Since the widespread popularity of black hair websites – BHI included of course – a lot of women have quite rightly put away that the old adage ‘black hair grows slow’ as a myth.
Even so, slow growing hair may in fact be more common amongst black people than you may think with 6 inches a year being more a dream than a guarantee.
Our analysis of this study although not a conclusive voice on the subject demonstrates this very phenomenon and another study has also shown that people of African descent average only about 4 inches per year.
I have also demonstrated this slow growth phenomenon in my own hair recently (although I was already aware of it before). I too only get 4 inches per year which is slower than the average.
You see I have been coloring my hair since the beginning of my hair journey so I was always able to see how much growth I got in a year. This translated to being perfectly aware of how careful I had to be in my regimen in order to retain every millimeter I could. Trust me, when you have slow growth, it all counts!
Of course I don’t claim to have the perfect regimen but there are a few things that I have learned as a slow grower that I would like to share with you:
1. Don’t blindly follow other people trimming schedules – I saw a video on YouTube once with a lady with long thick hair and her advice amongst other things was to trim about 3/4 of an inch every other month.
While that advice was clearly working wonders for her, if I was to adopt that part of her regimen, I would end up trimming 4.5 inches per year and minus the 4 inches I grow, I would end the year ½ inch shorter than when I began!
My advice is to dust your ends from time to time if you must but leave any major trims for when you are reviewing your growth (once or twice a year) but even then only when necessary.
2. Protective style like crazy – I can’t overstate this enough. Manipulation not heat, not chemicals, sulfates or silicones will the the death of your hair growth dreams. I would love to tell you that you can grow it long while enjoying playing in your hair throughout your journey but that would be disingenuous of me. Like Miss Roots who grew hip length hair said, ‘Don’t try to be extra cute during the retention of length phase’.
Many of us have neither the time nor the constitution to devote hours at the weekend to detangling errant strands in small sections. And even if you are extra careful, some degree of breakage will still occur with weekly detangling.
The only way to ensure that you are retaining more than you grow is to reduce the number of times you manipulate your hair. This means long term protective styling, until you reach your goal length anyway.