View Full Version : I think my hair can only reach a certain length.

July 17th, 2011, 05:29 PM
Okay here it is! As long as I remember I've always wanted long hair and I've been trying to grow it long for many years, yet it is always around shoulder length. I've never had long hair, not even when I was a kid. (fact: I was bald until I was 3 years old haha.)

Anyway, my hair history: I started coloring my hair blond and eventually started bleaching also. I treated it very badly, straightening it almost everyday. This started when I was 15 and went on til I was 17, 18ish and that's when I decided to stop. So understandably it didn't grow much those 2 years. I let it grow out and I rinse-colored it (lol, does anyone know what I mean? It's like a color that fades little by little when you wash your hair).

After I got rid of the yellowish-blond color from my hair, I had to start fresh so I cut it a bit shorter than shoulder length. That was in early 2009 and it hasn't grown much since. I do admit though that I did sometimes use the straightening iron but I haven't colored it since 2009 and my hair is just my color now and it looks a lot better, which I am happy about! :)

My hair is really fine and it's prone to get split ends, even though I'm not blow drying it or using any heat-styling. I'm even taking vitamins that are specialized for hair but the only difference I see is that I don't shed as much.

But the bottom line is: Can hair for some people only reach a certain length? Because mine does not seem to get any longer than than a bit below shoulders. I'm about to give up hope of having long hair. :( So if anyone could help me by answering I'd really appreciate that.

P.s I can post pictures of my hair.

July 17th, 2011, 05:39 PM
Yes, hair does have a terminal length. It varies from person to person.

How you take care of your hair, and your overall health, will affect the growth of your locks.

Hair is resislient..to a certain extent..but if it is mistreated with hot irons, straightening, bleaching, perms, poor products, and a poor diet, the hair growth will suffer.

If you are truly concerned about lack of growth, then consult a trichologist and see if there is a problem with your thyroid.

Also, your follicles should be exercised every day via brushing with a boar bristle brush (no nylon!). Always be sure to detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb BEFORE brushing.

Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise moderately and baby your hair as much as possible...i.e. wear it UP to protect the fragile ends. Get trims to remove any splits. Above all, be patient! If you are taking any kind of medication, that might have something to do with your slow hair growth rate.

Good luck!

July 17th, 2011, 05:40 PM
Everyone has a terminal length, beyond which their hair can't grow, but it's extremely unlikely that yours is right around shoulder length. How do you usually wear your hair?

July 17th, 2011, 05:52 PM
Yes, people can reach only one lenght. It's called terminal lenght. It's different for everyone. I think that you really shouldn't give up. Maybe your hair grows really slowly. DO NOT cut it, take care for them and don't stress over the lenght.

July 17th, 2011, 05:59 PM
my hair broke off at the shoulders for a long time from damage..
are you wearing your hair up? are you putting it in a protective style to sleep? are you taking vitamins or eating a healthy diet? are you going to the salon to get it cut and how often are you getting it cut? do you eat enough protein? how long have the women in your family ever had their hair? do you use cones?, what kind of shampoo do you use? what kind of conditioner do you use? do you use a leave in? do you wear rough non-hair-friendly clothing such as velvet, corduroy, jeans, or twill? does your hair rub against your clothes? are you aware that hair usually takes a month to grow half an inch? how much do you trim, as in how much do you take off the ends?

yes hair can only reach a certain length, we call it terminal length, ive heard its usually classic length (bottom of butt) on most people but that could be wrong..

July 17th, 2011, 06:07 PM
I recall my mum never cutting her hair, but I'm not sure my mum was very closed about personal things. I just remember my mum's hair growing to about waist.
I grew mine to just above my hips in my 20's it did have a great deal of fairy tail ends though, same as when I was very young. I like blunt hemline's :(

July 17th, 2011, 06:14 PM
I doubt that your current length is terminal length. This would be extremely rare, especially if you managed to have longer hair earlier in your life, like as a child, which would suggest is it how you treat(ed) your hair that is making it stay short.

Basically, if you do not cut off all the damage you have, it will travel up the strand. If you had bad damage a few years ago and did not cut it all off, even if the dye is gone, the damage could still be kicking around.

