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Why Is Your Hair Not Growing?

Break These Bad Habits ASAP

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Does it seem as if your hair isn't growing? Well, most likely, it is (if it truly isn't, there may be an underlying health reason, in which case you should consult a doctor). But if your hair breaks off at an equal or higher rate than it grows, you'll never see any length gains.

Hair may show stagnant or negative growth rates for a number of reasons. Do any of these sound familiar to you? Because if they do, it's imperative to break these bad hair habits and begin promoting healthy practices that allow you to keep every inch of growth possible.

1. Chemical Overprocessing

Woman examining hair in mirror at salon
Stewart Cohen/Blend Images/Getty Images

Overlapping relaxers, aggressive bleaching and applying too many chemicals to the hair are all prime culprits in damage to black hair. Damaged hair will still grow from the scalp, but it often breaks off at the ends or requires a drastic cut to get rid of unhealthy sections. Ask yourself if you:

  • Relax/texturize/color your mane at home
  • Have a chemical straightening process and color on your mane
  • Have a hair color at least two shades lighter than your natural color
If you answered yes to any of these, it's possible that your hair is overprocessed. Although stylists aren't always foolproof, it's usually better to receive chemical services in a salon at the hands of a capable professional.

2. Trimming Too Often

You can have too much of a good thing, and trims fall into this category if you want longer hair. Many women trim their own hair after suffering the results of a scissor-happy stylist. Healthy hair doesn't require as many trims as unhealthy tresses; the less you do to your hair, the less likely you'll need frequent trims that take off an inch or more. Hair grows an average of 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month, so if you care for your hair properly, you don't need to cut more than 1/2 inch every few months or so if you want to see growth.

3. Lack of Conditioning

Dry, brittle hair can happen to anyone if she's not diligent about conditioning. Black hair often craves moisture, even natural locks. If you're not currently:

  • Applying a moisturizer as needed, whether once a day or several times per week
  • Deep conditioning at least once per month
  • Conditioning after every shampoo
  • Applying a leave-in conditioner after a shampoo/condition session,
you may need to start.

4. Poor Protein Structure

Along with a good moisture level, hair needs a suitable protein balance to remain strong. The more chemicals or harsh practices that your mane goes through, the more important protein becomes, simply because every relaxer/touch-up, color and even flat iron press compromises the strength of your strands' cuticles. Weak hair usually breaks, after becoming thinner and less elastic over time.

5. Traction Alopecia

Tight styles, particularly ones that pull at the hairline, can do serious damage; in some cases, this damage is permanent, killing follicles forever. If your hairline is sparse, this condition may unfortunately be irreversible. Braids that are too-tight, ponytails that pull, suffocating weaves and more are all styles that need to be abandoned. In many cases, a mindset is what needs to change at the same time the style changes. Sleek, straight hair that's pulled to within an inch of its life may look good, but healthy hair is about so much more than appearance.
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