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How Long Does It Take for Hair to Grow Out (or Back)? 2 Inches, 3 Inches, and More

Beautiful African American woman with shoulder-length healthy hair and caramel skin

Long hair is one of the most widely sought-after hair goals, especially for Black women.

Many women will do anything to achieve it, including taking supplements, exercising, following specific hair regimens, and eating specific diets.

If you’re wondering how long it will take for your hair to grow, we can help.

This article will provide you with information on hair growth rates as well as tips to maximize hair growth and length retention. Let’s get right into it!

How Long Does It Take for Hair to Grow?

Let’s start by addressing hair growth rates. Human hair grows about 6 inches per year on average, equating to ½ of an inch per month.

1 Inch2 Months
2 Inches4 Months
3 Inches6 Months
6 Inches12 Months

This growth rate may vary based on the following factors: 

  1. Your genetics: Your hair growth rate is partly determined by your genes. As a result, your growth rate is usually similar to your parent’s growth process. 
  2. Your gender: Men’s hair grows faster than women’s in general. Read this article to learn more about the hair growth cycle. The hair growth cycle includes four phases: growth phase, regression or transition phase, resting phase, and shedding phase.
  3. Your age: Hair growth is at its peak between the ages of 15 and 30. Your hair will grow slower after the age of 30, though you may not notice the difference. 
  4. Your diet: If you aren’t getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, your body may prioritize other body functions over growing hair. 
  5. Your ethnic background: It’s been scientifically proven that your race affects your hair growth rate. Asians have the fastest hair growth rate (about 6 inches per year), while Caucasians grow 5 inches per year, and Black people grow around 4 inches per year. Note that there will be hair growth variations within races. 

Note: Curl Centric doesn’t provide medical advice. So, if your hair growth has been impacted by hormonal changes, chemo, medications, changes to your hair follicles, electrolysis, or other medical treatments, we recommend consulting a doctor for a professional diagnosis and treatment options.

Black woman with thinning hair strands due to poor nutrition and oxidative stress

The Role of Hair Type in Hair Growth Rate

You may have heard of the misconception that curly hair grows slower than straighter hair. The fact is that curly hair simply looks shorter due to its kinks, twists, and curls. And this is where shrinkage comes in. 

Shrinkage is something that most Black people deal with when they wear their hair in its natural state. In simple terms, it is the difference between your hair’s length when it’s wet vs. when it is dry.

When your hair is wet, the weight of the water stretches out your natural curls, but when it’s dry, there’s nothing to hold your curls in that stretched-out state. As a result, your hair shrinks. 

When you go out with your hair dry and not in a stretched state, it will look much shorter than it actually is, due to shrinkage. As your hair grows, the difference may not be noticeable for quite some time since its full length is not easy to see. 

Cute African American female with type 3 curly hair strands

How Can I Make My Hair Grow Faster?

There is nothing you can do to change your genetic hair growth rate. However, if external factors are causing you to experience impaired hair growth, there are a few things you can do to restore your hair growth rate to normal (i.e., you’re currently experiencing slow growth): 

  • Eat right and exercise – Getting your body in tip-top shape can do wonders for your hair. 
  • Try essential oils – While not all essential oils will be helpful in hair growth, peppermint oil, jasmine oil, and catcus oil show promise in increasing hair growth rates. Chebe powder, biotin, and rice water are also popular products to encourage hair health and improved growth.
  • Eat enough protein – Hair is made up of the protein keratin. So, make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet. 

Overnight Miracles Don’t Exist

Let it be known that no product or method will cause your hair to grow at an astronomical rate overnight.

Viral remedies like rice water and the inversion method may help to support hair and scalp health, but they don’t speed up your hair growth dramatically, as some suggest.  

Beautiful African American woman with big waves and curls

Length Retention is Key (to Promote Hair Growth)

Apart from bolstering your hair growth rate, it’s essential to work on length retention, which means preserving your hair’s length. The way to promote length retention is by minimizing hair breakage.

No matter how fast your hair grows, if you are not retaining that length, you’ll never reach your hair growth goals. Here are a few length retention methods that you should know about:

  • Keep your ends trimmed. Frayed ends and split ends are the most common causes of hair breakage and, consequently, lack of length retention. Regular trims (as needed only) prevent damaged ends from progressing to broken strands. The general guideline is to get your ends trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks, but the frequency for you may be different depending on how often you style your hair, whether your hair is color-treated, etc.
  • Prioritize moisture. Dry hair is prone to tangles, split ends, and weakness. Thus, especially if your hair is curly, you should keep it moisturized at all times. Here are a few ways that you can keep your hair moisturized:
    • Always condition your hair after washing it. Shampoo has the tendency to make your hair dry – even sulfate-free shampoo can have this effect. So, it’s always good to follow up shampoo sessions with a moisturizing conditioner full of fatty alcohols, moisturizers, oils, and humectants. If you have color-treated hair or have been dealing with chronic dryness, feel free to use a leave-in conditioner to impart even more moisture to your hair.
    • Cover your hair up at night. Some only cover their hair up at night to keep it looking fresh, but night protection has another purpose-preserving your hair’s moisture levels. As you toss and turn at night under your cotton blanket and pillowcases, the cotton sucks the moisture from your hair. Covering your hair up with a silk or satin bonnet will prevent this from happening. We also recommend sleeping in these hairstyles at night.
    • Moisturize and seal. For super tight curls and chemically treated hair, moisturizing and sealing are not only great but necessary. The technique involves imparting moisture to your hair via a quality moisturizer and then sealing the moisture in with an oil or cream. When you do this, you’ll notice that your hair stays moisturized for longer.
  • Be careful when detangling your hair. Many underestimate the effect that rough detangling can have on your hair. If you ever hear snapping during your detangling sessions, your strands are breaking. We recommend that, whenever possible, you use your fingers to detangle your hair. In doing so, you’ll be able to feel the tangles and how hard you’re pulling on your hair. When you use a tool like a comb or brush, it’s not as easy to determine how hard you’re pulling on your hair. But if you must use a comb or brush to detangle your hair, be sure that you wet your hair down and apply a slippery detangling product first. Then use a wide-tooth comb or Denman brush to gently work through the tangles.
  • Limit heat styling. Heat styling is one of the worst things you can do to your hair. The heat quite literally burns your hair shaft, weakening it over time. Choose heat-free methods whenever possible. If you decide to heat style your hair, keep the heat as low as possible and minimize the number of passes you make with the tool. 

In order to retain as much length as possible, you should adhere to the above tips. If you don’t do it, you may find that your hair is chronically dry and difficult to manage.

The longer you go without adequately caring for your hair, the higher your risk of extensive hair damage. 

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In this article, you’ve learned how fast hair grows, the factors that affect hair growth rate, and various things you can do to maintain the length of your hair in the long term.

We hope that this article is helpful to you, having given you the information you need to reach your hair growth goals.