Skip to content
Home » Why Your Natural Hair Won’t Grow Hair Past Shoulder Length | 4C Black Hair

Why Your Natural Hair Won’t Grow Hair Past Shoulder Length | 4C Black Hair

  • by

A very warm welcome back to the Jostylin blog. So the question I am going to be tackling on today is homemade deep conditioner for natural hair growth on afro hair growth ‘Why I can’t grow natural hair past shoulder length ?‘. Hair being stuck at one length for months on end is probably one of the most frustrating things that many of us naturals may experience once we start our natural hair journey. And if you are a person who has decided to take your natural hair growth regimen seriously, you will be even more frustrated to see a lack of growth. But don’t despair, because I promise you, there are many things you could be doing or not doing that is halting your hair growth.

To tackle this topic thoroughly, I will be providing you with a reason and a solution, that has helped me get past this hurdle and reach tailbone length hair. Whilst reading this article, keep in mind that if your hair is shedding excessively, there may be a more serious cause. Consult your doctor to rule out a medical condition like iron deficiency anaemia.

Reason 1) Unhealthy Scalp Slows Down Natural Hair Growth

There are many reasons why I have placed an ‘unhealthy scalp’ as the number one reason why you can’t grow hair past shoulder length. Not only because hair growth starts from the scalp, but because scalp health is always overlooked by many of us. We focus so much on moisturizing our hair, sealing our ends and protective styling, but forget to examine the place where hair growth begins.

Fungal infections, itching, damaged hair follicles, product build up and harsh chemicals are some of the primary reasons why your scalp has given up with hair growth. Once you address those reasons, you are on your way to faster hair growth.

Beware of hair products that contain harsh chemicals. Harsh chemicals inhibit your scalp from maintaining the process of creating the sebum that is needed for your hair. When your scalp is being stripped of its natural oils, it causes a panic reaction in the follicles. The result is a scalp that goes into overdrive, frantically trying to reproduce more oils to compensate for what has been lost. These extra oils can build up on the scalp, causing blockage of the pores and follicles. This then halts your hair growth.

A while back I suffered from an itchy scalp and LOTS of dandruff. Little did I know that this was due to a fungal infection. Dandruff arises when your scalp alkaline levels are high, your skin cells will begin to separate which is what causes it to flake. Your scalp needs to maintain a state of acidity in order for it to combat the growth of fungi and bacteria, as well as keep the cuticle closed and healthy. This is important as fungi/ bacteria build up, causing inflammation and will affect the growth of your hair, as well as damage hair health. Inflammation of the scalp is most often the result of excessive itching and dandruff. These issues arise when your scalp is unhealthy and is in need of some care.


If your scalp is flaking heavily, or if you suspect you may have a fungal infection (you can tell if your scalp smells stuffy), follow this recipe:

Add a pinch of cassia leaves into a cup of water. Boil and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Once cool, drain the herbs and pour the water into a spray bottle.

In a separate cup, add 4 drops of tea tree oil, 3 drops of peppermint oil, 3 drops of Rosemary oil half cup of avocado oil and one tablespoon of Neem oil. Pour into the same spray bottle that contains the cassia water and shake very well.

Divide hair into 6 sections, spray directly onto scalp and massage using tips of fingers for 1 minute on each section. Use this treatment once a week – you will notice that your hair will start growing back.

What the above treatment is doing:

  • Cassia dissolves the fungi/dandruff
  • Neem oil, Tea tree and Peppermint is antibacterial – they will work to kill fungi/infection/dandruff
  • Rosemary oil works to stimulate hair growth
  • You can also check out my anti dandruff oil for afro hair, if you don’t have time to make your own.

Reason 2) Your Hair is Not Retaining Length

If you have curly kinky hair, most likely by now you would have come across the term ‘length retention’. But you may not be aware of the importance of it and its contribution to your natural hair growth. It is also a major factor that helps many naturals grow hair past a certain length. So, let me break it down for you the best way I can. Length retention is one of the most important hair growth factors for many of us women with 4C hair. As our hair tends to shrink up to 70% its actual hair length, this shrinkage contributes to many hair problems such as dryness, tangles, breakage etc. Here are some problems you may experience if your hair length is not retained

  • When your hair shrinks, it will dry faster, causing it to frizz and dry up, which will lead to breakage and tangle.
  • Shrunken hair requires moisture more than 3 times the amount of when the length is retained.
  • Shrunken hair is also more likely to cling on to certain particles such as loose thread and fabrics from clothes, as well as clumps of product buildup.
  • Additionally, when hair sheds, the shedded strands are more likely to latch on to the healthy hair strands, causing more breakage. If your hair length was retained, the shedded strands would have been able to slide off easily without attaching itself to healthier hair strands.

