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3 Myths About Black Hair Growth

Avatar • Jan 31, 2012


Style Icon Ashley

By Jc of The Natural Haven

An important part of the natural hair journey is to confront common myths. There are plenty of myths surrounding natural hair and here are three key ones addressing natural hair growth rate, methods and maintenance skills and finally accelerated hair growth.

1. Hair of African origin does not really grow past neck/shoulder length

Despite evidence to the contrary (numerous features on this blog, fotki albums), there is still the belief among some that hair of African origin is nearly impossible to grow long. For some, there may be a genuinely slower growth rate but this does not mean a longer length will not be achieved.…it just may take longer. I would even go so far as to say that it is only difficult to retain length when you choose incorrect methods to care for your hair. The point when you begin to select the correct tools and styling methods to suit your hair texture, the easier length retention becomes.

2. I cannot possibly be more gentle with my hair, I don’t understand why I am not gaining length, maybe my terminal length is 6 inches or my hair is not strong enough to grow longer.

If you have spent a lot of time at a shorter length and you are not intentional ly cutting it short then you should consider the possibility that despite what you rate as gentle, your hair requires even more tenderness. Hair breakage during detangling or when combing to style is largely mechanical especially if you have no additional process such as permanent hair colour. Do not regard your hair as weak, instead consider that the method you are selecting to handle your hair may be too aggressive.  If you have selected the gentlest method  which is finger combing,  re-evaluate your method. Attempt to slow down even further, attempt to ensure that you feel little or no pulling at the scalp when you handle the hair and ensure that your process is thorough enough to prevent the hair from matting.  Re- evaluate the products that you use and experiment with different methods (wet, dry or semi dry detangling) until you find the process that YOU can perform  best on your hair.

3. I read on a forum that I can grow 2 inches every month if I use ‘product XYZ’.

Some hair forums tend to promote extremes and you should really take those claims with a gigantic pinch of salt.  If you gained 6 inches in one year, you will probably be happy with that. If you trimmed off a few of those inches and ended up with a net gain of 3–4 inches year after year, you will also probably be happy with that too. If your hair has a natural growth rate that is higher than average, you will realise it with good consistent care.

Ladies, have you heard any of these myths? What hair growth myths have you heard?

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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OMG
OMG
8 years ago

Will there ever be any new articles or topics? Watch before the week is CurlyNikki blog will have something similar and all she does is regurgitate the same stuff over and over again. I guess people keep asking the same simple questions so we keep getting the same kinds of articles. Oh well. Love the hair candy though.

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  OMG

I love the hair candy as well I want to know how she achieve it (via medium twist, flat twist, braids, bantu or a combination) I looking to imitate it. The question I have is that since shoulder is the stopping point for many, is it because of where your hair hits your should is causing breakage because of rubbing on to clothing? If so shouldn’t we dispel this shoulder length myth by getting passed invisible barrier, besides saying it is a myth. Take the Christopher Columbus approach rather than tell me the world isn’t flat show me your can… Read more »

Jc
Jc
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

I did not really understand your comment fully hyspin.The first part I understood — I do not think shoulder length happens because of clothing rubbing alone. I think the length of the hair at shoulder length is about a year and a half to two years old. The cuticle is likely to have worn away over 2 years of exposure to light/water/combing/towel drying/heat. In order to attain a longer length, the hair requires extra maintenance and extra protection. The second part on the Christopher Columbus is the part I did not understand. There are plenty of naturals with hair well… Read more »

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

Yeah I meant that regarding hair. it is the weak part of the hair against clothing which can often dry and rub against hair as the day goes on make the hair brittle and sensitive. Obviously towelling and natural maintenance also have an influence but the part I pointing out is that most of the time the problem falls right where hair starts brushing against your collars, shoulders, and scarfs I think that part isn’t just coincidental but related as well. I heard that many women once they can get over the shoulder length hill the length retention returns to… Read more »

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

Or how about this one showing a person with acne prone skin a person with flawless skin doesn’t show them how to get rid of there acne. Who’s to say the person with flawless skin ever had acne prone skin the first place, also just cause miss flawless can apply baby oil on her skin each day for baby soft skin doesn’t mean miss acne prone can. I think that one is my best one yet. What would be cool is if one of the blogs or curly sites can take 5 girls (for variety) with hair length problems even… Read more »

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

small edit for: “… take 5 girls (for variety) with hair length problems even though they are doing what being told …”

change to: “… take 5 girls (for variety) that good practices but still have hair length retention problems … ”

Jc
Jc
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

Thanks for the clarification hyspin. I think your idea is interesting too, there would be a lot of admin involved in it that I would not volunteer for but I can certainly see how intriguing it would be if done.

hyspin (
hyspin (
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

Yeah it would a be a costly and time consuming venture but I think a lot of people could learn from it.

