dryness. This applies to using additional conditioner through the wash session (regular conditioner, deep conditioner) and moisture during styling (leave-in, styler, sealing).
  • Massage the scalp to promote circulation and growth. (I use an essential oil mix that has been proven to stimulate growth. I have tried Dr. Miracle’s Temple and Nape Grow Balm to increase density, not length, in the past. I didn’t notice any appreciable difference. However, I admit, I wasn’t diligent about using it every day either.)
  • Braid the nape hair into a horizontal cornrow and thread the length through the cornrow to protect it.

This last technique is the only one that I hadn’t really thought of or applied previously and I found this great “How to” on it on K is for KinkyProtecting and Growing Out Your Nape with the Braid Method. Now, this may not work for every style, but it looks like a great way to protect the delicate nape when wearing hair down and out as the braid can easily be hidden. I’m thinking that even a simple braid bun-ed at the nape would work for those with very fine nape hair like me or those who can’t cornrow. So, don’t be surprised if the next time you see me wearing a WnG or TnC, I’m packing a mini-bun under it as I’m on a mission now to grow my nape hair to waist length too!

Are you growing out your nape? What techniques have you found to be effective?

Shelli is an insurance professional by day, natural hair blogger by night, fitness and yoga enthusiast, fangirl, and 40 something newlywed! She has been natural since 2000 and started Hairscapades at the urging of curlfriends who followed her “amateur” Grow Out Challenge blog on She wants to share the things she’s learned and continues to learn in hopes of helping others love the hair they’re in!!

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30 Comments on "How To Grow Out Your Nape Hair"

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Lol. good article. my nape hair is not long but compared to my now natural length, it blends naturally. you can’t tell it’s shorter than the rest of my hair until you separate it. its a very small and frankly insignificant to me.

Brittany. L

GREAT!!! Post I do all so what I will try to do is braid mines horizontal

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Mine started growing when I changed my diet. I cut out foods containing guar gum and carageenant–they’re inflammatory, and featured in a lot of foods (including natural foods like soy milk). I didn’t realize they were producing swelling and harmful effects on every part of my body, from my skin to my hair. I also avoid foods where soy lecithin is listed in the (added) ingredients (don’t ask me how, but I also began to realize that that was causing my hair to tangle). My nape hair, which was broken and stunted, is now past my shoulders stretched out–been a… Read more »

Might be more useful to say what you actually do eat.


Hi Yayla:

I juice wheatgrass, drink kombucha, and eat no meat–only seafood, and consume largely organic products. Rarely do dairy–if I do, it’s goats milk. However, I was doing much of this before, and the nape of my neck was not growing. It was not until I eliminated the things I originally listed that that area completely filled out–so I think it’s less about what I eat than what I eliminated that made the difference. Again, I know my story is not typical–but I also doubt that I’m completely unique. I just happened to figure this stuff out.


Exercise helps allot too.. diet and exercise go hand in hand afterall…


By nape do you mean baby hairs? Because I usually just cut those off.


Thanks for this! My nape is the coarsest, shortest part of my hair. I always have to do extra to slick it down since it’s like a mini fro in the back. Since I have hinh syndrome, my hands go to my nape first so I’m not shocked my nape is basically broken off. I resolved last month to finally address it. I found one youtube video where a girl chronicled her experience with her nape. All she did was leave it alone and moisturized it more often with coconut oil. I’ll be trying the braid method and not putting… Read more »
Glad that you found this helpful Lex. I’m bummed that the link to the nape braid post isn’t live anymore. This is an old post (2012, I believe). I tried searching the home site, but couldn’t find a new link for the post. Oh well. I’m hoping most people understand the description of just braiding the nape hair horizontally. I did the post because I know that is a challenging area for some ladies. My nape hair is still the most delicate and tangles badly, so it’s still about the same length. I did start oiling it more this winter.… Read more »

My nape is the longest part of my hair. So much longer than the rest that i have thought of cutting it so my hair can be even. I cant even pineapple my hair cause the nape hair gets so stretched it looks wierd on take down.
My crown is my problem area for thought than was far more prevalent than nape issues

My nape has had a lot of adventures, most of them bad, unfortunately. It only began to really thrive when I went natural AND learned to leave it alone as much as possible. This winter I was a little concerned about my wool collars (memories of past breakage with relaxed hair) but I simply put on a scarf and kept it moving. What I really wanted to comment on was the skip in my heart when I saw Zhara’s picture of her little nape tendril. Most of the hair on my head resembles that tendril. I never cease to be… Read more »

Nape hair is an issue? For me, my nape is the longest.


I agree with PMS- my nape is 10inches while the rest of my hair hovers around 7-8inches- I live in twists so it’s always protected-


Very nice article. My nape is just a little below APL length right now. I hope to do a feature on this fabulous site some day when I gather up the courage ;;)


Do it! 🙂


I always found it odd that, literally the nape of my hair is the longest part of my hair.


Always longest part of mine too. For years I’ve cut the hair a the nape of my neck. I’ve finally reached a length where I don’t have to cut it so I don’t have a ridiculous mullet.


my nape grows the best, unlike the rest of my hair- namely my crown, which i’ve FINALLY gotten to a decent length lol i’ve never had nape issues.


Lol, me too!!


I guess I’m lucky. My nape hair is darn near armpit length whilst all other areas of my head are hovering at shoulder or chin length. My crown and front areas are where I struggle the most.


interesting look


Seems like you just have to apply the usual haircare techniques to your nape area, which is good. It’s easy to overlook this section since it’s in the back. The front and middle sections tend to get more regular attention.


The link to the braided nape site is broken.


Sorry :(. It’s an older post (I wrote in mid-2012, I believe). I tried to find a live link on the host site, but couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s basically just a horizontal cornrow with the nape hair.


This is too nit picky for me. That’s not an attack on the writer or anything, I’m just saying it’s kinda melodramatic. It’s like you’ve covered and succeeded in virtually everything (moisture retention, breakage prevention etc); you’ve run out of things to ‘fix’ so now you’re nit picking over the length of your nape hair which appears long and healthy as it is.

I actually wrote the article because I grew up with a lot of girls who struggled with the nape area and I thought it might be helpful to some struggling with breakage in that area. Of course, that’s not everyone’s problem area, but thought it might help somebody. I actually never managed to braid my nape, so it’s still about the same length at the very bottom area. I have started oiling it more this winter when I realized that avoiding oil because it’s fine was probably doing more harm than good, b/c the hair was dry and tangling more.… Read more »

Survived the winter and made sure nothing was rubbing on my nape area and now all of sudden I having problem with my Nape area


I thought your article was very helpful and I will be using some of the tips to grow my nape out. Thanks for sharing!


Nice article–I feel like the nape area normally just gets complained about a lot with no real solutions offered. My nape is too short for me to cornrow, so I just put it into 2-4 mini two-strand twists and pin it up into whatever style I’m rocking.