This is not lead hair. It's a long layer and varying shrinkage. It just worked to illustrate this post:).
Things that make you go, “hmmmmmm … .”
A few weeks ago, I came across a post from Sweet Afro Hair referring to Chicoro’s theory of “lead hair” with a link to this thread on Long Hair Care Forums (LHCG) illustrating the phenomena. The thread on LHCF begins with two pictures of a woman’s hair taken 5 months apart. The first is a picture of her hair illustrating what appears to be a seriously thinning perimeter. The second is of her hair five months later where the perimeter appears to have filled in at the longest length from the prior picture!! WHAT THE … WHAT?!?!?!
I was immediately intrigued and started googling!! It seems that this “lead hair” theory was propounded and explained by Chicoro in her book, Grow It: How to Grow Afro-Textured Hair to Maximum Lengths in the Shortest Time. However, I was not able to find much online explaining the thought/science behind it except the following:
from Long Hair Don’t Care:
LHDC: Yeah, I like to use Chicoro’s method of trimming. She calls it the goal point or length based method, I think. Bascially you let your hair grow (regardless of what the ends are looking like) until the bulk of your hair reaches your goal length. BUT the lead hair (the strands of hair that are the longest) shouldn’t be longer than about 2-4″ than the bulk of your hair.
She advises to set small goals and once you reach them cut all your hair evenly and start all over again…
I hope that makes sense. I figured since she has hair down to her behind, she knows what’s (sic) she’s talking about LOL!
But the fact is that hair grows unevenly…so who’s to say tht (sic) the shorter lengths are due to breakage and not because your hair grows slower in that area? I also think that trimming is just for aesthetics…but that’s JMHO.
I also found this thread on LHCF. In the first LHCF discussion linked above, everyone seems to firmly believe in “lead hairs.” But, in this second thread, the premise is met with deprecation, with many adamantly against the concept. However, I must say, the young woman who began it was asking about whether the longer strands of her hair looked like “lead hair” or breakage and, ultimately, it did appear to be very bad breakage. I can easily understand why some disbelieve this theory as it may be used as an excuse to hang onto longer, damaged, thinning hair for the sake of length.
That being said, I am thoroughly fascinated with this concept!!! I don’t have enough information, proof or “scientific evidence” to entirely believe it yet. BUT, I think that it is something that could be easily proven or disproven … at least, to one’s self! Something that I do believe is true is that hair on the same head can grow at different rates. You get your hair cut in a blunt cut and a few months later, it’s longer, but rounded or one side is longer than the other. I know that my right side seems to grow a little faster than my left. I also have been wondering if the thin layer that I had cut off at the beginning of the NC.com GOC in February is returning. However, since I haven’t straightened my hair since last October and have no intention to do so anytime soon and my nape hair is almost straight and always hangs longer than my curlier crown, I’m not a good “candidate” to test this theory.
However, I was thinking that one of YOU might be willing and able to do it over the course of our challenge, which has 5 months (well 4 1/2) remaining! I think whoever wants to test the theory would definitely have to begin with an even perimeter as the “control,” though obviously it does not need to be full thickness. This would need to be evaluated on fully straightened hair (not flat ironed per se, but a blow out at least). If the perimeter is irregular, I think a cut/trim is definitely in order to even it out at the longest point. Also, any split or damaged ends need to be eliminated. It’s important that the ends are examined and appear healthy. Then, a length check tee shirt or, at least, a shirt marked with the starting points is needed and should be used for the initial, mid-point and final length checks on straightened hair. I say starting points, because I think the full thickness line needs to be marked as well as the longest/thinnest layer. Search and Destroys to remove splits and knots must be employed as a preventative measure, but no trims other than the initial evening one. Photos at 3 intervals would be necessary: one in September, one approximately 60 days later (mid-November) and one at the end of January. Finally, I was initially thinking that the individual’s hair should be in good health with limited to no breakage, as far as they can tell. However, this may not be entirely necessary as one could also determine if the hair is breaking or growing during this process. If the long hairs shorten to meet the bulk of the hair or the entire length of hair becomes shorter: *ding, ding, ding* … breakage! If someone wants to do this because they are trying to figure out if they are experiencing breakage, maybe we could have two volunteers: one with healthy hair, one with ends that are “suspect;)?”
So, what say ye? Is anyone interested in being a “guinea pig” for our little lead hair experiment?
Have you heard of this theory? Are you for or against and why?
(p.s. If anyone has the book and wants to provide us with a little more information behind this idea, go for it! Because, you know, I’m being cheap trying to find the info for free online as I have no plans of buying the book anytime soon ;).)