Why is my hair growing in a 'W' shape?

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My hair is long, wavy, curly and quite thick, and it takes ages to rinse out the shampoo and conditioner when I wash my hair – this only used to take me five minutes! I have had this issue for about three years now.

Three years ago my hairdresser cut my hair to just past my collar bone. It has now grown back longer than before but there us a section at the back which is much shorter, so my hair forms a ‘W’ shape. I can tell that it has grown because it’s longer than what it was when I got it cut but it is not in unison with my other hair growth. Is this normal?

I did ring a trichologist and he said that uneven hair growth is very common, but I don’t and have never known anyone else with the same problem.

I’m happy with my hair length but I wish it would just be even! Is there a chance that it will ever be even again? Also I’ve read so many stories on the internet that it could be a medical problem!

Please help I'm struggling with answers!

Anon, UK


Firstly it sounds like your hair has changed porosity, so therefore it holds more moisture than it used to. My first suggestion would be to use a porosity balancer, like Bumble & Bumble’s prep or tonic - a product which helps build a good foundation. It’s not heavy at all; it just balances the porosity from roots to ends and adds moisture. Prep for normal to soft hair and tonic for strong coarse hair.

Secondly it is relatively normal for the hair to grow unevenly, as the trichologist said. Best solution, all be it a painful one, would be to have the hair cut and evened up so to make it a length that your happy with. You possibly need to remove the front long areas which will rid you of your 'W' effect.  

Curly hair does grow more uneven than straight as the curls can have different levels of tightness, so this is normal. Make sure your stylist is very experienced with curls as this is really important in how they approach your hair.

Nelson Brown of browns, Dumfries


It is absolutely normal that hair does not grow at an even length. If you think of the shape of your hairline on your neck it may be the shape of a ‘W’. To have even growing hair it should be cut regularly to even it out and also to cut off any unwanted split ends or dryness.

You should have your hair cut every few months. It doesn’t have to be much if you are growing it, but it will keep it looking a nice and even shape.

It is normal, especially with very long, wavy and thick hair that it will take longer to rinse shampoos and conditioners out. Maybe apply less on the back of your head which should make rinsing it out easier.

The normal hair growth is around 1 centimetre, or ½ inch a month. If you have not had a haircut for three years your hair should have grown by about 36 centimetres or 14 inches at least by now.

Do you use elastic bands to tie your hair up at all? This could also be the cause of your hair breaking where the elastic holds the hair together. It may be that the shorter hair at the back could have broken off due to this.

From what you wrote your hair seems really long and beautiful. It is very important that you condition your hair regularly. Pollution in the air can dry out hair and cause damage so it is advisable to spend extra time by applying a deep penetrating treatment, especially to protect the ends from drying out.

I hope this help,

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester 

Hi Anon,

Regarding the shampooing, one possible reason for this is that your hair texture has become coarser and curlier as it’s grown longer - hair types can change over time. Another possibility is that your shampoo is too creamy and thick for your hair type and so getting 'stuck' in the rinsing stage.

To answer your question about your hair being a 'W' shape, this is a very common growth pattern called 'DA', in which the hair at the hairline in the nape of your neck grows at a different rate to the rest. If you haven't had a hair cut for three years, then whatever your hair pattern, you'd be likely to have uneven lengths because nobody's hair grows evenly all over. You could either go back to a shorter style or wait for the hair to pass shoulder-length and then the weight of the hair will pull it to a more even length. Regular cuts are necessary though, even when growing your hair, to keep the ends healthy and the overall length even.

Zara Garnett, Senior Stylist & Colourist, SWH Team at Simon Webster Hair, Brighton

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