Myth Busters: Black Girls Can't Grow Long Hair

Myth Busters: Black Girls Can't Grow Long Hair

Have you ever heard the phrase that black women can't grow long hair?

We are black, therefore we cannot grow long hair. You may be a person who has thought this to be true, or maybe you've thought about this before and asked yourself why. Why do so many black women have short, natural hair that supposedly can only grow to shoulder length?


You would not believe how many times I have heard this, including from other black girls themselves as to why their hair won't grow.


"Oh, my hair just doesn't grow."


"Why won't my hair grow?"


Well, I am here to tell that this myth that black girls can't grow long, healthy hair like other ethnicities is a lie. Our hair does grow, and will grow, it just needs the right circumstances to do so.


I've seen many black girls with long, healthy real hair down their backs, even with relaxers and heat in their hair. Let me tell you, the reason why so many of us are not experiencing longer hair is not because of our race...It's not because of our hair texture...it's not because our hair "just won't grow". It's do to factors BESIDES genetics...and these are factors that we can change.


Why is it such a common belief that every time a woman of color has hair past her shoulders that people have to question her race, or whether or not her hair is real or not?

"Oh, that has to be weave!"

"It's not all of her real hair!"

"She has to be mixed with something!"

I am sure many of us have heard some of these phrases before.

I saw a girl in the store the other day, and her natural hair was so beautiful and ample. It was curly, and in it's natural state. It was so healthy and beautiful. She wore it in a big poof on the top of her head. I heard a girl say, "Where did you get that hair piece from?"

People constantly want to touch my hair to feel for weave, and are surprised when it isn't.

It is a common misconception that our hair is fake when it is long.


What are some of the reasons many women of color don't see growth, or have long hair yet?

This can be due to a variety of things:

Genetics

While it is not entirely our genetics, they can play a part as to why ethnic hair is so hard and tedious to grow. Ethnic hair in general is a tad bit more difficult to grow than Caucasian hair due the natural curl pattern. With hair that is bound together in tight curls, unlike straighter hair, it makes it difficult for the hair shafts to absorb moisture (While Caucasian hair makes it's own oils, which it is why it is much easier for them to grow their hair long). Over time, it becomes dry and brittle, and breaks off at the ends, making seem like the hair is not growing. The hair is in fact growing, but as fast as the new hair comes in, the ends are steadily breaking off, making look as though the hair is at a stand-still. This can be avoided with proper moisturizing and regular washing and conditioning.

Relaxers and/or other chemicals

Relaxers and other chemicals (such as hair dyes) aren't all bad nesscarily. They can allow the hair to be much more managable, but when done incorrectly or fequently, they can cause havoc to fragile ethnic hair and ruin it's natural texture. Issues such as over-processing can occur, causing the relaxed hair to fall out and lose it's springy texture forever! Many women who have had relaxers choose to start over again and to remove the relaxed hair due to over-processing! Even hair dyes can cause dryness and breakage.

Medication

Medication such as high blood pressure meds can cause hair to grow slowly, or to halt it all together.

Poor diet

Unhealthy eating habits can be unkind to our hair as well. I remember eating lots of unhealthy things which along with other factors, caused my hair to shed and break off. I know most of us have a sweet tooth, but lots of unhealthy fat, carbohydrates, and other things are the root cause of unhealthy hair.

Stress

Stress can be the culprit of many things: weight gain, depression, anger, but it's also taking a toll on our hair. It can cause hair loss, hair breakage and dryness, among other things that could possibly cease our hair's growth all together. Find ways to deal with this, such as doing a sport, meditating, yoga, or even taking a walk, and your hair will be thankful.

Excessive combing or brushing

When I was younger, I thought combing my hair would make my hair touch my shoulders. I would comb and comb, applying lots of products to my hair in hopes of it magically growing, but to no avail. Combing and brushing are good for our hair, but when done too often, it can weaken the folicles and pull our hair out, making it appear thinner and causing split ends to form.

Excessive heat

Flat ironing our hair is not bad. I do it too, but when done too often it can cause heat damage, which causes the hair to not be able to return to it's natural curly, springy state. Heat damage can make the process of growing out long hair very tough. Flat ironing should only be done 2-4 weeks at minimum to give the hair a break.

