By Chinwe (pictured above) of Hair and Health
Deciphering the facts from the myths can be overwhelming, especially for those just starting their hair care journey. Does braiding help the hair to grow faster? Does black hair really grow slow? Well, let’s get to the facts and bust a few myths in the arena of hair growth:
1. Kinky hair can only grow long if loc’ed
Fortunately, this myth is not as prevalent as it used to be thanks to hair inspirations like Sera. However, it still exists, so let’s bust it.
The reality is that kinky hair can grow long with the right hair care regimen. A combination of protective styling and low manipulation can help those with this hair type to achieve length retention. Again, just look at Sera’s progress. If you have kinky, or type 4b/4c hair, do not feel like you have to transition to locs in order to grow your hair long. Locs should ideally be a style one wears out of desire and not necessity.
2. Braid extensions will help your hair to grow faster
Believe it or not, this is a common myth that requires busting. What we do know is that one’s growth rate is determined largely by genetics and then diet and health. What braid extensions do allow for is length retention – not faster growth – when properly maintained. Poor maintenance of your hair while in braids can actually produce hair loss.
3. Black hair grows slow
Brace yourselves for the busting of this myth. Does black hair grow slow? No. Just look around you and on photo-sharing sites. You will not have to look too far to find black women with average or faster than average growth rates. Now some of you may be thinking ahead and asking “What about African hair”? Several years ago, there was a study (published in a respected journal) that demonstrated slower hair growth rates in Africans versus Caucasians even suggesting less than average growth rates (4 inches/year, give or take) in Africans. While the study is respectable, one has to consider the sample size (38 subjects), the region (only a portion of Africa was considered), and that it did not account for environmental factors. Additionally, the study’s findings do not translate into “all” Africans having slow hair growth rates. I have witnessed African women with average to fast hair growth rates, both online (e.g., just peruse the photo-sharing site of Sera, who is originally from Sierra Leone) and in person (e.g., my sister, who is Nigerian). All black people – and all African people – are not the same. Some of us have slow growth rates, while some of us average, and some of us fast.
4. Trimming makes your hair grow faster
If you missed this informative post by Jc, please do read it. The bottom line is that trimming does not make the hair grow faster. It does not have an effect on our growth rate. What trimming can do is cut away the damaged ends of the hair thus allowing for one to attain longer length. Length retention and growth rate are two different areas.
Well, that is it for the myths on hair growth.
What are some other myths you have heard?