Do dreadlocks grow faster than any other style of natural hair? My friend and I went natural at the same time. She decided to loc and I wear my hair in a curly fro. After a few years I noticed that she has about three inches on my growth even though I’ve retained almost all of my length. What’s going on?
The good ole “do dreadlocks grow faster” confusion. At first glance this may seem like the case, but it’s really not and no matter how much evidence seems to prove otherwise, locs do not inherently grow faster than any other style of natural hair.
Let’s start with the facts. Most people’s hair grows about six inches a year less any medical conditions that affect hair growth including stress related issues. Some people fall below or above this number but on average, most people’s hair grows around six inches a year.
When you think about it, locs are like a permanent protective style. You never comb your hair at all so there is no pulling and tugging at your roots that can cause breakage. Everyone’s hair grows, however growth is witnessed through retention. If you are not retaining your length then it would seem that your hair is not growing. It’s important to point out that most people don’t retain all of their six inches. In between twice a year trims and some natural breakage that will more than likely occur since your ends are the oldest parts of your hair, you can expect a one to two inch “loss” over a year if you are taking care of your hair properly. locs almost guarantee retention because again, you are not manipulating the hair unless you are having your locs tightened and or styling them everyday which is much different than daily styling of unloced natural hair.
When you loc your hair you also twist into your locs most of your shed hair. On average, most people lose about 100 – 150 hairs a day. If you don’t have locs, you detangle these strands out of your head in the shower, etc. but if you never comb your hair, as those with locs don’t, this hair gets twisted into the loc. This shed hair causes locs to bulk up and can also in turn add extra length to the hair which over time also adds up. The locing in of shed hair can add a few inches to a loc that is really only an extra 6 inches long after a year of growth but measures at say six inches to seven inches of growth plus one inch of shed hair that has been loced into place.
So your girl’s locs are not necessarily growing faster than your hair if your hair grows at an average rate and hers does too. She just has less manipulation which means more retention and is getting to “keep” almost all of her shed hairs. this is really the difference that you are seeing.