In 2009 when I had my hair care “aha!” moment I couldn’t wait to share the news with others. After months of researching natural hair care on Youtube, hair websites and experimenting with my hair I realized that things had finally taken a turn for the better. I started a vlog and began documenting my journey through pictures. When I realized by the middle of 2010 that I would likely reach my first goal of arm pit length by the end of the year I set another hair goal of bra strap length for the following year. One thing I did not expect in 2009 was that I would change how I cared for my hair as my lengths goals changed.
Twist Out Winter 2007, Shoulder Length Hair Stretched
One thing I can say about growing out my hair is this: Growing out short hair to medium length hair was more challenging than growing out medium length hair to long hair. Moreover, once your hair is already long, say bra strap length, setting a goal of mid back length is even less daunting. In 2009 my hair was shoulder length and not all over either. My hair was layered such that some hair fell a little past ear length, while the hair closest to my nape reached as shoulder. Initially, I focused on growing out my layers and getting my hair to reach a few inches past shoulder length within 7 months. This involved weekly deep conditioning and 24/7 protective styling. I had been pretty rough with my hair during the previous years with daily combing and brushing, so keeping it pinned up in low maintenance style wasn’t a sacrifice, but rather a relief. When I blow dried my hair in May of 2010 I was stunned to see after only 7 months of proper hair care that my fro started to hang (as opposed to stick straight up) due to the weight of additional length. Over the months and years that followed my regimen was adjusted to reflect the hair goal I wanted to achieve.
Mini Twists Summer 2010, Arm pit Length Stretched
That first year I set a goal of retaining 6 inches so that with trims I’d end the year with 4–5 healthy inches of hair. The following year I had a similar goal. My ultimate goal was waist length so when I set a goal to grow my hair from bra strap length to mid back length I knew that on my body that was a mere 3 inches. I was fine giving myself an entire year to reach that goal and therefore skipped some of the steps in my regimen. The reasons I was able to abbreviate my regimen were two fold. First, keep in mind that as your hair grows the time it takes to do certain tasks will increase significantly. In 2009 I could detangle and wash my hair in the shower in about 30 minutes. Now, the application of my pre-poo and detangling takes a little over 1 hour and then I have to wash my hair, which takes an additional 30 minutes. Second, I begin my hair journey with hair that had been roughed up by my lack understanding. I needed to make up for poor practices by babying my hair. My hair was much healthier two years later because it had not been subject to weekly blow out sessions or a lack of proper moisture. I could therefore deep condition less without damaging my hair.
Blow out, Spring 2011, Bra Strap Length Stretched
By 2012 I no longer cared to retain 6 inches of hair each year and was therefore more comfortable not deep conditioning every week even if it meant I would need to trim more frequently. My hair wasn’t super long but it had reached the length that I set as a goal back in 2009. As of the writing of this post my hair has recently been blow dried and is about 2 inches longer than it was December, meaning I’ve retained all four months of growth.
Current Length of My Hair, Waist Length Stretched
The take away advice I want to leave you with is this: If you currently have ear length hair and ultimately want to reach mid back length or waist length don’t believe that you are glued to your current regimen. If you implement excellent hair care and are able to hit a new milestone each year, you will eventually find that there are some steps that you can skip without ruining your hair journey. Sure, you may not get every single ½ inch possible but you will be able to know how to maintain your hair length or shoot for 2–3 inches a year when you reach the point when you actually don’t want to grow your hair much longer. That point may seem a long way off right now, but with proper hair care trust me, it may sooner than you know.
Has your hair care regimen changed at different hair lengths?