I came across this caption on pinterest. It was right underneath an image of stretched bum length 4c natural hair. Oh this was not my first time of coming across a version of this caption where full, long natural hair was the object for the ogling. In very recent times, I have become very fond of browsing through images of natural hair – my insta feed is proof. Of the hair images that I come across, I find that I am particularly drawn to the look-how-much-my-hair-has-grown-in-just-3-months cohort. Why? Perhaps because I cannot entirely relate. Which brings me to why I am here today.
There seems to be a widespread conviction that as long as your hair is healthy, it will continue to grow, grow, grow and grow, lengthwise especially. And so if your hair is not growing, say after 3 years of visible growth, then well you must be doing something wrong, right? I am here to say that I disagree strongly. And yes I have growing resentment for images of flourishing, enviable hair that preach the if-you-love-it-it-will-grow gospel.
Shall we bring in a little Biology into this matter? Sadie and Kanmi were born on the same day, in the same hour, of the same parents. Sadie and Kanmi have had the same meals, played in the same environments, and visited the same physicians since they were born. It is Sadie’s wedding in a few months and she is trying to convince her maid of honour, Kanmi, to wear smaller heeled shoes because “she is already giant adjacent”. Lol see the digression! But, stay with me. Do you see the picture I am trying to paint? Ok let’s go closer to home i.e. the topic we are discussing. We like Sadie and Kanmi already and so we shall stick with them. Now Sadie and Kanmi decided at the age of 18 to both go natural. Sadie and Kanmi walk into the babershop at the same moment and big chop simultaneously. Heck, like a rehearsed musical, both barbers switch off their equipment and dust off the girls en meme temps! Now because our favorite twins are so close, wash days, protective styles, every aspect of hair TLC happens together. Yet, at said wedding, Sadie’s puff can very well make up for the height difference between them, while Kanmi’s puff looks like she had her big chop 9 months before.
Do we see my point yet?
The equation is not as simple as if A, then B, when C, D, E, and Z are fighting to have influence as well. One of my girls could not be more neglectful of her hair. Sometimes, I believe the only reason she makes the little effort she does into pampering it is because she is afraid to lose her length. She is the only person I know, personally, with back length relaxed hair. It is oh so beautiful. And then you have me, with my weekly and daily rituals; with regimens that have now become second nature, still struggling after 2 years of nurturing to create a decent puff. Yes, it is paining me. Do I think my hair is healthy? Honestly, I do. I really really do. I have found what works for me and I am being religious about it and I can see that my hair looks healthy. But is it growing? Hmmm. If it is, then it is growing in snail years cos I ain’t see nothing. Now, my hair right now is longer than it was when I was relaxed. However, I belong to the school that believes in peak length i.e. your hair length stops increasing after a certain length. If my genes missed out on the long hair juice when it was being shared, my keeping my hair healthy is not going to suddenly override that to give me back length hair a la pinterest girl. Yes, I’m still jealous of that picture.
I can keep ranting but I think that you get the point I am trying to get across. Do I get hair envy when I log onto social media and see these beautiful, full and high halos in my face? Oh yes, yes, I do. Am I still in the process of accepting that my hair will never look like my nazuri curls fro? I am! (Seriously, guys. I am internalizing my nazuri wig so much that I might pineapple it one night, satin bonnet it and go to bed with it like it is growing from my scalp!) But I am learning in this journey that it is the health of my kinky strands, the health of my scalp, the health of the cluster of dark cotton-like balls that crowns my head that matters the most. And I need to accept it and love it for what it is. I don’t believe that if you love it, it will always grow but I firmly believe that if you love it, it will definitely glow.
So beauts, what do you think? Are you a believer in the “healthy hair will grow” mantra? What has been your personal experience?
21 thoughts on “Healthy Hair Will Grow!”
This is exactly what I have been saying to some of my friends.
All this “if you love it, it will grow” is causing people to feel bad about themselves, their efforts and most destructively, their beautiful hair.
My friend and I went natural at the same time and my hair has grown longer and thicker than hers so she’s always making excuses as to why hers isn’t the same but it bothers me that she feels the need to defend her hair growth when no one is attacking it!
Looking at the images you’re referring to used to make me sad initially as I wondered if my hair would ever get that long. But like you, I’m now more bothered about health than length and loving it at every stage.
Thank you for highlighting this issue. x
well ATM I am going through a similar phase and I tell you it is borderline tiring. Anyway, I totally agree with your mantra that healthy hair equates glow and I think that will be my focus for now. Thanks.
I feel the same way too, though i am just 13 months natural, my edges keeps growing and then disappearing,the middle of my hair is way longer than the front and back. 😐
Are losing edges because of protective styling, do you think?
Maybe that or my edges are just too fragile.. I have decided to be my own stylist , protective styling and all so I can keep my edges intact.
@skinnybrownie – it could be a variety of things for me its the instant weaves and constantly rubbing it. I hope this info helps you 🙂
Sigh! I can so relate. In fact when I came across your blog? That’s when I became alarmed at my length. I went natural in 2012. My hair is very thick and coarse and low porosity. You know? The works. Anyway, in all these long three years ehn? The hair has not grown long enough to pack into one decent puff! I ogle at those photos o. Even dream of them sometimes. Lol. I finally concluded that anyone who’s hair is longer than mine must be on drugs! Yep. Deep sigh. That’s where I am o. Look at me. O. Help. Is it that my hair isn’t healthy or is it my genes. I had shoulder length hair as relaxed…dont know mehn.
‘lI finally concluded
that anyone who’s hair is longer
than mine must be on drugs!’l
Lmao.. You just got me rolling on the floor 😀
If you had shoulder length hair as relaxed then bae your hair’s supposed to be longer. Have you stretched your hair before? You know the kind of shrinkage some people have is just mind blowing. Try stretching your mane 😀 your hair is definitly growing.
Have you straightened your hair since you went natural?
I believe in our genes having the determinant factor at the end of the day. I think the love it & it will grow mantra only shows the full potential of our hair.
I really Agree wt ur points, All fingers ‘r not equal so therefore everybody’s genes is way different, you just have to appreciate what u’ve and be real with it,
Hmm,this is deep.I’d like to say there isn’t anything like healthy hair or something like that,hair is primarily dead,if injured will not heal and can only be helped with products and technique to look better.That being said a lot of things come into play,most importantly genetics,people grow hair at different rates,that is just life.Properties of hair is different,there are reasons why people with loose wavy or curly hair will seem to have longer tresses than our kinky haired sistas,that’s too long to go into here.,things like strands size,easy wear and tear of the strands come into play.In a nutshell,I believe that we are too varied at least on the topic of hair,growing it across all spectrums available to just throw out ” if you love it it will grow”,”healthy hair will grow” and such.So I have to support you ,when it comes to this hair thingy,there is so much info out there,a lot misleading despite good intentions,so i just say do YOU.
sorry for the long comment.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s not too long… Lol
And it’s enlightening ☺
When i first discovered the natural hair Community last year I wanted to try everything I read about or any product someone claimed was holy grail.
After a while I learnt to slow down and get to know my hair.
Well said! Personally, i noticed that my hair doesn’t grow at an average rate of 6″ per year -mine is 4″ (even less in some areas). It’s really important to know and understand your hair. Like you said, do YOU.
I honestly have thought about this but I hope to God that’s not true. I want longer hair! And seeing as I’ve most of my edges I’m wary of any type of extensions touching my head. My hair is about apl but it’s been that way for a while without moving. Not sure if I’ve just not been gentle or it has finally reached its peak. I just installed a protective style so if when I loosen it, it’s still the same length I can relax and stop trying.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I agree so much with this post in terms of using other people’s hair to place expectations of length and thickness on our own hair. I have been guilty of this the past 3 years of my natural hair journey until I came to accept the truth. I have fine natural hair. My hair, though just past APL, is never going to be described as thick and lush. My detangling process is never going to end with the comb sliding through my tresses snag free no matter how much DC I use. My wash and go will always be a little sparse and I don’t think I’ll ever have YouTube hair that you style without a single super fragile strands. It is what it is.
Interesting writeup! I’m firmly in the “if you love it, it will grow” and my experience has cemented my stance on this.
My question is “by what yardstick are you using to measure growth? ” By the growth rate of others or by your own growth rate?
I personally have the slow hair growing genes (relative to the average). If I shave, it takes a month for new hair to peep through. Some peeps need to shave every two weeks….
Yet my hair was longer than my sister’s who has a faster growth rate than mine (judging from the time it takes to grow out shaven hair).
The loving your hair part is working with what you’ve got and the many factors affecting the growth rate of YOUR own hair.
1. Your hair may be lighter and more prone to breakage than others.
2. Your hair may be more porous and more prone to dryness
3. Your hair may be tightly coiled and requires more patient handling. It may also look shorter than those with looser coils.
4. Your hair may be less dense so your afro puff would look smaller and shorter than those with denser hair.
I have learnt unlike what everyone agrees that protective styles with extensions aren’t really good for my hair. It breaks it more.
Yet there are many naturals that swear by marley braids, crochet braids and what not as a way of loving their hair so much it grew.
Point is why there’s an average standard for what length your hair should be at a particular period, there’s also an individual standard. What length YOUR hair should be at IT’S own period of time.
Hope this helps someone not to give up the love just because it seems your hair isn’t catching up with others.
This post is interesting. I believe that Good Haircare = Healthy Hair = Length Retention. The only factor is Growth Rate/ Time. Super fine strands, kinky strands, high po, low density, etc, and other challenging hair properties all have the same hair growth potential; the only difference is the time it will take to grow out to the desired length.
All I can say is love yourself,your hair and just DO YOU like my sis said.
Preach. PREACH. It’s so sad to see beautiful women with healthy hair fall prey to the why-can’t-I-look-like-HER phenomenon. Our bodies are shaped differently. So is our hair. Thanks for this post!
Yes, not everybody will be able to grow hair to the floor, but every body is capable of having long hair, unless you have a medical condition or anything. One, your hair practices have to be on point and constantly finetuned to your hair. Two, you have to actually know your hair. Fine 4c hair will not take what Thick 4c hair can, and needs to be treated different. Your porosity is also key. Three, most ladies do not effectively stretch their hair. Braiding & Twisting every night will not give a full stretch. IMO, only blowdrying or African threading can. Stretching prevents tangles and knots & shows off your length. Those pictures of girls with bum length are usually done after straightening or a blow-out.