You’ve been natural for umpteen years and can’t understand why you don’t have longer hair. You use the best products, employ a low manipulation regimen, despise permanent hair color and avoid heat like the plague and yet you haven’t the luxurious long locks of your hair crush who has been natural for just as long. What gives?
Terminal length is real y’all. I know that there is much debate on the myth that women with certain hair types can’t grow long hair and it is indeed a myth because the length of the hair we can grow has absolutely nothing to do with what type of hair we have and everything to do with how long our hair is in a growing phase, technically referred to as the anagen phase.
According to Milady’s standard cosmetology, “about 90 percent of scalp hair is growing in the anagen phase at any one time. The average growth of healthy scalp hair is about one half inch per month. The rate of growth varies on different parts of the body, between sexes and with age. The anagen phase generally lasts from three to five years, but in some cases, it can last as long as ten years. The longer the anagen cycle is, the longer the hair is able to grow. This is why some people can only grow their hair down to their shoulders, while others can grow it down to the floor.”
If you are sure your natural hair has not hit a plateau due to constant breakage (watch your combs, brushes and bathroom floor as you could easily be breaking your hair and not realize it), and your hair is overall healthy but has seemed to “stopped growing”, it could be that your hair has come or is coming to the end of its growth cycle. Depending on the person, hair grows around 4-6 inches a year, give or take. Though all of your hair will not shed all at once (that’s a scary thought), everyone’s hair does stop growing at a certain point and will then shed out, making room for new strands to start the cycle over. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to know how long your hair can grow outside of gentle care and waiting. Keep in mind that it was only after going natural that many of us were able to grow our hair longer than its ever been/is meant to be since learning how to gently care for our curls and retain our growth.
There you have it ladies and gents, “terminal length” (though not a technical term) is indeed
real. Comparing our growth or lack thereof to another will just have us feeling sad every time, so decide you will no longer do so, take the best care of yourself and your hair and celebrate it at every length. And when the length ceases to increase accept it and celebrate it regardless because it is all beautiful when it is in the best condition!
Be sure to also read What Is The Connection Between Stress And Hair Loss In Women? if you feel like your lack of growth and or increased shedding may be due to stress.
Cheers to our hair!