SOLUTION: Try different methods of retaining your hair such as African threading. If you are happy to use heat, blow dry your hair on low heat using an ionic blow dryer. Last 10 years I have been blow drying my hair on low heat, and I am yet to experience any heat damage. I only came close to experiencing heat damage when I flat ironed my hair, so beware of flat irons. Still be mindful that everyone’s hair different, so different heat temperatures will affect our hair differently.

Reason 3) – Your Natural Hair Growth Has Reached It’s Terminal Length

Hair is a structure that changes like a milk tooth. Hair growth has three life cycles and these cycles will continue for the rest of your life. Everyone has a cycle of hair growth specific to them – once a certain amount of time has passed, the hair will no longer grow and will either break off, shed, or be cut off eventually.

When a hair strand has reached the end of its life it falls out and is replaced with new healthy hair. As a result of this hair circulation, it is normal that 100 hair follicles should shed on average per day.

The human hair performs a total of 20 hair cycles for a lifetime. Each hair cycle consists of 4 phases:

1. Anagen phase – growth phase

  • Cells in the hair follicle actively produce hair.
  • About 85% of our hair is in the anagen phase. So if we assume that we have a total of 100,000 hair pieces, we can see 85,000 of them.
  • The anagen phase lasts 3 to 6 years, but with aging this time is shortened.
  • This phase also determines the length of the hair. Our hair is about 10 cm long per year, for an anagen phase lasting 3 years, it is 30 cm long at the end of 3 years.

2. Catagen phase-transition phase

  • In this phase, hair growth stops and the follicle part shrinks and contracts according to its normal length.
  • About 1-2% of our hair is in this phase.
  • This phase lasts about 1-2 weeks.

3. Telogen phase – standby phase

  • This phase lasts about 3-4 months.
  • In this phase, when the hair is not prolonged, the stem is shorter than the catagen, but the hair is still attached to the hair.
  • Approximately 13% of the hair is present in this phase.
  • In this period the hair gets a fine appearance. Occasionally, this can happen to the hair during stress, injury, pregnancy or after a diet, which is called “telogen effluvium”.

4. Shed phase

  • At this phase, the shaft section breaks off from the stem and falls.

Reason 4) – Genetics Affects Natural Hair Growth

I hate to be the one to break the news but hair growth, length and thickness are all genetically predisposed to us at birth. Our growth cycle (mentioned above) generally lasts between 2 – 6 years. Everyone’s hair growth rate is different and is of course determined by their genetics. However, some lucky few have a growth potential that’s much longer than 6 years.

Hair thickness is also determined by genetics. My dad is a 76 year old Nigerian Igbo man who has very thick, full hair, with not a bald patch in sight. I do believe that I inherited his hair thickness. Thick hair is part of my family genetics, but not everyone in my family can grow long hair without proper care and maintenance – my hair didn’t grow past my shoulders for a couple of years until I started blow drying and braiding it. However, no matter how much I trim my hair at regular intervals or take great care of my hair, once it reaches the end of its growth cycle, it will fall out, no matter how thick my hair is. This is simply because my hair length potential is determined by the biology of my hair.

Basically what you need to understand is that every hair on your head (and the rest of your body) grows for a specific length of time and then stops, sheds, and a new hair grows in its place. Your armpit hair and all other body hair grows shorter.

If you eat well, exercise, and take very good care of your hair and it is still not growing, it may be your genetics. If your hair is thin or falling out too quickly, you may have a hair loss problem. Read about the major causes of hair loss here.

Reason 5) Afro Hair is More Prone to Breakage

Breakage is another major cause why your hair won’t grow.If you are a natural that loves her wash and go’s, be mindful that leaving your hair out all day everyday can leave your hair more vulnerable to breakage. How is that? Let me break this down further:

  • Hair that is left out leaves the ends vulnerable to tangles and split ends due to the constant rubbing on clothes. That’s one of the reason why my hair never reached past shoulder length for a couple of years until I started protective styling (braiding).
  • Hair that is left out is vulnerable to dryness caused by environmental factors – windy weather, sunshine etc
    If your hair is breaking, this doesn’t mean it can’t grow any further, it simply means that you need to protective style it.

Reason 6) Split End Are Damaging Your Natural Hair

There is no enemy of the hair so violent and implacable as the dreaded split ends. This is a major factor that halts our ability to grow hair past a certain length. Regardless of age, you are never safe from the risk of experiencing the problem. In fact, experts say that open and brittle ends are the # 1 reason why people visit salons to cut their hair.

The tips of the hair open when the protective layer of the strands wears away due to the action of stressors for the hair, such as treatments with chemicals. When the internal structure of the hair is exposed by the wear of the protective layer, the deterioration and dehydration opens the tips. Leaving split ends in your hair will just cause them to split further, leading to more hair breakage, and a vicious cycle of no hair growth.

