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How to Grow Long Hair if You Are a Black Woman

In this Article:Article SummaryTaking Care of Your Hair to Make it GrowKnowing Your Hair Growth TimetableStyling Your Hair While It Grows OutCommunity Q&A

As an female of African descent, you may think that your hair is too fragile to grow long. Don't worry! You can grow long, lustrous hair by putting more effort into your hair care regimen and styling correctly.

1
Taking Care of Your Hair to Make it Grow

  1. 1
    Condition your hair liberally. Black women tend to have curly new-growth. These curly roots make it difficult for your hair's natural oils to move down the hair shaft and moisturize the length of your hair.
    • Try co-washing (conditioner washing, using just conditioner instead of shampoo and conditioner). Some women do it weekly, some after 5 days, but not daily because product can dry your hair out. Some women also find that wash days take a lot of work and their hair takes forever to dry. Try co-washing weekly, and shampoo as needed but don't wait any longer than 4 weeks - so shampoo at least once a month. There are some women who do wash their hair every day, but with just water.
    • Deep condition with every wash. Deep conditioners containing olive, avocado or sweet almond oil work well. Play around with different products and see what works best for your hair personally. Don't be afraid to move out of the "ethnic" hair aisle.
      • Apply heat to your hair and wear a shower cap while you wait--heat activates the conditioner. You can sit under a hood dryer or wrap your head in a towel that has been soaked in hot (but not so hot as to burn you) water; or you can also let your body heat condition your hair.
      • Avoid getting deep conditioner on your scalp. The conditioner can clog your pores and cause alopecia, clogged and inflamed hair follicles, hair loss.
  2. 2
    Apply a moisturizer (which does not contain petroleum jelly, petrolatum or mineral oil) to your hair.
    • Wet your hair with water. Start about 1" (2.5 cm) away from the roots and apply the moisturizer all the way to the ends!
    • Moisturize daily or as your hair requires - you want your hair to feel soft and pliable. You may have to experiment to find what works for you.
    • Seal the moisture in. This can be done by using a natural oil like coconut oil, olive oil etc. right after applying the moisturizer (which can be water) so even applying oil on damp hair without a moisturizer can work. Do it in sections, it is easier.
  3. 3
    Squeeze out excess water with a microfiber towel. If you have a terry cloth towel you must be sure to not stroke your hair with it, or else strands of hair will latch onto the textured fabric of the towel and as you bring your hand down you'll hear a lot of popping, which is the sound of the hair breaking off. To use the terry cloth, take a section of hair and with the towel over your hand grab the section and squeeze. You should feel the towel get drenched. Unclench the towel covered hand; don't slide it off.
  4. 4
    Comb your hair carefully. Excessive brushing can strip the protective cuticle layer off of your hair.
    • Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb. Divide your hair into sections. Start combing at the ends and work your way up to the roots.
    • Don't be afraid to put down the comb. Sometimes if you hit a knot or if the hair has a very kinky texture, you just have to use your fingers and detangle manually. If there's a knot that you can't get out of your hair, add something to soften the hair like water or leave in conditioner to help take out the knot. If the knot still won't come loose, use a pair a good hair scissors to cut it out.
    • If you are trying to smooth your hairline, brush gently, use a soft boar bristle brush. If your edges still float or curl up off of your head, try wetting the hairline and taking a scarf or a durag and covering your head. Let it dry until you have a tamed hairline.
    • Experiment with whether it's best to do this when your hair is completely dry and moisturized, or if it's better to detangle while your hair is wet (you might find it's very easy for your hair to break or be pulled out from the roots if you detangle when dry).
  5. 5
    Treat your hair from within by taking a multivitamin. Use a hair vitamin that will increase your hair growth rate and lengthen your natural anagenesis (growth phase).
  6. 6
    Incorporate healthy habits.
    • Drink at least eight cups of water and eat healthy foods such as fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
    • Exercise regularly to increase circulation to your scalp.
    • Manage your stress with relaxation exercises or meditation. Stress can cause your hair to fall out.
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Method 1 Quiz

What should you use if you want to wash your hair every day?

Not exactly! Using just conditioner and water, or co-washing, can help in de-tangling your hair, but too much conditioner can also dry your hair out. Ideally you should be co-washing no more than once a week. Choose another answer!

