There is so much bad information circulating about black hair growth. I want to start by addressing the myth that black hair doesn’t grow.
First of all, if that was the case people wouldn’t need relaxers every two months. So yes, our hair does grow, and it can even grow long.
The problem is many people have trouble retaining length (breakage) — which is a big difference from not growing.
I’ll talk about length retention later, but let’s go back to growing black hair.
Genetics Play a Huge Role
Everyone is always searching for that miracle product that will give them the long tresses they’ve always desired. But the truth is hair growth is largely determined by genetics.
Look at the women in your family and see if you notice any kind of length pattern.
Some people simply have genes that help their hair grow faster and longer than others. That’s definitely the case in my family.
Many women on both my mom and dad’s side have longer hair, and my hair has always grown at a pretty good rate.
Now, don’t get discouraged. Genetics aren’t the end all be all. It’s just something to keep in mind when you’re comparing your hair to someone else’s.
Hair Growth Products
Most products have very little impact on hair growth. Now unless you’re talking about a prescription product like Rogaine (for thinning and balding), most products do very little. A lot of what you see is just marketing.
Now, of course everyone has an optimal growth rate, which can be inhibited by things like diet, stress, etc. and promoted by vitamins, exercise, and eating healthy. I discuss all that here.
However, there are very few products that will make your hair grow faster than your optimal rate — which varies from person to person.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy for thinning hair, try rubbing a small amount of castor oil into your scalp every night before bed. Castor oil is known to have a positive effect on thinning hair and is also used to thicken eyebrows.
Keep in mind, though that if your hair is thinning from over-processing with a relaxer or traction alopecia (wearing braids too tight), rubbing castor oil is not going to help unless you stop what’s causing the problem.
Here are more remedies for thinning hair.
Hair Texture & Pattern *Does* Matter
If your hair is super kinky (meaning your strands have a lot of bends/turns, draws up and tangles easily), then it can be more difficult to grow your hair longer.
This DOES NOT mean long hair is unattainable. It just means that it may require more attention than someone with a looser pattern.
Because when your hair is very kinky, oils from your scalp do not travel down the strands as easily. As a result, your hair may be dry, more brittle and prone to breakage.
Don’t get discouraged. At least you now understand why you have trouble retaining length.
So the key is taking extra time to ensure your hair is properly moisturized and wearing a lot more protective or low-manipulation styles (rod sets, straw sets, etc).
I don’t want to create unnecessary division by mentioning hair texture because I know this is often a touchy subject in our community.
However, I felt it necessary to bring up here because like it or hate it, your hair’s texture and curl pattern definitely play a role in length retention because it affects your hair’s natural moisture level.
Hair that retains moisture, has more elasticity, breaks less and retains more length. Dry hair is more brittle, breaks off easily and prevents you from retaining length.
There’s a myth that kinky hair is stronger because it’s more course, but it’s actually the exact opposite. Kinky hair is more fragile than naturally straight or curly hair because of the moisture issues mentioned above.
So it’s not about trying to alter your texture or feeling discouraged because you don’t have a certain hair type. It’s about understanding your hair, embracing it and giving it what it needs so you can have the length you desire.
Food & Vitamins Also Strengthen Hair
What you eat can help your hair grow at its optimal rate, also make your hair stronger and prevent breakage so you maintain and gain length.
I was experiencing some brittleness and couldn’t figure out what was going on. In fact, I had to cut a few inches because the breakage was starting to become noticeable.
Turns out I was not getting enough nutrition. I have a bad habit of eating a lot of bad carbs/sugars, etc. and not enough fruits and vegetables. Well, that was starting to affect my hair.
So I purchased a NutriBullet and began packing my body with vitamins and nutrients by drinking a “Nutriblast” (a smoothie made with fruits and veggies) 2-3 times a day.
I also stopped eating so poorly, and after a few days I immediately noticed a difference in the strength of my hair when combing it. The brittleness stopped immediately.
Don’t forget how food affects your hair strength and optimal growth rate.
Protective styling does not help your hair grow any faster, but it helps you retain more length because you are not constantly manipulating your hair.
The ends of your hair are the most fragile because they are the oldest part. So after all the combing, detangling, blow drying, and flat ironing, it’s very easy for your ends to become damaged.