Although the only genuine way to correct the problem is to cut the ends, there are several simple methods to treat it and prevent it.


  • Finger detangle hair: Trust me, I have done this for 10 years and I guarantee you, it leaves your natural hair a lot healthier. If you must use a comb, choose one with a wide teeth: After applying the conditioner in the shower, gently untangle the hair. This prevents the strands from breaking, as is usually the case when combing the hair after drying it with a towel.
  • Beware of cheap hair dryers: Those promotional dryers can be tempting, but cheap appliances tend to overheat over time. Opt for quality ionic hair dryers instead. They work by drying the hair faster whilst keeping the hair more bonded together. This way your hair will feel silkier and softer as opposed to harsh and brittle.
  • Keep the softness: Treat your hair as if it were an expensive fabric, it will last longer and it will not lose its beauty. Imagine that you buy a silk blouse: I would not wear it every day, because you want to avoid wearing it out with overuse. When placing your hair in a ponytail use only silk hair bands that do not contain metal parts.
  • If you want to straighten your hair back, never do it without applying gels or products designed exclusively for it.
  • Avoid towel-drying your hair harshly and let your hair air-dry instead.
  • Use dry conditioners: regular conditioners that wash in the shower do nothing against the problem of split ends, but dry conditioners provide continuous protection against the dryer and the day’s environment.
  • Cut hair regularly: Cutting the hair is the ultimate solution to the problem of split ends, and is the best preventive measure. The longer you allow to pass without cutting, the more likely it is that the condition of the tips will become worse and spread along the strands. Although it sounds contradictory, trimming the tips is often the fastest way to grow hair. Regardless of the type of hair or the preferred style, experts recommend a cut of tips every six or eight weeks.

Reason 7) Dryness is Stalling Your Natural Hair Growth

Dry hair can reduce the ability to grow hair past a certain length. This can be due to the alteration of the scalp or seborrhea that causes an alteration in the skin which causes secondary manifestations such as dandruff and dryness. Dry hair may also be caused by stress, poor diet, physical or chemical aggression and environmental factors such as living in a place with little moisture.

Once your hair grows out of your scalp, it is dead and the further away hair is from the scalp, the less nutrients it gets from the body’s natural oils. Hair has no natural lubrication, so it relies on oils made in the hair root to keep your hair moisturized and looking lustrous.Without nutrients, it becomes dry and frail and, henceforth, breaks.

iF your scalp is not producing enough oils, this will result in breakage. On the flipside, if your scalp is making too much oils, it causes greasiness and limp hair, also leading to breakage. When the scalp isn’t producing enough natural oils to moisturize your hair, this can be hereditary or is something that happens over time, as generally your hair gets drier as you age. Another factor that causes breakage is due to the shrinkage prone structure of 4C and curly hair types, which causes moisture to escape. Additionally, when the hair cuticles are compact and overlapping, moisture is retained, making the hair look shiny and healthy. When the cuticles are looser, more moisture and natural oils escape, resulting in dull, weakened hair.


An effective solution is to moisturise and protect your ends especially. When you are conditioning or applying moisturisers, pay particular attention to your ends, making sure the nutrients is reaching and spreading evenly among them. Deep Condition at least once every two weeks or every time you use a shampoo. And moisturise at least once every two days. Also, moisturise and deep condition even if you have protective styles like braids.

Surely you will find hundreds of treatments for dry hair in stores, but they are usually very expensive and, in addition, the effect is “lost” once we suspend or stop using it. Dry hair reappears and becomes a kind of “vicious circle” where it only looks cute while we are using that product. So, most of the time, it is not that your hair is not growing but that it is breaking off.

If you are tired of spending a lot of money on treatments that only serve for a few days or weeks, and if you want to find the best treatment for dry hair or if you want to try natural options, try out one of my recipes for natural black hair growth. The ingredients in all cases are very simple to find and mixtures are achieved in minutes. You can mix the best oils for natural hair growth with other ingredients to give your hair a boost of moisture. Remember to follow the instructions and doses or repetitions to the letter . By applying these masks on your hair regularly and using a shampoo and a natural conditioner you can achieve a silkier and softer hair.

Reason 8) Age Affects Hair Growth

Hair quality and distribution change with age, due not only to aging but also to other causes, such as hormonal changes, medications or thyroid problems. After age 40, hair loss is intensified by aging, due to hereditary causes, and in the case of women, due to menopause.

A poor diet will also cause the hair to weaken in older people, as it causes it to break and grow more slowly. For healthy hair, vitamin A , vitamin B (B6 and B12), vitamin C, biotin , copper, zinc and iron are necessary. Aggressive aesthetic treatments with hair, such as permanent, smoothed or fancy inks, the daily use of heat from dryers, irons or curling irons, use very tight bows and horsetails, can affect hair growth.

