March 2nd, 2019
Written by: Tracy George
As African women, our hair tends to be dry and fragile. This makes our hair more susceptible to breakage, which is the reason why it appears that our hair is not growing. Since our hair is tight and somewhat coily, it appears that the hair is growing at a slow pace. Today, we will be looking at essential tips to help you grow long natural hair and prevent hair breakage.
First, it is important you know that there are a number of factors that can influence how fast your hair can grow and some of these include your diet, your state of health, any medication you’re taking, hormonal influences, environmental influences and even your stress levels. Hair growth tends to slow down the older you get so age is also a consideration and of course your genetic blueprint plays a role too. Normal hair growth is therefore very difficult to define as it will vary considerably from person to person but on average, the hair on our head grows at a rate of around one centimetre a month.
All this said, there are some things you can do to maximize your hair growth potential and encourage it to grow faster but first it helps if you first have an understanding of the hair growth cycle and how the hair actually grows.
The Hair Growth Cycle
On average, the human head contains around 100,000 hairs, 90% of which are actively growing at any one time. This growth phase is known as ‘Anagen’ and is one of three stages in the hair growth cycle. It lasts anything from a couple of years to about six or even ten years in total before the hair enters the second stage, ‘Catagen’. This is where over the next few weeks the hair follicle is degraded and the hair stops growing. Finally, the hair enters into the resting phase or ‘Telogen’ which lasts for several months and during this part of the cycle it is perfectly normal to shed a certain amount of hair, which can be as much as 100 hairs a day.
If we want to give our hair the best chance to grow faster and healthier then we need to take full advantage of the growth phase of the cycle and make sure that we are doing everything we can to minimize hair follicle damage and maximize hair growth potential.
Here are a few tips on how you can grow your hair faster.
Healthy hair growth relies on a number of nutrients to feed the hair follicle so in the first instance, faster hair growth starts from the inside and with your diet. Any nutritional deficiencies in your diet will show up as dull, lifeless looking hair, poor hair growth, thinning of the hair and even hair loss so making sure you have a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential. Fruit and vegetables contain important antioxidants which can help protect the hair and promote faster hair growth.
Hair is composed of a protein known as Keratin so not surprisingly, a diet lacking in protein can hinder hair health and growth. Many people are still unaware of the importance of getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet, a lack of which will show up in the health of your hair. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish or fish oil supplements and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and so can alleviate any inflammation in the scalp and as they help the blood flow more efficiently they also help to nourish the scalp.
Your diet is important for hair growth. If you include these vitamins and minerals daily you will see faster hair growth.
Iron and Zinc help hair follicles to grow. Iron and/or zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss. Hair is primarily composed of keratin which is protein. You can get iron and protein from red meat, chicken and fish. You can also get iron from spinach and other leafy vegetables including kale. Oysters and pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc. If like me you are not getting enough zinc, you can take a zinc supplement.
Vitamin D helps activate hair growth. Salmon has vitamin D and protein. Salmon also has omega-3 fatty acids that provides the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. You also can get omega-3 fatty acids from avocados and flax seeds.
Biotin deficiency has been linked to hair loss and poor hair growth. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a great source of biotin. Other foods with biotin include brown rice, eggs, green peas, lentils and oats.
Vitamin A is essential for hair growth and a healthy scalp. Vitamin A makes sebum which is an oily substance that provides a conditioner for the scalp. Beta-carotene makes vitamin A which is found in vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and broccoli.
Vitamin E will enhance blood flow to the scalp and promote faster hair growth. Sunflower seeds and nuts provide you with vitamin E.
Drinking water is important in keeping your hair hydrated. Water flushes out toxins and helps in getting more nutrition to the hair follicles. Your hair will become dry and brittle without an adequate amount of water. Water provides the necessary nutrients to the hair cells.
Try to massage the scalp on a daily basis. Massage helps to stimulate the circulation of blood to the hair follicle and removes dead skin and helps to unclog pores all of which allow the hair to grow more freely. A good time to do massage your scalp is when washing your hair.
What to avoid
Exercise is an important factor for hair growth. Sweating from exercising helps unclog hair follicles, providing space for hair to grow. Exercising also increases blood flow to the scalp which delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots. This helps to promote hair growth.
The number one hair problem African Americans have is length retention. Deep conditioning restores and maintains the strength of the hair strand. Deep conditioning improves elasticity, restores moisture, and makes your hair softer and more manageable. Adding heat to the deep conditioner helps to penetrate the conditioner in the strands better. Pay special attention to the ends which needs the most conditioner. Do a deep conditioner once a week for 15-20 minutes.
Protective and low-manipulation hairstyles
Protective and low-manipulation hairstyles protect your hair from environmental damage and damage from yourself. Examples of protective hairstyles include braids, weaves, and wigs. Low manipulation hairstyles include twist, braid-outs and buns. Protective and low-manipulation hairstyles help to prevent damage to your ends, it gives your hair a break from heat and styling and provides your hair with the opportunity to grow.
As Africans, our hair is dry and fragile. This makes our hair more susceptible to breakage, which is the reason why it appears that our hair is not growing. It is important to moisturize your hair daily to seal in moisture. Moisturizing does not make hair grow faster but it does help retain the length of the hair.
Go natural, don’t use chemicals
Relaxed hair is weaker than natural hair. Lye relaxers are made up of Sodium Hydroxide, a strong chemical also used in drain cleaners. No-Lye relaxers are made up of Guanidine Hydroxide. Relaxers are able to straighten kinky hair because they break the bonds that actually give strength to the hair. Relaxers ultimately lead to brittleness, breakage, and even alopecia. The relaxer cream breaks down the chemical bonds of the hair shaft, disrupting the elliptical shape. The chemicals in relaxers dry out the hair and damage the ends of the hair. Relaxers promote split ends and stunt hair growth. Join the natural hair movement and go natural.
If you use these tips, not only will you see faster hair growth, but you also will have glowing skin and strong nails.
The best way to encourage faster hair growth is to adopt a two-fold approach. First, make sure everything is right on the inside by eating a healthy and balanced diet and the second is to try to eliminate most or all the factors that can damage your hair or scalp and slow down the growth rate. Together this will give your hair the best opportunity to grow to its full potential, not only faster but healthier too.
Tracy George is a makeup artist, an expert in the beauty and fashion industry and a contributor here at 5-star Academy. Get useful tips on how to grow your hair super fast and invaluable info on how to stay EVER beautiful and attractive. Click the button below and she’ll send you the tips via messenger.
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