Try again! A cleaning routine which involves both shampoo and conditioner can help to straighten your hair, but in order to avoid your hair drying out you shouldn’t use shampoo more than once every four weeks and conditioner no more than once a week. Choose another answer!

Correct! If you want to clean your hair on a daily basis, it’s best to use just water most of the time. Remember to co-wash your hair (i.e. using just water and conditioner) at least once a week, and to use shampoo at least once every four weeks. Read on for another quiz question.

2
Knowing Your Hair Growth Timetable

  1. 1
    Expect to wait about one to one and a half years for shoulder length growth if you start with a clean shave. African hair grows at the same rate as every other person's. You can expect growth of about 1/2" (13 mm) per month if you take great care of your hair.
  2. 2
    Wait another 6 to 15 months for your hair to reach armpit length.
  3. 3
    Add another 9 to 18 months to hit bra-strap length. Growing your hair until the ends hit your bra strap will take about 3 years total.
  4. 4
    Expect hair growth to your waist to take 3 to 4+ years. Everyone's hair grows at a different rate. Make sure that you don't compare yourself to other people; you'll only get frustrated. Just keep taking care of your hair, and be patient. You'll get results.[1]
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Method 2 Quiz

How long should you expect to wait for your hair to reach bra-strap length after a clean shave?

Try again! If you’re starting from a clean shave, you should expect your hair to reach your shoulders after about a year or so. With that in mind, you’ll naturally have to wait a bit longer for your hair to extend down to your bra-strap. Click on another answer to find the right one...

Almost! After two years, your hair should have reached your armpits. If you want it to get down to your bra-strap, some more waiting will be in order. Try again...

Yes! On average, it takes about three years for your hair to get down to your bra-strap following a clean shave. It’s a long wait to be sure, but well worth it if you want to reach your ideal hair length. Read on for another quiz question.

Not exactly! Four or more years is actually a better estimate for hair to reach your waist. For hair that only reaches your bra-strap, you shouldn’t have to wait that long. Guess again!

3
Styling Your Hair While It Grows Out

  1. 1
    Use protective styles that don't require you to constantly redo your hair. Some examples of good styles include twists or bantu knots.
    • Braid: do a simple braid from the top and when you finish, tie the end. You can also add a hair band.
    • Twists: Divide your hair into rows. Then divide each row that you just made into 2 separate sections.
      • Starting at your hairline, twist the 2 sections of the first row together.
      • Keep twisting your hair as you move toward the back of your head, grabbing a little more hair each time you go a little further down the row.[2]
    • Bantu knots: Divide damp hair into sections, using a comb to create really precise parts.
      • Twist each section of hair into a "rope," working some gel or pomade into your hair as you twist it. Keep your hair taut until you've twisted the entire section into a rope.
      • Turn the rope a few more times until it starts to curl in on itself. Doing this will create a firm coil at the base.
      • Wrap the rope of hair around the base to create your knot. You can secure it by either tucking the ends under the knot, using pins or using elastics.[3]
    • Be gentle and watch out for traction alopecia. It's the constant force being put on the hair follicle from wear styles that are too tight resulting in breakage and bald spots. The first sign will be pain at the site and inflammation of the hair follicle it'll feel like a bump. Take the hair out where you're suffering from the inflammation and let the hair 'breathe'.
    • Continue to care for your hair while it's in protective styles. The hair will still dry out and the scalp may need some TLC as well. Get a spray bottle and fill it with water, aloe vera juice, some natural oils (anything that will help to restore moisture) and spray it all over. If you have ample time, put your whole head under the shower head toward the beginning of the day and let your hair air dry the rest of the day. If protective styles are being worn for extended periods of time co-washing can also be done, but an application bottle may be needed to try and reach under braids.
  2. 2
    Go natural. Natural hair can be long and beautiful if you know what you are doing. To straighten natural hair while protecting it from heat damage, blow dry your hair with a comb attachment and wet setting before you give it a quick sweep with a flat iron.
  3. 3
    Get a Brazilian keratin treatment. It straightens your hair or loosens the curl with no chemicals. They start from about 1 day to 6 months. Afro hair is washed less often so the treatment will last more than the time said.
  4. 4
    Use a relaxer if you don't want to go natural. Relax your hair no more than once every 8 to 10 weeks, or 4 or 5 times per year. Remember that relaxers are harsh chemicals that can potentially damage your hair, it's good to limit them to prevent overlapping and over-processing.[4]
    • Start by applying a scalp protector or petroleum jelly to your scalp and to your hair shaft. Apply the relaxer to your roots according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure to follow the leave-in time that's recommended on the product.
    • Wash out the relaxer in warm water with a neutralizing shampoo. Wash and rinse 3 times. The fourth time, leave the shampoo on for about 10 minutes before you rinse it off for the last time.
  5. 5
    Use a protein reconstructor after you use a relaxer. Both shampoo and relaxers will remove needed nutrients and shielding from your hair, leaving it dry and fragile. Protein reconstructor will help to prevent damage and will make your hair more resilient.
  6. 6
    Clip your ends about every 8 weeks or every time you have your hair relaxed. When you have split ends and you don't cut them, they will continue to split all the way up your hair shaft, which will cause breakage. To keep your hair growth steady, avoid taking off more than 1 to 2" (2.5 to 5 cm) at a time.
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Method 3 Quiz

