You’re noticing that your hair is getting shorter and you’re really frustrated.
You were trying to get some length and it’s just not happening.
What could be happening?
In this post, I’ll explain the possible reasons why your hair is getting shorter and also help you to fix it.
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Why is my hair getting shorter without cutting it? – 7 Genuine Reasons
If you notice that your hair is getting shorter and you haven’t cut it for a long time, here’s why it could be happening:
- You are not getting regular trims
- You’re applying too much heat and many chemicals to your hair
- You’re swimming without protecting your hair
- You are too stressed
- Your curl pattern is changing
- You’re not moisturizing your hair well enough
1. You are not getting regular trims
Hair grows from the roots, not from the tips.
And as hair grows longer and longer, the ends start to get damaged – it happens to everyone.
That’s because of multiple reasons:
- Constant friction due to different hairstyles, towels, friction between clothes and pillowcases
- Damage due to the sun
- Multiple hair products, washing, and drying
So, with normal wear and tear, everyone is prone to split ends – especially people with curly or textured hair (since it lacks moisture) and split ends eventually rise up the hair shaft and leads to hair breakage and snapping at the weak points.
Hair that is split at the ends doesn’t grow – it’s damaged.
This means that if you haven’t trimmed your ends for more than 6 months, get a trim.
Go to a salon and ask for a trim of only the split ends, and ask them to retain the length – this will not only help get rid of all the damaged hair but also help your hair grow optimally.
Once you cut off the split ends, get a trim every 2 months till all the damaged hair is cut off and then you can space your trims every 4-6 months depending on how many split ends you have.
If you want to reduce split ends, then try this:
- Use satin pillowcases: Satin pillowcases help reduce friction and cause fewer split ends and tangles.
- Use satin scrunchies: For the same reason above. I noticed fewer tangles and less breakage after switching from cotton bands to satin scrunchies.
- Tie your hair in loose hairstyles: Opt for loose buns on top of your head when you’re at home or sleeping – this helps your hair stay healthy and is a good protective hairstyle. Avoid tight hairstyles that tug at the roots.
- Moisturize your ends thoroughly: Every time you shower, make sure you use a good moisturizing conditioner for the split ends and do a nourishing hair mask once a week. You only have to keep the hair mask on for 30 minutes and then rinse it well with cold water.
2. You are applying too much heat and too many chemicals to your hair
Hair becomes more porous when you keep applying heat.
So, whether you are straightening your hair or curling, or just blowdrying it after a shower, the heat is affecting your hair.
Every time you apply heat, the cuticles on your hair get raised – this causes your hair porosity to increase.
High hair porosity leaks out moisture and becomes weak and frayed.
The same happens when you dye your hair frequently.
Bleach can dry out and damage your hair extensively.
And continuously applying heat and chemicals will lead to damaged hair that grows slowly or stops growing due to continuous breakage.
If you are keen on growing your hair and seeing good length, then reduce the heat or stop using heating tools completely.
Healthy hair (that is not being dyed or subjected to heat) remains flat as the cuticles are almost closed – this is why unprocessed hair looks very shiny and smooth.
I was a sucker for straighteners. And I’d straighten my bangs and the tips just to see my hair a little longer.
But it damaged my hair a lot and caused a lot of split ends and frayed tips.
I saw how healthy my hair became after quitting heating tools and I’ve been able to grow my hair better and faster after.
It’s a known fact that even when you’re transitioning from chemically/heat-processed hair to natural hair, the hair is weakest at the transition point.
So, hair tends to break here if you’re tying your hair way too tightly or combing it when wet.
That’s why if you have chemically treated hair or heat-treated hair, be careful with it:
- Air dry your transitioning hair without heat
- Use satin pillowcases and satin scrunchies to prevent friction and breakage
- Tie your hair in loose hairstyles that don’t pull at the hair and weaken hair
Decrease the heat or cut it out completely.
You’ll notice how healthy your hair will come within weeks.
And go for regular trims to get the damaged hair and split ends cut off every 3 weeks.
Once all the damaged and brittle hair is cut off, then you can space out your trims every few months.
3. You’re swimming without protecting your hair
If you’re not a swimmer, skip this step.
But if you do swim daily or frequently and you’re not protecting your hair when swimming, then you could be damaging your hair without realizing it.
Sea water has a lot of salt in it. The salt dehydrates hair extensively.
Pool water has a lot of chlorine in it and this can also dry out your hair extensively.
Damaged hair starts getting split ends.
And split ends lead to breakage because split ends if not trimmed or cut off start rising up the hair shaft and leads to hair snapping and breaking.