Hairstyles done too tightly

Even something as simple as a high pony tail can cause damage to the hair. When done too tightly, it can pull and cause breakage. Styles such as weaves can cause havoc when done incorrectly too (I've had a bad weave before that totally ruined my hair, believe me). When the braids are done too tightly, it can cause breakage if the hair is weak, same with syles such as box braids. I know we love these hair styles because they fulfill the fantasy of having long hair, but they can cause damage to our real hair. Leaving them in too long is a bad idea. They can even cause permanent hair loss!

Hormonal imbalances

Hormones can also play a role in the hair and how it grows. No, it is not out of our control and can be regulated through medication and other things.

Not taking care of split ends

Clipping split ends do not help hair grow faster, they only minimize hair breakage. Not tending to these every 6 months at minimum can cause the split end to travel all the way up the hair shaft and break it off, making the hair appear as if it's not growing. Tackling down on these and cutting them off before they break is a good idea. Do not do it too often, as again, it doesn't make the hair grow faster. The hair will always grow an average of a 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) a month!

Products geared towards black people

Many of these products contain ingredents that are awful for our hair! Products such as grease and heavy oils take away volume and movement and prevent moisture from penetrating into the hair strand. Even hair gel can "suffocate" our hair and lead to breakage. Light and natural oils such as tea tree oils and olive oils work the best for our hair.

Lack of exercise

Sitting around can be damaging to the hair, if that is hard to believe. Exercising, while good for our overall wellbeing, can be benefical to the hair too! Exercises, such as cardio, can increase circulation to the scalp and allow hair to grow easier.


Which one applies to you (and to me personally)?

For me, the biggest culprit that was stopping my hair from growing was the constant use of relaxers. I hated my hair texture and I yearned for the Caucasian hair texture, so I would constantly relax my hair in hopes of not damaging it, but changing its natural feel and texture and making it easier to manage

.
Boy, was I wrong.


I began to shed like a dog because my hair was so unhealthy. I would come home from school with black stands of hair contrasting with my shirt. The constant use of relaxers, along with constant combing and bad hair products broke off and thinned my hair, leaving me with a bald spot behind my ear! I was mortified and used to cover it with styles such as braids and low ponytails. A few months of that, and my hair grew back, but it was thinning and breaking off due to the braids. So, I decided to get a weave to fulfill my long hair fantasies.


The weave also ended up damaging my hair. When I took it out, my hair was dry, matted, itchy...It also thinned out even more, leaving me with thin, heat damaged hair down to my ears. It got worse.
So, I stopped doing these things and began taking care of my natural hair from the beginning. My hair today is now touching my shoulders, and it is much, much healthier. No more shedding, and it grows rapidly.


So, what's the lesson?

Things like the media have warped our perceptions of our natural hair, making us feel like the only acceptable hair texture is that of a Caucasian. That Caucasian-like hair is the only one that holds beauty. All hair textures can be beautiful if we care for them right and embrace them

.
And yes, black people can grow long hair if we stop manipulating it so much to fit society's standards of beauty. Many of us would have healthy, full heads of hair if we were committed to caring for and loving our natural hair.


Our hair is not ugly. Our hair is not "bad". It is ours, and that's all that matters.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. <3

I will write a take about how to grow long hair if this one is well-received. :)


Sources:

http://blackamericaweb.com/2014/05/02/science-reveals-why-many-black-women-dont-have-long-hair/

http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Long-Hair-if-You-Are-a-Black-Female

http://madamenoire.com/208996/long-hair-you-do-care-6-ways-to-get-it-to-grow/


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What Guys Said 19

  • What the heck? Are you serious, that some people think that?

    No doubt genes play a role for some people, but humans are humans... unless you are cursed with baldness, or something has gone seriously wrong like chemo or eating junk food all day... hair grows longer over time.

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  • I've never thought they couldn't, in my life.
    The things that are things lol

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  • This one black girl petted my fury cat and now they are friends on social media.

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  • I've never heard that myth

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  • good job on breaking this myth, Ms. Rainbow!

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  • You tell em!

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  • I've never heard the phrase and I've seen plenty of black women grow long hair.

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  • Literally no one says this. Are you sure you're not just incredibly vain?

