Hair Growth Rates In Black People – The Undiluted Truth

Hair Growth Rates In Black People

Since I have been involved in hair care, I have been very interested in hair growth, particularly fast hair growth and judging by black women’s obsession with hair growth aids, so are many of you.

Of course I’m sure that the biggest reason we love hair growth aids is because we find it easier to believe that a product is actually responsible for hair growth rather than anything as boring as a regimen.

So we continue to be taken in by marketing ploys with actions terms like ‘super growth’ or ‘crazy growth’ to encourage us to purchase products pertaining to make our hair grow faster, thicker or longer.

When it comes to length retention, majority of black women’s problems are caused by inadequate hair care techniques that encourage breakage instead or encouraging length.

But why, even after we have adopted healthy hair techniques, do some of us continue to have slow growth and again have to turn to hair growth boosting products? Is it impatience or is there something to the slow growth argument?

Recently I had a discussion with a hair stylist of note about hair growth rate in general. She stated that a healthy hair grows at a rate of ½ an inch per month and any less indicated hormonal problems in the individual. Naturally I vehemently disagreed with that statement and here I would like to show you why.


Average Height

Yes, I would like to start off by talking about average height in humans, it may seem unrelated but stay with me… Average height has been a moving target since the beginning of recorded history.

An Auxologist (a person who study’s height) will tell you that height is a measure of the health of populations where the average is measured in those who share a genetic background and environmental factors.

In essence, even though the quality of nutrition that you get will affect your height, other factors like genetics and environment also come into play in determining the height of an individual.

For example, the Nilotic people of Sudan are described as some of the tallest in the world which is an adaptation to their environment. However when these individuals go through warfare where malnutrition is rife, their offspring will suffer from stunted growth and be unable to grow as tall as their ancestors.

The pygmies of Central Africa on the other hand are unusually short with male height being below 4 feet 11 inches. While various theories have been proposed to explain their short stature, it appears that it is a combination of genetics and an adaptation to their environment that causes this phenomenon as there is not much evidence to suggest that malnutrition applies to them.

The point that I am trying to make is that even though height can be a measure of health across populations, it is probably best judged in people of a similar genetic background and environment in the absence of malnutrition.

As it relates to black hair growth

When it comes to hair growth in people of African descent, you may be surprised to learn that very little has actually been studied or published. The British Journal of Dermatology 2001; 145: 294±297. African hair growth parameters states in a study it conducted:

Hair growth parameters have been studied mostly in Caucasian hair, whereas few data on African hair have been reported in the literature.

Originally posted 2014-02-23 15:00:32.

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About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com. I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

About Alma Ruddock


I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of Blackhairinformation.com. I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

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Valerie Johnson

My natural hair is very similar to the second pic in the top row…my hair is currently just past my shoulder blades and still growing…one reason is I condition my hair daily…another is I am extremely gentle with it…another is I stopped flat ironing…I keep it relaxed…about every 6 to 8 weeks and it is thick…I can change the texture to a more African look by not blow drying it straight and using a comb instead of the attachment…I don’t do braids or weaves…my hairline is the same as when I was a child…this pic is just before I got a retouch…

Carol
Carol

It baffles me that you choose to represent blacks but despise the Africans. Nutrition is better of in Africa and not in the diaspora. Most Africans have long healthy hair until they relocate then the hair problems come. If you choose to represent blacks then make an effort to understand Africa and the African.

Teayah

I’m sorry Carol,but African Americans are not Hamites we are Israelite’s,and quite frankly,African people tend to throw us in the same group as them,but culturally we are not,who we are as a people is not the same. We are like night and day,our soul is different;who we are is not the same. We have a little more oomph,we are just different,and Alma,you do not have to justified answering this woman;Africans had the nerve to let a man who wasn’t African change their continent’s name,Africa was once called Asia,and there were JEWS in Asia,which is the African Americans today.

Kelly Hall

My hair is a good length. I think we put waaaay too much emphasis on hair length. I have very curly/coily hair that grows slowly. Don’t care cause what grows is beautiful! Go naturals!

