The hair on the back of our heads is often ignored – because we cannot see it, and we assume that it’s not important.
Many people (me included) believed that nape hair doesn’t usually grow more than a few inches – but that’s not true.
This hair can grow and contribute beautifully to the rest of your hair.
Yes, you can tie this hair in a ponytail or bun – it doesn’t have to be stray hair that refuses to participate.
In this post, I’ll explain why this hair is so sensitive and prone to breakage and what you can do to make sure it’s growing healthy and strong.
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What is nape hair?
“Nape hair” refers to the hair that grows at the nape of the neck, which is the lowermost part of the back of the neck.
This area is commonly called the “hairline” or “neckline.”
7 Genuine Reasons Why Your Nape Hair is So Short
1. Sleeping stresses the nape hair
This hair takes a lot of stress.
We do sleep on it, and the hairs here are continuously pulled or tugged. This continuous friction can make this hair prone to breakage.
2. Hairstyles that pull or tug cause more stress
If you tie your hair in ponytails or buns a lot – then this hair gets a lot of stress – the same goes for the hair in the front of your head and on the sides.
That’s why we have a lot of baby hairs on our edges – this hair is continuously breaking and falling due to the hairstyles we do.
The tension is more near the nape of the neck, which can cause hair to fall or cause the hairs not to grow.
3. Heating tools
No matter what heating tools you’re using – they all damage hair to some extent.
This is why I always insist on using a heat protection spray.
And you need to spray more heat protector on your edges and nape hair because this hair is more likely to get damaged.
4. Harsh styling
When we brush our hair or towel-dry harshly, this hair gets damaged.
The hair around our edges and the nape is very sensitive and soft, so we must be very gentle when towel-drying or brushing.
Every time I stressed about my acne, I’d get more hair fall.
And the hair that got the most affected – (you guessed it) were my edges and nape hair.
Stress actually contributes to a lot of hair fall and weak hair. I’ll link to the study behind this here.
So, it’s not easy to take less stress – I know.
But if you really want to start healing your hair and growing it better, you’ll have to take less stress.
6. You have very curly or wavy hair
The texture and thickness of your hair can affect its growth rate.
Now, my nape hair and edges take a long time to grow because I have very curly hair.
This is normal.
Coarser or curlier hair may appear to grow slower because it takes longer to become visibly longer due to the natural curl or coil of the hair.
So, if this is you – you’ll just have to be patient.
Your genetics largely determines the rate and pattern of hair growth.
You may inherit these traits if your family has a history of slow hair growth or thinner hair in the nape area.
Unfortunately, you cannot change this – everyone’s hair is built differently.
My edges are surprisingly thin and fine – I got that from my dad, so I can’t do a thing about it.
I’m just lucky I’m not balding because my dad is completely bald.
How do you grow nape hair quickly?
1. Wear a sleeping cap
You have your answer if you wake up every morning and notice that your nape hair is tangled and developing split ends.
It’s definitely the way you sleep that’s getting your hair detangled.
I’m not going to ask you to put on a silk pillowcase – many people prefer cotton, and they like sleeping on cotton pillowcases. That’s fine.
But if you really want to protect your nape hair – wear a sleeping cap, preferably made of satin.
This will reduce the friction between your hair and the pillowcase fibers and cause fewer split ends and tangles.
Your nape hair won’t get as damaged when you sleep now.
2. Use gentle hair products
As a curly girl – it’s very easy to overdo the hair products.
But when you use many hair products – the hair can’t take it sometimes. You also risk product buildup, which can cause more hair damage.
So, I suggest being very conservative with your hair products and opting for gentler and milder hair products, especially if you’re indoors.
I know hair styling is important – but hair health is more so.
3. Take care of your scalp
Make sure your scalp is regularly cleansed so you don’t have too much product buildup on the scalp, which can cause dandruff and irritation.
I also recommend massaging your scalp with a preferred oil of your choice.
So many oils are good for hair growth – so I pick one that’s very suitable for you and something that agrees with you.
I love jojoba oil and olive oil because my hair feels strong and smooth afterward.
Massaging your scalp, even for 5 minutes daily, will help improve blood circulation and strengthen your hair.
Do it religiously.
And note how strong your hair becomes.
4. Avoid brushing or towel-drying
I stopped using a brush many years ago, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Brushes break hair – no matter how gentle you are.
