Black Hair Myths

Black woman thinking

There are a lot of black hair care myths in the community that prevent people of color from having the true knowledge and facts.  Here is a list of 10 common myths many black women and men have learned growing up from family members and each other.

Myth #1 Black hair doesn’t grow

There is a common misconception in the black community that African American hair can’t grow long in its natural and relaxed state.   This common belief is absolutely false. Black hair can grow long and healthy as long as you treat it with proper care and follow a regimen that works for you.

Myth #2 Black hair needs grease

Many people in the African American community believe that black hair needs grease in order for their hair to be healthy.  Many people actually grow up on this belief based on what they’ve been told and have seen by parents or family members.   This common belief is false and many grease products actually have petroleum and mineral oil which are not good for black hair.   Ingredients such as petroleum and mineral oil will clog up your hair scalp and attract dirt which actually hinders hair growth and health.   A better and more recommended alternative is to moisturize black hair with natural oils and butters.

Myth #3 Braids make your hair grow

Many African Americans believe that having braids in your hair will promote hair growth and this is not true.   Having braids in your hair can cause more of an opposite effect.   If done tightly, braids can actually break your hair off and cause damage.   Instead of promoting hair growth, braids protect your hair from heat and other environmentally related damages.   There is a difference.   The key thing for black women is to take care of their hair even when braided and all will be well.

Myth #4 Cutting black hair makes it grow faster

Cutting black hair does not make it grow faster.   Many black women believe this common myth and it’s not true.   Hair that grows out of your scalp is dead therefore cutting, so it can’t possibly make it grow faster.   Cutting and trimming will actually make your hair appear healthier because damaged ends are removed.

Black Hair Myths

Myth #5 Black hair is stronger than every other hair type

Black hair is not stronger than every other hair type.   Black hair is actually closer to being the most fragile compared to every other hair type.   African American hair is more prone to breakage in its natural and relaxed state.   Black hair can lose its moisture much easier therefore it’s very important to apply protein and moisture treatments along with natural oils like coconut oil regularly.   Also be very careful when grooming the hair.   Tools like wide-tooth combs and boar brushes can be your hair’s best friend.

Myth #6 Prenatal vitamins will make black hair grow longer

This is a common myth in the black hair community.   Although many women experience good hair growth while pregnant, this is not due to prenatal vitamins at all.   It is actually due to the large amounts of estrogen hormone during pregnancy which promotes this growth phase.   Once pregnancy is over, the hair will go back to its normal growth pattern and many women will even experience shedding and hair loss.   Vitamins are a good source for promoting hair growth, but growth depends on the vitamin containing the right ingredients.   If you are going to take vitamins to promote more hair growth, it should have Biotin, Folic Acid, and MSM.

Black Hair Myths

Myth #7 Going to the salon regularly will make your hair grow long

It’s not necessary to go to the hair salon regularly in order to have your hair grow to your desired length.   All that’s required of you is to properly care for your hair.   Do a bit of research on how you can create a regimen that works for you and follow it.   Do protein and moisture treatments on your hair, use as little heat as possible, and continuously moisturize your hair (especially the ends) to promote hair growth.

Myth #8 Natural hair isn’t versatile

Many people in the African American community believe that black hair isn’t versatile and that is far from the truth.   There is a lot you can do to natural hair.  You can twist it, braid it, wear cornrows, coil it, wear as an afro, wear as an afro puff, loc it, and create Bantu knots.   With these different techniques, you can create so many different styles.   There is no limit to what you can do to natural hair as long as you’re willing to learn or you can have someone style it for you.

Myth #9 You can wash your relaxer out

It is extremely common in the black community to hear that the state of your relaxed hair can revert back to its natural state if washed too much.   This is absolutely false.   Once hair is chemically relaxed, it will stay that way until it has been cut off.   The only part of your hair that will be natural is the new growth.

Myth #10 You can repair split ends

Many people believe that you can repair split ends and this is false.   Once the ends of your hair are split, it can not be repaired.   There are a lot of repairing products being advertised and marketed for split ends but don’t believe the hype.   You can temporarily mend them but they will never be repaired.   The only way to get rid of them is to trim them.   If they’re not trimmed, the split ends will only travel further up and will cause you to cut off more than you have to in the end.

Author: Tashia Wilson

Hello everyone, my name is Tashia. I'm a freelance writer and entrepreneur in the internet marketing world. I enjoy browsing through Black Hair Media's forum during my spare time,among many other things. Hopefully this article was of great use to you.

