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Is It Possible to Retain 12 inches of Hair Growth in 1 Year?

Avatar • Sep 9, 2014

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Imagine retaining 12 inches of hair in one year. It’s pretty exciting, isn’t it? That’s like going from a clean-shaven big chop to shoulder length or going from shoulder length to almost waist length in one year! I was pretty excited about that prospect years ago and considered “challenging” myself to retain that much length in one year. However, the reality is the amount of hair you retain is both out of your control and determined by your practices. When it comes to hair growth and hair length retention it is common and encouraged to set length goals. Nevertheless some goals, no matter how well-intentioned, can be counterproductive.

Can you retain 12 inches of hair in 12 months? First, let’s review a few facts common among most women.

- On average we grow ½ inch of hair each month. This translates to 6 inches a year.

- Even with healthy hair practices you will occasionally need to trim or dust your ends, leading to a regular loss of length

- Even if you choose not to trim your hair any untrimmed split ends may likely lead to breakage

- If you occasionally experience a spurt in growth (i.e. more than ½ inch in a month) it is unlikely that you will sustain that growth if your hair doesn’t regularly grow at that rate

There’s nothing wrong with setting hair goals that will help to keep you dedicated to a healthy hair regimen. However, unless you have always been a “super grower”, averaging more than ¾ inch of hair growth a month, it’s not likely that you will retain 12 inches of hair length in a year no matter how amazing your hair products or how delicately you manage your hair.

Okay, so now that I’ve been somewhat of a Debbie Downer, here’s some encouraging news: It may be quite rare to retain 12 inches in the course of one year BUT you can maximize your growth. Here are a few key reminders of practices you can incorporate into your hair regimen to reduce unnecessary breakage and retain healthier hair faster.

Treat the ends of your hair like fine lace.

That’s right. Diligently moisturize your hair, paying particular attention to the last 3–4 inches of your hair. Moisturizing and sealing your ends will limit breakage and allow for maximum retention.

Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Diet

Be sure that you are drinking sufficient water and receiving necessary nutrients/vitamins. If not, your body will prioritize the health of your internal organs and will allow your hair, skin and nails to receive fewer nutrients so that your vital organs will receive what they need.

Wait for Color

You might want to consider waiting to dye your hair until you reach a length that is a few inches shorter than your ultimate length goal. If you do choose to color be committed to deep conditioning on a weekly basis.

Setting challenging length goals should be a source of motivation, rather than a way to determine if you can “cut it” as a natural. Basing your decision to remain natural on rapid hair growth is comparable to using your hair texture as a reason for choosing to remain natural: It is something that isn’t entirely in your control.

 

What changes have you made in your regime to maximize length retention?

 

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Robzthebrownie BlinaA'Ne NaAliyah MorrisonLikewaterforchocolat Recent comment authors
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Adeola
Guest

agreed!
length retention is different from hair growth. Hair growth is always greater than length retention.
it’s all mathematical 🙂
http://www.coilsandglory.com/lets-do-the-maths-of-natural-hair-length-retention/

Oy
Guest
Oy

Sometimes I wish this site could rebrand and change their name…I’m sure it has crossed the editors mind. Because having long hair is such a outdated, tired expectation on women. Also our hair grows out not down. It looks more wide that long but “Black Girl Big Hair” doesn’t cut to the point. Natural hair doesn’t have to be a chore and can be quite freeing. Learning how to take care of it. BGLH does a great job of giving info on how to take of natural hair and embracing at whatever lengths…wish it had a name to match that… Read more »

Edens Sahara
Guest
Edens Sahara

A gem of a comment.

Adia
Guest
Adia

Especially since they feature so many short haired style icons

Oy
Guest
Oy

Right! I was thinking about it more and maybe they could change it to Black Girl Love Hair. That way they can keep BGLH and it isn’t such a dramatic change in name but definitely in sentiment.

I create brand identities for a living and it isn’t easy to pick a name that will grow with you but I think they are about due and I really don’t think the would lose any audience over it and most likely would gain.

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

Or even Black Girl Lush Hair? Like keeping the emphasis on Healthy hair? I think we’ve kinda proved that black hair can grow long (ok yes I know there are still people out there that think long black hair is a myth) but now we should be focusing on hair health.

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I know for me it wouldn’t be possible. My hair grows the average rate and I can’t keep all my six inches each year no matter what I do. What I don’t lose to some breakage I lose to trims anyway. I think I’m doing good if I keep 4 inches a year.

