Chicoro’s “Lead Hair” Theory?

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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 ;).)


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34 responses »

  1. Now see, I’m about to go buy this book. I don’t think I need to even do this test because this has happened all my life. I get a blunt cut and the bottom always winds up growing long. I had it happen with relaxers all the time.

    Anywho, I actually cut off about an inch of hair from the left side and left back. The right side seems to be a little shorter (about 1-1.5 inches). Guess what? That’s the side I sleep on!

    Oh well, maybe I will volunteer to do this. I will give me an excuse to get my hair blow out LOL. I don’t want to do the t-shirt though. Can’t I just use a measuring tape and record the #s? I measured last month but then since I just trimmed off the inch, it’s bound to be shorter so I’ll need to start over.

    Oh and I aint mad at you lol. I would have been had I cut off like 4 inches !

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    • *lol*

      Michelle, I was thinking of you when I thought of testing the theory after your comments on the other thread as you were talking about straightening your hair to cut it and deal with the unevenness:). Question, why don’t you want to use the t-shirt method? I don’t mean making a whole length check tee. You could just use an old tee or get a cheap one and put a mark at the level of your longest hair and where the shorter hair is. I know doing the full tee-shirt is not your thing;). If you don’t want to do that, you would still be taking pics, right? So, you could just use the same shirt, same pose, etc. and we can “superimpose” a line on the pictures to see if there is a change. I think the visual is stronger than just noting the inches, so that’s why I want it photo journaled.

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      • The real reAson? I’m lazy! lol I will def take pics though in the same shirt. now I wish I hadn’t cut it. my daughter was like ma, what have you done! lol

        I’m wearing my hair out tonight bit banana clipped. if there’s an opp. you can see what I mean and let me know what u think.

        k, going to rest now. had a volunteer event with my coworkers planting trees. I dug holes and shoveled. I’m tired!

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        • I did 6 braids for the last two days with plans to wear a braid out. But, I released it this morning and wasn’t loving it and also thought something up would be better with the dress I’m wearing. So, I took emergency action. We’ll see if it works out! If it does, there will be a post about it as I took pics of the “emergency” set:).

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  2. I actually have Chicoro’s book and refer to it from time to time. I remebered when I became fully natural and my lead hair is definitely my nape and sides. The crown of my head grows super slow along with some coarse and brittle spots. I was actually contemplating cutting my nape/lead hair (I had scissors in hand over hair, in a position and was about to make a BIG mistake). I started thinking that I was gonna regret this so I put the scissor down and backed away.
    So as the months went by and as my non lead hair caught up to my lead hair I would trim a little each time. Doing this I have definitely seen a difference in my hair. It’s not so spacey, and it looks a lot more fuller.

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  3. I’m gonna have to pass also.The GOC for me is more of improving the quality of my hair, educating myself more about products & treatments and not so much of length. But if length comes in the process, I will take it lol!! I get emails from Chicoro and I have also viewed Kimmaytubes theory on PH balance, both who have good arguments but Sera2544 grew her hair ridiculously and for years she used products that had chemicals. I get to pumped sometimes and it can cost me(you see I already broke my promise not to by products lol). Its a matter of what works for your hair. I just want my hair to be in its most healthiest state.

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    • Ooooh!! I read the post you linked Misha!! Thank you so much for the summary!!! It was a little different than I got from the above!! And, no problem!!! I told you I was intrigued and I thank you for such an interesting post and for visiting my site too!!

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    • Misha,
      It won’t let me read it. (mmgentry71@gmail.com). Is there a way that I can see? I’m trying so hard, to grow out my curls, and keep them healthy too.
      Thanks,
      Marsha

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  4. I guess I was having a blonde moment tonight, I was reading this article to see what ‘lead’ had to do with hair. Lead as in Lead poisioning…smh. However, at this point I think I’d be willing to try it out…I just may get the book too.

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    • Hey Natalye! Really? Okay, I’ll e-mail you so that you can send in your starting pics! Also, please see Misha’s post with additional information on the lead hair theory. There is important information in there about not letting your lead hair go beyond your goal point and goal points should be set in small milestones (i.e. if you are shoulder length, your first goal point should not be waist length, but something like collarbone length … then APL, then BSL, then MBL, etc., etc.) Okay, I’m going to e-mail you now!

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