Why won't my hair grow past a certain point?
Have you ever gotten your hair dyed, only for your roots to start showing a few weeks later, yet your hair doesn't seem to look any longer? What about going without a haircut for months, but your hair is still stuck at shoulder length? We understand how frustrating it can be if you're trying to grow your hair, but it just won't grow!
"Why doesn't my hair grow past a certain point," you may be asking? We're here to tell you why and what you can do to stimulate hair growth for Rapunzel-worthy hair.
Reasons why your hair may not be growing
Hair grows at an average rate of half an inch every month. That means the average person's hair grows about 6 inches every year. To put that in perspective, that's less than half the length of our standard 20" hair extensions. If your hair is not receiving the care it needs and is breaking off at the same rate as it is growing, it will stay the same length all year until you change your hair habits. Some habits that be contributing to brittle hair and breakage include:
Whether you’re getting your hair dyed, using relaxers, getting fresh highlights, or even an old-school perm, over-processing hair leads to major breakage. Exposing your hair to chemicals strips it of its natural oils, while synthetic dyes lift up the outer cuticle causing damage to the hair strands. To put it simply, a healthy hair cuticle lays flat making hair look smooth and shiny, while a lifted damaged cuticle causes hair to become dull, brittle, and frizzy. Ultimately, over-processing leads to split ends and breakage making it virtually impossible for hair to get past a certain length.
OVERUSE OF HOT TOOLS
Every time you hear the sizzle of a hot tool when it comes in contact with your hair just keep in mind the damage that you're causing to that beautiful head of yours and how it’s affecting your hair growth. If you’re trying to grow your hair out it’s important to keep it as strong and as healthy as possible. Hot tools only accelerate damage by essentially drying and frying your hair. Parched, brittle hair can only withstand so much styling before the split ends form and breakage begins. Give your hair a little vacation from any and all hot tools to help it regain its strength to help hair grow.
AGGRESSIVELY STYLING YOUR HAIR
How you handle your hair can greatly affect the quality of your mane and ultimately the ability for your hair to grow out. If you are too aggressive, using uncovered elastics or fighting with your curly or coarse hair, you may be contributing to the breakage.
We've all had to deal with split ends, which are literally ends of hair that have split in two, (sometimes even three) due to the hair not receiving enough nutrients to live a long and healthy life. As a result, the split in the hair goes up higher and higher, resulting in the ends breaking off. So, although your hair may be growing from the root, it is simultaneously breaking off from the bottom, making it seem like your hair is just stuck at a certain length.
Once split ends occur, it is not possible to undo them. The only thing you can do is cut those suckers off and prevent them in the future. Leaving split ends in your hair will just cause them to split further, leading to more hair breakage, and a vicious cycle of no hair growth.
To prevent split ends and hair breakage, avoid bleaching your hair or over-processing it, as it can lead to dry hair. Avoid towel-drying your hair harshly and let your hair air-dry instead. As well, brush your hair gently from bottom to top when detangling, and use proper fabric or silk covered hair elastics.
Sometimes, hair growth and health is just dependant on genetics. Everyone has a cycle of hair growth specific to them. Hair stops growing once a certain amount of time has passed, not once it reaches a certain length. Therefore, once the hair has reached the end of its growth cycle, it will no longer grow and will either break off, shed, or be cut off at the hairdresser. Each hair strand has its own growth cycle, which is why we typically have different lengths of hair strands throughout our heads. This cycle can last anywhere from two to six years, and no matter how well you treat your hair, it cannot be extended simply due to your DNA.
Just like your genetics, your age may also be the reason why your hair just won't grow. A lifetime of heat styling, processing, bleaching, dyeing, and a less than ideal diet may all contribute to your hair weakening as you get older. So, that six-year cycle we talked about now becomes a two-year cycle, making the hair thinner, as well as unable to grow past a certain point. In addition to this, as you get older, the scalp begins to produce less oil leading to coarser, dryer hair and hair that is more prone to split ends and breakage. To combat this, we recommend massaging your scalp every night to stimulate the hair follicles and blood flow, which in turns may lead to more growth.