And if you don’t get your ends trimmed regularly, they will break off. So in order to keep your ends healthy, you have to continue to trim.
Check out my favorite shampoo and nighttime routine for healthy ends.
The average person’s hair grows 1/2 inch per month, so if you are losing that amount or more due to breakage then it will appear as if your hair is not growing.
Protective styles like braids, twists, up dos or any style that tucks away your ends and doesn’t require manipulation can help you retain more length.
Also, natural hair is prone to snagging on clothing (especially wool) which can cause breakage and split ends, so keep that in mind during those cold months.
Here is an example of a protective style I wore while I transitioned to natural hair.
Also remember that just because your hair is in a protective style (yes, extensions count too), don’t neglect to moisturize it. Because when you take it down, you will have a lot more breakage due to the fact your hair has dried out.
Massaging your scalp for 20-30 minutes per day is a great habit to get into. It increases blood flow to the scalp area and can stimulate growth.
This may be especially helpful if you have thinning edges from relaxers or weaves. If your hair is not permanently damaged, this could help your hair grow back.
If you cannot sit and do the scalp massage all at once, do it several times per day in smaller intervals.
Natural Hair vs. Relaxed Hair Growth
I’ve also heard a lot of women claim natural hair grows faster than relaxed hair. This is not really true.
Unless you have some kind of chemical damage from relaxers, your hair will grow at the same rate no matter if it’s relaxed or natural. The reason why natural hair seems to grow longer is that a lot of naturals retain more length.
Below is a picture of my hair 27 months after I started my natural hair journey. This is the longest my hair has ever been.
And the length is not just about being natural (of course that helps ’cause my hair is stronger), but not using heat and wearing a lot of low-manipulation styles play a huge role in my length retention.
You can also see how much natural hair shrinks up. My hair is about 50% longer than it appears. That’s just something you have to deal with when you are natural.
Got Thinning Edges?
Here are some tips to help your edges grow back.
What About The Length Plateau?
Almost every natural experiences a time when it seems the hair stops growing.
The reason this happens is your ends get older as your hair grows, and they break more easily. As a result, you never seem to get past that length plateau.
Find out what the source of my plateau was. You may have the same issue.
So I hope this article dispelled a few myths and shed some light on black hair growth. While protective styles, diet and exercise can definitely play a role in your individual optimal hair growth rate, don’t underestimate the genetic factor.
This is not to say you cannot have long hair if you don’t have “the genes”, but it may require more patience and discipline (minimizing heat, eating healthy, constant moisture etc.) to achieve the length you desire.
More Tips for Black Hair Growth
If you need more direct assistance with growing your hair longer and healthier, you might want to check out the book Grow it Long.
It’s a 96-page book (downloadable, PDF format) with tips on how to grow longer, healthier hair by using a more effective hair care routine.
I already knew a lot of the information in the book, but my favorite part was the homemade recipes for scalp cleansing and conditioning.
I love making my own products and will definitely be trying the brown sugar scrub soon!
The author, Donna Hanover, also does a great job of explaining the different kinds of conditioners available on the market and when to use them.
If you’ve struggled with growing hair all your life, this is definitely going to be the book for you. This is the kind of information our community needs and I was happy to support Donna. You can get Grow it Long here and download it today.
EDET RUTH OKON says
Hi Lisa,my name is Ruth I’ve been growing natural hair for the past three years, but my hair is not getting long. So what can I use to make my natural hair to grow better.
do twist make your hair grow how do twist turn into dreads
Freddy Cooper says
Mam your genetics has nothing to do with how long your hair grows ive had clients with families of families with horrible maintanence skills and back biting women who didnt want to help eachother and that was the only thing playing against them . Your advice is encouraged but please for Goodness sakew . GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!
Your genetics does play a minute role in your hair growth, as the writer mentioned earlier you rude,blind dumbass
O'Kasi Gordon says
Thanks for sharing these Natural Hair tips. I research all the time.. but it’s hard to tell which are facts or simple just opinions. I will continue to tryout your tips.. I’m hoping this works I could really use a boost of confidence.