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53 Comments

  1. My name is Jenny.I am an African in my mid 30s old and i have just gone natural. i cut off all my hair into a very short buzz cut and its just starting to grow ou. I’m really confused on how to take care of it and make it nice, shinny and possibly curly without perming or apply chemical that can destroy it’s natural texture. I’ll really appreciate some advice

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  2. I’m in the middle of transitioning. And I’d say it’s going pretty great. I’m just worried about when I hit that year mark and half my hair is natural and the other half is relaxed. The struggle will be so real for me.

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  3. I have dandruff and I dont know how to get rid of it. Can someone please help me?!

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  4. My name is shay and i am 16 years old and i have just gone natural. i cut off all my hair into a short boy cut and its just starting to grow out. I grease it and wash it with a 2 in 1 shampoo conditioner.. I’m really confused on how to take care of it;can somebody please help.

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  5. i want to share my testimony on how i gain my nature hair back in just three weeks: i had very thick curly hair.i straightened my hair 2 yr ago.they after some time started 2 fall out.i also having dandruff problem all d time, before i used shampoo called antidruf containing ketoconazole and tugain 2%(minoxidil) have stopped using chemical one year ago.but still i am loosing a lots of hair everyday and my hair has become so thin. when a friend of my visit me and i explain how i lose my hair every day, she told me she was having the same problem 3 months ago and he contacted DR OPINGO online, i please with grace and she gave me DR OPINGO email, i email him immediately and explain about my hair to him, he told me not to worry that he is going to help me out.After DR OPINGO have prepared the spell cream i use for good three weeks my hair grow fast and was very thick, all my girl friends love and cherish my hair thank you DR you can contact his email at: (alterofcandletemple05@gmail.com) his cream will make your hair grow fast and thicker.

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  6. Hi i just joined my schools swim team and i dont know whether i should wash the chlorine out after every practice (6 days a week!) Or should i cowash after every practice and shampoo once a week and continue my routine, applying argan oil, leavin conditioner, and raw shea butter. I have dry curly hair and im working on growing it out so far so good but i really want to prevent chlorine damage pleass HELP!

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  7. Hi, I’m a 19 year old black Caribbean girl and my natural hair isn’t completely kinky. It’s more like 1/4 inch spiral curls and they are small. I have relaxed my hair since I was 10 1/2 but I never liked it, especially since I get burnt 99% of the times I touch-up. The description I gave of my hair is the way the new-growth is now and the length of new-growth is an inch. My problem is that I’ve just started the process and my relaxer hair is 4 inches below my shoulder. It grieves my heart that all my hair is going and I don’t know where to start to continue the process. Help me please!!

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  8. Hello I’m Noelle I was just wondering if you guys could help me choose the right highlight color for my hair. I have kind of a sandy brown hair color . I also don’t want it to clash with my skin tone which is like a medium light brown. If you need a picture just tell me. Thankyou

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  9. Myth #3 is not a myth! In my 29 years, nothing has grown my hair better than box braids followed by cornrows underneath wigs. I am type 4C, cocoa- skinned with shoulder length hair after chopping it down to 2 inches all over in 2010. So… come again?

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    • Did you’re hair get any thinner after having box braids?

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      • black people hair does grow faster when you braid it ( not to he head) and you do need grease cuz my sister hair use to be real thick now it’s real thick bc she doesn’t grease her hair and who ever wrote this don’t know what there talking about and you can repair split ends

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        • This article is pretty spot on. I’ve had natural hair for a very long time and wore it in box braids for years straight. Box braids don’t make your hair grow, they just hide your hair away so that you don’t damage and break off the ends. Hair always grows, it’s just bad habits which break off the oldest and driest parts which are the ends. Grease is HORRIBLE for the scalp. I stopped using grease and use natural oils such as olive, coconut and rosemary oils to “grease” my scalp and moisturize my strands. My hair has never been stronger. Also, I kept being told that black hair shouldn’t be washed more than once every two weeks, even if I wear braids. I washed my hair once a week and co washed three days a week and my hair and used my oils and THAT is when I retained week.

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        • No, the poster is correct. Grease is a no no. Oils are necessary. The greases that we were taught to use in our hair are promoted as coconut oil grease and castor grease. However, the products have negligible amounts of the oils that we need to sustain healthy hair and excessive amounts of the pore clogging mineral oils. Why? Because it’s a cheaper product to produce. So, why not go straight for the oils? Cutting out grease and embracing virgin olive oil (I always have large bottles for cooking) has completely changed my hair and left a lot more money in my pocket!

