Learning To Value The Time When Your Hair Appears to Be “Dead”

Has your natural hair growth stalled?

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the reasons your hair seems to be in a holding pattern. Then, we will look at the best response to it all: refocusing your attention in the process.

braid out on straight hair

No Pun intended. Hair is already dead. The second it leaves the hair follicle in your scalp, it’s dead. That’s why it doesn’t hurt when you cut it. But, I digress.

When it seems your natural hair growth has stalled, it’s that in between stage of hair growth that I’m referring to.

It’s when you know your hair is not breaking off and you’re doing everything you know to do (disciplined hair care, handling with care etc.) but your hair appears to stall.

Your hair appears to be the SAME length month after month.

Let’s look at the one reason your natural hair growth stalled on you in spite of excellent care and no serious medical issues.

The Telogen Phase of Hair Growth

hair growth stages
Creator: Iv__design Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

No hair growth or stalled growth?

There’s three stages or phases of hair growth: Anagen, Catagen and Telogen

Anagen

The Anagen stage is the period of time when your hair is actively growing.

Your hair could be in the resting stage of hair growth called the Telogen stage. Once a hair has come forth through your scalp, it’s in this growth phase from as little as two years to as much as six years. Genetics determine.

Catagen

The Catagen stage is a transitional period at the end of the Anagen phase. It’s when the hair that’s been growing for the past 2-6 years is changing into what’s called a club hair. The growth process is cut off and those hairs then enter the next stage of hair growth.

A club hair is a hair attached to the shaft with part of the follicle in contact with the lower portion of the hair.

About 3% of the hairs on your head are in this phase at a given time.

Telogen

The Telogen stage is literally the resting phase of hair growth. Your hair is simply taking a break. This period of time is roughly 3 months but can be a bit longer.

Read more about the science of hair here.

Extreme Stress

stress stalls hair growth

If you are under a significant amount of stress due to a life event (death in family, birth or a child, divorce, financial disaster etc), you can experience your natural hair growth stalled as well.

Extreme levels of stress can force your hair to stay in the Telogen phase for longer than necessary.

Aging

aging related hair growth stall

Nobody wants to hear that their hair has stopped growing because they are getting old.

Yet, while your hair doesn’t stop growth, it’s common for it to significantly slow up. This is something that’s not in your control.

Clogged Hair Follicles

Your hair growth may appear to have stopped because your hair follicles are clogged. That’s something you can fix.

It could be a lot of product build up. Clarifying your hair and scalp will remedy this. If the clogging is deeper you may need to see a dermatologist.

Either way, clogged hair follicles is within your control to remedy.

Valuing the Time of Stalled Natural Hair Growth

Whatever the cause of your natural hair growth stalling, it’s during this period of time when you can really connect with your hair – get to know it even better. You’re going to have to develop some patience. I know. I don’t like that word either. BUT…

When you get to a point when you realize that nothing you do to “force” hair growth is going to work, that’s when you are able to settle down a bit and actually enjoy your hair in whatever stage it’s in.

When You Do All You Know to Do

I have been so disappointed with my hair growth in the past.

I had done EVERYTHING to grow it to my next mini-goal length. Yet I remained stuck at arm pit length in the front and bra strap length in the back.

I took supplements and massaged my scalp with natural oils. I’d done the Greenhouse Effect Method, and even a bit of the inversion method.

I’ve done protective styling, used low manipulation to retain length, deep conditioned and moisturized regularly.

I examined my hair and trimmed off damage as needed. I didn’t heat style and I followed every health hair practice imaginable.

So, why did my hair appear to be stuck in a rut?

Looking back on that time I realized that there was a number of factors at play – literally most of what I mentioned above.

I didn’t give up on my goal of waist length hair, but what I did do was I stopped sweating it. I do what I know to do and now I just let my hair be. It’s now back to growing once again.

When you’re giving your hair excellent care and there’s no breakage but also no noticeable growth, just leave it alone for a while. Stop with all the product sampling and daily styling.

Refocus Your Attention

But, just as important as stopping all of that – stop looking at others with hair at the length you desire. It’s counter-productive.  Not only will it cause you angst (and maybe a little jealousy), it’s really not going to make your hair grow any faster.

Refocus your attention.

Yes, you can appreciate the beautiful manes of hair belonging to other ladies but spend less time doing that and start appreciating your own head of hair.

It took a long time to come to this conclusion. I spent so much time picking apart all of my hair’s “faults” that I never really took the time to appreciate it for what it is…

My God Given Crown of Glory

When you finally stop fretting over why your hair doesn’t appear to be gaining much length, one day you may be surprised to wake up and discover it has grown significantly….like a foot’s worth….ok probably not that much but one can dream 🙂

Have you ever felt like you were doing everything possible but your natural hair growth stalled?

I hope this article encourages you to stay the course and appreciate what you have. Change always comes.

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Yvette

    That is so true Michelle, trying to get bra strap length, so been saying oh while, i just take care of my hair being healthy, that’s it, I am tired, so I am thankful, thanks for sharing.

    1. Michelle

      thanks Yvette. it can be exhausting waiting to get to goal. If we just leave it alone, all will be well……eventually!

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