By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
It is a sad fact that there is an inherent fear among many women that their hair simply cannot get past a certain length. Many fear their hair may never get past chin or shoulder length. This fear is reinforced in part because natural hair can easily get stuck at this length due to constant breakage. This article is all about getting clear knowledge about terminal length.
Does a terminal length exist?
Yes terminal length exists and we have all seen the proof in the form of shed hair. This hair would not be falling out of the scalp naturally unless it had come to the end of its growth cycle. There is no doubt about the existence of a terminal length, hair does stop gaining length at a point and will then shed.
Is there a way to determine how long hair will keep growing?
No there is no proven way to determine this. Some blogs and forums do have calculated numbers based on shed hair but this is not scientific in any way. The truth is even in science, it is not clear what is an average amount of daily shed hair for a human being. Some say 100 a day but some tests have shown daily shedding rates as low as 30.
How long will hair keep growing and how long will it grow?
Many people will quote hair as having a 3–5 year growth phase. This is actually a scientific guess and not a fact, some other studies suggest hair could keep growing for over a decade. For growth rate, the lowest estimate of hair growth rate is around 4 inches per year. Putting the lowest figures together, the shortest hair length is 12 inches in 3 years.
So is 12 inches the maximum possible length?
No, it is the lowest possible guess that your hair can grow up to. 12 inches of hair is not short at all though, as Loo said in her previous article, this can be APL or BSL for some women. I would suggest claiming those 12 inches and then seeing what more you can gain. Clearly if your hair gains even half an inch over those 12 inches, the fact is that your hair has not reached its terminal length. Many naturals will already see that their hair gains more than 4 inches during the first year after transitioning which is something that should not be disregarded in future years when growth will be affected by possible breakage of older hair.
What if no one in my family has ever had long hair?
Genetics do play a role in how long your hair will grow but curly and kinky natural hair is unique in the fact that hair breakage is a prevalent issue. If poor techniques are used within a family to maintain this type of hair, the real length of hair may never be showcased. It is a very common quote to hear naturals say, ‘This is the longest my hair has ever been.’ This is a testament to the fact that once they hit the right techniques, routine and product combinations, hair can gain and maintain length as it has never done before.
What if my hair has been stuck at neck length for over 6 months?
I suggest reading this previous article on hair plateaus to know how to deal with that.
Ladies, have you exceeded your expectation of how long your hair could grow? How did you do it?