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    • I believe you because youre not always combing it, or tampering with it, so it breaks less

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  10. Sooo…When I was in 5th grade, my mom cut all of my hair off (I was pretty much bald) and It was actually almost shoulder length before it was cut off. Now my hair has very slow growth, and is not as long as it used to be(Its about 4-5 inches). I’m planning on trying a biotin or Folic Acid regimen, but what other things might help in the process of me growing my hair past shoulder length?

    Thanks so much!!!

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    • Hi Iman,

      I went through the same thing when I was 8 years old. I had a bad habit of taking out my braids along the edges and my edges were breaking badly. So my mom wanted to have me get an escurl at the shop and they cut all my hair lol. I was so sad, but I got through it. My hair being permed almost every weekend before the “big chop” I notice my hair growing very slowly too. Let me know if you find anything that can help increase our hair growth

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  11. I’m an african american, 13 year old girl, my hair is just touching my shoulders which is short and i have never had a hair cut! the front of my hair line just above my forehead is breaking off a little bit because i wear it in a bun everyday. The reason for that is because i cant wear it out because its very dry and my mom dosent want to straighten my hair because of the heat damage! My mom has tried a lot of things to get my hair moisturized but they havent helped. My hair is thick. My mom and I want my hair to be moisturized and grow faster! PLEASE HELP!

    From: Desperate!

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    • Yea I would go a little easy on wearing the bun everyday, try switching it up, check YouTube out for protected hair style, it so many things you can do with your hair, i love wearing braiding style like cornrows braided into a mohawk, twist, twist outs, braid outs, pineapple, Bantu knots, afro, weave styles, and I don’t put any kind of heat n my hair and moisturizer everybody hair is different, what work for me prolly won’t work for you but like I tell everybody when u applying moisturizer make sure u put enough n your hair n always seal it with some kind of oil, hope this help go luck

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    • my hair is elbow length but it’s natural in my family i’m african american but my grandpa was mixed and my grandma was black and indian and that’s why ans this is so wrong

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    • Get a spray bottle and mist your hair daiky with water…then apply coconut oil or castir oil or mix them with shea butter. …..also recommend affirm 5 in 1 conditioner…apply and leave on for 1 hr under plastic cap….most important is water then oil

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    • Hi, before i went natural my hair was constantly breaking too and my mom knew nothing about curly hair so i took matters into my own hands. Try using a leave in conditioner after washing your hair. Avoid sulfates and silicone they strip hair from natural oils. Rub a bit of oil on your scalp and use abit of shea butter on the ends. Work the shea butter from tips to roots. Try having looser buns to prevent damage. And try a satin bonnet or sleeping on a satin or silk pillow case . Average hair grows 1/2inch per month be patient and have dead ends cut or your hair wont grow healthy or at the rate you want it to :) good luck

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  12. My hair is dread locks and is long to my tailbone, the problem I have been having recently, is that I have been using ‘Blue Magic Coconut Oil’
    for conditioner and I discover that when I washed my hair which is once per week, it seem at the end there is grease which to stay, I have tried almost everything to remove the grease but it still remain, I just realize that the base of this conditoner is Petroleum. How or what can I do to remove the grease from my middle to end of my locs? I really appreciate your help as it makes me very self conscienous of my locs. Thank you.

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    • Try a clarifying shampoo or try using lemon juice, apple cider vinegar mixed with one partwater and letting it siy for five mins hope it helps

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  13. I have a 5yr old daughter who’s hair used to be very long, thick, and healthy now her scalp is very dry, itchy, and flaky. Her hair is now falling out and becoming very thin. What can I use on her hair to have it growing back the way it was. I’m lost, I have no clue what to do I have tried everything I have been told, different types of hair grease, Oils, Moisturizers, shampoo, conditioners nothing is working its only getting worst. I can wash her hair one day and the next day her scalp is so white and flaky like i did not just wash it. Please help I don’t want my child hair to fall out. What can I use? What should I do?

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    • I would buy pure cold press Castor oil, Almond Oil, and Olive oil mix those oils together in 3 parts and add 2 drops of rosemary EO to it and 2 drops of tea tree oil. I would add a teaspoon of Aloe Vera for healing of the scalp. I would mix this in a bottle and this is the oil I would use on your daughter’s hair. It is inexpensive and you will always have it in your staple for hair. Also, use it for your self. This will help your daughter’s hair get back on track as soon as possible. Blessing to you and your daughter. I will be praying that her hair will come back. in Jesus name!