SOLUTION: Maintain a healthy diet, rich in nutrients as you get older. This way, you will ensure your hair and overall health is maintained.

Reason 9) Diet Affects Hair Growth

First of all, one of the first steps we must take is to change our diet , taking extra doses of certain nutrients. For example, vitamin A – apple, green and orange fruits and vegetables – as it is converted into retinol, an element that helps hair growth.

For its part, vitamin B reduces the stress we may have at this stage of life and that can affect hair loss. And vitamin D , produced when the body is exposed to the sun, balances hormones and body systems; that can get out of adjustment after the changes caused by menopause.

Reason 10) Your Night Routine Is Damaging Your Hair

Here are my tops night time must do’s to be able to grow hair past a certain length:

  • Oil: If your hair is dry, opaque, brittle, has split ends, or simply does not feel that it is at its best, the oils are your best allies. Opt to apply a product that has essential oils of flowers that help you intensely nourish, protect and soften the strand. In addition, oily products usually have a powerful antifrizz action.
  • Detangle: You are going to sleep? Well, first do not forget to finger detangle your hair! If you must use a comb, use a wooden comb. This material makes less friction in the hair than plastic or other materials helping to avoid frizz. The combing movements should always be gentle to prevent split hair fiber. By detangling/combing you evenly distribute the natural oils that are present in your hair to the hair and ends to obtain more shine and healthy hair.
  • Massage: After applying the oil, massage your hair! Make gentle circular movements with the fingertips all over the scalp. Not only will you achieve a better sleep (product of relaxation) but you will also be activating the capillary blood vessels, which will cause you to experience less fall and more hair growth. To massage!
  • Protective Hairstyle: At bedtime, when you have your hair untangled and moisturized, opt for a hairstyle that keeps it protected at night. You are probably wondering who gets a hairstyle before going to sleep, but calm! Let me elaborate. It can be a braid (not too tight) or just use a scarf to cover the hair. If you have curly hair you can sleep with a high impeller, I chose the one that best suits your routine and you find it simpler, but do not stop doing it.
  • Satin Pillowcase: If you choose a satin cover, instead of traditional cotton, you will achieve that your hair is not affected by frizz. Satin has the quality of not entangling and maintaining the shape of your hair while you sleep.This trick is very useful, especially if you have a voluminous hair. Additionally, other materials like cotton can seriously suck in moisture from your hair and you will wake up with dry, and even matted, hair.

Reason 11) Itching Scalp Causes Hair Breakage

An itchy scalp can have many causes, some major and some minor. Yeasts, fungi or shampoos are often the culprit.Certain medications, product accumulation and prolonged periods of damp hair can also trigger an itching of the scalp. Identify the underlying cause of the itch so you can select and implement a treatment solution – and control itching. Viciously scratching the hair can not only damage the surface of your skin, it also scrapes your hair strands until they eventually breaks off.

  • Dandruff can be one of the main reasons why you have an itchy scalp. Fortunately, the solution is relatively simple.The problem is sometimes attributed to the overgrowth of a lipophilic yeast called malassezia that appears when there is a lot of fat on the scalp. There are medicated products designed to control the production of oil and relieve itching.
  • Another medical condition that can cause itching, scaling and irritation of the scalp. Some experts confuse a scalp with seborrhea with common dandruff. It is not a very serious problem (so do not be scared!), It can be treated with steroids, topical creams and medicated shampoos.
  • A dry and tight scalp can generate an annoying itching. Winter exacerbates this condition, so it is recommended to use moisturizing products to hydrate the scalp.
  • A fatty scalp that does not wash regularly, or one that has too much product or buildup of dirt, can also cause irritation similar to dandruff. Bad hair washing or irregularly can affect the normal development of scalp cells, causing scaling, itching and bad smell.

Some Tips to Help Grow 4B & 4C Natural Hair Past Shoulder Length :

1) Have Regular Homemade Deep Conditioner & Leave in Conditioner Treatments

Ensure your natural hair is kept moisturised and healthy with a hot oil treatmenthis. T should be consistently done once a week for faster results. Also try to add some liquid vitamins in your mixture. This will ensure your hair gets ll the good nutrients. Please visit my article on the best hot oil treatment for natural hair growth.

2) Have Hot Oil Treatments to Help Grow Natural Black Hair Past Shoulder Length

Ensure your natural hair is kept moisturised and healthy with a hot oil treatmenthis. T should be consistently done once a week for faster results. Also try to add some liquid vitamins in your mixture. This will ensure your hair gets ll the good nutrients. Please visit my article on the best hot oil treatment for natural hair growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *