Advice & Help

Good Hair: The Role of Genetics in Black Hair Care

It really pains my heart when black women act as if there is something wrong with their hair. Many women of color will tell you that their hair can’t grow, its too nappy or short and dry that they have to wear other hair on top of it or add other hair from different parts of the world. The common excuse that black hair is hard to manage and constantly sheds, breaks and can’t comb are excuses that show that we are not informed as well as we should be about our hair and how to take care of it. There is no reason in today’s world that black women can’t make the right decisions regarding hair and take care of their own hair so that it is as gorgeous as you want it. Frankly, wearing wigs and pieces as regular hair staples is taking the easy way out and sometimes they even contribute to the ruining of your real hair.

What black women need is knowledge about hair care; there is a whole slew of information on the Internet from ladies who have successfully grown their hair to their waist, hips or even tailbone. Women who have at some time or the other believed that their hair could not grow past a certain length and that their hair was not ‘good hair’ but they are defying the odds and they show how it can be done. Some people are even pointing out that it takes nothing much from the regular black woman to grow her hair but knowledge. That’s it-knowledge. Our hair grows anyway without any intervention on our behalf, what we need to learn is the process of hair growth, how to retain and handle hair whether hair is processed or natural and the products that we are to stay away from. I have always said, that Rastafarians have the best example of black hair growth at its longest. Most Rastafarians will tell you that they use the simplest things in their hair and of course they practice low manipulation of hair.

In Jamaica when your hair is long, quite frequently persons either assume you are wearing a wig or mixed with some other race. Many times, in explaining that my hair is mine, I have to end up imparting the following hair facts: 

  1. Hair is hair whatever your race, it grows at around the same pace. Which is ¼ to ½ inch per month (that’s about 6 inches per year).
  2.  Black hair is only perceived as growing slower because unlike other straighter hair types, the hair texture is more susceptible to breakage because of some tiny microscopic knots contained in individual hair strands. 
  1. Hair grows in three stages: anagen or active phase, during this phase the cells in the root divide to form new hairs pushing the bulbs of the old ones out of the scalp. This cycle can continue from to two to six years, in some cases ten. 
  1. In the catagen or transitional phase, growth stops and the outer layer of the hair root withers or shrinks, wrapping around the root to form a bulb. 
  1. In the telogen phase, the bulb forms completely and some shedding might occur. This occurs naturally, so shedding is nothing to be afraid of within reason.

Summary- Black hair grows at the same level as other hair types. What black women need is knowledge about their hair type in order to practice the best hair care practices available to get their hair in the best shape it can be.

About the Author:
Brenda Barrett is an author and freelance writer. She has written for several websites, including her own- blackhair101 and fiwibooks, on topics ranging from healthy hair care maintenance, human resources, Android Apps, publishing and fictional stories from all genres. She is an avid reader of fictional novels, a habit that she picked up from she was very young. This love of fiction spilled over into writing and she currently has several novels on the market.

About the author