Star99
Guest
Star99

Oh, please. My hair growns 1.2 inches every month and the centre grows 1.4 inches, I measure each month. I’ve been natural for one year and two months and have more than 12 inches of hair. I have 3c hair and I always massage my scalp with tea tree oil and melted shea butter. I take a multivitamin, collagen, bamboo extract, maca root and biotin. I make sure to drink OVER 150oz of water a day. I don’t skip on protein treatments and deep conditioning. I’ve never had split or damaged ends. I only rock wash n gos, styled wash… Read more »

Ubah Luar
Guest
Ubah Luar

Wauw, im in love with you.
Will you be my ‘hair butler’ lol!
i also have 3c with a bit 4a hair

Joyce Cheek
Guest

Best advice so far. My daughter, who is a hair addict has started me using coconut oil as a conditioner. I put in on my hair 20 minutes before washing then wash it out and proceed with 45 minutes of deep conditioner. I then set and roll it. Many good comments on it. I purchased tea tree oil for a toe fungus, have not tried it on my hair. It has such a strong smell. Do you use it and then wash it out ?

Daniella
Guest
Daniella

I Totally agree on this statement, i have 3c/4a but mostly 3c & my hair grows like crazy by just being healthy. 8 months natural & my hair goes in a full one!

Star99
Guest
Star99

I don’t care what scientist say, everyone is different and so is every head of hair. Not everyone’s hair grows 0.5–1 inches every month. There are people who’s hair grows less and some who’s hair grows way more. 12 inches in one year is more than possible.

Ubah Luar
Guest
Ubah Luar

Woops, i was joking with you lady.
I genuinley beleve what you are writing. For some reason you mistakenly took my comment as offending.
Its good that you do whats best for your hair!!

androu
Guest
androu

Last year I watched this lady’s video on YouTube–“Black/African American Hair Growth Secrets 18 inches in 18 months”. Her name is PhillyzJamPoet, and she said she retained 18 inches in as much time by protective styling and co-washing. I think if you’re not genetically predisposed to growing an inch(!) per month, there’s no way you’d retain that–no matter how much protective styling you do. I don’t think Protective styling/low manipulation hastens hair growth–you simply keep whatever amount you’re prone to grow. Now that my hair’s at shoulder length–I no longer have the time or energy to do weekly wash-n-go’s. So… Read more »

Shaniqua
Guest

I’ve seen the same video and that title is actually very misleading. PhillyzJamPoet was on a growth journey for 18 months and at the end of it she had 18 inches of hair. But she started with somewhere around 8–10 inches. So in that 18 month time frame, she retained somewhere around the same amount, which is average. If she had been starting with a shaved head, the title would actually by true, but I think she named it that to sensationalize what she was presenting.

Jc
Guest

My eyes could not have rolled any further back when I read the title. I am so glad that the actual article was very accurate. Hair growth rate is an average and some grow more and some grow less. My friend did grow her hair from shaven to beyond butt length in 3 years (with some major trims in between),so yes for some 12 inches a year is possible, not common but possible.

Oy
Guest
Oy

Uhh, don’t you contribute here occasionally? Why would you call out a fellow’s title like that? I’ve seen you on here a couple times and you are always so antagonistic. I’m not sure why a person that focuses on “science” for natural hair would be so negative and bring up so many boilerplate things. You come across really conceited and rude when you could have easily said how much you enjoyed the accuracy of the article in a positive and supportive manner. I know criticism is never easy to hear but you should really consider toning it down because I’m… Read more »

Carlee
Guest
Carlee

I couldn’t agree more. JC is of the ilk of scientists who do not understand the science is a discourse. She believes that whatever claims she makes have some incredible authority “because science”. I still remember her reverse racism article that was posted here. She really has not room to talk when it comes to a fair share of poorly written works.

Oy
Guest
Oy

Thank you. I wasn’t sure how my comment would be received but she has become more and more vitriolic here and at her blog ever sense that post. But, honestly for me, her writing always came across like she has a chip on her shoulder. I’ve stopped reading her blog since she posted her follow-up post “allowing” people to comment about her “reverse racism” post (I also recall her atrocious analogy to apartheid!). All her responses to the people who disagreed with her were so dismissive and rude. She wouldn’t entertain for a moment that she didn’t understand the other… Read more »

Lady Dulayne
Guest
Lady Dulayne

Nope, not for me. I have measured my hair growth at .25 of an inch per month which equals just 3 INCHES a year. So it would take me over 4 years to achieve that kinda growth. But more power to normal to super growers!

Likewaterforchocolat
Guest
Likewaterforchocolat

I feel ya!

Knotty Natural
Guest

Are people really measuring their hair on a monthly basis???

For me, healthy hair is more important than length. Since I’ve been completely natural, my hair has been arm pit length prior to deciding I wanted a tapered cut. My philosophy is this: If my hair is healthy, it grows and I retain length…I’ve actually done a mini big chop and plan to chop off more…Short cuts are so cute IMO! I’m cutting gradually to sport different looks.

f2usacib
Guest
f2usacib

I agree wholeheartedly. Once I got to APL, I was over it. I had been bored with my hair for quite some time & wigs/weaves/braids are not my thing. I have always found short hair more attractive than longer hair, so two weeks ago I got a tapered cut & I love it. Hair should be fun, not a labor. I have better things to do than measure my hair every month or keep it hidden away.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

Great advice! I grow only about a 1/2 inch a month with no growth aids and I probably cut about and inch a year…doesn’t leave me with much retention *shrugs
I am doing much more low manip and protective styling though and that’s helping to retain quite a bit.
I recorded a video yesterday of me washing my hair and was stunned at the growth I didn’t notice was there until it was wet! Suffice it to say, I was primping all careful with my ends LOL!

tanyfaye
Guest
tanyfaye

I clicked this article expecting to see someone who had managed to do it or come close not read tips that we’ve all heard before one way or the other .