How should you take care of your hair if you’re letting it grow naturally?

Not exactly! This is actually the first step for putting your hair into a Bantu knot. Utilizing a Bantu knot can help you manage your stubborn hair while you grow it, but it’s not the same as letting it grow naturally. Try another answer...

Correct! This process can help you keep your hair straight and neat while you let it grow out naturally. It’s best to use a comb attachment for your blow dryer before finishing with the flat iron. Read on for another quiz question.

Not quite! Tying your hair into a braid is certainly one option for managing your hair, but it’s technically a different process than simply letting it grow out naturally. Pick another answer!

Community Q&A

Search
  • Question
    Is it imortant to use conditioner?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, it is very important, because while shampoo cleanses the scalp, it can leave the hair strands dry and brittle. Conditioner brings moisture and natural oils back into the hair if you apply it carefully.
  • Question
    How is this any different from what a white female should do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Black girls have different hair types and textures, requiring different treatments.
  • Question
    What are some good moisturizers for African American hair?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Shea butter helps, along with Double Butter and Tea Tree Oil.
  • Question
    Can rubber bands damage my hair?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, rubber bands pull your hair too tight and can pull out your hair from the roots. If you must use a rubber band, try not to loop it that many times. Also be extremely careful when taking it out!
  • Question
    How can I make my hair grow if I have braids or crochet in?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Just moisturize your scalp and massage it to promote new hair growth.
  • Question
    My hair has been breaking at the sides of my head, and I don't have the money to buy commercial repair products. Are there any home remedies for hair repair?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, try a honey and apple cider vinegar rinse in your hair. Also, try sleeping with a satin pillow at night or a satin head scarf. Don't wear anything in your hair and if you are using tight pulling hairstyles, stop. If these remedies do not work, you might have alopecia and should see a doctor.
  • Question
    Do I have to clip the ends while I grow out my hair?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. If you don't it will lead to split ends in your hair shaft, which leads to hair breakage.
  • Question
    I am bald at my edges and temples. What could I do to grow my hair back?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Don't wear headbands and wash your edges. Get a hair growth formula at a drug store and put it on your sides every night.
  • Question
    I wash regularly, moisturize and use essential oils, but my hair has still not reached my shoulders.What am I doing wrong?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It could be stress, or unhealthy eating habits that started to cause stress on your body and hair. Look up supplements to strengthen your hair and nails, and eat more raw and natural foods.
  • Question
    I have lost the edges of my hair and from reading your article, I feel that my hair follicles could be clogged. How can I resolve this issue so it grows back?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    An apple cider vinegar rinse should help unclog your hair follicles. It promotes hair growth as well so it works double ways. Try the Jamaican black castor oil for hair growth.
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    Tips