The best way to combat this is to wet your hair properly before swimming and apply a deep conditioner or hair mask before putting on a swimming cap.
Now, since your hair is already wet and moisturized, it won’t absorb much pool/seawater.
4. You are too stressed
There have been many studies done that show a connection between taking stress and hair loss.
Stress speeds up the hair growth cycles that lead to eventual hair loss.
Stress also leads to hair becoming more brittle and growing irregularly and that can lead to breakage.
You can read more about how stress affects hairloss here.
But if you feel that your hair is not growing because you are too stressed, then it is time to change your lifestyle.
Here is what I recommend:
- Do more meditation – I started with Headspace because it’s guided meditation and it made a big difference. I became calmer and I’ve been meditating for a year now. I only spend 10 minutes a day doing it so it’s perfect for people who are busy.
- Write in a journal: If you feel that you have way too many thoughts and feelings and you don’t have anyone to express them to, write it down. I’ve been writing in journals since I was 8 and it really helps me get out a lot of stress and pent-up emotions.
- Sleep more: Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Sleeping less leads to more stress and more stress leads to more hunger cravings and low metabolism.
5. Your curl pattern is changing
If you have curly hair, then this is could be a reason why your hair is not growing. I had 3A curls when I was younger.
But as I passed my 20s, I noticed my curls getting tighter.
It could be due to genetics or my hair is just getting healthier.
Either way, if you notice that your curl pattern is changing, it could be a good sign that your hair is getting healthier and the reason why it’s not looking long is that it is more prone to shrinkage now.
Your curl pattern can change due to several reasons, some of them being:
- Medications or health reasons
- Hormonal changes like pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
Genetics has a huge factor to play when it comes to hair growth.
Hair does stop growing after a while, once it reaches a certain length.
Here, a lot of Indian women grow their hair and don’t cut it for cultural or religious reasons.
Some of them will have hair till the back of their knees or calves whereas some will have hair only till the lower back.
It’s a known fact that once hair has reached the end of its growth cycle, it will not grow any further.
Each hair stand has its own growth cycle. The hair will either break off, get split ends or just fall off.
This is not dependent on you and is completely dependent on genetics.
7. Your hair is not moisturized enough
Dry hair is more prone to breakage.
If you have curly hair, you’ll notice that your hair becomes more frizzy and grows outward and sideways when it’s dry.
This is because curly hair is more prone to dryness since the sebum produced in the scalp finds it difficult to reach the hair tips and your hair is spreading outward to get more moisture from the air – similar to a tree’s roots spreading outward radially to get more water from the soil.
It’s a fascinating concept.
So, if you have dry hair, you’ll notice that your tips are more frayed and more prone to split ends.
You can make sure that your hair is moisturized by:
- Prepooing with coconut oil: This will help your hair be more moisturized when you’re showering and it will help your hair become stronger
- Not leaving oil in your hair for more than 2 hours: If you leave the oil in your hair for longer, it can make your hair greasy and clog your scalp and coat your hair cuticles – this will require you to use more shampoo when washing and it will lead to more dryness.
- Using a conditioner afterward: Shampooing frequently can lead to dry hair. Seal in the moisture by using a nice and nourishing conditioner.
- Using a hair mask once a week: After shampooing, use a hair mask for 15-30 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water – this is my favorite way to keep my curls moisturized.
Why is my hair getting shorter and not longer?
The most common reason why your hair is no longer growing is that your hair has reached the end of its growth cycle.
A hair growth cycle can last anywhere between 2-6 years.
Another reason why your hair could not be growing longer is that it’s actually becoming more healthy.
If you have textured, curly or wavy hair, you might notice your hair getting tighter or coilier and more bouncy.
This is a good sign, it means your hair is no longer limp or damaged and is actually returning to its healthy state.
So, your hair might look like it’s shrinking – but in reality, it’s getting healthy!
I’ve covered multiple reasons why you might not be seeing hair growth or why your hair is not growing longer, it could be 1 or many of them.
If you’re interested in growing your hair faster and better, then read this post where I talk about hair growth and how you can grow your hair faster naturally!
Here are a few more posts you might enjoy:
- 11 ways to grow your hair faster naturally
- Pre-pooing with coconut oil: everything you need to know
- How long should I leave hair oil on my head?
- How to properly care for low porosity 4C hair?
- 7 Ways to make hair smell good without dry shampoo
- How does Keratin make your hair feel so dry? How to fix it?
- Is coconut oil bad for low porosity 4C hair?
- Can you get braids with relaxed hair? How to prep for braids