Natural hair growth and hair care is nothing more than science. The more knowledgeable you are about the science behind your hair, the easier it will be for you to maintain your hair.
Before we get into the four stages, let me quickly share five hair growth facts
- There are approximately 100, 000 hairs on your head.
- We lose on average between 50-100 hairs per day due to shedding.
- Each follicle will produce about 20 hairs in your lifetime.
- During pregnancy, your hair will grow longer and thicker because of the high estrogen levels in your blood.
- As you age, some of your follicles lose their ability to produce hair.
For more hair science, check out this book titled “Science of Black Hair” on Amazon.
Natural hair growth is a big topic in the natural hair community because a lot of women just can’t figure out why their hair won’t grow past a certain length. The truth is that when you look at it, there are many factors that need to be taken into account in order to be able to get to the root of this hair growth crisis.
And after thinking deeper into the issue, I noticed that the way we were brought up from a young age has a major effect on our hair growth potential.
If you don’t understand what I mean, let me take you through the 4 stages of human development as it relates to hair care and hair growth.
A parent that doesn’t know how to care for her own hair will most likely perform the same ‘improper’ hair care practices on her children. Since the hair follicles of the child are still developing, it’s very crucial for mothers to be mindful of the hairstyles that they put their children’s hair in. The main reason for this is that hairstyles that are too tight and painful can rupture the child’s hair follicles and can lead to permanent damage and potential hair loss.
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2) School Age
By this age, the child will be considered mature enough to be able to handle relaxers, hair extensions, and pretty much any hairstyle that an adult can wear.
The thing is, the individual hair follicles on the scalp can only hold so much extra weight, and since the child’s follicles (tiny holes in the scalp) are still developing, it will be sensitive to manipulation and pulling. Heavy hairstyles such as single braids that pulls on the scalp can add extra tension on the scalp, which can lead to premature shedding and breakage. This is why it’s crucial for the parent to minimize the use of extensions while maximizing deep conditioning treatments so that the child’s hair can continue to grow long.
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Now that the child can choose her own hairstyles, she is more likely to choose hairstyles that she sees on other girls her age, irrespective of how damaging the hairstyle is. By now, she has learnt to deal with the pain that comes with tight hairstyles and the discomfort that comes with carrying a few hundred grams of hair extensions on her head.
If she relaxes her hair, she might have learned to deal with scalp burns and over-processing of the hair. After all, all her friends have thinning hair with bald edges. Besides, who cares how her hair looks anyway since she will be wearing hair extensions 95% of the time.
So, unless the teenager has a parent that will help her take care of her hair, she will be more likely to neglect her hair and instead, spend more time taking care of her hairstyle. Unfortunately, when African hair is neglected, it will dry out and break off.
Now that the child has grown into an adult who is now working and earning an income, she can now afford to do all sorts of hairstyles to her hair, change hairstyles as often as she wants and may even hire her own personal hairstylist.
By this time, a typical Black (African) adult would have already developed a hair habit which might be difficult to break.
Can you now see the reasons why Black women have a tough time growing their hair long?
So how can we change this?
The truth is that if you want to grow your hair long, you’ll have to put in the extra time and effort caring for your hair. The best way to do this is to have a hair regimen that is easy to stick to.
Have you ever had a hair growth issue ever since you were little? What are you currently doing to grow your hair longer?