Hair Growth vs Length Retention

We get a lot of emails asking for tips on hair growth, so we thought that it was about time that we wrote a blog about it. But before you scroll down - because we hate to disappoint - we’re going to be completely honest with you bhabe… We’re not going to sell you the next self professed miracle product that will grow your hair to waist length in 90 days and regrow your edges by tomorrow.

Instead, we’re going to keep it real with you, because that’s what bhabes do.

First, let us ask you a question. What are you really looking for? Hair growth or length retention? Whilst you ponder on that, let us tell you a little about each below and get a little science-y for a minute.


Hair Growth: What you really need to know.

There are three different stages of the hair growth cycle; anagen, catagen and telogen.

Anagen: The Growing Phase. This lasts approximately  3-5 years (but can last up to 7 years), and is the longest phase in the hair growth cycle.

Catagen: The Transition Phase. This lasts on average 10 days (but can last up to 3 weeks), and is where hair growth slows and the follicles shrink. This affects about 3% of your hair at any one time.

Telogen: The Resting Phase. This typically lasts 3-6 months, and affects 6-8% of your hair. During this phase about 25 - 100 telogen hairs shed per day. Then it goes back to the Anagen stage to start all over.

These cycles all happen at different times for each follicle, which is why during a ‘normal’ hair growth cycle we don’t lose all of our hair every 5 or so years and then have start over, it’s staggered so most of the time the telogen hair loss is so minimal we barely notice. 

Okay, so if my hair is always growing, why has it been the same length for years?

In short. Your hair is probably growing at the same rate that your ends are breaking, which means that it’s very difficult to recognise that you have had growth and it feels like your hair has been at this terminal length, forever.

What’s the solution?

Length retention.

Healthy habits = healthy hair, and with healthier hair it’s easier to retain its length (if that’s one of your goals).

Our top tips for length retention are:

  • Trimming: It sounds counterproductive, but regular trims prevent split ends from progressing up the hair shaft and causing extreme breakage further up the shaft. So, once you cut off your damaged ends and get regular trims, your hair will stop breaking and it contributes to retaining more length.
  • Hydration: A lot of breakage is caused by chronic dryness, where the hair becomes so brittle and dry that it snaps off. Hydration is a super important step that we often miss when we focus on moisture alone, and comes from water based products that are light enough to penetrate the strand and hydrate from the inside out - like our MILK.
  • Low-maintenance: Over-manipulation is a huge enemy of progress in retaining length. Excessive styling, direct heat and tension are all things that your hair would scream ‘ENOUGH!!!’ about if it had a voice. All of these things weaken the strand, which can contribute to excessive breakage. Thus, preventing length retention. Everything in moderation is fine, but low-maintenance and protective styling thrown in gives your hair the balance it needs.

So, whilst maintaining healthy hair gives you a better chance of achieving longer hair, longer hair doesn’t necessarily equal healthier hair. There has to be balance within our routine so that your hair can thrive, and survive until it’s next telogen stage rather than breaking off prematurely.

As you know, at Big Hair healthy curls, coils and afro’s are our thing. And if you’re trying to grow your hair to it’s maximum length, healthy hair practices will help you get there faster than focusing on growth (and growth potions - we don’t sell those). 

Have you changed up your routine to focus on length retention? Share your tips and journey in the comments below to provide some inspo for our bhabes!


Love BHB

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