Natural Hair Growth: 4 years without heat...Not for the faint of heart

Why am I showing the same natural hair growth picture for Year 3 and Year 4? Read on to find out.

Year 3Year 4

Measurements from May 2011 to May 2012:

May 23, 2011

    Front of hair: 16 inches
    Left side in the back: 15 inches
    Middle back: 14 inches
    Right side in the back: 15 inches

May 20, 2012

    Front of hair: 16.5 inches (0.5 inches of growth)
    Left side in the back: 15.5 inches (0.5 inches of growth)
    Middle back: 15.5 inches (1.5 inches of growth)
    Right side in the back: 16 inches (1 inch of growth)

So this is my fourth year without heat and there are two things that I have learned:

1) I am not a hair stylist so I should stop acting like one.

In November 2011, I trimmed (cut) my hair and lost about 1.5-3 inches. This isn’t a big deal if your natural hair growth cycle is about 6 inches a year. However, as I have explained before, mine doesn’t. This setback in November cost me more than half my length that I would have achieved throughout the year. My hair grows 3-4 inches a year and therefore there seems to be only 0.5 - 1.5 inches of growth from 2011 to 2012.

What a waste of time! This cutting episode that took place will not happen again especially since I documented it. Documenting crazy stuff, even if it’s negative, is really powerful because you can always go back to it and see the history of what happened. Having the measurements not only lets me see how I wasted a year because of cutting my hair, but I am able to see exactly how much length in measurements that I have lost. While it is depressing to see a year go by and minimal length achieved, I also know why natural hair growth didn't happen because of the documentation.

2) Do not compare yourself to Youtube Naturalistas

Youtube is a great resource for naturals to find tips about how other naturals grow their hair and to pick up techniques for hair product recipes, styles and other bric a brac. Yet, what I have learned is not to compare myself to these great resources because that in and of itself can become very frustrating especially when my hair doesn’t grow as fast as theirs.

Also my hair and their hair may not experience the same amount of shrinkage. In order to see my true hair length, I have to apply heat. My hair is tightly curled and that is fine, but when I start comparing my hair to natural hair youtubers or bloggers that I think are similar to mine, it can become disastrous. Because while they may also have 4b and 4c hair, our natural hair growth journeys can still be different. One’s journey is truly unique and while there is some amazing advice out there, just take care to understand that your journey is your journey and it will be a unique one. If your hair doesn’t grow 3 inches in 3 months like a youtuber you have seen, don’t get mad at your hair. Accept it as it is.

Alright internet, one more year to go. I will measure it again in July and then January as I usually do in the natural hair growth gallery. I’ve decided to wait until the winter of 2013, (God willing) to straighten my hair so I won’t have to deal with the humidity and May rain. I think straightening your hair in the dry winter months is a smart tactic to keep your heated styles in place. Hopefully there will be no more setbacks and at least I will get to full bra strap length for my hair by next May.

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