My suggestion would be cut as much of the damage as you can bear (maybe an inch or so) and then wear it up (at day and night) and alter your routine to prevent more damage. Heat is a no no. If you have fragile hair you should avoid it at all costs. Also, if your shampoo has sulfates it will cause damage. Many people here prefer cone free condition only (CO), known as the CO method of washing. It's much gentler on your hair. At a minimum you can definitely cut out sulfates save for when you need to get rid of build up and switch to a gentle sulfate free shampoo. People here also like to stretch washes (wash less often) and do things like use leave in conditioners and oil.

Good luck! With some patience and the right care your hair will grow.

July 17th, 2011, 06:15 PM
My mother has a very short terminal length. Its a little higher than apl. She has incredibly fine baby like hair and mine is thick and dark, but I was still worried for some time that I may have inherited it and my hair wouldn't grow. I'm pretty sure it was all down to mistreating it, though. Before I joined LHC, I had NO IDEA what proper hair care is. Hopefully while you're here, you'll pick up some tips and you'll be on your way to longer hair :)

July 17th, 2011, 06:35 PM
How often do you cut/trim? The "every 6-8 weeks" thing is generally for maintaining a hairstyle, not for growing out length.

July 17th, 2011, 07:43 PM
I had a "false terminal" length around mid-back due to the fact that I used to brush the tangles out of my hair before showering. This resulted in TEARING off the weakest hair at each knot, which was like getting regular 1-2cm random trims every single day.

I stopped using shampoo, I stopped using a blow-fryer (not that I used it much anyway), and I stopped brushing my hair when it was dry (unless using a Tangle Teezer). I now detangle in the shower with my hair coated in conditioner and using a wide-toothed comb. I've trimmed several inches of damage off the ends over the past 1.5 years, but when pulled straight my longest hair touches the top of my "vertical smile". If I hadn't trimmed off all those inches of damage, I'd be able to sit on my hair now.

My hair's never been this long in over 4 decades of life. And all I did was stop abusing it.

July 17th, 2011, 07:52 PM
There are a number of reasons why your hair may not be growing.

The most obvious, as Teela pointed out, is if you trim too frequently. Trimming hair every 6-8 weeks as "recommended" will effectively stop many people's hair growth efforts in its tracks as it's just too frequently, ESPECIALLY if you have slow growing hair!

I would recommend not trimming more than once every 3 months, and then only if you really have to (also, if you're not trimming yourself, ensure you are VERY specific with your hairdresser about how much you want off, such as no more than 1/4" to 1/2").

It's a good idea to work out how fast your hair grows. The best way to do that is by measuring monthly and keeping track for a few months (as you may grow more some months than others). If you find that you're only growing 1/4" a month or less, then you'll know that you just have to be super patient, and wait quite awhile between trims (and consider self trimming, as it's way easier to control exactly how much is cut off and you can ensure you're cutting off less than you're growing).

Apart from that, look after your hair really well to ensure it's not breaking! Protective updos, regular moisturising treatments, oiling the ends etc. can all help. If your ends are breaking off, then you're not going to be showing much growth at all!

It would be extremely likely to have a terminal length as short as shoulder length. I'm not saying impossible... but unlikely. Do your ends appear to be fairy tailed? Usually hair at its terminal length will have very uneven ends because some hairs will naturally grow more than others and the hairs on the top of the head will often end up shorter than the hairs from the back of the head, as they have to grow longer to reach the same point (if that makes sense). If your hair is fairly blunt, then I doubt it's terminal.

Yes, it is true that some people have a much shorter terminal length, but that's more likely to be say, at the top of the butt rather than past the butt or further... I don't think many people have a terminal shorter than waist (I doubt it's impossible though as everyone is different).

The best advice I can give you is to BE PATIENT! Resist the urge to trim too frequently, measure every month and work out your hair's potential. It will take time to do this though. Once you know how fast your hair grows, you can continue to keep track and you'll soon know whether you've hit your biologically determined terminal length or not.

July 17th, 2011, 08:56 PM
I think that about mine all the time. I grew it out all natural, no damage but I had layers put in it. I would have this one little tiny point that would grow longer than waist and that was it. My mom grew hers out and layered it a little. Same deal with the point and hers stopped at her hip only because her hip is so close to her waist. I'm almost to waist but its looking thicker at the bottom so I have hope. My daughter has fine wavy hair and protein treatments and products seem to help her hair break less. I just learned how to do a bun and it really reduces how much brushing I do to it. If you aren't trimming it, and it isn't breaking off, and it really just doesn't from the roots, and you are eating enough protein, I'd see a doctor about it.

