In a quest to achieve the “long hair fantasy,” black women across the U.S. spend hundreds of dollars on ‘human hair’ weaves and wigs imported from Europe and India.
The excess use of weaves, clip-ins, and wigs arouses the question ‘can black girls grow long hair?’ Most people would declare an emphatic no. However, the answer is yes.
A common misconception people have about natural hair is that it doesn’t grow. Natural hair does grow, but the challenge is retaining length.
Unfortunately, black women’s hair grows at a slow rate because it is always starting over. Breakage, dryness, and extreme shedding reduce length retention for natural hair.
A primary factor stumping length retention is poor nutrition. A diet lacking Vitamin A and vitamin C can cause dry hair and damage the health of your scalp. A clean scalp removes build-up and dead skin.
Deficiency in protein can also reduce the rate of growth, since hair is 88 percent protein, according to an article in Live Strong. Protein strengthens the shaft of your hair and decreases the risk of breakage. Good sources of protein include eggs, pinto beans, chicken, spinach and milk.
Absence of iron in the diet is the most prevalent cause of deceleration of hair growth. A recent study released by WebMD shows iron deficiency is closely linked to hair loss and iron is key to restoring hair growth. George Cotsarelis, director of the University of Pennsylvania Hair and Scalp Clinic, says iron supplements are more likely to regrow hair and stop shedding.
A poor diet is not the only factor contributing to lack of growth and length retention. Black women’s hair naturally tends to be dry and brittle. Therefore, daily saturation of penetrating oils such as olive oil or coconut oil is needed to hydrate and strengthen your coiled tresses. Tamara Floyd, the Six-Figure Blogger and Founder of Natural Hair Rules says sealing in moisture reinforces the hair’s internal structure.
Although it is time consuming, persistently keeping your hair moisturized with oil prevents breakage.
Hair manipulation, on the other hand, should be done sparingly. Limiting the amount of styling done to your hair also stimulates natural hair growth. Constant combing and brushing can weaken the elasticity of your hair and withdraw moisture.
Trimming your ends may seem counterintuitive to hair retention, but it actually promotes growth. Removing split ends prevents further rupture up the hair shaft which can result in increased loss of hair.
These simple measures place natural hair in optimal shape to maintain healthy elasticity that is critical for length retention and growth.