Here’s to wishful thinking. 🙂

exotikink
exotikink
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin (

Hey, Hyspin, for visible results, including setbacks and protective styling tips check out kimmaytube, sera1988(may be a little off,) lalanguage, jerseystylz, simplyyounique. They are among many on YouTube who show detailed measurable growth. I discovered the natural community a little over a year ago and grew my hair from base of neck to arm pit length in one year while transitioning out of a texturizer. Who knew? My hair never grew that long before! I cut the texturized hair off two weeks ago and am confident that I’ve armed myself with enough info to grow it all back by years… Read more »

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  exotikink

I watched a lot of kimmytube but never recall see her having any setbacks with her length in her videos, I think if you could send me links to those and the video solutions that would be nice. But thanks for YouTube users Sera1988, lalanguage, jerseystylz, and simplyyounique. Are any of them 4a-4c types? Do they all deal with hair breakage problems (not caused by heat) around the neck length level that that they manage to get past? Just curious because I am want to show this to some people and if I don’t have examples of them have problems… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

hey, i know you’re looking for A)type 4 hair and B) ppl who visibly had setbacks that they overcame and documented, but if it’s any help to you, later on perhaps, feel free to check out my own personal hair blog which i’ve been keeping since Mar. 1 or so. so far i haven’t had any documented setbacks, but i invite you to just check in from time to time, every couple of months or so to see how i’m doing. i have posted my regimen, and one thing that may help is if you notice that i’m achieving documented… Read more »

queofques
queofques
8 years ago
Reply to  OMG

I appreciate this info … Thanks 🙂

Jc
Jc
8 years ago
Reply to  OMG

Yup ask a different question and you will get a different response. Majority of the comments generally ask about length, retention, detangling and hair products. These are the things naturals want to know.

Here is a little challenge. What do you want to know OMG, give me a topic and I will research it for you 🙂

Mai
Mai
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

First of all, Jc I love your articles and your blog. It definitely helped me. Second, if OMG doesn’t have a question, I do! So my hair hates any manual drying (flat irons, blow dryers, etc.) and I know you have said that those almost always cause damage regardless of if it is visible or not, but would air drying using a microfiber towel cause the same amount of damage since it is still sort of manual? Or would that be a better alternative for when I need to have almost dry hair really quickly but I don’t want the… Read more »

Jc
Jc
8 years ago
Reply to  Mai

Thanks for the compliment Mai. I will do a topic on your question too 🙂

cassieo
cassieo
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

I want to know the “truth behind gel”. I have heard that gel is bad because it dries out your hair, so I use gel with no alcohol (ecostyler). I have also heard you shouldn’t keep gel on for more than 2 days, you should wash it out frequently. Is this true? I surely can leave it on for 5 to 7 days. Am I doing damage to me hair? My hair seems ok. So the main question is: Is gel bad for your hair? Are there certain gels that aren’t bad for your hair? If not, why is non-alcoholic… Read more »

Gabrielle
Gabrielle
8 years ago
Reply to  cassieo

I wish someone would answer THIS question! I have posed it several times, and received an answer to no avail.

Aggie
Aggie
7 years ago
Reply to  Gabrielle

I use Fantasia IC gel daily but I would run water over it every morning, but not necessarily washing it all the way out everytime. I predominantly keep my hair in a bun this year, again daily, and my hair is thriving a lot better than it has for the whole of last year. I use the gel because it really lays my hair down really well and keeps it that way until I wash/cowash and bun it again. Now when I was protective styling my hair cornrowed under a wig last year, my hair kept breaking, splitting and suffered… Read more »

Jamila
Jamila
8 years ago
Reply to  cassieo

I use Ecostyler also and it doesn’t do any damage to my hair plus my hair has been growing pretty well…as far as the topic of this article the issue I have is shrinkage…when my hair is wet it hits my shoulder blades but once dry it shrinks up to my shoulders. Also jackets and collars increase shrinkage in my hair so that’s why I would keep my jacket off for a while to let it dry then I put the jacket on…then sometimes I part my hair down the middle lightly with my hands to separate the hair so… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  cassieo

i personally think that a hair practice is only “bad” if for YOU it results in damage. i get along well with my sulfate-laden shampoos, so i’m not giving them up any time soon. but most naturals around this neck of the woods would not dare hear mention of sulfates going anywhere near their heads, which is how i feel about hair grease. so if it’s working for you with little to no breakage, then i don’t think it can be bad.

