1/25/13 Why Won’t My Hair Grow

The importance of hair maintenance for maximum results and length.

Long hair is viewed as a symbol of beauty.  If you are trying to grow it out with little success it can be very frustrating. 

I find that when I am working with a client in the salon and this question comes up, it is very helpful when I explain the hair basics.

Everyone’s hair growing all the time every day.                                          

Each hair goes through 3 growth cycles in it’s individual lifespan: Growth (when new hair is produced. about 90% of follicles are in this stage), Fall (a transition phase. about 10% of hairs are in this stage),  Replacement ( when the hair is pushed out by a new hair)                         

The entire growth cycle lasts about 4-5 years, however some can have a growth cycle of up to 10 years. Your hair growth cycle is genetic but we are able to get our hair longer by how we care for the hair during the life cycle. 

The hair shaft that we see is a non-living fiber composed of keratinized protein.      I like to compare hair to a wool sweater.  If it is not cared for correctly then it will pill up and get nappy in texture.  So the best hair care is all preventative. 

Reasons that can prevent longer lengths and what we can do to prevent damage:

Breakage - Our follicles produce sebum to naturally moisturize each hair, however when hair gets longer it gets very difficult for this sebum to moisturize all the ways to the ends.  This is where salon products can help by moisturizing the ends.

Split Ends- When the protective cuticle on the hair shaft starts to fray and split at the ends, it will continue to split all the way up the hair shaft making the hair strand thinner and not as strong.  

This is where regularly trimming the hair even while we are growing is essential.  This is very important: Split ends CAN NOT be repaired. There are a lot of wonderful products that can make them look nicer when we are styling but they are only hiding the problem.                                        

Having our ends trimmed with a professional pair of shear that are properly honed is the only way to keep the ends healthy.  Healthy ends in turn equal longer, healthier hair.                                                                 

Example: If your hair grows 1/2”/month that would be an average of 6”/year.                                                                                                     If your stylist trims off 1/4” every 8 weeks that means you would grow 4 1/2”/year of healthy hair.                                                                           The person who skips a haircut for a year may have grown 6” in a year but the last 4” might be split and very thin and fragile.                               

Even through hair growth is not increased by trimming or applying products, it is essential to keeping the hair in optimal condition to reduce splitting and breaking on the ends.

Scalp Build Up- Natural sebum and styling products can clog your pores, which in turn stunts the hair growth.  The follicle needs oxygen in order to grow.  Be sure to discuss the proper cleansing products with your stylist based on your styling regiment.

Diet- Everything that goes into our bodies comes out, including our hair. Diet will have an impact on hair. High protein with good levels of iron and zinc will increase hair growth.

Medication- There are many medications that can have side affects.  If you are concerned that your hair is being affected discuss with your doctor about possible vitamin supplements that may be effective.

Exercise- Hair growth is affected by your metabolism.  The higher your metabolic rate- potentially the more your hair will grow that day. It grows about 1/100th of an inch per day. More hair growth per day = longer hair faster.

Other factors that play a role in the quality and condition of hair:

Stress, Hormonal Imbalances, Aging, and Genetics. Improper use of styling tools, Unprofessional application of chemical products,

Hair is our #1 accessory we wear on a daily basis it deserves a little tlc.  

Growing it long and healthy is mostly common sense, dedication, and patience.  

When we love our hair, we feel good about ourselves, and it makes all the hard work worth it

XOXO, Brandy

© B Wiley Inc. 2013