    • Come up with a simple hair routine that you build on over time.
    • Keep a hair diary. Sometimes you forget what worked and what didn't, a hair diary is great when you want to remember what you did last time on your hair and how your hair felt.
    • Try to use a sulphate-free shampoo on shampoo days.
    • Wrap your hair at night and cover it with any scarf for protection. If the scarf slips a lot, use a satin pillowcase.
    • Comb your hair carefully. Don't yank on tangles; apply leave-in conditioner if needed and brush gently.
    • Stay away from heated tools like: straightener, curling iron, crimper, etc.
    • Protein treatments along with deep conditioning twice a month will help your hair to grow healthy and long.
    • Air dry your hair rather than blow-drying. Blow-drying adds more heat to your hair while combing breaks off your hair too.
    • Try clipping ends every 2 to 3 months verses every 6 to 8 weeks. The key is to retain length.
    • Make sure to let your hair relax after a long while of being up in a ponytail. If you lay back on your head with your hair in a ponytail, your hair could break off.
    • Consider wearing silk robes and shirts as well during the day. Walking around with your hair brushing against cotton shirts all the time can cause your hair ends to break off. If you do wear something besides silk, put your hair up in a protective style (bun or butterfly clip).
    • Remember when you braid your hair too loosely, you may end up pulling out your fragile hair. Constantly moisturize your scalp and spray your hair with braid spray so that your braids don't dry out.
    • Consider wigs, half wigs or clip in's as a style if your natural hair is too hard to manage while in the growing out transitioning phase.
    • Try to avoid wearing a weave most of the time. Weaves can make the hair underneath dry and brittle if the hair underneath is not properly cared for. Weaves can also irritate your scalp by pulling on it. If you do want to wear a weave, try not to do it too often and try not to use glue-in weaves. As an alternative, use a sew-in weave.
    • Oil your hair weekly with natural oils (i.e. olive oil), or try the hot oil treatments.
    • Do not comb your hair more than five times a day, as this can damage it.
    • Don't use shampoos that will dry your hair. Shampoo may contain detergent.
    • Try to take biotin; it really helps. They come in pill or gummies.
    • Put egg, avocado and almond oil. This actually helps to moisture the hair and gives a special type of protein that's essential to your hair's growth.
    • Use natural products and shampoos that don't contain sulphate as this strips the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and more prone to breakage.
    • Add olive oil or other oils to hair when wet to retain moisture.
    • Mix one egg with a little bit of honey in a bowl. Get out olive oil or coconut oil or tea tree oil or any type of oil. Don't use mineral oil! Make sure it is in liquid form. Stir well. Apply to your hair and all over scalp! Get a silk cap or shower cap to cover your hair and sleep over night. In the morning wash out your hair with a sulfate free shampoo. Stretch your hair out with your fingers and it will appear 1-2 inches longer than yesterday.

    Warnings

    • Keep heavy oils, "grease" and gels out of your hair. Gels tend to harden and break off hair, while heavy oils and "grease" take away volume and movement and prevent moisture from penetrating into the hair strand. Try to stick to light, natural oils.
    • Avoid hair care products that contain alcohol. Check the ingredients for these words:
      • isopropyl alcohol
      • propylene glycol
      • mineral oil or petroleum
      • sodium lauryl sulfate
      • sodium laureth sulfate
      • chlorine
      • diethanolamine
      • Ethanolamine
      • triethanolamine
      • imidazolidinyl
      • urea DMDM hydantoin

    Things You’ll Need

    • Conditioner for daily use
    • Deep conditioner
    • Light protein conditioner
    • Shampoo (can be sulfate free or not)
    • Hooded dryer or hot towel
    • Shower cap
    • Blow dryer with comb attachment
    • Flat iron
    • Scalp protector
    • Neutralizing shampoo
    • Protein reconstructor/ Keratin treatment
    • Moisturizer
    • Leave-in conditioner
    • Soft bristle brush
    • Wide-tooth comb
    • Multivitamin
    • Folic Acid
    • scalp massager

    Article SummaryX

    Keep your natural hair healthy as it grows by applying a deep conditioner every time you wash it. You can also try avoiding shampoo altogether and only washing your hair with conditioner. Moisturize your hair every day, and seal in the moisturizer with a natural oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. To detangle your hair, comb it out with a wide-toothed comb to help avoid breakage.

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    Article Info

    Featured Article

    Categories: Featured Articles | Long Hair Care | Hair Growth | Afro Textured Hair Care

    In other languages:

    Español: tener el pelo largo si eres una chica morena, Italiano: Far Crescere i Capelli Afro, Français: avoir des cheveux longs lorsqu'on est une femme noire, Português: Deixar seu Cabelo Comprido Se Você é Uma Mulher Negra, Deutsch: Als Schwarze deine Haare lang wachsen lassen, Čeština: Jak si nechat narůst dlouhé vlasy (pro černošky), العربية: إطالة الشعر الأفريقي, Nederlands: Je kroeshaar lang laten groeien

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