A couple weeks ago while braiding my hair, on a whim I pulled the front down to see how much it had grown. Even after saying good-bye to heat in April 2011, this part of my hair had remained tied with my crown as my slowest growing area. So I was pleasantly surprised when I went into my archives and found the picture on the left from my first straightening in November 2011. You'll notice that the very front of my hair, even though it was straightened, was barely grazing my collar bone.
I was rushing to get my hair braided when I took the pic on the right a couple weeks ago, so I didn't measure it then. But today I measured from my collar bone to where my hair reaches in the pic with a tape measure (my hair has been tucked away since wash day several days ago, so I wasn't able to measure it directly) and I'd say it measured about 7 inches, maybe 7 1/2 at the most. I'll measure my hair the next time I take it down so I can get an accurate measurement.
On average, hair grows about 1/2 inch a month; that's about 6 inches a year. The growth documented above occurred within a 16-month window. So technically, although it looks like a lot of growth, it's slightly less than average. But I'm not concerned about it. Here's why.
As I shared above, this has always been one of the slowest growing areas of my hair. When I was little I asked my Mom to give me bangs and ever since that area has not been able to catch up with the rest of my hair. What I didn't know until I began my curly journey is that this lack of growth was not genetic and I could in fact grow it back in again with the proper care. Going natural in 2007 was a step in the right direction, but I was still using heat all the time without protecting my hair. As a result the front of my hair reflects that point in my journey - the last few inches to my ends remain straight, stiff-looking and wiry from heat damage. I'll probably cut it off soon. But I believe my poor hair care practices from the past contributed to the stunted growth in the front.
The slow growth may also be attributed to the fact that the front part of my hair is composed of low porosity strands, meaning the hair has trouble gaining and retaining moisture. (I'll write a post on porosity soon - it's long overdue as this is one of the most important factors in maintaining healthy hair.) Prior to committing to my curly no-heat journey in April 2011, I remember that I couldn't get my hair to grow past my chin. But as you can see in the picture taken in November 2011, I noticed appreciable growth by removing heat from my weekly regimen as the front grew down to my collar bone. But since growth has remained slow for this area even without the use of heat, low porosity may be a contributing factor to the slow growth I've been experiencing with this part of my hair. I may consider steam treatments to help this area as steam helps lift the tightly-packed cuticles of low porosity hair so moisture can enter the strand.
One of the positives about the front of my hair is that it isn't prone to split ends. During my search-and-destroy trim sessions - which are usually performed to some degree every wash day - this section rarely has any splits for me to cut off.
~ Where have you experienced the most growth lately? ~