Growing african hair is not all about genes!

July 21, 2017

I know that just from the title of this blog some of you are already frowning but please take a minute and hear me out. If you have been following my journey you know this already but if you are new to my blog trust me, you want to hear this.
May 2017 4years post relaxer (Natural)

I started my healthy hair journey in February of 2010 with relaxed shoulder length hair. My hair had been shoulder length pretty much my whole life and I honestly thought that shoulder length was the longest my hair could ever be. You have heard this before “my hair grows till shoulder length and then it stops” In reality it doesn’t stop,it just breaks faster than it is growing causing the stagnation.
The turning point came after watching ladies with long relaxed hair on YouTube and I decided I was going to take better care of my hair just to see if it could really grow longer. 
Pre hair journey days. 2009 (Relaxed)

February 2010 start of my hair journey (Relaxed)
I made so many mistakes at the beginning and instead of seeing progress my hair was just breaking and I retained zero length for the first six months of the journey. My mistake at the time was using a strong protein treatment twice a week in the name of deep conditioning. Once I corrected this the progress was undeniable. 
I went from shoulder length to mid back length hair in about two years (I was still relaxed/Texlaxed). I am now fully natural and my hair is a few centimetres shy of mid back length which is my current hair goal.

31.1 2013 Last relaxer
31.1.2013 last relaxer

So what is the moral of my story? Genes may play a big role in how long our hair can grow but unfortunately we might never see the real growth potential of our hair if we don’t care for it properly. I know you are probably thinking of that friend of yours who does absolutely nothing to her hair but it has grown down her back, believe me she is lucky because the majority of us need to actually care for our hair for it to reach its full potential. 
May 2017 4 years post relaxer
On that note, hair doesn’t have to be long for it to be beautiful, it just needs to be healthy and regardless of its length it will look attractive. I prefer short healthy hair to long damaged hair any day.
If your aim is to retain length then all you have to do is reduce breakage and here are a few tips for you.
  1. Protect your ends. The ends are the oldest part of your hair and they are your length. Keeping them on your head will ensure length retention. You can do this by making sure the ends of your hair are always moisturized and keep them off your shoulders to avoid friction with your clothing. Protective styles also play a big role in length retention as they keep the ends hidden.
  2. Detangling. Always detangle your hair from the ends upwards this reduces unnecessary breakage.
  3. Combing. Never comb your natural or transitioning hair while it is dry! This causes unnecessary breakage!
  4. Manipulation. Find hairstyles that don’t need daily manipulation, I personally go for hairstyles that require me to touch my hair only once a week. Over manipulation causes breakage.
  5. Stay positive. Growing hair takes time and you might meet people along the way who will not hesitate to ridicule your efforts. Don’t give up; if something isn’t working get help there are so many healthy hair enthusiasts willing to help. 
  6. Know your hair. African hair comes in different textures and your texture plays a big role in how it should be cared for. 4C hair for instance is not the strongest hairtype, it is the most fragile and most prone to breakage and needs the most care. 
  7. Track your growth.  Find a way to track your progress and celebrate little accomplishments. i like to take pictures and today i am so glad that i have been doing this because now i get to share with you :) you can also use a tape measure. 
  8. Goals. Make realistic goals. My hair grows half an inch per month (very average). I set my hair goal lengths according to my hair growth rate and my trims. 
  9. Magic products. They Don’t exist!

Lastly, I am not saying that everyone’s hair can grow down their waist but one thing is for sure. You will never know how long your hair can grow unless you actually give it that chance.
Make a decision to start a healthy hair care journey today and comment below if you need help starting :)

Thanks for reading,

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  1. I shaved my locs in 2012 and shortly afterwards got a weave done that ruined my hairline. Now I just keep shaving! I need to grow my hair but also more importantly, to repair my hairline. I live in UAE so the heat and saline water don't help much but I'd still like some pointers..

    1. For the hairline the best solution is to leave it alone and avoid tight hairstyles at all costs.

  2. This is true. While genetics determines how our growth rate ie the hair production rate. It determines the density and strength of each individual strands, only good hair care practices will determine how much length we retain in the long run and how healthy our tresses will look no matter what length... Thanks for this post, will share.