I have just written a comment over at BGLH and it is practically an essay on its own so I will put it up here! Feel free to join the discussion over at BGLH (As I did not start the discussion and do not wish to dilute it, commenting for this post is disabled for 48 hours)
I have previously written about the possibility of
African hair actually growing at a slower rate. However it should still
get you to one foot of hair. I think that there is a huge disconnect for
us in the triangular relationship that is retention, breakage and
mechanics (i.e Hair does not gain length because the ends broke off. The
ends broke off because they were either weakened or were pulled with
Truth is many of us are not willing to accept that WE are the reason
why hair is not growing. We want it to be genetics or a hair product. It
simply cannot be our fault.
Going natural is not going to automatically help your hair get longer (especially so if your curl is tighter).
Here is what I have observed
1. Long haired naturals (with a type 4 texture) LIVE in twists or
braids (especially so in the beginning 2-3 years). The basic regimen is
wash, condition and twist up for 3-4 weeks (and even longer). Hair is
out for a weekend or a few days and then back to to the 3-4 weeks of
twists. Examples Sera, Nikki/Mwedzi, Loolahloo, Maestradiva, Giselle,
Kemi/Aijo, Mika, Leslie, BBD on youtube, Denise/Den1 , Roshini
2. Long haired naturals with a looser texture LIVE in protective
styles. They do not typically twist up for 3 weeks but would regularly
do so for 1 week then bun up or wear off the shoulder styles for example
Jenteel, Rustic beauty, Kim, Nikki,
3. Natural hair thrives in a heat free regime. This is especially
true for people with thin strands. People with thicker strands can get
away with murder. Type 4 hair is usually assumed to be thick and this is
simply not true. Some have thick strands some have thin.
4. Most long haired naturals rarely if ever use extensions.
5. Trimming is more important than people make out. The less damage
you have to your hair, the less you need to trim. It is not about
trimming a quarter inch every 2-3 months but rather about examining the
ends of your hair and assessing how much needs to be trimmed and how
often (i,e look for split ends!). Splitting and thinning hair ends will
not gain length. period.
Meanwhile the most common questions that people ask when it comes to growing hair are
1. Which hair product to use
2. Which washing method is best
3. How to avoid ‘chemicals’ in hair products
4. How to style hair
5. How little should we trim (emphasis on little)
6. How should I moisturise my hair
7. How can I make my hair soft
8. What can I apply to my hair/scalp to make my hair grow faster
9. What should I eat to make my hair grow faster
In my opinion, people have used different products and methods in
their hair care and still gained length. The fundamental similarities
are what we should see instead of investing time on the differences.
The simple truth is that people do not want to wear 4 week old twists
which have been washed weekly and are a little puffy and undefined. We
listen to and do things that are not suitable for our particular texture
(i.e we do not listen to our hair choosing instead to do what works for
a different person).