July 18th, 2011, 12:03 PM
Wow thanks for the replies everyone! This is definitely useful.
My hair routine: Right now I am using John Frieda root awakening shampoo and conditioner. I wash my hair every 2-3 days. Since my hair is thin and fine I don't really have to comb it, so I just detangle it by running my fingers through my hair when it is wet after shower.
I rarely use any hair products and I never use hairspray. I don't blow dry it and I also rarely use the straightening iron. On the other hand, I don't deep condition it and I don't have any like hair caps and so on. I wouldn't say that I treat my hair badly.
I usually wear my hair down but I always have to wear it up at work, and when it's up it's often in a bun.
The strange thing is I do not trim it regularly. The last time I went she cut it really short, she took like 2.8 inches (the hemline didn't touch my shoulders). But if I think about it, I've been avoiding hair salons because the always end up cutting too much of my hair, even though I'm crystal clear about what I want, which is not cutting too much, only trimming like half an inch. You can't trust anyone with your hair!
I eat healthy and I make sure to eat enough of protein. My skin is really good and healthy looking and I have strong nails that grow very fast, my only problem is my hair! :(

July 18th, 2011, 12:11 PM
My daughters hair was breaking and almost wearing away at the ends. I've started using Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor on her about once a week to hopefully make it stronger. She's got the "fairy tale ends" really down pat. She claims as far as her hair is concerned, the more protein the better. Also we try and deep condition it once a week too as it helps with her tangles. Since I learned a bun I can put hers in, we'll try some of that too. We shall see if it pays off by Christmas. I'm one for waiting and seeing.

July 18th, 2011, 09:36 PM
How little is "not regularly"? My hair is fine, and I can easily go 6-9 months with no trims at all. If I keep after split ends via search and destroy, I can go a year. Probably more, but my hair grows like a weed and gets a bit layered as a side effect.

In my late teens, I thought it was the end of the world if I didn't get trims at least every 3 months. I'd get soooooo many splits and the trims were necessary. As I got better at caring for my hair, the splitting lessened, and I eventually found I could stretch out trims more and more.

As far as straightening... My hair gets pretty royally pissed off by any heat treatment. Tangles galore, and they'll last for months after. So I just don't do heat. It isn't worth it for me.

My hair can handle being worn down, but I can't handle the results of wearing it down a lot. Tangles. I hate them. So mostly I go for prevention.

If you're trimming on a schedule roughly like mine, and you feel comfy saying the straightening iron is a less than once every 3 months thing... I'd check with a doctor. It could be that something is medically wrong.

July 18th, 2011, 11:13 PM
have you had an illness lately? my hair didnt grow for months after i had swine flu.. also, since my recent illness its not growing..

now, are you sure its not growing? because when your hair is shorter, it can seem like its taking forever.

and i think that if you are getting split ends you should wear your hair up more. what are you using to keep your hair up? pins? hairties (the nice metal free kind)?, hairforks? hairsticks? some ways of putting up the bun are hair-friendlier than others.. hairties cause damage, i can tell you this from personal experience, that even the metal free kind will damage the hair..

honestly i think the problem is that the hair is short enough to have a lot of movement and is rubbing and breaking off from you wearing it down..

July 19th, 2011, 01:28 AM
My hair has been stuck just past shoulder for a very long time now. I started taking a hair, skin and nails vitamin, stopped dying, no heat styling and haven't trimmed since April, I also wear it up everyday to forget about it. I thought for the longest time I've had no growth. Then I took a growth progress picture and seen that there is some significant growth! You just have to be patient it's hard to notice growth at this length and it can seem like it's taking forever.

July 19th, 2011, 12:30 PM
Well, I always thought my terminal length was waist... but now I am starting to seriously doubt it. It's just that when it was that length I felt I shed about twice as much that when my hair was shorter... but I never counted or anything, just a "feel".
I cut my hair by 10-15 cm's twice during the last year because of personal reasons. The firt time was december 09 from waist to APL, and then last year aobut 10cms. Now it reaches just to my last vertebrae.. so - I'll see what happens in the next months... years.... :))

elbow chic
July 19th, 2011, 12:38 PM
I didn't really have a lot of luck growing mine out till I quit going to the salon. It took a long time for me to get from chin to APL, and I think it's because I hadn't gotten out of the habit of getting my hair "trimmed" regularly.