Siri
Siri
8 years ago
Reply to  OMG

OMG, no offense, but what are you so upset about it? BGLH and Curly Nikki are very well known natural hair sites that, in my opinion, generally cater to beginners (again my opinion, but I think the natural interviews and occasional hairstyles are quite informative for everyone). Unfortunately unlike topics such as fashion, medicine, and fitness, hair information is kind of static. There really isn’t any new information regarding hair care. It is just that many women are not aware of proper hair care and so that information tends to be recycled and re-published. If you are looking for new… Read more »

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago
Reply to  Siri

Knowledge (and the expression of it) for ANY topic is only as static as the creativity of the mind of the seeker.

Siri
Siri
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

I understand that but many concepts for hair care are fairly static — protective styling, finger detangling, co-washing. I read a lot of hair blogs (curly hair, straight hair, black hair, white hair), and while the concepts can be applied differently and the application is infinite, the information is fairly static. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t the occasional new question or new discovery, because there is, but many questions are answered time and time again. In other news, I will steal your quote because it is quite intelligent 🙂

CuteKinks
8 years ago

Yes, I’ve been hearing #1 since I can remember… and as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t think these myths are going anywhere any time soon.

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago

Oh I want to add another myth that being annoying me.

Myth: That all ethnic hair is coarse.

I always have to correct people selling me hair products and retailers that work off of salons as well.

VivaMac
VivaMac
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

This exactly! Every time I go into a specialty store or salon, the consultant is always trying to sell me stuff for coarse hair, my hair is actually very fine, dense but fine. I now just make my own products!

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago

There are so many topics to cover, IMHO. Some interesting NEW topics to consider covering: 1. Hair care practices for curlies from around the world. What has been used (and may still be being used) in other parts of the world. Styling patterns among naturals in other parts of the world. What is popular. 2. Interviews with elderly naturals who have been natural for most (if not all of their lives). What they have seen over the years and how they feel about the natural trends. 3. Styling options for mature , professional naturals. 4. Interviews with mature naturals. And… Read more »

VivaMac
VivaMac
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

All very good suggestions. I see no representation for women in my age group and would love to to see some of your suggestions acted on. I might have to start my own blog! LOL

Anisa
Anisa
8 years ago
Reply to  VivaMac

Yup, A lot of the women featured are naturals who are either in college or just completed college yet the bglh demographic seems much wider. do naturals tend to gravitate towardds the arts too, i see a lot of artsy types too. still i love the stories and beautiful pictures.

Jc
Jc
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

I will leave those lovely ideas in the capable hands of Leila. I am a scientist so my speciality is hair care :). I did find a recent paper on hair texture changes as you age, when I get some time to read it, I’ll blog about it.

Tovah
Tovah
8 years ago
Reply to  Jc

Mine has definitely changed from childhood to now. I didn’t get a relaxer until I was 17 so up until then I had big Rudy Huxtable hair and I didn’t think I had much of a curl pattern unless there was conditioner on it. the petroleum based products my Mom used,didn’t help either. after growing the relaxer out my hair texture is much softer and more curly. I actually have about 3 different textures now in my forties. I think some of the healthier products on the market today have helped in many ways especially with easing my transition.

EG
EG
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

Let me add to that color.…I would love to see a style icon who has color treated hair and who has managed to retain length. Color seems to be the kiss of death for afro textured hair with everyone saying you will not be able to retain length, so someone who is able to make it work for them would be great.

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  EG

i encourage you to check out my blog “peridot muse reflections” if you’d like. my hair is actually bleached and has been now for a few years, and i’ve managed to grow my hair to to touching bra strap length with little to no hassle (except imagined lol). my biggest enemy hasn’t been so much the dye as the flat iron, but i think most of us have been there. i think that color doesn’t have to be the kiss of death so many naturals make it out to be. it just requires a common sense approach, and an understanding… Read more »

cygnet
cygnet
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

.… And a curly natural with albinism, please! I don’t care how old she is, if only she wears her hair unprocessed and is fair, like me. I’m curious if she will have stories/thoughts/impressions to share of natural v. processed hair that are perhaps similar to mine … !

Jo Somebody
Jo Somebody
8 years ago
Reply to  cygnet

Why don’t you tell your story Cygnet?

Jo Somebody
Jo Somebody
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

Huh? BGLH is always doing features of curlies around the world! Search the ‘tag’ International Natural (I’m sure it used to be tagged as something else before the site name changed!) — the latest is a lady from Algeria.

NeNatural
NeNatural
8 years ago

I think when you find a regimen you can live with and it makes you happy your hair just grows and grows…love naturals!!

I need to know is anyone catching flack from the relaxers..eversince I moved from the neighborhood.…the blacks I see evil eye me with my hair like I don’t know..its like now we don’t relate…help!!! I love my sisters and always have but.….really…you mad.…what’s the deal…!?!