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  • I may have heard that once or twice but have dated black girls. They do love to fuck their hair up though... at least the ones I dated.

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  • I learned a lot. Also, this is a lot of work.

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  • Pointless post.

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  • It's fairly obvious anyone can grow a long hair.

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  • I was always told oil was the culprit. Black women don't produce enough oil of the right type in the right way, and it leaves their hair more prone to being damaged, thus the need to oil it arbitrarily and to keep it short. By contrast, I'm so oily that if I go even one day without a shower, my hair turns into a duck.

    Around black gals, their hair is often one of the last things I look at. Personality is what I pay attention to most.

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    • That's great. And yeah you're right.

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    • I'm black but I went through a lot because I'm always mistaken for latina or biracial because of light skin and slim nose and euro centric features. It's funny confusing the hell out of people, especially some white people who don't know what I am. I never denied my white ancestry but both of my parents are African American

    • @queenmariereigns : Being a mix like that can be a good thing though: it widens up your gene pool, and gives your future kids a better chance at eliminating certain ethnic weaknesses that have developed over time. Odds are, if we ever have kids, yours would be a lot healthier than mine.

  • Here we go with this shit again.

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    • You could've just scrolled past it you didn't have to leave a comment.

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    • #CmonMan , don't be so volatile. She's simply busting a myth and giving advice! :-P

    • No you can do that, but worrying about what people think is something blacks need to careless about.

  • I've never in my entire life heard this myth before.

    You'd have to be kinda dumb to believe it.

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    • I know but it does happen and people do say it.

    • You would be surprised. I guess it depends on wear you live. I've had other races ask if our hair even grew 😑, or them make assumptions that it or mine, takes a long time to grow. Or that I have a hard time growing it or it's simply not mine. My hair isn't even that long

  • Are you serious? I never heard of this myth before. I find it really hard to believe thag people actually believe it as well lol

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  • If someone thinks that a black girl can't grow long hair, they've grown up really sheltered.

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  • I think the statement is nonsense... there are also white girls who can't grow long hairs since thair hairstyle would look nothing but trashy :o
    You're the living proof that it's nonsense, I think your hairs look nice!
    And you're not an exception among black girls :D

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  • I like black hair, and the girls that come with it.

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What Girls Said 22

  • nice take!!! as a girl with partly black origin i say that people who look at curly hair think that they're short don't make use of their logic lol... but once its straightened its long af

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  • I also think people fail to realize the truth length of a black woman's hair because of our tightly coiled spirals. If you're a natural like I am (no perm), then you suffer from hair shrinkage (some of us more than others).
    I can blow my thick afro hair out (to achieve most of its length) , but after a few minutes of humidity and wind , my hair looks to be only a few inches long (like I just started growing it).
    People don't take into account that the length they are seeing , isn't the actual length of the persons hair (if they are a natural).
    My hair appears short because of this (unless I perm it).
    People need to take into account , different hair textures and how they work.
    For my hair to appear shoulder length (like a straight hair Caucasians person), I have to grow my hair double that length just to accommodate the shrinkage , so it looks like I have something.

    I really think this is where the stereotypes come from.
    Remember "stereotypes" aren't always true but they are based on very real observations.
    This is where the misconception is coming from.

    Also applying perms and heat to your hair is definitely damaging over time.
    This is just a few of the reasons on why some people can achieve only a certain length , and nothing more.

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  • Ayeee 😎

    ...

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  • Agreed :) that's awesome

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  • Wow bravo. No brava! That was pretty helpful I even learned some new helpful things 👏

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  • I think its sad that people feel the need to stereotype black women in such a negative way in such a issue as hair, that we actually have to educate people in the information age. I just do not understand how people choose to not know this

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  • I used to think my hair wouldn't grow, because my family relaxed my hair from age FOUR!!! messed up. My hair just constantly broke since I have quite fragile hair and nobody ever wanted to take care of it or teach me.
    Now, I'm past bra strap length and loving it. All it takes is actually taking care of your hair.

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  • Omg I <3 <3 <3 this!! When people say this I feel genuinely sorry for their obvious lack of knowledge LOL
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfA4YUyyrCI</a>

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  • Although, I am not fully black, this is not true. Black girls can grow long hair just like any other race can. With proper care and good products it can happen. Black's hair does not produce as much natural oil as other races hair does but using oil such as avocado oil, coconut oil, Argan oil, etc can promote hair growth.

