More and more women are getting the big chop and the aim is always the same; to start on a clean slate and achieve the healthy long hair everyone wants. However, what most don’t know is that once you get the cut and your hair starts growing out as you want it to it reaches a point when it hits a plateau. Naturally, this can be nerve wrecking particualrly if growth stalls right before you reach the length that you desire or right after getting the big chop. There are a number of reasons why your hair will stop growing, particualrly if it is between the stages of growing out your hair. It is entirely possible to fix the problem and get your hair growing again as it should.
Find the Problem
When your hair just won’t grow as you’d expect it to or stops growing entirely there definitely is a root to the problem. Have you been trimming your hair as often as recommended? Are you over manipulating your hair? Do you moisturize, deep condition and moisture-seal regulalrly and properly? These are just some of the few issues that could lead to slow or halped hair growth once you get the big chop. There are many more reasons why your hair might stop gorwing and the following list should help you identify what the problem could be.
- How do you handle your hair – do you tend to be a little rough on it with hard combing or improper detangling?
- Do you hold your hair in a ponytail too tightly or use bobby pins incorrectly?
- Is heat styling part of your daily hair care routine?
- Do you use chemical treatment on your hair such as relaxers and coloring/dyeing agents?
- Do you follow good hair care practises such as deep conditioning, moisturing and moisture-sealing?
- Do you protein treat your hair too much?
- Are you using the right hair care products for your hair?
- Do you ever get protective styling done or always have your hair in defective styling? And do you properly maintain your hair when it is in protective styling as well as after getting the protective styling undone?
Fix the Problem
Once you go through the above list and identify what could be the problem preventing your hair from growing as it should, the next step is to fix the problem. If you are over manipulating, stop manipulating. If you are over using heat styling, minimize of heat usage or give it up completely. However, reversing the problem wonb’t instantly lead to growth and you have to give it time before your hair recovers from the problem and continues growing as expected. For naturals, there are generally 2 categories of hair growth plateaus faced.
- The Neck-length Plateau
The neck-length plateau occurs when the hair has grown out to about 4 to 6 inches in length after getting the big chop. During this time, particularly for those with curly hair, the hair tends to develop kinks. It has been suggested that the kinks develop as a result of brushing and combing. The tiny curls tend to create stress points with continuous combing, because they don’t staighten out as they should while combing. The result is stunted hair growth and breakage in the long run. Naturals who have curly, kinky hair and are going through the neck-length plateau should try eliminating combing and brushing from their hair care routines. A good alternative is to use your finger to detangle/comb out your hair.
- The Mid-length Plateau
The mid-length plateau is yet another growth plateau that most naturals face. During this phase the hair tends to have grown to the shoulders in length. The growth plateau is brought about by inconsistent trimming schedules and improper styling choices. Having your hair in protective styling during this time will help in minimizing knotting, tangling and breakage. It is equally important to go for the right protective styling to avoid splitting and breakage. For instance if your hair get easily tangled up or meshes, buns and twist may not be the right protective styling for you. The important thing is to pick a protective style that is kind enough to your hair to have on for about 3 to 4 weeks. Once you have your hair udone, give it room to rest before getting it done in a protective styling again.
When it comes to trimming, generally trimming split ends has immensely great results in promoting growth. At the mid-length phase, it has probably taken 2 to 3 years to grow your hair out to about 12 inches in length. During this time, the cuticle layer has been gradually depleted and the result is split ends. Trimming split ends regularly (after 2 to 3 months) will be able to help in solving the mid-length growth plateau.
Strengthen your Hair
Naturals who are going through growth plateaus have also found that strengthening the hair does have great results in promoting growth. When it comes to strengtheners, your selection should be guided by what products your hair generally responds. It helps to try alternating between a protein conditioner or eliminating protein from your conditioning altogether into your hair care regime. Deep condition is also important, but it might help to forego it if you have been deep conditioning too much.
Another helpful hair care tip is to precondition your hair before washing. This helps to protect your hair from getting stripped of its natural oils while shampooing. Co-washing is yet another good alternative to shampoo washing for anyone who is keen on promoting hair growth.
Section your hair or wash it while it is in braids or twists to make it much more manageable. Choosing twists and braids as protective styles is a good option for those who want to naturally and gentlly straighten out their hair.
Remember that consistency is key with all hair care routines and you should create a schedule that works for you.
Get Inspired and Try Out Hair Challenges
If you have gone through the hair plateaus and fixed the problem or you are still trying to figure out what the problem could be, trying out hair challenges will help get you out of the ‘growth plateau funk.’ There are a number of naturals who run blogs giving tips on good hair care practises and also running hair challenges. You can get inspired by the hair care regime of other naturals as well as stay positive and motivated by taking part in challenges. Two of the popular natural hair challenges include the 6-month no heat styling challenge and the no protective styling challenge. Taking photos to document and measure your progress is part of most of these challenges. Photos help you identify how your hair responds when you eliminate or add different hair care routines to your regimen.
Take the Time to Know Your Hair
There is no better time to take the time to learn more about your hair then when going through a growth plateau. There is a lot more that you don’t know about your hair such as how it responds to the inclusion or exclusion of different hair care products and hair care routines. Try out different protective stylings such as buns and twists to see how your hair responds to it. It is also possible that your hair might be drier in certain areas as compared to others. Learn the texture of your hair and how to treat the different temperements to get your desired results.
Last but not least, do not give up on your hair and stay positive that you will get over a growth plateau. The growth plateau might last longer than you expect, but keep trying out different things. Focus on eliminating damage-causing hair care routines and incoporating use of more natural hair care products.