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Reader question – why has my hair stopped growing?

6 Dec

hair breakage

Believe me, your hair is constantly growing.  Everyone’s hair grows, barring a medical condition.  The problem is that our hair often breaks excessively.  If your hair is the same length this month as it was in January 2012 (and you didn’t cut it) then it means your hair was breaking at more or less the same rate as it was growing.

One way of knowing that our hair is constantly growing is to look at the men in your life.  How often do they have to cut their hair to maintain a certain length.  I observe this with my son, we constantly have to cut his hair to maintain it in a brush cut.  It’s also the same when you cut your hair in a certain style, you need to keep getting haircuts if you want to maintain the style.  If you were to shave off all your hair, the very next day you will already feel some stubble on your scalp.  That shows you your hair is growing.  Another example is the women that relax their hair.  After six or so weeks they are complaining about the amount of ‘growth’ they have.  That is exactly what it is – growth!

So what do you do to realise an increase in length?  You need to minimise breakage so that you can see an increase in length.  It’s called ‘length retention’ in the hair blogging community.  If your hair is breaking excessively, figure out why and tackle the cause.  Take a look at how much hair is on your comb each time you detangle it.  After some time you will be able to tell whether your hair is breaking more or even less.  You will then be able to react timeously before excess breakage gets out of hand and affects your ability to retain length.  Take a look at these posts where I go into detail about dealing with breakage:

Hair Breakage – whats causing it?

Beginner Wednesday – Why is my hair breaking?

 

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Reader question – which relaxer should I use?

18 Nov

One of the questions I’m often asked is – ‘which relaxer should I use’ or ‘which relaxer is best’.  The short answer is ‘the relaxer that works best for you’!

In essence all relaxers do the same thing – they straighten the hair through a chemical process that breaks the protein bonds in the hair.  Remember relaxers are not a hair care product.  They do not improve the condition of the hair.  You cannot relax damaged hair in the hope that the relaxer will improve the condition of the hair.  A relaxer will simply compound whatever problem you are having because relaxers actually weaken the hair.  For you to have any success with relaxed hair, you have to understand this.

A relaxer does not work the same for everyone.  I use Organic Root Stimulator and it works for me but there are others who say it doesn’t work.  That said, there are some relaxers that are more popular than others.  This may be in part due to reputation but we also cannot rule out clever marketing!

Unfortunately to find the best relaxer for you requires some trial and error.  As a starting point to finding a relaxer, I would suggest finding out which relaxers are available in your city / country.  Of these do a bit of research on them.  What do people generally say?  Google these relaxers to find out the general opinion on the internet.  From there compile a ‘top 3’ list of the ones you consider ‘better’ judging from your research.  You can then choose one of the ‘top 3’ relaxers.  Many relaxer brands come in the strengths – mild, regular and super.  Know which one is better suited to your hair.  If your hair is fine, there is no need to buy the super strength.

Relaxers also come in lye and no lye.  No-lye relaxers are known for being easier on the scalp and harder on the hair while lye relaxers are easier on the hair and harder on the scalp.  Read this post for the difference between lye and no lye as well as more information on how relaxers work.

Once you find the relaxer that works for you, it’s best to stick with it.

 

Reader question – does plaiting make hair grow faster?

16 Feb

I got this question from Beth on the facebook page.  I decided to answer it here so it can benefit more people.  I will do this regularly when I get a question I think more of you can benefit from.

Question:

In Uganda, there is a belief that our hair grows longer and stronger if plaited once in a while but I am so tired of plaiting and it’s still not long enough for me.  It’s now a year since I last plaited.  Do you think there is some invisible damage that I am doing to my hair by retouching and treating it all the time?

Answer:

Plaiting hair is considered a protective style.  This is because when your hair is plaited there is low manipulation ie you do not have to comb it daily.  In this respect hair generally tends to get longer because there is far less breakage than if you were combing and manipulating it daily.

That said, plaiting (including other protective styles like weaves etc) can be damaging to your hair.  If your plaits are too tight and pull the hair out then there will be damage (this is especially so for the hairline).  Also if you have your hair plaited and then just ignore it for weeks on end you will find th once you take the plaits out it just breaks and there is no increase in length.

Plaiting is beneficial when you take care when the plaits are put in (ie no excessive pulling or tight plaits) and ce the hair is plaited you make sure you wash it and keep it moisturised.  Depending on the type of plaits you have you can even deep condition the hair.

It is encouraged that we treat our hair regularly to up the moisture levels in our hair.  I would say treating the hair once a week is ideal.  I do it twice a week and there are those who do it once a fortnight or even less so it is really up to the individual and the hair.  It has to be done regularly though.

Relaxing on the other hand can be damaging if the relaxer is not applied correctly or if it is applied too frequently.  Relaxers are strong chemicals and relaxing in itself is actually a form of damage because the chemicals in the relaxer break the protein bonds in the hair to straighten it.  When it is done correctly (and the hair cared for), you should not have any problems.  You can do an internet search of women with long relaxed hair.  You will find that the one thing they will all have in common is that they take care of their hair.