    Coming from a mixed girl with long hair ❤️

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  • 👏👏👏 good job girly!

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  • I heard that black girls hair don't grow from a... Wait for it...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    Black girl!

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  • wigs

    (filler)

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  • I got that type of hair and I'm white, its also long. I've had people ask me if I got it curled and am sure they wanted to ask me about hair extensions and got patted.
    The other day was no different, a priest walked past me and got caught through my hair lol.
    I don't really know much of this rumour, its more of a weave theory I'm most familiar with.

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  • Relaxers should still be a HUGE NO NO!! The hormones that are in relaxers can cause fibroids to form on the uterus which can lead to longer menstrual cycles, inability to get pregnant, and if it becomes to bad a hysterectomy. Girls if you want straight hair fine but just straighten it with a flat iron instead of playing around with dangerous chemicals and hormones. I'm fully black and my hair is down my back I'm also completely natural. You don't need what people call good hair to become natural. Good hair is Healthy hair and it should not be defined as a certain texture. Also that whole mix thing does get obnoxious. Like no I'm fully black and I don't need to be mixed to have long hair.

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    • I heard about that. Relaxers are just horrible in general to me. I'm never getting one again. And that's really good, how did it get so long?

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    • Oh good information. My hair is touching my shoulders but I want it longer. :)

    • ohh that's god I feel like once yo reach shoulder length it gets easier to reach more lengths. I'm sure you'll be at your goal length in no time as the inches between each length get shorter the longer your hair, I think shoulder length and armpit length is about a 2 or 3 inch difference and with a good regimen you can get there between 3 to 6 months. Is there certain things that you do that your hair really loves? I noticed growth when I stopped doing what everyone else was doing and instead started doing what my hair liked.

  • Omg when I was in elementary & middle school I used to think you had to be mixed to have long hair. There was actually one dark skinned black girl in 7th grade who had long hair down her back, and people always asked if she was mixed with Indian, her hair was long, thick, shiny, straight all the time. She always said she was just black. But I never believed her, and now I think back, it's soooo sad to assume that. It's offensive actually.

    Now I started growing my hair when I was a freshmen after seeing other youtubers hair long, nothing grew for 2 years because I didn't have a steady regimen, and I didn't have a daily moisturizer. It wasn't until my Junior that I actually saw results, I was soooo ecstatic, so I kept with the same regimen and now two years later, my hair is officially bra strap length!!! I went from having it above my collar bone to reaching my bra straps. And I only see my full length when I flat iron it every 7 months for clipping my ends, and shrinkage is the real deal... I love the surprise though :)

    As long as you don't have some sort of medical condition, anyone can grow their hair with research, patience, and trial&error.

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  • Yay I loved this take. Even though I wear wigs/braids often, my natural hair is down to my shoulders. I stopped those awful relaxers last year and my hair has loved it and been growing fast!

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    • Thank you so much! Yes. I stopped getting relaxers and braids to give my hair a break. My hair has been growing rapidly. :) It's okay to get protective styles everyone in a while if your stylist knows what they are doing. I'll write a take on how to grow and maintain growth.

  • This is such an excellent MyTake.
    When I was younger, I didn't know how to manage my hair. So, I put it in pony tails too much and I combed it to hard. I lost a few inches because of that. I also chemically straightened it bi yearly until high school. Then I realized, I don't have to straighten my hair. My curls are beautiful and it's best if they're wild and healthy vs straight and damaged.

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    • Thank you so much. It's ok to straighten your hair, just don't do it often. I straighten mine every 2 to 3 weeks. Until then I just let it frizz and keep it moisturized. Has your hair grown back? I recommend taking biotin. :) My hair has stopped breaking off and splitting when I took it.

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    • You'll get there, patience. Lol, mine took soooo long to grow.

    • Hehe thanks. I bet it looks great!

  • Oh my word I had no idea a relaxer could do that to your hair.

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  • Thanks yok beybi.

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  • ugh! my ends split a lot. :/

    the real issue though isn't the hair not growing, but in fact it's retaining the growth. curly hair, especially tight coil type curls split and break off more than straight or wavy hair.

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