7 Reasons Your Hair Won’t Grow Past Shoulder Length

grow past shoulder length

Do you have hair that won’t grow past shoulder length? You’re not alone! If you’re like most women, you want long hair. But if your hair won’t go past shoulder length, it can be frustrating. There are many reasons why hair may not grow, but don’t worry – we have solutions for each one. This article will discuss why hair growth may slow down or stop altogether. We will also provide solutions to help you get on the road to longer locks!

And without further ado, here are the seven reasons your hair won’t grow past shoulder length:

  1. Dry hair & breakage
  2. Split ends
  3. Unhealthy scalp
  4. Genetics
  5. Diet & Exercise
  6. Poor hair care routine
  7. Age & health issues

1. Dry hair & breakage

The truth is that your hair is constantly growing from the roots. In fact, on average, hair grows at a rate of about half an inch per month. But if your hair is dry and brittle, it will break off before it can grow long. And as a result, you may not retain the six inches of annual growth that you should be seeing.

Causes of dry hair include:

  • Using shampoos containing sulphates & other harsh ingredients: If your shampoo is stripping your hair of its natural oils, it’s no wonder your hair is dry! Sulphates are harsh cleansing agents that can cause your hair to become dry and brittle. Other harmful ingredients for your hair include alcohol, artificial fragrances, and parabens.
  • Not drinking enough water: It’s essential to drink plenty of water every day – not just for your overall health but for the health of your hair as well. Water helps to hydrate the scalp and hair shafts, preventing dryness.
  • Frequent heat styling: Heat styling is a common cause of dry hair. Your hair will likely become dried out and damaged if you regularly use curling irons, flat irons, or blow dryers.
  • Over-processing with relaxers & colour: Your hair can become dry and damaged if you use chemical treatments such as relaxers or hair colour. Over time, these treatments can strip away the natural oils that protect your hair.
  • Environmental factors: The sun, wind, and cold weather can contribute to dryness. Other factors that may cause dry hair include swimming in chlorinated or salty water.
  • Scalp not producing enough natural oils: The scalp produces sebum, an oily substance that helps protect and lubricate the hair. If the scalp does not produce enough sebum, the hair can become dry. Curly hair is more likely to be affected because the sebum has a harder time travelling down the hair shaft.

Solutions for dry hair & breakage

  • Use a sulphate-free shampoo: Look for sulphate-free shampoos containing natural ingredients to nourish your hair.
  • Drink plenty of water: Make sure to drink eight glasses of water a day to keep your hair hydrated.
  • Use heat styling sparingly: Avoid using heat styling tools whenever possible. If you must use them, use a heat protectant spray and set the temperature to low.
  • Use a deep conditioner: Deep conditioning treatments can help to replenish moisture and repair damage. Choose a conditioner specifically formulated for dry hair.
  • Use a natural oil: Natural oils such as coconut oil can help to seal in moisture and prevent dryness.
  • Use a humidifier: Indoor heating can cause the air to become dry, making your hair dry. To help combat this, use a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the atmosphere.
  • Avoid environmental factors: When you are outdoors, protect your hair from the sun, wind, and cold weather. Wear a hat or scarf when necessary.

2. Split Ends

Another common reason your hair won’t grow past shoulder length is split-ends. Split ends occur when the tips of your hair become frayed and damaged. Over time, these split ends can travel up the hair shaft, preventing your hair from growing long.

The tips of your hair are the most vulnerable to damage because they are the oldest part of the hair shaft. The ends of your hair are also more likely to contact environmental factors such as sun, wind, and heat.

Hair damage types: split ends, breakage, knotting, raised cuticle and loss of cuticle

Causes of split ends include:

  • Heat styling: Like with dryness, heat styling can cause split ends.
  • Loose hairstyles: Hairstyles that rub against your clothes or pillow can cause the hair to become frayed.
  • Environmental factors: The sun, wind, and cold weather contribute to split ends.

Solutions for split ends

  • Get a trim: The best way to get rid of split ends is to have them trimmed off by a professional. Regular trims can also help prevent split ends from occurring in the future.
  • Wear protective styles: Protective styles such as braids and updos can help keep the ends of your hair safe from damage.
  • Use leave-in conditioners & natural oils: Many products on the market claim to repair split ends. While these products won’t fix your split ends, they can help moisturize the hair and prevent split ends.
  • Be gentle with your hair: When brushing your hair, use a wide-toothed seamless comb and take your time. Finger detangle whenever possible and be gentle with your hair to avoid causing further damage.

3. Unhealthy Scalp

An unhealthy scalp can also prevent your hair from growing past shoulder length. A healthy scalp is clean and free of buildup, dandruff, and irritation.

Several factors can cause an unhealthy scalp; including:

  • Hair products: Using too many hair products can lead to buildup on the scalp. This buildup can clog the pores and prevent the hair from growing.
  • Dandruff: Dandruff is a common scalp condition that can cause the scalp to shed dead skin cells. It can lead to itchiness, redness, and flaking. Dandruff can also make the scalp more susceptible to infection.
  • Harsh shampooing: Using harsh shampoos can strip the scalp of its natural oils. This loss of natural oils can lead to dryness, irritation, and flaking.