As the old sayings go, "you are what you eat" and "beauty comes from within." Have you ever gone on a junk food binge only to get a pimple the next day right before a big date? How about that amazing glow your face takes on when you're well-hydrated? Your hair is the same way! A healthy, vitamin-rich diet means extra nourishment for your scalp, which leads to strong, long, beautiful hair.
Iron, Vitamin D, B-complex, and zinc is optimal for healthy hair. Iron can be found naturally in eggs, spinach, and chicken, while salmon, mushrooms, and natural sunshine are great, natural sources of Vitamin D. B-Complex includes biotin, niacin, and cobalamin, which all give the hair thickness and shine—avocados, legumes, eggs, and whole grains are a great source for these. Finally, load up on lamb, turkey, and pumpkin seeds for an extra dose of zinc.
A buildup of oil and products on the scalp
To help your hair grow you need to go straight to the root of the problem—literally! A healthy scalp equals healthy hair. We often forget to give our roots and scalp extra TLC because we are so focused on the ends, however, what many people don’t realize is that a buildup on the scalp can actually impede hair growth.
Whether it’s a buildup of products over the years or our body’s own production of sweat and oil, if the hair follicles are blocked, hair simply cannot grow and can even fall out. Be sure to check all of your styling products, if they have silicones, ditch them! Over time silicone-based ingredients build up on the hair, weighing it down, dulling its natural shine, and blocking hair growth. It’s totally normal for hair to fall out, but a blockage on your scalp will stop new hair from growing back in, leaving you with thinning patches of hair.
If you are experiencing an excess of buildup in your scalp, use a clarifying shampoo to wash away impurities and keep hair and scalp squeaky clean.
Poor Haircare Routine
Here's a scenario: you wash your hair with steaming hot water, quickly apply shampoo and conditioner, rinse it off and brush all the tangles out of your wet hair. You proceed to aggressively towel-dry your hair before blow-drying and straightening it. Sound familiar? Sure, because we've all done this. But, guess what? These are terrible habits that all contribute to your hair weakening, breaking, and thinning! Here are a few healthy hair tips to follow and incorporate into your hair routine.
BRUSH YOUR HAIR BEFORE WASHING
Brushing your hair when its wet and at its most vulnerable state leads to more breakage and split ends. Instead, brush your hair before showering to completely detangle it. Always start at the ends while gently and slowly working your way up.
TURN THE HEAT DOWN
Hot water dehydrates the hair, causing brittle strands that are prone to breakage and fall out. Instead, turn down the heat to medium, and give your hair a blast of cold water at the end of your shower to lock in moisture and maintain shine. It's not the most pleasant sensation, but trust us, it's worth it.
KEEP YOUR HAIR HYDRATED
When washing your hair, be sure to take the extra time to leave your conditioner in for a few minutes, focussing on the mid-shaft and ends. Or, apply a hair mask for at least 5-10 minutes. Hair masks pack a potent punch of vitality to the hair, and are an instant way to restore nutrients, moisture, and shine.
AVOID TOWEL DRYING YOUR HAIR
We're all guilty of wringing our hair into a towel-turban before harshly towel drying it. Instead, pat your hair dry and leave your hair to air dry.
PROTECT YOUR HAIR
Brush your hair once it is half dried, apply your favorite hair oil before styling to keep it soft and easy to manage. Soft hair is flexible and easy to work with, which overall makes it less prone to breakage when brushing, styling, or wearing a hair elastic. Be sure to apply a heat protectant if you must heat style your hair.
If all else fails...
Consult your doctor. At the end of the day, your hair may be shedding excessively, leading to less hair growth due to a medical condition like alopecia or an unhealthy scalp. Seeking professional help is always advised to be sure that you've covered all your bases.
Invest in some clip-in extensions! The solutions above are all long term solutions, and it could take a few months before you start to see some real results. So, for those of you who are impatient, hair extensions are an instant way to add length and volume to your hair while you grow out your own hair—after all, who doesn't want mermaid-long hair in under 5 minutes?
Have you ever experienced stunted hair growth? Let us know your favorite ways to overcome it!