If you go even twice in a year and they lop off a mere two inches each time, you've lost two-thirds or more of your growth for the year!

July 19th, 2011, 01:22 PM
Remember, our idea of "rarely" might be much different than yours. It would be very helpful if you could say "twice a week" or "once a month", etc, so we can get a better idea of what you're doing.

How often do you wear your hair up/ how often do you straighten/ how often do you get trims, on average/ how often do you wash? Also, when you say you rarely use hair products, what hair products are you using? Are you talking about some sort of mousse? How often do you use these products?

When you straighten, what temperature do you have it set on? Do you keep it moving or hold the iron on your ends?

Has all the damage from the last time you were coloring/ heat styling it grown out yet? At 0.5" per month growth, it would take over 2 years for all the damage to grow down to shoulder length. I got pretty confused when you were describing time frames. Has it been over 2 years since the last time you were regularly coloring/ heat styling?

Like Squiggflop, I have the idea that your hair is rubbing against your shoulders quite a bit, too. I've heard your length can be quite the [female dog] in regards to that kind of damage.

July 21st, 2011, 02:58 AM
Basically, if you do not cut off all the damage you have, it will travel up the strand. If you had bad damage a few years ago and did not cut it all off, even if the dye is gone, the damage could still be kicking around.

I hadn't thought about this, but it makes total sense (duh!) I trim my hair once a year, mostly out of laziness. I'm due to go in next month and thought I'd only cut 1/4" but I have about 1/2" of damage; I guess I'll have all the damaged ends cut off entirely ...

August 6th, 2011, 12:41 PM
Have you tried self trimming? like I don't visit salons but I do dust my hair every other month. My hair (individual strands) are very fine but the bulk of my hair is in the thick spectrum. I find protein treatments (I use aphogee 2 step every 2-3 months) followed always by a deep conditioning have really helped my hair. I doubt very much that your hair has stopped growing, however we do have a member who hasn't cut his hair in 11 years and he is just past apl. This is unusual though.

Do wear it up as much as posible, do weekly DC and protein treatments every 2-3 months. Try and eat a varied diet and keep hydrated. Don't resort to vitamins, they are unneeded, a varied diet is adequate in keeping healthy and any excess vitamins wont do your health any good at all. And keep off the heat, none at all!

August 6th, 2011, 01:25 PM
That shampoo does have SLS in it, which is too harsh for many people. It is hard on the hair; you may need to switch to a non-SLS shampoo or conditioner-only washing to get more length.

Some people with fine hair find they cannot tolerate ANY heat styling. That straightening iron counts as heat styling. It sounds like your hair is just too fragile to withstand it. Some people find it takes months for their hair to recover from heat styling; some find it never recovers.

Are you oiling your hair? You may find that a little oil applied to your hair improves its condition. There are several ways to apply hair oils: as an oil shampoo (where you mix the oil into your shampoo), as a leave-in treatment (where you apply just a couple drops spread over your whole head of hair), and as a deep conditioning treatment (where you apply more oil and let it soak in either for a couple hours or overnight and then wash it out). That can help both with giving your hair enough slip that it doesn't damage itself and with keeping your hair in better condition generally.

Do you get split ends? Do you cut them off? With hair like yours, I wouldn't be surprised if you get split ends. They need to be cut off with sharp scissors or they can travel up your hair, weakening it. A lot of people here do 'search and destroy' missions, where they go through their hair looking for split ends.


August 6th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Also realize that it takes years and years and even more years to get really long hair. I used to grow from pixie to shoulder for around 2 years, feel like I'd been growing my hair FOREVER, and it still wasn't long, so I'd cut it again. Dumb! You have to be really-really patient, get teeny-tiny trims as needed, and take as good of care of your hair as you can.

Mine likes to split even when I'm doing nothing that should be damaging, so I have to get lots and lots of trims. It took 10 years to get from pixie to classic length (then I cut back because of too many splits).

The routine that works for me is no heat-styling whatsoever and CWC it with diluted shampoo.