Thank you!, again
Good evening Lisa. Have cut off my hair since February due to breakage in front of my hair it makes me look like man but since that February my hair didn’t grow well have use hair wonder but nothing show. Even am using plaiting rubber to plait it still is not growing well, what can I do. Please I need reply. Thanks
BRIDGETTE ALEXANDER says
I shampoo my hair every 2weeks and put lard on my hair and pressed it and my hair getting dry in almost in a week in a half and it feels like its breaking off. Please help I need advice.
TRY TO NOT WASH IT FOR ABOUT THREE WEEKS IT WILL BECOME STRONGER THEN YOU CAN START TO WASH IT AGAIN BUT FOR ONE IN 2 WEEKS
I found a great hair oil for my natural hair. My hair was so dry and brittle- I mean hard! This oil is called the Beautiful oil of Faith . I bought it on Etsy. It saved my hair!!
I am a 69 years old and trying to transition to natural hair. right now my problem is a greenish tint on my hair, which is down right ugly. how do I get rid of the tint permanently and continue with the transitioning. I used a black rinse on my hair a few weeks ago. now when I use the shea shampoo, conditioner or butter my hair look white a. I don’t think the strands are accepting the treatments. HELP. I want the transitioning to work and not perm any more.
simone caston says
hello, the greenish tint may be due to to the base color that is in the semi permanent and/or permanent black hair color that you are using.
Hello Lisa, the reason that your hair is green is because you had a relaxer in your hair and your hair gray and more of my clients that has gray after putting the relaxer in the hair it turns green ,but this is a very easy fix for you that you can pick up at sally’s ,the name is called BANTU ,and it will definitely remove the green color and any yellowing from your hair,please don’t continue to use any color on your for a while Good Luck
Hello I really need help for my hair. Since I shaved ,its like it isn’t growing. And its very dry. Pls could you recommend what I can buy in the market and use?( pls specifically local stuff like shea butter, coconut oil etc)
Also a regime i could follow. I’ll be so glad if what you tell me works
Will olive oil be good for my hair.and is it good for me not to plait my hair regularly also what vitamins can i take apart from fruits are vegetables fine? and do you have a remedy that i can mix together to make my hair grow longer is it fine if i blow dry my hair a lot.Thank you
This really helped because when i was younger my hair was longer than my hair now until i relaxed then it started breaking and getting shorter but now i have gone fully natural my hair has been the same length for the past two years. Now i know how to take care of my hair.Thanks
hi lisa i stopped relaking my hair for since this year began because i want to start keeping a natural hair i don’t know if it is ok and won’t cause breakage .Thanks
I want to start taking care of my natural hair and would like to know products to buy and when/how to use them. Please can you help me with guidelines.
I went natural after l lost my front hairline in sept last year..I been using organic shampoo and conditioner,Olive moisturiser and Olive hair food.I normally go2 work in wigs and plait my natural hair with wool.I also treat my hair with home made treatment every 2weeks after a wash.Its been breakin a lot wen l comb it.with conditiner.after 2weeks.Do yu think its normal.Pliz help thanx
I would moisturize/treat your hair more often than every two weeks. Even though you are wearing wigs and aren’t manipulating your hair, it still gets dry so when you shampoo it causes it to break. So I would try moisturizing your hair every 3-4 days.
i hsve been using olive oil for some weeks now. Will it help grow my african hair?
ruth orogun says
Hi Lisa i think i need help with my hair i have stop relaxing my hair about a year ago now truth being told i did not take goog care of my hair even though i buy everything in the market i still can not make it grow please help me to have a health hair it is very bad now it dry and breaks my friend just told me that my hair is 4c .
Try hairfinity vitamins and argan oil hair mask once a week. Also I see my stylist once every ten days; use no heat in your hair….. you should see growth and health over 12 months Stick with regimen it will be worth it!!
Bridgette Alexander says
How can i grow my childhood hair back longer / because my ex boyfriend cut my hair and i believe he use it for some kind of spell, also i hear lard is good for your hair and is it ok to use lard on my hair while pressing to grow.i wash hair every 2weeks.
BRIDGETTE ALEXANDER says
Believe me he getting his karma.
Did you beat his ass? U better have cuz if that was me, let’s just say I would escort him to his grave??
Bridgette Alexander says
Believe me he getting his karma served.
