Much like their father the devil, tangles, knots, and mechanical damage will try to deceive you.
If you want to know how long your hair can grow and how fast, you’ll want to know your growth rate. You’ll also want to know the difference between growth rate and length retention.
So, here’s what you need to know. The “average” growth rate is 6 inches in a year. Generally. Individually, it doesn’t hold. It didn’t for me, it might not for you, and that’s okay.
Length retention is how much of those six inches are still attached to your head at the end of the year. See, if the ends of your hair are breaking off faster than it grows, you won’t see 6 inches of hair in a year. You’ll see maybe a little less. Maybe a lot less.
If you big chopped, Year One is the best time to determine your growth rate. With a twa, those breakage-inducing mitigating factors are far less significant, if not non-existent. You’re as close to 100% length retention as you’re going to get, so what grows out of your head for 12 months can be reasonably assumed to be your growth rate.
Write that number down every 3 or 6 months, and on your BC anniversary–because you might be in for a shock when length retention becomes a major struggle in subsequent years.
Your growth rate, barring health issues, won’t change much overall, but those mitigating factors will wreak havoc on your length retention if you let them. I saw my numbers steadily decline with more tangles, knots, both too much and too infrequent trimming. It goes with the territory of having longer hair.
But here’s the thing: Armed with the data, I stayed focused on things in my hair care regimen I could change, rather than things I couldn’t, like genetics. Self-care, not self-hate.
I got my protective practices together and saw improved length retention. Eventually, I stopped watching the pot boil altogether, pleased with my hair’s performance, and assured I was once again doing right by my fro.
Don’t be deceived. There’s value in tracking your own growth rate and length retention.