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    • Oh, I forgot I would measure the oils this way in 3 parts 1/4 cup for each oil. Meaning 1/4 cup for castor oil, 1/4 cup for almond oil, 1/4 cup for olive oil then add the rest of the ingredients.

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    • Hello,
      Sounds like your baby girl has a hair fungus to me, which commonly happens with really thick hair. Happened to my best friend & another friend’s daughter. Take her to the doctor, Asap.

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  14. My 4 year old daughter has really really thick course hair kinky.As well she is very tender headed and has dry , moisture absorbing hair. I don’t know what hair products to use or what I can do to help make her hair more manageable for every day combing. Please provide any advice on daily managing her type of hair with chemicals.

    I been tempted to use chemicals because it takes almost an hour just to wash and condition her hair. Add another hour to put in in pony tails. She has a lot of hair follicles. This is extremely stressful for both her and I.

    I look forward to your response

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    • Hi , Im 13 .. but I also have a younger sibling that also had this problem . However my mom found a great trick . Ok , so first after yu wash it apply leave in conditioner . Once the hair is damp you can start .You take some water and warm it up inside the microwave , and if yu have a spray bottle place the water inside of it . Then you get some vasiline and apply as you would moisteriser or grease. Using the water and the vasiline just do the normal. Tell me how it turns out ??

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  15. I was wondering if u could give me any ideas my daughter is black/white and her hair seems to grow thicker and not longer now after relaxing it it does not grow at all and I have tried different products cut out grease and switched to moisturizers and still not growing?

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    • I am 19. Mixed black and white… I experienced the same problem. I no longer perm my hair and it is growing much faster than it did when I had a perm in. If this is not a solution you’re comfortable with, coconut and olive oil applied to the scalp once a week is something I’ve heard of people using. Also, straightening the hair breaks it and makes it remain at a super-short length, so if that happens a lot, it may be best to refrain from heat treatments. All the best!

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  16. Hey im fourteen and i am going natural well technically in the process. but anyways I was going to actually ask a question about a type of grease 4 my hair my natural state of hair which is nappy kinky and the reason why I was asking this question is because my aunty uses this Greece 4 her hair and I used it and I was wondering if would you recommend it for me. I have individual Plait braids and I want to use this Greece for my hair. it is called thick hair growth by fantastix. thank you

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  17. When you were talking about braids not growing hair, were you talking about extentions or one’s own hair? Because braids are a protective style. I’ve seen people that had short hair achieve long lengths with braid extentions and natural braids, not breakage. This is possible because the hair is allowed to grow freely without any manipulation.

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    • You took the words out of my mouth..

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  18. Hi,

    I’m trying to find a moisturizing product for my hair, preferably castor oil or olive oil based. However, I’m having a hard time finding one with water/aqua, but without petroleum, petroletum, mineral oil, or alcohol. I’m debating either getting one with water/aqua and one of the four (i.e., Mane n’ Tail Olive Oil Creme), or one without all of them (i.e., Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil).

    Do you have any suggestions? I already plan on sealing it with the rest of the Wild Growth I have left and then using olive oil when it’s done.

    Thank you for your time!

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  19. i am a young african american girl and once upon a time i had natural healthy hair, but i have permed my hair, dyed my hair and put numerous amounts of hair glue which has made me hair really short. my cousin tells me i should just go natural for alittle while and keep gettng sew ins.. will the sew ins grow my hair? and if not how can i grow my hair and make sure its healthy?

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    • Hello Imani,

      First I’d like to state that this is just my opinion and I always suggest you consult a professional hair dresser that knows black hair very well.

      My recommendation is to allow you natural hair to grow, and once you achieve a certain length, get the relaxed/damaged ends cut off.

      OR, you can go to a salon and get a “Big Chop” so you can start over naturally. Once you achieve a certain length, you can then choose to have a professional relax your hair and show you how to take care of it.

      Hope I helped and thank you for the question!

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      • By the way Imani, don’t quote me on this but I believe you can wear sew-ins while in transition mode but I recommend you do some research on that. I believe if the sew-in is installed in a way that won’t tear your hair out, it can be a success.

        Another alternative is to wear wigs! There are many great styles out there and plenty of them look natural. I, at one point big chopped my hair and started wearing wigs for one whole year. My hair grew so long, thick and healthy underneath. Just have your natural hair gently cornrowed and make sure to wash, deep condition, and moisturize when it’s time.

        Check out the Black Hair Media forum for more help! There are plenty of experienced members that can help you out in there.