I seriously have been trying to grow out my daughter’s 4c hair for the past 10 years, but no luck. I cannot get it pass 10 inches long, no matter what I do. I recently was advised to try scalp massage and I am doing that 2 or three times a week. Any suggestions? I keep her hair in protective styles and moisturize every chance I get, but I have to admit I’m not always consistent because of her school and dance schedules. She gets depressed that it won’t grow longer, and I’m at my wits end.
stress probably isnt helping. Your daughter just needs to focus on being young, and having fun. Vitamins could help (D, C,) protein rinses and in food (omega 3s in salmon) and also fish oil ect. And of course moisture. I also suggest massaging her scalp more than 2 or 3 times a week. Or teach her how to do it every night. More blood flow, more stimulation. Rosemary essential oil for circulation. And again no stress! Yoga, walks anything happy you guys should get into together. hope this helps
Use Amino Scalp Therapy Shampoos without Sulfates that are for Fast Hair Growth
my hair was growing but ever second i have to drim the ends,i change my diet,my only source of protein or fish vegetable and beans.
Theresa jain says
I am in the secondbottle of nuhair rx product and I use it along with coconut oil. It is a mild yet very effective, adds instant volume to the hair after first wash itself. One of the great things is it doesn’t contain certain harmful chemicals used in other shampoos.
Hi Taresa I cut of my hair because I want to have a natural hair , kindly regard please help me by sending me the tips of getting healthy hair style on my email : email@example.com.
gwendolyn timmons says
hi i cut my hair about 4 months ago it growing but the front is growing at a slower rate what can i do to help it grow faster?
All hair grows at a different rate. My front grows slower than my back too. You can try massaging castor oil into your scalp at night.
Osei Sandra says
Can I get a thick or little bit longer natural hair after using the castor oil?and how long does it take
It will make it thicker but only thick to your natural thickness. If your hair is naturally thin, it may not make as much of a difference. But if your hair has thinned out from damage then it can.
Hi, my hair is all natural after cutting it real short in 2014 no perms. I barely us flat irons, it’s shoulder length but it’s like everytime I comb my hair it’s coming out. I keep it greased with organic grease from blue magic I wash it every two weeks. I can’t seem to stop the breakage and it’s thinning out. I drink tons of water I take hair and nail vitamins. I’m lost I need to get it back thick and stop it from breaking
See a doctor. Are you having weight issues with this be it drastic gains or losses? Hormone imbalance can affect physical growth.
Abena Sakyibea says
Thanks a lot 4 d explanation. i’ve been wondering a lot abt my hair. its refusing 2 grow long, am sure its due to d genetics. am worried though.
Marcie Prelutsky says
Yes…its truly accommodating. Nuhair rx which was I utilized 2 years before to make my hair sound. I had been used for 6 months. everybody saw the progressions on my head.
Hi, about 2-3 months ago I got box braids but within the 3rd or 4th day of having the braids my scalp started itching really bad. It was to the point that my lymph nodes had swollen up and I had to take my braids down. But after I took the braids down and I washed my hair I noticed my hair was shedding really bad. Over the course of a week or two, I noticed that my hair came out a lot form the crown of head. What products should I use to help my hair grow back
Synthetic hair has chemicals in it to add shine. Next time, soak your hair in vinegar and water prior to using to rinse that chemical off.
Buy some castor oil and massage it into your scalp nightly. Sounds like you had an allergic reaction to the chemical they use.
Hi my hair used to be down my back, but i had to cut it all off due to bacteria infection. Now im all natural and i have been using as i am products and i used to use hair growth oil which works wonders but is a bit exspensive. What can i do to help my hair grow.
Kala Ayers says
Wow. Your web page on natural hair growth is amazing!! I am a 17 year old African American young woman and I am doing my senior project on healthy hair growth for African Americans (if my school let’s me) and I learned a lot of from reading your page. Now, most of the stuff that I read, I already knew but reading it again just conformed that it was true and it got me a little excited, lol. Also, some things that I was unsure about was cleared up after reading this. I would definitely recommend this page to any women who wants to start growing their hair out naturally. Excellent job Ms. Lisa!!?
i have a straight natural hair, what can i do to have a natural curly hair. Am so in love with natural curly hair.
Also can i do same for my baby?
Wow…Look like natural hair shrinks up a lot..more than what I thought. Liked your hair and I must admit that you have maintained it very well, great job!