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  NeNatural

which neighborhood might that be so that i can not move there? i’ve never had that issue lol

Monzi
Monzi
8 years ago

My hair has been the same length for almost 4 years (unless I trimmed it shorter). It’s aggrivating because I want to retain length…but I guess #2 is my problem…Also I’m still trying to learn and understand what is best for my hair

fluffy in flight
fluffy in flight
8 years ago
Reply to  Monzi

There can be a few things that you are dong to retard hair growth. For example, my sister started to limit how often she washed her hair down to 1 time a month, she didn’t retain any length at all. Not moisturizing, not deep conditioning, not protecting your hair at night, in fact (not knowing your hair) because with regular handling you can discern what your hair needs — whether it needs protein or moisture, whether what you’re putting on it is good or bad. Also don’t forget water drinking @ 8 glasses of water is essential in retaining length.… Read more »

LBell
LBell
8 years ago

To answer the question: #1 and #3 are legend throughout black communities regardless of whether the hair is natural or not. #2 I’ve only heard on natural hair blogs/forums; I honestly still don’t get the concept of terminal length or how that could ever be determined by anyone who’s not a scientist like Jc. Other hair growth myths: –Dirty hair grows faster. –Braids make hair grow faster. –Relaxers etc. make hair grow faster. (I know someone who texturized her TWA and claimed the texturizer made her hair grow. I had to explain the concept of shrinkage…) –“Grease” makes hair grow/grow… Read more »

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Okay, let me clarify: If any of these were even remotely true for more than a bare minority of black folks, this would be a totally different site.

Sequitta
Sequitta
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Some of these I remember growing up thinking, but now that I’ve LEARNED about my hair and how to maintain healthy hair, I understand where some of these ideas came from, such as… -“Braids.” Braids and other protective styles help retain growth in that the ends of the hair is protected from damage, breakage, and split ends. Your hair grows the same amount regardless of the style you keep it in; the difference is how much you have to cut off, so protecting the ends from possible clipping can definately help with growth. -“Relaxers.” You hit the nail right on… Read more »

Dominique-Alexis
8 years ago

I love the Natural Hair Haven blog because all the of the information is one hundred percent true and backed up with science and results =)

EG
EG
8 years ago

I’m sorry but her site is not 100% accurate neither is some of the info that she has shared on this site. For my short time here i’ve seen discrepancies with ‘deep conditioning’ as well as the ‘shelf life of aloe vera juice/gel’. I get that you are a fan, but let’s not exaggerate.

Alyssa
Alyssa
8 years ago

I love Ashley hair… But one thing that scared me is that she looks exactly like me!! I’m trying to upload a pic on my phone, but it won’t let me.…

Grzv
Grzv
8 years ago

99% of all products are a scam and won’t help you with hair growth. You should put all faith in natural remedies such as this one: http://sevenreview.com/health-beauty/hair-again-hair-growth-story/

I have been a medical hair growth doctor for 40 years and thats what I can say from my success & studies!

Cee
Cee
8 years ago

One BIG myth is that everyone can follow a particular routine and get the same amount of hair growth.Some people choose to shampoo once a month others once or twice a week.I know some people protective style but others do not.To me the key is finding the routine and products that work best for YOUR hair.I know my hair now after years of trial and error.Now my hair is growing a little longer than average each month.For me exercising,drinking plenty of water, taking a good multivitamin and eating healthier has given me the edge.

Tovah
Tovah
8 years ago
Reply to  Cee

So true Cee. Hair care practices are certainly important and a good regieme is a must. One constant with all of us is that what we eat makes the biggest difference not matter what your curl pattern/or hair texture is. Lots of water, RAW fruits & vegetables in juiced form or eaten naturally is the only thing I have found that can excelerate growth without a doubt. It is up to each of us to commit to it and just do it:))))

Jamila
Jamila
8 years ago

I would suggest wearing protective styles more often while hair is at shoulder length. During the work week you can wear your hair up in a bun or roll and on the weekend you can wash and wear it down. I’m thinking of doing that myself. My biggest issue has always been shrinkage.
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Lu
Lu
8 years ago

I posted a comment just now on another article, but it looks like this is more of the place for it: 1. I cosign to what hyspin said 100%: I think it would be so nice if successful naturals literally adopted a head of natural hair–someone who has good hair care practices, but for some reason can’t get past a certain length–to see if it would produce a different result. Wishful thinking, yes, I know. 2. The reason for wanting what I just mentioned is because women can have great success with regimens, and tell us about what they do,… Read more »

Abhishek
7 years ago
Reply to  Lu

If you feel that you put more into the relationship than he does most of the time I think you suohld let him go. The fact that you are even posting a question about going back to him, means that you are somewhat doubtful of taking him back. Best thing is to go with your instincts. Honestly, the guy doesn’t sound like someone you can really trust, and if that’s the case, why would you want to be with someone like that?Any guy that has a habit of breaking promises, you know can’t really be depended on. If he’s like… Read more »

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