Dee
Dee

Thanks for your report; it was well written. However, I don’t think that study was done in a controlled environment (monitoring them and controlling what they put in their hair) to have much weight for me to trust. I also don’t know if the individuals that conducted the study know anything about black hair. Had they taken samples from various areas in addition to doing the study on individuals they were monitoring on a long term bases using the hair care practices best for Afro textured hair, then I would support it. I don’t know what any of those women put in their hair or if they know how to take care of their hair. I also don’t know if the study was based on retention or actual hair grow. As you stated, 19 black women in Paris can hardly be considered the standard. Regardless, it’s nice to see that our hair is being considered when conducting hair studies now. That by itself is great.

Deondra Davis

My hair really does grow ½in per month and 6in per year, so I guess I’m average

Jenelle B.
Jenelle B.

I love this article Alma, you brought many of things that have me thinking about black hair care that we get misinformed of because many studies have never been done truthfully for Africans and people of African descent. With this, we can open discussion that will bring our community together and have more open discussions and even more research about our hair care practices and even our growth.

Pwincez Rosey

Lol my hair grows.. NOWHERE

Nilae
Nilae

Hi,
First of all thank you and bravo for such a well writtent article. I would like to bring a fact to your attention regarding health and nutrition in African countries Vs France or the USA. Indeed it is a mistake to state that people’s alimentation in african countries is the poorest and the less healthy. Actually those who live the local way(not imitating western lifestyle) eat organic food, vegetables ,, fruits, green leafs, grains in their less transformed version on a daily basis. This goes for most of the african countries.Proof is, of you go to Ghana,Ivory coast, Sénégal, Burundi , Rwanda, Gabon, for exemple, you’ll see in the villages, were they have the healthiest lifestyles, that girls and women have SBL ang longer hair in a wide proportion. They eat so well and exercise naturally everdyday, and have the natural haircare products(shea butter, cocnut oil, some plants decoctions) that their hair grow pretty fast and healthy. Also chances are, as students in western countries they will eat poorly: fast food, pizza, almost no veggies and fruits, soft drinks. Ect. I don’t blame you, the information about African countries is so transformed when it gets to the USA that even the most educated and well intentioned person ends up believing that Africa is this big poor country were people don’t have the chance and privilege to live as well as americans.

Dinah
Dinah

Nilae I agree with you 100%. Most people in Ghana especially those that live in the village eat very healthy unprocessed foods. I live in the city and its here that you see some people eating junk food.

Taneisha Mckenzie

If I condition my hair daily, would it fall out? Need answers plz.

Elizabeth Valerie Sowell

Taneisha Mckenzie: I’m not sure if it would fall out but it may cause your hair to be overly moisturized without a good protein balance; however, it may dry out if you don’t seal the moisture in. You don’t have to condition it daily, maybe every few days is okay, but be careful and do a little more research. Especially with the ingredients in your conditioner (some people don’t mind what’s in it and if that’s you, it’s all good).

Tamika Clark

Can anyone tell me a good protein conditioner and a good leave in conditioner?

Kee Kee D

Moisture MAX by Lustrasilk has a really nice protein conditioner. They have a leave-in too. Find them at your local BSS and some Walmarts.

Andrea Edmondson

I have the same hair as the second pic in the second row. Very thick shrinks a lot. 4c can be a pain. Only been natural 4 months but I think it’s growing half an inch a month.

Blessedfrom Above

My hair is growing very very good…done my extensive research…come across msm, dht and hair oils…of course doing what it takes to maintain growth..it stop breaking , its stronger..I even use some of the oils on my face…

