Why your hair is not growing to full length?
Photo by Guilherme Almeida from Pexels
Written by Sumayyah Namusabi
Although full length doesn’t necessarily mean your hair is long enough to sweep the floor, it just means the longest length your hair strands can grow had you held on to a healthier hair care routine.
Your hair growth can stagnate or slow down because of various conditions it goes through. On top of that, we have the normal hair loss or shedding where 50-100 hairs are lost every day on average. So, yeah! hair needs a little attention.
Here is a few conditions that just might be stunting your hair growth or promoting hair loss;
- Diet: What are you eating?
- Heat styling.
- Relaxers (On curly and coily hair)
- Poor hair routine
What are you eating?
Just like the rest of the body, a nutritious diet is very essential to your hair growth.
Foods rich in vitamins play a big role in hair growth. With vitamin A aiding the scalp to make an oily substance called sebum for moisturization keeping hair healthy (sources include lamb/ beef liver, sweet potatoes, mango, hard-boiled egg, spinach...), B-vitamins e.g. biotin stimulating hair growth (studies show biotin deficiency can lead to thinning of the hair.) and others mostly helping in the creation of red blood cells that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles hence growth (sources include almonds, meat, fish, seafood and dark, leafy greens.), vitamin D also aiding in the growth of new hair follicles (Your body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun’s rays. Other sources include fatty fish, cod liver oil, mushroom...), vitamin C used in the making of collagen preventing hair f rom aging. (sources include peppers, citrus fruits and strawberries.) and finally vitamin E antioxidant preventing oxidative stress therefore boosting hair growth. (sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados.).
Food is the best source of the vitamins you need for hair growth. However, if you fail to get enough in your diet, you can resort to supplements.
A lack of iron can also be major cause of hair loss, mostly in women. Sources of iron include oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach and lentils.
Zinc too can improve hair growth in people who lack it. Some sources include oysters and pumpkin.
Excessive heat styling overtime can cause a lot of damage to your hair including over-dryness and hair breakage to a point of you wanting to cut it.
Well just before you think of cutting your hair, put down the scissors and try out hair masks and deep-conditioning treatments rich in oils (argan oil, shea butter...etc.) for healing dryness. For breakage and split ends, focus on restoring the hair’s natural proteins by using leave-in protein treatments and conditioning sprays rich in keratin to soothe broken bonds in hair follicles. For curly hair, shampoo once in a while as shampoo gets rid of hair natural oils.
Now that your hair has bounced back hopefully. You are wiser and you know better. Use these techniques to ease heat damage;
- Air dry whenever possible.
- Use heat protectors before heat styling. Although heat protectors cannot completely protect your hair 100%, they reduce the amount of damage caused by heat styling.
- Turn the heat down a notch (150-200 degrees Celsius)
- Keep a 5-inch distance when using a blow dryer from your hair
As you already now, Color is the spice of life and you can bring it to your hair with bleaches and hair dyes. Unfortunately, bleaching agents can be hard on your strands as they tear them apart to remove color. This can result into your hair getting dry and frizzy therefore prone to breakage. However, by taking the proper steps, you can restore your hair’s hydration and strength.
- Use oils (argan oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil) to repair and lock in moisture.
- Use moisturizing leave-in conditioners
- Don’t heat style right away
- Trim off split ends (at least 2 inches off)
Relaxers (On curly and coily hair)
These are a strong mixture of chemicals used on coily and curly hair for straightening. The results are always amazing but the hair's proteins are degraded in the process leading to hair dryness, brittleness, breakage, thinning and sometimes scalp irritation due to chemical burns. The following steps can ease these effects;
- Don’t ever use relaxers on freshly washed hair because your natural oils help prevent excess chemical damage to your hair and scalp.
- Applying a protective base (e.g. Vaseline) to the scalp to avoid relaxers’ contact with skin
- When doing a re-touch (roots should be re-touched every 8 to 10 weeks) apply relaxers mostly on hair that hasn’t been straightened (‘growth’).
- Follow manufacturer's usage instructions.
- After using relaxers, wash with a neutralizing shampoo and follow it with a moisturizing treatment to restore hair hydration.
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Poor hair care routine
Life is boring without routines. A heathy hair care routine might just get your hair the full length it ought to have.
Here are some of them;
- Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize religiously: Always use a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing and let it sit in for a few extra minutes or a hair mask for at least 7 to 10 minutes to lock in moisture.
- Use sulfate-free shampoos
- Make air drying a priority to reduce heat damage
- Throw in more hair growth foods in your diet and drink your water.
- Buy products that target your hair troubles (e.g. dandruff, dry and oily hair.).
- Don’t use a towel for drying as wet hair is more vulnerable to breakage.
- Detangle before washing so you don't have to comb too much when it is wet.
- trim off ends once in a while (every 2-3 months) to maintain healthy hair.
- Use a satin pillow case or head scarf to keep your hair-styles longer.
Unless you are balding due to genetics, in which case, hair loss might not be preventable, you can improve hair growth to full length by adding the above tips to your hair care routine
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