Try to detangle your hair with your fingers. Always do it in the bath when your hair is wet and slick with conditioner – this makes detangling a very smooth and easy process.
Your fingers will know where the knots are, and you can adjust the pressure when you use your fingers.
Brushes and combs are very harsh and break hair.
When it comes to drying your hair – pat with the towel, don’t rub!
Rubbing your hair will cause friction and breakage.
Remember what I said earlier – the edges and nape hair are very sensitive and prone to breakage, so be extra cautious with this hair – don’t pull or tug at it.
If you have to use a brush or comb, use a wide-toothed comb like this. And be very gentle.
5. Avoid tight hairstyles
I love tight ponytails, but it was doing a lot of damage to my hair.
I did experience a lot of hair fall and breakage, especially around my nape and the sides of my head – mainly the front.
I knew the ponytails had to stop.
So, I did.
And I noticed a difference.
Avoid tight ponytails or buns – as much as possible.
I know it’s asking for a lot, but our hair cannot take so much stress.
Frequently pulling and tugging eventually weakens the hair strands and causes hair breakage or fall.
It sucks, but that’s how it is.
6. Avoid chemical treatments or use a heat-protectant spray
Okay, avoiding chemical treatments may not be an option if you like straightening/curling/coloring your hair.
But you can reduce them or find healthier alternatives.
One of the best things you can do for your hair is to use a heat protectant.
Apply it generously. And spray more towards your edges and nape hair.
This will coat your hair strands and prevent heat from penetrating the strand and damaging the hair.
Moreover, if you are styling or coloring your hair, please do the roots and edges last.
Professional hairstylists always do this – I picked up this tip from them.
This is because the hair is very sensitive and cannot be processed for long – it can’t take too many chemicals for a long time before getting damaged.
7. Take care of your health
All the other points work on the outside of your hair – but your insides are important, too.
That’s why nourishing your hair is vital by ensuring you are well-hydrated and consuming all the necessary vitamins.
Sometimes, hair fall and hair breakage can result from a vitamin deficiency. My hairstylist told me that he suspected my vitamin D was low – he was right.
If you have a certain vitamin deficiency, then no amount of hair products or moisturization will fix that.
You need to get a blood test done and see if you’re also okay on the inside.
And it’s important to exercise as well.
Exercising helps remove toxins from the body. All of this contributes to healthy hair, skin, and nails.
So, this may seem trivial, but eat right, drink water, and exercise – it does help with hair growth.
8. Moisturize your hair
If your nape hair is dry, wispy, and tangles easily – you need to moisturize your hair.
I highly recommend a leave-in conditioner because this is going to help your hair retain moisture.
If, after the conditioner, your hair is still dry – then go in with a hair cream.
My go-to leave-in conditioner is the Shea Moisture Jamaican black castor oil leave-in. I absolutely love this product.
And as always – I finish up with the Cantu Curl Activator since this is one of my favorite products. Just don’t use it too close to the scalp since it can cause product buildup.
If you’re a curly girl like me, then you really need all the moisture you can get.
9. Consult a haircare professional
I always consult my hairstylist to see if I’m doing everything right, and I still am at a dead end.
A hairstylist or haircare professional can look at your hair and tell you what is wrong – more often than not, they’ll identify the problem without even touching your hair.
It’s spooky as to how intuitive and experienced they are.
So, if you’ve tried everything on this list and you’re still not seeing results – talk to a hairstylist or go to a dermatologist. They will be able to help you out.
Hair can be a tricky thing, and sometimes it does feel like it has a mind of its own.
So, I will tell you what my hairstylist told me – be patient.
Focus on massaging your scalp, eating right, and drinking plenty of water. Be very gentle with your hair and nurture it like you would a baby duckling – it will grow and become more healthy.
Best of luck!
Here are a few more posts that you may find helpful:
- 5 Surprising Benefits of Cocoa Butter for Hair + How to Use It
- What is Hair Elasticity and Why It Matters
- Curl Activator vs Leave-In Conditioner: Which to Use and How?
- Are Your Curls Frizzy When Wet? 9 Causes and How to Fix it
- 5 Clarifying Shampoos for Natural Hair + How to Clarify Properly
- Dry and Brittle Ends? 7 Causes and How to Fix it
- Are Your Curls Frizzy When Wet? 9 Causes and How to Fix it