Melissa Burton says
Hey Lisa I was wondering if coco nut oil will help my hair as well
It’s great for sealing moisture in. But I would only use it in the summer because it can make your hair hard because it hardens in colder months.
Hi, I’m thinking of going natural after using a relaxer that has burnt my front and sides.
can you help? I am 54 years old and my hair is thining out. At night what type of covering do I use after applying the castor oil. I have ordinary castor oil.
hey Lisa , if I use olive oil to massage my hair nightly will it grow faster my hair is natural and thick
Castor oil is better for thickening the hair.
Hello! I enjoyed reading this blog. I have serious breakage and I think I have heat damage as well. I’ve been natural almost 2 years. My hair is thin and very fragile. It just barely falls below my chin and I did the big chop in Oct 2014. I will be honest I don’t care for my hair the way I should, it’s under a hat or a wrap of some kind most of the time. I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to my hair and I don’t know what to do. What do you suggest I do that won’t take a bunch a time everyday to get my hair to a healthy state.? Thanks !!!
My hair is thin and lighter ..what can I do yo make it thicker
Massage castor oil into your scalp nightly.
Try using Amla oil also
Joy Ameh says
My natural hair used to be always full and long.I have never applied relaxer on it.I just stretch the hair.But now my hair is breaking.Especially my front hair.What can i do to it,please?
I cut all my hair off on May 7th because most of it was damaged and dry what should I use for it now.?
Hi, my hair is chemically damaged and I am transitioning from perm, what moisturizers can I use?
I am in the same boat I have been natural since August and started with short hair and progressed to longer hair. However, I was doing bantu knot outs and twist outs, plus I began with relaxed hair and I guess had a serious line of demarcation. Long story short, as of two days ago, I noticed my hair being thinner and very brittle. I had a decision to make–cut or do not cut. so I cut my permed ends off and now back to short; however, I decided to roll with magnetic roller sets, deep conditioning every other day, using a blend of oils my husband made for my 4 b hair. so far, my air has regained some elasticity and I think from here on out, it can only get better. So, to sum it up, choose a way to style your that is healthy for your hair–so far, my money is on magnetic roller sets, deep condition until your hair is repaired and if needed, trim your hair—I hope this helps.
Shea Moisture moisturizers are great for dry, damaged hair. Look for products on shelves that specifically say for chemically damaged or brittle hair.
Doris Blackwell says
How do i get your book
I’m just starting out with the transitioning process. I’m currently 2 months post relaxer, my hair is dry, damaged, thick, and shedds a lot. what products do you recommend that should I try that can help me with the long journey ahead?
Janelle Neumann says
Jamaican Black Castor oil
Jane Carter Solution
Use the SM restoration conditioners then alternate the next time with a hydrating conditioner
Get a protective hair style, silk scarves and spray on JCS leave in conditioner daily.
Moisture is key but only if you lock it in.
Use shampoos after conditioners but only periodically. You can cowash all the time.
Don’t manipulate often, or use combs brushes.
I just took box braid out and I use the above products the whole time. There was very little shedding and I finger combed every inch of hair, patiently, tenderly. I have fine 4c dense hair. So enjoying being natural.
If you swim drench your hair in water and conditioner first, that will block some of the chlorine
I would suggest coconut oil unrefined !you can get it at any grocery store ! It definetly helped with my transition from relaxedbto natural ! Good luck
I have mixed hair between 3 b/c however my hair refuses to grow. I h ve nww wr had hair past my shoulders. My famjly is puerto rican and have no trouble so why me? 🙁
Ive notice since i started taken biotin everyday and applying argan oil theres been a bit of a difference. I put the argan oil on everyday and wet my hair before brushing (which causes very little breakage ive notice.) My hair seems to be loving it. I also use a jamican black castor oil and pepermint mix lotion. My hair loves it. I can feel the difference in it. And my curls are getting more defined.
I’m tellin you Hope, that Jamaican Black Castor Oil is really the truth! I hear nothing but great things. Thanks for sharing.
No problem thanks for the advice
Janelle Neumann says
Yes. The real deal!
I have a pretty decent general length, probably to the small of my back if I flat iron a bit. Type 4a, 4b probably.
