Thursday, August 1, 2013

Does genetics determine your ability to grow your hair long?

     This is a commonly debated question on many hair sites and forums. When some black women see another black woman on youtube revealing her beautiful long hair, you will commonly see comments such as: "Are you fully black?" or "Oh, long hair must run in her family". It is hard for some to believe that any black woman can have waist length hair unless she is mixed with another ethnicity. The role of genetics and hair length is also debated amongst the science community. Yes there is science which supports that genetics does play a role in each persons hair growth cycle. But how much of a role it plays is not always agreed upon. Based on my experience,  genetics does not play a bigger role than a good healthy haircare regimen that works for you. 

Allow me to share my "Hair Story" and you will see that genetics does not have to determine your hair growth potential. 

My mother
  I was born with a head full of curly hair covering all of my scalp. Some people believe babies born with a full head of hair grow up to not have much hair, and in my case that was the truth for a very long time. By the time I started first grade, I had about 2 inches of hair. My mother was a old school beautician and she could put a pressing on some hair, growing up that was how she maintained my hair, she washed, deep conditioned and straightened my hair every two weeks. I never asked her at what point she started pressing my hair, but when you see my first professional pictures, you can clearly tell that she pressed my hair. You could also tell that my hair was broken and damaged. Pressing my hair was the first mistake my mother made concerning my hair, but that was all she knew to do in order to maintain my tightly coily hair. My mother had neck length hair and she also pressed her hair, however her hair responded to the pressings better than mines did. She also styled my very short hair in ponytails using yarn. When I was growing up the hair company Goody's sold hair yarn in a pack, and all through elementary school, this is what my mother used to hold my ponytails together. I remember seeing my hair wrapped around old pieces of yarn, but it never registered that the yarn was breaking my hair off, but that it was. 

3rd grade notice the white yarn.

From elementary school until the age of 13 my hair was always short, it never grew pass my ears and my bangs never touched my nose. Oh how I would wish, that I had long hair, and when the curly perm aka the Jheri Curl came on the scene, my wish came true. For the first time in my life my hair grew to shoulder length. The curly perm was a miracle worker on my hair, so I wore a curl for about a year. When I decided to stop getting the curly perm and start back getting my hair pressed, all my hair growth quickly broke off and once again I had very short hair. 

When I was 15, I would spend my Summers in New York visiting my father, and while I was there my sister showed me this hair she had brought. She told me that the hair was what the stars used to make their hair longer. My eyes grew so big I had fallen in love. She put some cornrows in my hair using the hair extensions she had brought and for once in my life I had long braids which hung down my back. It didn't matter if it wasn't really my hair, I had long hair to swing and that is all that mattered. 

From a small child,  I was always gifted in hair and all things creative, so I taught myself how to apply the hair extensions to my hair. I have never really loved cornrows all that much, so one day I decided to put a whole bunch of small braids all over my hair and it looked so good. The year was 1983 and I was doing micro braids before they were even calling them micros. I also taught myself how to weave in tracks of hair and do a full head of weave, I was unstoppable and in love with hair extensions. Because they finally gave me the long hair I desired for so many years. I wore hair extensions off and on for many years and because of giving my hair a break from manipulation, my hair would grow longer, but it was not getting stronger. It was getting weaker, because although my hair was growing I was not learning how to take care of my hair properly. I would put a relaxer in my hair then braid it back up or sew in some hair weave. Finally I realized that continuing to get a relaxer but not wearing my hair was pointless, so I decided to stop relaxing until I wanted to wear my hair. This is how I went natural, I did it because it made sense, not because I knew it was healthier for my hair. I also went natural long before it became the thing to do.

With the hair extensions my hair would grow pass my shoulders, however after every braid removal I would comb out so much hair it was ridiculous. Because I could braid so well, I would also keep my braids or weaves in for 4 months at a time. After a time you get tired of wearing fake hair and you want to rock your own God given crown. This caused me to sit down and really analyze what was working for my hair and what was working against my hair. No doubt the hair extensions gave my hair the freedom to grow, but there were key parts of my hair care regimen that I was missing. This helped me to develop the Braid, Retain & Grow method. This method was created over many years of trials and errors, since I have worn almost every type of hair extension there is I know what you should do and what you should not do. The Braid, Retain & Grow method will work for anyone who follows it. It has been tried and tested by many.

So for my story genetics had very little to do with me growing my hair long and healthy. I have the longest hair in my immediate family even down to my nieces. My hair almost touches my waist and it is tightly coily and healthy. I have gained the most hair growth during the breaks I take from wearing hair extensions. The older I get the more I rather wear my natural hair. So my hair growth is not only attributed to wearing braids, my hair growth comes mainly from a good haircare regimen. The reason why my hair responded so well to the Jheri Curl is because the curly perm requires moisture and the reason my hair grows so well today, is because I keep it strengthened with protein and hydrated from water and a good leave in conditioner. I make sure that my hair cuticle is healthy because when the hair cuticle opens and closes as it should you retain the proper moisture. 

I believe,  genetics will give you naturally long hair, we have seen it in families many times. BUT genetics will not STOP you from growing your naturally short hair  bra strap length and beyond. Genetics does not cancel out a good hair care regimen and eating healthy.

Do not settle for short hair just because that is all you had growing up and all of your siblings have short hair. I am a witness to the difference a good haircare regimen makes. My hair is tightly coily and with just 2.5 years of practicing the CoilyQueens regimen and the Braid, Retain & Grow method my hair grew to waist length. So what are you waiting on start the CoilyQueens regimen or the Braid, Retain & Grow method today and longer and stronger hair will be yours before you realize it.


  1. There is too much negative thoughts and words put out towards our (black queens) hair..thanks for the positive reinforcement!

  2. This quote is the most accurate, inspirational thing that I have read about Black, coily hair in a LONG time: "I believe, genetics will give you naturally long hair, we have seen it in families many times. BUT genetics will not STOP you from growing your naturally short hair bra strap length and beyond. Genetics does not cancel out a good hair care regimen and eating healthy." I only wish more women would know that genetics isn't the end all, be all for long hair!

    My own hair isn't as healthy as I would like (I will be starting your regimen in a couple of weeks!) Hormonal changes, poor hair care routines, and general lack of motivation have taken a toll on my strands. However, my hair, which never grew past my collarbone during my teen years, is bra-strap length in some areas. Even with my hair being damaged, the few practices I am getting right (moisturizing & protective styling) have helped me to retain more length than ever. That's debunks the whole "if you never had long hair, you never will" fallacy.

    I can't wait to try your routine and see my hair grow fuller and thicker!

    1. I am just reading your comment. Thank you so much!!!

  3. My Hair has been fine and thin my whole life growing to shoulder lenght and down to butt if I'm pregnant. I do my own hair because I stop trusting people in my head. It's seems like everyone wants to put a perm in my hair. Never again in life will I get a perm. My only issues with my hair is my edges are thining out like crazy the rest of my hair is healthy.

    I've been trying everything to get these sides to grow in and nothing works. I haven't put jbco in my hair because I heard it makes your head itch and my head is sensitive. Certain products period.

    I wish someone would come out with a line for sistas with natural long thin fine hair like myself everything seems like it's for the curly type of hair.

    What products should. I be using on my edges aka hairline to make it grow?

    Thanks for taken your time to read this too.

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