Our hair is not an easy matter. Whether you’re just considering going natural or you’ve been at it for 5 years, there are some potential reasons why your hair may not be growing as well as you would like.
Reason #1: You Still Take Care of Your Hair as if It was Relaxed
Although natural hair is healthier than relaxed hair (in the sense that relaxers permanently break bonds holding together the proteins in your hair), it is still quite fragile and delicate. Comb with wide toothed combs and avoid brushes that may rip your hair strands. Do not avoid water; in fact, water is your hair’s best friend. If your hair is still short, gone are the days when you can just put your hair in a ponytail when you’re running late, so prepare yourself with a few quick and easy hairstyles that you can manage in the car (or if you dare, the bus) while stuck in traffic jams on the way to work.
Reason #2: You Don’t Let Your Hair Breathe or Rest
Do you take out your attach one night just to go to the salon the next day? Are you re-twisting each and every single night? Haba let your hair relax! Over-manipulation means your fingers have more chance to disturb your hair and cause it to knot on itself or break. If you play with your hair too much, you will be surprised that you don’t see any growth.
As for braiding and weaving, too much of this can also prevent your hair from growing, even if you are trying to let it rest. When you are repeatedly getting small or heavy braids and weaves, installed by stylists with no regard for your hair (the kind that bend your neck in all directions trying to comb), chances are that your hair, especially your edges, will suffer. Alternate protective styles – braids, weaves, and wigs – with styles that only use your own hair. If you are not ready to wear your hair out, wigs are a better option than weaves since you can remove them in the evening and moisturize your hair.
Reason #3: Your Hair is Not Well Balanced
Speaking of moisture, your hair may not be growing because it does not have the right balance of protein and moisture. If your hair is very stretchy and limp, you may need more protein. If you cannot find a protein based conditioner, make your own using a few eggs, honey, and oil.
If your hair feels dry and brittle, you probably need more moisture. With the disrespectful Naija air, this may seem like a never ending battle, but you can beat the weather by using a liquid based leave in conditioner (one whose first ingredient is water), follow it up with an oil like coconut oil, and then apply your styling cream. This LOC method (leave in, oil, cream) is a surefire way to lock in moisture.
Reason #4: You Are Not Measuring it Correctly
Shrinkage is both our friend and deepest enemy, because it lets us have double or triple the style options as those with straight hair. However, shrinkage can also make it seem as if your hair is not growing. The most accurate length checks are performed on straightened hair; but you can do one just as well by stretching your over the course of several days using braids, twists, or threading.
You may be tempted to check your hair every month or every few weeks, but trust me, all you will do is vex yourself. Furthermore, holding onto dead ends and using them to check your length is counterproductive. You should trim your hair regularly; you will feel better when you can say that your hair is even and long, rather than 1 strand of your countless strands is long and the rest are jagga jagga.
Reason #5: You Do Not Love Your Hair
Gbam! This is the real problem. Either you’re ‘jealousing’ someone else’s hair type or you’re always calling your own hair rough, difficult, ugly, or unmanageable. If you do not show your hair any love, it will not prosper. That is it.
Your natural hair is like a rose bush: you must pay careful attention to it, learn how to navigate it without injuring yourself (physically or emotionally), prune/trim it regularly, feed it with enough nutrients without suffocating it, and it will reward you in due time.
Klassy-Kinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. She can be found on social media @klassykinks.