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Does Curly Hair Grow Slower Than Straight Hair?

Young Hispanic girl with naturally curly healthy hair wearing a wash n go after leaving the hair stylist.

Most women have heard that curly hair grows slower than other hair types. Could this possibly be true? With so much misinformation circulating the internet and social media, it’s hard to tell what’s factual and what’s not.

In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on this issue and tell you once and for all whether curly hair does indeed grow slower than other hair types.

Does Curly Hair Grow Slower?

Curly hair does not grow slower than straight hair or other hair types. Curly hair may seem shorter than other hair types, but it’s not that it grows slower. In contrast, curls grow just as fast as straight or wavy hair.

The average person’s hair grows about ½ of an inch per month, regardless of their hair texture. The reason curly hair seems to grow slowly lies in its texture.

The twists, coils, and kinks that make up curly hair cause a phenomenon called shrinkage, where the hair draws up and appears shorter. Curly hair grows in a curl formation rather than straight down or in waves – that’s why shrinkage occurs.

If you feel that your hair is not growing the way you expected, shrinkage could be at play. But know that your hair will begin to show more of its length after some time.

As your hair grows, it becomes heavier, and the curls start to lengthen a bit. When that happens, you’ll notice more length.

Hispanic lady with natural curls that follows the Curly Girl Method showing off her 3B hair type.

Why You Haven’t Met Your Hair Growth Goals

Many factors affect how quickly you can reach your hair growth goals. Hint: having a specific hair texture has nothing to do with it. Here are some causes behind the most significant hair growth and length retention setbacks.

After reading this section, you’ll be much better able to meet your hair growth goals. You’ll know how to grow long curly hair and retain length.

Frequent Washes

Washing your hair too often can quickly dry out your curls, which tend to be naturally dry. Dryness can lead to hair brittleness and, eventually, breakage.

If you want to preserve your length, only wash your hair when it needs it. Most people get by with washing their hair once or twice a week.

Harsh Shampoo

Your cleansing products are just as important as how often you wash your curls. Manufacturers have historically used sulfates as the main cleansing agent in their shampoos, so they are the standard in the hair care industry.

But sulfates are harsh beyond all reason, stripping curls of their much-needed moisture. Your curls need gentle washes to retain their moisture, so switch to a sulfate-free shampoo. Your curls will thank you.


Over-manipulation stands as one of the most overt causes of hair breakage and even widespread hair loss. Whenever you brush, comb, or style your hair, you create friction that can result in structural damage to your strands. Curls are naturally vulnerable to manipulation, so you’ll want to keep it to a minimum.

Heat Styling

Heat styling quite literally burns your strands and dries them out. And when you overuse heat, your strands may become so brittle and dry that they break off altogether. Minimizing heat styling is a key component of keeping your hair healthy.

Do your curls a favor and go heatless as often as possible. And whenever you do pick up the curling iron, flat iron, or another heat-styling tool, use a heat protectant beforehand and keep the heat setting low.

Young female with super curly long hair wearing a green sweater and blue jeans.

Enjoy More of Your Curls’ Length

Curls are always longer than they look, no matter how loose or tight they are. But the way you style them has a significant effect on how shrunken they look.

If you want to enjoy more length, there are several styles you can try, and we’ll outline them in this section:

Try a Twist Out

Twist-outs require you to twist up your damp or dry hair and then take it down later to create a new curl texture.

Most people can unlock a couple more inches of length with a twist-out versus a typical wash n’ go. Dry twist-outs tend to stretch out the curls more than wet twist-outs.

When it comes to the size of the curls, it’s all up to you. You can make them as large or small as you’d like. Here’s how to do a twist out yourself:

Wet Twist Out

Follow these steps to lengthen your curls with a wet twist out. 

  • Wash and condition your hair. 
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner and comb it through for even distribution. 
  • Part out a small, medium, or large section of hair (based on your personal preferences). You can use your fingers or a rat-tail comb to do the sectioning. 
  • Apply a styling cream or your favorite gel to the section and begin twisting until you get to the ends. Twist the ends around your finger to seal off the twist. If your curls are loose, you may need a rubber band to keep the ends from unraveling. 
  • Allow your hair to air dry. If you don’t have time to wait, you can blow dry your twists or sit under a hooded dryer.
  • After your hair is dry, separate the twists. Then separate the resulting curls as you please and fluff the roots. 
Cute Hispanic girl with long curly hair styled with natural oils and aloe vera gel wearing casual clothes.

Dry Twist Out

Here are the steps you need to follow to stretch your curls with a dry twist out. 

  • Start with washed, conditioned, moisturized, and stretched hair. You can stretch it by blow-drying, banding, or braiding it. Your hair should be 100% dry before you get started. 
  • Use your fingers or a rat-tail comb to part out a section of hair. 
  • Apply oil and cream to the section of hair. Don’t be too liberal with these products, and make sure that the cream is not water-based. If it is, it will cause your curls to revert to their curly state. 
  • Separate the section into two and twist the section from roots to ends. 
  • Give your hair some time to dry and set. The setting process can take an hour or longer, but the amount of time will vary depending on how much product you add before twisting. If you don’t want to wait, you can blow dry your hair or sit under a hooded dryer. 
  • Separate the twists and fluff. 

Stretch Your Wash N’ Go

Beautiful Hispanic female with caramel skin and a short hair length wearing 3B curls.

In case you weren’t aware, you can lengthen your curls by stretching your wash n’ go. This is great for anyone who typically wears their curls loose and free.

After completing your wash n’ go, create several large twists and leave them for about an hour or so (or overnight).

After the time is up, take down the twists, separate the curls and fluff. Using this method, you’ll gain up to a couple of inches of length.

If you want to bypass the twists entirely, grab your blow dryer and blast your roots with it.

Hold the first couple of inches of hair taut as you blow-dry and keep the blow dryer a few inches away from the hair. Be careful not to hold the blow dryer on any section for longer than a second – keep it moving.

Try a Blow Out

Blowing out your hair will no doubt add a few inches to your mane. You can use a blow dryer with a comb attachment or a Denman brush to stretch out your curls.

Be sure to use a heat protectant before starting this process, though – you don’t want to end up with heat damage.

Related Articles

To recap, curly hair grows just as quickly as straight hair – it just doesn’t show its length as much as straighter hair does.

But if you use the methods and tips in this article, you’ll be able to enjoy much more length than you’re used to! We hope that this article has been helpful to you and wish you the best!