Solutions for an unhealthy scalp

  • Use a clarifying shampoo: Once a month (or as often as necessary), use a clarifying shampoo to remove buildup from the scalp.
  • Try a dandruff shampoo: Special shampoos can help treat the condition if you have dandruff.
  • Use a soft bristle brush: Use a soft bristle brush when brushing your hair. Using gentle bristles will help avoid irritation and further damage to the scalp.
  • Hair products: Choose hair products specifically formulated for your hair type and do not contain harmful ingredients such as sulphates and parabens.

4. Genetics

One reason why your hair won’t grow past shoulder length could be simply genetics.

The terminal length of hair is the maximum length that hair can grow without being cut or damaged. It is determined by your hair’s natural growth cycle.

Our hair grows in cycles, and our genes determine the length of these cycles. The average hair growth cycle is about six years long, but some people have shorter or longer cycles.

If you have reached your terminal length, there is not much you can do to make your hair grow longer.

Hair cycles

Each hair cycle consists of four phases:

  1. Anagen phase: This is the growth phase of the hair cycle. During this phase, the hair follicle grows, and the hair shaft lengthens. About 90% of the hair on your head is in this phase. The anagen phase can last for several years.
  2. Catagen phase: This is the transitional phase of the hair cycle. Growth stops during this phase, and the hair follicle shrinks and contracts. The catagen phase lasts for about two weeks. About 5% of the hair on your head is in this phase.
  3. Telogen phase: This is the resting phase of the hair cycle. The hair follicle remains inactive during this phase, and the hair shaft rests. About 10-15% of the hair on your head is in this phase. The telogen phase can last for several months.
  4. Exogen phase: This is the shedding phase of the hair cycle. During this phase, the hair follicle pushes the resting hair shaft out, and new hair begins to grow in its place. The exogen phase lasts for about two weeks.

If you have a short hair growth cycle, your anagen (growth) phase is shorter than average. This short growth cycle can prevent your hair from reaching shoulder length.

Normal hair cycle illustration

Causes for short hair growth cycles

Several things can cause a shortened hair growth cycle, including:

  1. Stress: Stress can cause the hair growth cycle to be shortened or stalled. When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which can interfere with the growth phase of the hair cycle.
  2. Certain medical conditions: Medical conditions like alopecia or thyroid problems can cause a shortened hair growth cycle.
  3. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also cause a shortened hair growth cycle.

Solutions for short hair growth cycles

If you think that genetics prevents your hair from growing past shoulder length, there is not much you can do to change it.

There is no treatment for naturally short hair growth cycles.

However, you can take steps to avoid shortening your growth cycle, such as reducing your stress levels. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

5. Diet & Exercise

A healthy diet and exercise routine is essential for overall health, including hair health.

Poor nutrition can cause your hair to grow slowly or stop growing altogether.

For example, crash diets or fad diets low in calories can cause the body to go into “starvation mode.” In starvation mode, the body conserves energy by slowing down hair growth.

Exercise is also vital for hair health. Exercise helps to increase circulation and delivers nutrients to the scalp.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can also affect your hair growth. Ensure you’re getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night to promote healthy hair growth.

Nutrients that promote hair growth

If you want to grow your hair past shoulder length (and maintain good health generally), eat foods that are rich in:

  • Protein: Hair comprises proteins called keratin. Your hair needs keratin/protein to grow. Foods high in protein include meat, fish, eggs, and beans.
  • Iron: Iron helps to transport oxygen to the cells. Iron-rich foods include red meat, dark leafy greens, and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Zinc: Zinc is involved in cell growth and repair. Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps produce sebum, which keeps the scalp healthy. Foods high in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach.
  • B vitamins: B vitamins are essential for energy production. Foods high in B vitamins include whole grains, dark leafy greens, and eggs.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps produce collagen, essential for hair growth. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli.
  • Omega-three fatty acids: Omega-three fatty acids help to keep the scalp healthy. Foods high in omega-three fatty acids include salmon, flaxseed, and chia seeds.

Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. You may also want to take a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

6. Age & health issues

As we age, our hair growth cycles tend to slow down. This gradual slowing is because the cells in our body grow and divide more slowly as we age.

Health issues can also affect hair growth. For example, if you have a thyroid condition, it can cause your hair to grow more slowly or fall out.

If you have a medical condition like thyroid disease, anemia, or PCOS, it can affect your hair growth. Talk to your doctor about treatment options to help improve your hair growth.

If you’re concerned about your hair growth, talk to your doctor. They can help you identify the cause of your hair loss and recommend treatment options.

7. Poor hair care routine

If you’re not taking care of your hair, it won’t be easy to grow it past shoulder length.

Poor hair care habits may include:

  • Not shampooing or conditioning regularly
  • Using harsh chemicals, such as those found in dyes and relaxers
  • Brushing too vigorously causes breakage
  • Not trimming your ends regularly, as needed
  • Wearing tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or cornrows
  • Not wearing protective styles that can help to grow your hair

To grow your hair past shoulder length, you need to take care of it:

  1. Understand your hair type to establish a suitable hair care routine.
  2. Be consistent with your hair routine.
  3. Use products that will help to grow and protect your hair.


Several reasons cause your hair not to grow past shoulder length.

However, you can also do many things to promote healthy hair growth.

If you follow the tips discussed in this article, you should be able to grow your hair past shoulder length in no time!

Just remember to be patient; it doesn’t happen overnight. Have faith and keep at it! Your long locks are on their way.

Good luck!