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Thursday, 4 November 2010

True Or False? Black Women Can't Grow Long Hair

Author:   Cherie King

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The answer is FALSE!
But many people feel that Black women can't grow hair past their shoulders. A good friend of mine even told me that her own mother insisted that her hair "just doesn't grow!" But when she stopped chemically altering her hair, it grew longer than she's ever experienced.
It is SO widely believed that our hair doesn't (some go as far as to say CAN'T) grow long that someone I know personally actually considers hair that stops right at the back of the neck to be...long!
Wow!! LOL!
During the days when I used to do hair on a professional level, a few of my female clients would say to me something along the lines of, "Cherie, my hair just doesn't grow!" and I would reply to them with, "Oh yes it does! If your hair wasn't growing then you wouldn't need to come see me every 4-6 weeks for a touch-up!"
And then I'd go on to explain that as fast as their hair was growing at the roots, it was also breaking off on the ends from all of the combing, styling, hot tools, etc.
The truth of the matter is...our hair DOES and CAN grow and grow long. I've seen women (who didn't have locs...some even relaxed) with hair down their backs but sadly, it is a rarity. It is SUCH a common belief that our hair doesn't grow long that anytime a woman does have hair longer than to her shoulder blades, the question of her race (what's she mixed with) and/or whether or not the hair is "all hers" is raised.
But unfortunately many Black women will never get to know what it's like to have hair that is longer than where the nape of their neck ("kitchen") is or beyond the shoulder blades and for most of my life, that was my story.
I'd get my hair relaxed and then it was like a vicious cycle...it would grow and get about right to the shoulder blade area and then all of a sudden, out-of-the-blue and without warning, my hair would seemingly STOP growing and start breaking off on the ends something awful! I could never get past that threshold for some odd reason. But in all actuality, I came to realize that my reasons were not all that "odd" after all.
So what are some factors in lack of visible length and/or hair growth?
  1. Chemicals
  2. Medications
  3. Poor Diet
  4. Stress
  5. Excessive Combing/Styling
  6. Excessive Use of Heating Implements
  7. Styles Done Too Tightly
  8. Hormonal Imbalances
There are others I'm sure. During the time I was relaxing my hair, MY biggest culprits were the chemicals, styling, heat and I believe also, poor diet.
But eventually, I ended up with hair down to my waist!
Now how many women of African descent really experience that level of length with their hair without some... AHEM... assistance - if you know what I mean?
And again, it's NOT because our hair doesn't or can't grow... but it's usually because of other factors... things we do or don't do. If you are a woman of color who desires hair that grows long but until now you haven't been able to achieve that, take a look at the aforementioned list of culprits and check off any of the ones that you think or feel may be affecting your hair.
Once you've identified YOUR culprit(s) make the necessary changes where and when possible, such as changing a poor diet to a healthier one, if you're using chemicals on your hair consider no longer using them or using them less frequently, etc. Some things may be out of your control such as any medications you may be taking that have side effects of hair loss.
But what you can control and change... change!

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