Still, good article.

Shebababy126
Guest
Shebababy126

Anything is possible with horse shampoo!.…sorry…just fishing…it gets boring on here sometimes! 😉

Rashonda
Guest
Rashonda

Great Article! I do want to say that many women are too focused on their hair growing long than worrying about the actual health of their hair. But the health of your hair plays a major role in how it grows so the two go hand in hand. Once I started caring for my hair, I got the results I wanted. When I started using Nutress Hair products I saw a major difference. Their products are designed to stop breakage and repair damaged hair! Since my hair was a lot more healthy, the growth process was quick. I am now… Read more »

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

I’ve done it. I went from Super short to shoulder length in a year. I honestly was shocked and didn’t think that it was possible. I didn’t measure it once a month i let it do it’s thing. I feel like low manipulation styles, finger de-tangling, having a routine and protective styles helped me.I feel like if you don’t stress about length and love your hair it will be fine. 🙂

Stace
Guest
Stace

I’m currently retaining 1/2 inch of hair a month. Although I do not notice any significant breakage, I am figuring that there must be some minute inevitable breakage that occurs. Thus, I estimate my actual growth rate to be upwards of 3/4 inch a month. I primarily co-wash and wear wash-n-go’s. I do use shampoo at least once a week. I don’t think I drink enough water ever, although I try to be mindful to do so.

Shaniqua
Guest

I do think it’s possible, both genetically, and with growth aids. Just look at all the women who have given photographic evidence of the inversion method giving them an extra inch of growth in 7 days. If one did the inversion method properly (for one week, once a month) all 12 months out of the year, they would probably grow more than a foot of hair given the fact that hair doesn’t stop growing the other three weeks out of the month. So if a growth aid like this or hair vitamins, or simple scalp massages can boost growth and… Read more »

lina
Guest
lina

My hair normally grows less than 1/4 inch monthly.ii did the inversion method and grew 0.9inches in less than a week. I still can’t believe it although I don’t think I will be doing the inversion method again.i think 12inches in 12months is possible

DCGemini
Guest
DCGemini

First let me thank you for this informative article.…being 3 years natural with a recent mini chop due to color and heat damaged ends…I went from shoulder length to 3 inches of shiny healthy curly hair.…my focus is having healthy hair now, but sometimes our fellow hair naturalist pay to much attention to length.…I did…smh…hair retention is about healthy habits…period point blank…I am not getting pregnant or will overdose on any vitamins to obtain length…my genetics have thin hair so to maintain my 4c tresses …I exercise, drink plenty of water, and condition weekly even with protective styles.…you should find… Read more »

Aliyah Morrison
Guest
Aliyah Morrison

For me 12 inches per year is not possible for most it’s not unless you grow 1 inch per month don’t trim every month have fast hair growth and take care of it . I’m happy because I grew average on some parts of my hair and above average on other parts . My Front is about 7 Inches WHEN Stretched MY SIDE IS OVER 7 IN HIS AND THE BACK Is ABOUT 5 TO 6 inches WHEN Stretched .

Aliyah Morrison
Guest
Aliyah Morrison

I expect below average though even tho I manage to grow on average that was only in 10 months I was suppose to grow 5 inches or less in 10 months . As long as I get to shoulder length with shrinkage and past shoulders when straightened by next year I’m almost there I’ll be happy . Then on my way to arm pit or bra strap length then I’ll stop

Robzthebrownie B
Guest
Robzthebrownie B

Ever since I stopped using my relaxer and started transitioning my hair grows 1 inch per month (sometime 1 1/4) I know it’s exciting! But it really messes up my protective styling but hey growth is growth and I need it especially since I just big chopped last month, my advice is if your hair is in protective styling to wash it at least once every 2 weeks and Moisturize ur hair every 2 days or when needed. Cleanse, moisturize, moisturize!!!

A'Ne Na
Guest

Thanks for writing this article; it has given me great tips that I will follow. I began growing my natural hair 2 years ago. In two years I’ve grown 7 inches and retained 12 of my old hair so all together its now 19 inches- from collar bone to mid back. I did it by wearing box braids twice a year, wearing it curly everyday and flat ironing it twice in one year. Using coconut unrefined oil from root to tip, after shampooing once a week with a sulfate free shampoo and pre-pooing prior to shampoo and deep conditioning after… Read more »

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