Hair growth and length retention are two very different things. The unfortunate part is that many newly naturals are not aware of the differences and mainly just concentrate on hair growth. If you want to grow your hair and find yourself struggling with hair damage, dryness, and not sure about what natural hair products to use (but never take into hair retention), you are fighting a losing battle.
There is this falsehood that black hair does not grow. Black hair is fragile and thrives from moisture and protection but it most certainly can and DOES grow long and luscious. Why some cannot achieve long hair has more to do with their regimen, hair products and lack of knowledge of hair growth and retention. Let’s dive into the differences and how to overcome the battle of growing long natural hair.
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What is hair growth?
According to WebMD:
Hair on the scalp grows about .3 to .4 mm/day or about 6 inches per year. Unlike other mammals, human hair growth and shedding is random and not seasonal or cyclical. At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three stages of growth and shedding: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen is the active phase of the hair.
Catagen phase is a transitional stage.
Exogen is the shedding phase.
Telogen is the resting phase.
Outside of medications, illnesses, age or hormones, this is continuously occurring, so wanting hair growth is not what many want when they say they want long hair. What they really want is length retention.
What is length retention?
Length retention is retaining the hair instead of losing it through breakage. Hair is always growing in one of the three phases mentioned above but you may not be seeing it if your hair is breaking off at a certain point. The problem lies in your inability to retain the length at your ends or possibly, your scalp is experiencing issues that slows down or stunts the growth.
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So, instead of worrying about growth, concentrate on retaining those oldest hairs (the ends) which are more worn down by elements, styling and products. This explains why heat and chemicals are so damaging to the strands and why dryness, split ends and neglecting trims do nothing but break off your hard work. I will discuss more on how to retain length in the next installment of this four-part series.
Remember, all the hair vitamins, scalp massages and inversion method sessions you do to grow your hair will not allow you to retain length which is how you REALLY get longer hair.
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