‘…but I’m African’,
‘I’m from *insert African country* my hair can’t do that’
‘Can an African woman’s hair grow though’
‘You can’t be fully African, Pelumi’ – (I am by the way!)
‘But you’re lucky, you got that ‘nice’ hair, mines true African hair’
‘I’ve got that village hair’
…All phrases I hear too often.
The question I got today:
‘My goal is to have hair that reaches my mid-back. Is it possible for African hair to grow this long?’
After reading this and pondering on the many things I’ve heard from African women in regards to their hair….no lie my heart sunk. It hurts to know that so many African women (and men) still have the notion that our hair can’t grow or see it as less beautiful in comparison to other races.
First off, of course you can be from Africa and grow long hair. While everyone is genetically different, being African doesn’t automatically nullify you from lovely, healthy, long hair.
We really need to let go of the idea that we are at some disadvantage ‘hairwise’ because of where we come from, its sad & annoying! Continuing to see your hair as a problem will hinder you from seeing the greatness each curl and kink possesses.
Instead of questioning whether your ‘African hair’ can grow, question your haircare practises. As I say time and time again, 9.9/10 your hair is growing, you just fail to see evidence of this because you aren’t doing anything to ensure you retain your length.
This week I happened to have this similar conversation with a lady that’s thinking of going natural. She also asked why her hair isn’t growing. I then pointed out the fact that she retouches her hair why? because of new-growth meaning indeed her hair is growing. So what’s the issue? …Length retention.
7 Ways to improve length retention:
- Moisturise & Seal! Ensuring your hair is moisturised & sealed will prevent your hair from being dry & brittle, in other words more susceptible to breakage
- Protect your ends! Your ends are your hair’s elders. What do you show the elders in your life? Generally more respect right? lol same with your ends. They are the oldest part of your hair and require more attention, patience and care. When you can, try out styles that require you to tuck away your ends e.g. buns, roll & tuck styles, updo’s…
- Low manipulation! Try incorporating hairstyles that require minimal manipulation. Constantly fiddling with your also can effect the length you retain.
- Use your hands more! When you can, avoid styling tools such as hard bore bristle brushes and combs. Try finger detangling your hair instead, especially as you’re most likely to be gentler with your hands. You can feel for knots and undo them carefully as opposed to combing through and yanking the knot apart, ripping your hair and most likely causing split ends
- Get a fresh trim & get rid of the dead broken ends! Contrary to popular believe trims do NOT make your hair grow but provide help created a healthier state for your hair to thrive in. Hanging on to split ends will cause the split to travel further and further up the hair shaft damaging more hair overtime.
- Keep the use of heat minimal! Step away from the blowdryer lol. When you can just let your hair airdry – braid it after a wash a take it out once it’s dry.
- Snap it! Without being crazy length obsessed & measuring your hair everyday, keep a record of your hair growth- take pictures. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see the progress our hair has made. However being able to compare pictures will show you just how much your hair is growing.
In addition be realistic, hair grows on average 4-6 inches a YEAR so don’t expect Rapunzel long hair in the space of a month. More importantly though…so don’t forget to enjoy your hair no matter what length it’s at – Appreciate each stage
P.s. My didn’t grow overnight, this is three years worth of growth: