So… I was watching a natural hair video a few days ago, and the naturalista stated that a common problem that we face as women with afro-textured hair is stagnant hair after a certain length. Now we know that our hair is constantly growing unless there is an internal condition that affects our hair, so it all boils down to length retention in the end for many of us. Many talk about our hair having a terminal length (which I do not believe in btw), but there are many factors that tie into hair growth and length retention. In this post I want to talk about the issue of length retention, and list 4 possible reasons why we might have trouble retaining length.
What is length retention?
Length retention refers to the ability to successfully hold unto and maintain the hair that is growing from our scalps. The end of our hair is the oldest part of the strand, and of course the most fragile therefore it’s imperative that we implement hair care practices that preserve the strands to be able to see the fruits of our labor. Now, of course there will be necessitated trims and grooming due to wear and tear in our curls, but in order to retain as much length as possible we have to eliminate excessive manipulation and increase moisture/protein treatments.
4 Reasons Why You Stopped Retaining Length
There are many factors that can contribute to our hair not reaching the length that we want, but I want to talk about these 4 factors that are extremely important to length retention. Let’s get to it!
- Not enough Protein treatments
Many blogs and videos, including this one, will tell you that a healthy amount of protein for our afro textured hair is a treatment every 4-6 week (of course depending on the state of your hair), but one of the main reasons why we do not grow our hair to longer lengths is because our hair is weak. The longer the hair sticks around the more abuse it endures due to combing, washing, and styling thus indicative of why we have split ends and why the ends of our hair needs trimming from time to time. This also means that the longer our hair gets the more protein treatment it requires. This of course is dependent on how much you comb, manipulate, heat style, and style your hair.
I had an episode a few months ago where I kind of slacked off my protein treatments, and my hair suffered for it. I was having more breakage, and at the time I was indeed retaining less length than before. I realized that my hair had gotten weaker, and I had to step up my protein game. But like I said how much protein your hair needs is based on your hair care practices like how often you use heat, comb, or style your hair.
2. You Stopped Protective Styling
When I started my natural hair Journey I protective styled pretty much 90% of the time which worked for me since I was pretty busy. But starting January of this year I decided to wear my hair out a little more, and I did notice that I was experiencing so much single strand knots that were causing tangles which I ultimately caused more trimming. I wasn’t retaining as much length because I had my hair out more and I was getting so much more tangles than usual. You don’t have to protective style all the time but know that one reason that you may not be retaining length is because you’re not giving your hair the break that it needs sometimes.
More Articles about Protective Styling:
- How to prepare your hair for a long term protective style
- Can I grow my hair without protective styles?
- Protective styles for Natural hair
3. Your Hair is Always Dry
Dry hair =Breakage! Breakage = less length retention! It is very important to maintain moisture in our hair. Although moisture doesn’t always mean only using water based products on our curls. It also means hydrating the hair using just water(misting), drinking plenty of water (moisture from the inside out), and wetting the hair by washing/co-washing often. Moisture is very crucial to holding on to our precious curls, so amp up your deep conditioning and moisture treatments today.
4. You Stretch Your Hair Too Often
Stretching our hair allows us to enjoy a blown out look and show off our full length to the world, but doing it too frequently slowly wears the hair away resulting in stagnant hair or hair loss. When you think about it, stretching the hair elongates the strands and temporarily suspends the chemical bonds and elasticity within the hair rendering the strands weak and more susceptible to breakage. If you take an elastic band and stretch it out fully it become more susceptible to breaking than if it was in its relaxed state. It’s similar for our hair! If you plan on stretching your hair I would recommend that your hair is healthy and moisturized. Also I would recommend not doing it too often as this can result in increased breakage.
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