I’m not much for hair maintenance, so a wash, generous application of blue magic super sure grow, flat iron and twist once a month is all I’m really up for.
The problem I’m noticing though is that I have almost two different textures going on now. The hair above my ears, all around to the front, the hairline coast I guess, is becoming super brittle. I’m noticing now that this band of hair is half the length of the rest of my head. I wouldn’t mind except now I have a ponytail with twists on my back and a kind of front line bangs going on. The frontline hair is brittle to touch, every wash and finger comb, hair from this area makes up like 50% or more of the hair I lose.
How do I grow this back? A head scarf or something?
Massage castor oil into those thin spots before bed. The reason I say before bed is your body restores/heals itself overnight and the product can work. Castor oil is great for thinning hair. Just make sure you buy the pure version from the health store and not the ones from the pharmacy that are mixed with other things.
can olive oil work?
I have been getting a relaxer every month I get a new sew in. It’s gotten thinner and short I want my thickness back ! Help me please.
First give your hair a break from the relaxer and sew-ins. The sew-ins are creating tension and relaxing every month is too often. You should try to go at least 2 months.
Next, once you give your hair a break from sew-ins, massage castor oil in your scalp before bed.
But until you stop putting stress on your hair, your thinning won’t improve. It has to be a combo of less tension AND the castor oil.
Be careful, too much tension over time can cause alopecia and your hair won’t grow back.
hi, my hair doesn’t seem to be growing..it is really soft and now my edges are damaged..it’s making the whole hair a mess..is there something I can do? or do I just cut it all off
Dear Lisa , I cut my hair last year around August and it has not grown since wat product or styling I should use to make it grow(it was long but don’t know why it wouldn’t grow)
Hi Rehanna. Your hair has to be growing. More than likely it’s just breaking off. Are you moisturizing your hair regularly? Does it appear to be breaking more?
terisa tubbs says
I am starting my transition from chemical to natural.
I cut my hair short on the sides and back and long on top.
my hair is thick but a natural wave pattern.
I don’t even know where to start to get it soft and growing.
I do have breakage but, I am changing my diet, drinking more water, and trying to keep my moisture
in my hair. any advice to try and reach my goal of at least mid neck by December
Hello Lisa, I just took out crochet braids about 2wks now and my hair has grow at lot oh I been natural for 1-1/2yrs now, I really can’t do my own hair I’m taking a break from crochet braids because of dryness, what is the best way to keep it moist while in braids?
Make a spray with water and some drops of your favorite oils. Or use any water based light moisturizer. If it’s too thick it will leave residue. This will frizz your hair a bit but it’s worth it for the health. You can also tie your hair down to prevent fly away a when its damp. Use this about once every 2-3 days.
I’ve been wearing sew in hair for 2yrs. No chemicals so for 3yrs I cut it off it’s grown about 8 inches nice length. .I’ve been wearing it straight and flat ironing it twice a week. and rolling it with rods but don’t want to damage it don’t want to put chemicals in my hair any more how can healthy.
I keep it healthy looking
Yolanda J. says
Use this coz this is what I’ve been using and it works. My hair does look healthy right now and they say it makes me look younger than my age LOL! here;s the product link: https://curlagain.com/products/curl-again-rosemary-mint-citrus-hair-growth-scalp-balm-natural-hair-and-scalp-care-products
Thank me later 😉
I’m thinking about dying my natural hair. Should I start using an anti-breakage line ? Because I know that colored hair require extra moisturizing and break very easily.
What would you recommend?
Yolanda J. says
Hi Indie! I would recommend the rosemary mint hair growth and scalp balm coz this is what I use as a treatment for my hair. I’ve been using this for months now. It did reduce hairbreakage/hairfall and my hair has been growing faster. Feels so good on the scalp as well. This is way better than the drugstore products that Ive tried. I got it from Curlagain.com . Im not sure if this is available on the other websites. Heres the link by the way: https://curlagain.com/products/curl-again-rosemary-mint-citrus-hair-growth-scalp-balm-natural-hair-and-scalp-care-products
Jayla J says
I totally agree with Yolanda J, I have been using it as well and it has done wonders for my scalp and hair. Your healthy hair growth journey begins with a healthy scalp. Curl Again Rosemary Mint Citrus Hair and Scalp balm is the way to go.