Naiki
Naiki

This quote made people a bit uneasy, “many black people in Western countries may have mixed heritages in their ancestry and that combined with being nutritionally better off I’m sure that if this study was conducted in people born and raised in the US, the greater majority would likely have faster hair growth rates.”
I’d have to say it made me uneasy too. I mean for one thing, white people have a lot of African ancestry that started long before they even came to the Western world, so they are mixed too. And they just kept going back and forth once they came to the Western world. My friend Meaghan knows she has African in her family really close even though she’d be considered white. Her hair was down to her butt, but both of her sisters hair doesn’t even come close and all three of their diet is TERRIBLE lol they are allergic to a lot of stuff. I had great grandmother’s who had hair past their knees one was born during slavey and her pops was her slave owner. Even though he had Black Moorish descent so if that even counts to call him white smh, reall embaracing and a disgrace. But back to the subject NOBODY in his family had hair even near that length at all. So, she and her daughter were considered odd in New Orleans at that time because of that. They passed down in the family that their hair was from the African side and after seeing these photos of these African women

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/s/?view=att&th=144615458152b879&attid=0.1&disp=attd&safe=1&zw

AND

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/s/?view=att&th=144615517e1d4439&attid=0.1&disp=attd&safe=1&zw

I can definitely see what they mean! I like this article though I think it’s a door opener to stuff even deeper. It’s no wonder them psycho slave owners made slaves cut off their hair SMH. But I’ve seen growing up around every “ethnicity” eveyone’s hair grows from 1/4-1/2 or a full inch in a month of no matter what they claim to be ethnicity wise. My friend Meaghan grew about 1/2 of an inch, but her texture isn’t dry so she has no problems retaining the length even though she has horrific nutrition.

Teayah

Alma
I have a question, I like what my hair looks like when I have egg on my hair,while conditioning;Is there a product for natural
hair that gives your hair a great definition the way eggs do?
Thanks

KDenise Jones

nice

Nilae
Nilae

Thank you for taking the time to clarify and share your family experience. You are a very intelligent and beautiful woman inside and out.God bless you and all your work.

Frankye Campbell

Great!!!

Valerie Johnson

Hi Marilyn…I use Organix brand…and also a leave in conditioner, creme of nature…I usually wash and condition my hair every day…but I alternate and use other products as well…

Pia Atkins

My daughter has beautiful blonde afro type hair that is 4th picture top row in places and 2nd picture top row in others. Her hair is down to her bum but shrinks to shoulder length. As you can see from my profile pic, I am not really qualified to look after afro type hair as my own hair is fluffy and wavy at best (and my husband doesn’t have any hair at all) so the poor child lives in a two bobble plait. Please can anyone give me any advice on how to tame her hair? Esp the frizzies at the front. I would be so very, very grateful as she is 12 now and would like to have her hair down occasionally! Thanks x

Valerie Johnson

Pia have you ever thought of sending her to a salon…she’s old enough…

Ileah Collins

mine is actually the growth rate they say, 1/2 inch a month. which is why me and relaxers never worked. lol

Kiluua
Kiluua

Mine is about 1/4 inch per month…..I guess I have some..umm…arfff :'(

Shaunie
Shaunie

Hi Alma,

Personally my hair grows 7 to 8 inches per year, more towards the 8 inches when I eat healthier and take multivitamins. I am African American/ Black woman (not mixed) from California. I don’t use growth aids per se, But I use alot of conditioners and wear protective hairstyles to prevent breakage (natural hair bun, extension braids sometimes, sew ins (not in a while but last year I did). These studies are not representative at all of Black people. Also genetics may play a role. My mom never had long hair, but my dads side of my family does.

Anna Ogonji Smith

So will they ever conduct a real study???

BlackHairInformation.com

There’s no money in it for industry so probably not any time soon…

Ash Ta Ji

Really??

BlackHairInformation.com

The website is working fine as far as I can tell. Please clear your cache and try again

Sarah
Sarah

Hey
I love your article and find it very informative, but I feel it’s important to consider the fact that not all Africans from Africa are mal-nourished. (Pointing out your statement that the Africans were living in Paris and free from diseases). Maybe I misunderstood, but I feel you should be a little more sensitive when generalizing.
I understand that it is also necessary to point this out as we still have a large part of our population going through this, but it would also be nice to note that that’s not the only case. I just wish you’d be a little more sensitive to this stereotype always given to Africa (that it is pretty much composed of malnourished people, and that it is a country)! There are several completely different countries in Africa facing different problems to a larger or lesser extent, and it’s about time we become a little more specific or sensitive to it!