Trust me I've been there! It's not growing! Why won't it get full?! Why is everyone else's hair seemingly growing and mine isn't?! If you're frustrated with hair growth (or lack thereof) here is a list of questions to consider:
1) How long? If you have been trying to get the perfect Fro or that big curly hair for less than 4 years, you still have a ways to go. It might not be what you want to hear. Unfortunately, this is how long it takes the average Natural before they hit the point of hair length satisfaction. Ask any Naturalista you admire and I promise you she will tell you it took 3-4 years before she got to where she was happy. This is good news if you've been Natural for only a few months. This means you'll get there eventually if you KEEP GOING!!
2) Are you taking vitamins? Along with time and patience, vitamins that promote hair growth (Biotin, Evening Primrose Oil, Fish Oil, Silica, etc.) will definitely speed up the process. How can you tell if these vitamins are working? 1- Check your nails. Usually you'll notice a change in your nails with these vitamins. 2- Watch your skin. If these vitamins are doing their job, you'll notice a difference in your skin. If your body doesn't like these vitamins, your skin is usually the first to let you know by breaking out! If that happens, discontinue or lower your dose. Do your research on: reviews, side effects, suggested doses & consult your Dr. to be safe.
3) How is your overall health? If you are having any health problems or deficiencies, such as: Vitamin D (darker-toned women tend to have this due to melanin blocking the sun) hormonal fluctuations, thyroid issues...these all affect hair growth. I noticed a change in my hair and nail growth. A visit to an Endocrinologist helped me learn some factors stunting growth: Perimenopause and Vitamin D deficiency. Learning this changed everything for me! (A general practitioner won't give detailed answers usually) If you've been trying for over 4 years, take vitamins and still have zero growth, it might be time to get some lab work done and check to see if your overall health is ok.
4) How do you sleep at night? Are you protecting your new growth with a satin cap or satin pillowcase? Growth is useless if you are breaking it off each time you sleep. Slightly adjust this and you might notice a difference.
5) Are you massaging your scalp? Below your scalp, blood feeds the hair. If there's poor blood circulation, the result will be weak, lifeless hair. Massage your scalp with a NATURAL oil (I recommend coconut, Shea or Jamaican Black castor oil) to improve blood circulation. See my Youtube video on scalp maintenance for more details.
6) Are you washing your hair often enough? Especially for my protective style ladies: The oil in your hair & scalp attracts dirt & skin debris which can plug oil ducts & hair follicles. The result? Since the follicle is blocked, the hair grows in weaker or won't grow at all! Don't allow this to happen to you! Keep your protective styles in for shorter periods to give your scalp some much needed attention & a chance to grow in new hair. If you must keep your protective style in for long periods of time, make sure you have access to your scalp to cleanse, moisten, massage and maintain!
7) Are you hydrated enough? If you're always dehydrated or overindulging in alcoholic beverages, your hair will become limp and weak because you are restricting blood flow. Drink LOTS of water and eat healthier meals (especially plenty of fish which has oils to feed and hydrate your scalp). The good news is this will also make you much healthier all around!
8) Realistic Expectations? This is just as important as the other stuff! How did your hair grow when you were a child, before all the chemical relaxers and straighteners? That is a gauge of how your hair will grow once it is at its healthiest again. There are exceptions to this: If you are over 35 and your hair isn't growing like it used to, it could be your hormones are changing. This will affect growth (among other things) so visit the Dr. to be sure! Also remember, your growth patterns will be different from others so NEVER COMPARE! I wanted my hair to hang down and it never did! It kept growing up and out, which I found frustrating then, but now...I absolutely love that unique growth pattern!
9) Are you taking photos? Take lots of photographs and selfies so that you can look back on your monthly and yearly progress. These photographs will be extremely helpful when you're having one of those "I hate my hair, it never grows, I give up!" moments! When you look back at those photos, you'll start seeing growth you otherwise wouldn't have noticed. Photos are also a good way to monitor & learn your growth patterns. Many times your hair is growing but you're not noticing!
These are just a few tips that I have learned over the years of growing out my hair. Your biggest challenge will be patience! We've all experienced the same frustration. Just remember you'll NEVER get where you want to be if you give up or don't take proper care of your hair AND yourself. If you've been doing this Natural hair journey for a while and would like to share your experience, please feel free to leave a comment below!