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  20. this is very helpful , but with my stuation my daughter is both black and white. she uses the sraightener all the time she has damaged her hair so much it is very short I try and tell her to let it grow out . her hair is very tight curl at the scalp but then losens as it grows out I think she has damage the texture also. please help she is 16 and I want to give her the right info.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Maria,

      I recommend you research online for a great black hair salon in your area. Bringing your daughter to a professional that knows what he/she is doing is great because the stylist/hairdresser will be able to give her information specifically for her hair. The Hairdresser can also give her information on which products will be best for her to use. I also recommend visiting the Black Hair Media Forum for additional information and help among the active members. Take care and good luck!

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  21. Hi, I’m not exactly sure as to what kind of hair I have because my mom is spanish and my dad is full black. I have been through the years of wearing braids, sew-ins, natural, straightened, afro, and once I got a relaxer. I’m actually interested in getting highlights, but people tell me If I get highlights, then my hair will fall out. I also want to know what are the best shampoos,conditioners, and moisturizers to use on my hair. I go to school in a town where none of the salons do women of color type hair, and I just want to make sure I take care of my hair, since I will be doing my own hair.

    Post a Reply
    • Hello Shi,

      I recommend you visit the Black Hair Media Forum. There are women with all sorts of hair types actively posting information in there and interacting with each other. If you visit the forum and use the search feature, I’m sure all your questions have been previously asked by someone else and their questions have been answered within their post. If not, you can sign up and create your own thread asking for help.

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  22. Hi, I am 22 years old and I do not have a clue how to take care of my natural hair. I know to wash it but I don’t know if it is suppose to be everyday or just weekly. I am ashamed that I do not know how to take care of the one thing that I get judged for. Everyday I am looked down upon and made fun of for it. I am nice to everyone and only wish to be treated the same. Is that too much to ask?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Travailler James,

      Don’t be ashamed for not knowing how to take care of your natural hair. I recommend that you visit YouTube and search for videos that explain and show you how to take care of natural hair. There are many YouTube gurus that can help you and give you valuable information. I also recommend you visit that Black Hair Media Forum. There are many wonderful people who are naturals and I’m positive all of your questions will be answered within the forum. good luck!

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  23. im glad i found this article on myths. i was just bouta order sum blue magic for my lil girl. im full native and her dad is black, our bby has wayyy diff hair than me and off frm her dads. its dry enough to need some moisterizer, but nothing too heavy. we live in a rual area of nw montana, so its difficult to find hair care products for my daughter and husband. figured id educate self to ensure my family will maintain good hair. thanx!!

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    • You’re welcome!

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  24. Well…What if your family has short African-American hair. Would you still be able to grow it long, despite the fact that the short hair in your family is hereditary?

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    • The only hereditary thing that you can’t control is how fast your hair grows. The average person’s hair grows 1/2 inch a month or 6 inches a year. So maybe your family’s hair grows slower, say 3 or 4 inches a year instead of 6, but as long as you have new growth every month, your hair is definitely growing. That means the key is making sure you retain that length after it grows by keeping your hair moisturized, staying away from heat and being gentle with your strands. It may take longer to get to your desired length but it’s still possible.

      The reason everyone in your family has short hair probably has less to do with heredity and more to do with the fact that they’ve passed down similar damaging hair practices which makes their hair break at the same rate that it grows so that you never see any difference in length.

      I hope that helps!

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  25. Data is convincing (when you can find and access it, that is). Luckly, here is data to support Myth #5:

    Hair Type (amount of load it takes to break a single strand)
    Asian (1.4 Newtons)
    Caucasian (1.1 Newtons)
    Black (0.75 Newtons)

    Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962203003463

    Additional Insights from the scientific publications:
    White & Asian hair strands are circular
    Black hair strands are elliptical (flattened)
    This and the fact that black hair is much coarser and tangled makes black hair more susceptible to breakage and split-ends (b/c its more resistant & requires more force) during combing/grooming of the hair -> frequent trimming -> & reduced length of black hair (although shorter hair is also a consequence of the fact that black hair grows the slowest and with the shortest growth cycle).

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  26. I am white guy and my beautiful gilfriend is black. This artictle educates me greatly. I appreciate it because it helps me understand her better. This article just supports my girlfriend not putting grease in her hair. I always wondered why some black people use grease. Thank you for this article.

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    • It is so nice to read that you are getting educated on our hair. Congrats on your relationship and wish you many happy years.

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    • Thank you Jason for reading this article and I’m happy to know that you’ve learned a lot from it. I applaud you for wanting to understand and support your girlfriend and just like happygal, I wish you both many happy years ahead!

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