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3 Things to Consider When Setting Hair Length Goals

Avatar • Feb 16, 2014

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Style Icon Jasmine

For women interested in growing long, natural hair the greatest challenge can often be patience.  Hair goals should be realistic but also ambitious enough to keep you committed to your regimen. In this blog, I share 3 tips that helped me to monitor my hair growth and hair health without throwing in the towel.

1. Knowing Your Growth Rate

We all know those women who seem to grow hair so quickly that they complain about having to get haircuts just to maintain a particular length. In fact, you may know several if you happen to come from a family of women who are genetically predisposed to above average hair growth. It can therefore be frustrating if you base your hair progress against a standard that is not only outside of the norm but not realistic for you.  Early in my hair growth journey, I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t setting myself up for disappointment. I knew that on average most women grew about ½ inch of hair per month or 6 inches a year.  I used this standard as a starting point in setting goals. To be sure  I measured one area of my hair at the start of my journey and after 4 months of good hair practices (low manipulation, moisturizing and sealing) I knew that by the 2 inches of hair I retained, I could anticipate 6 inches of length retention within a year.  Do the same for yourself early on in your hair journey. Know what your rate of growth is and set goals tailored just for you.

2. No Short Cuts to Quick Growth

Once I knew my rate of growth, I would find myself tempted to pursue bandwagons that promised faster hair growth. The way I figured it, if I could boost my hair growth from ½ inch a month to ¾ inch a month, then by the end of the year I could retain 9 inches instead of 6. That may not seem like much difference but as a newbie that was the difference between arm pit length and hair flowing past my bra strap. I took supplements like biotin and after a few weeks of breaking out in acne; I decided that a ½ inch a month would do just fine. Don’t get caught up in bandwagons or fool yourself into thinking you NEED to grow your hair faster. Trust me,  you will be very pleased to retain 5 or 6 inches at the end of the year. No need to rush the process.

3. The Big Reveal

Length checks every other week is what you do when you WANT to become frustrated quickly. I learned during the first two years of growing out my hair that waiting a few months to blow out my hair gave me something to look forward to and encouraged me to remain faithful to my routine. Once you know that you are retaining length try waiting 4–6 months (or longer) before wearing your hair blown out or straightened. It really is quite a treat to look in the mirror, gob smacked by the progress you have made. I would sometimes wait until a special event or occasion, so that I had a reason to get dolled up when styling my hair. You might consider doing the same. It’s fun to surprise others but it’s even more fun to surprise yourself!

What tips help prevent you from becoming frustrated with length retention?

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lauryn
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lauryn

I totally agree with these points. I mean, I WANT my long flowing hair back, but obsessing over it will do nothing. In the meantime, I just care for my hair and enjoy figuring out new styles every couple months as my hair grows! 🙂

shayshay
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shayshay

That’s why I love Geneice’s articles! Good sense and useful information. Keep ’em coming!

Tyler
Guest

Love these tips. Since I’ve gone natural I straighten my hair about 3 or 4 times a year and it’s always a treat! 🙂
http://onelittleblackdress.com

Jasmine Alston
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heyyy.. that’s me! lol

Great article.. all very valid points! 🙂 patience is golden.

Jasmine
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Jasmine

Love these tips, I’m already at my one year mark, but I won’t do a blow out until the second mark comes along. Patience is the key.(:

LBell
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LBell

Common sense ain’t so common, especially when it comes to long hair obsession. Thanks for this article. This past October marked 10 years since I last straightened my natural hair. I was tempted to do it — I would have had to buy a flat iron — but then I asked myself why? I already know it’s longer than it’s ever been (lowest layers were APL before my most recent trim). The days when I sought to prove that black women could grow long hair are LONG gone. The people who matter don’t care if my hair is long or… Read more »

neochasez
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neochasez

Great tips! I’d further add to suggestion #1 that you should also try to track growth rates on different parts of your head because it’s quite normal to have different rates of growth all over. For one, I know that my crown grows at a slower rate than anywhere else. It’s good to see your individual rates and then just let you and your hair live.

Le
Guest
Le

I would love to see women kill the every-inch-length-check photos or having a name for every inch of length lol. Obssessed much? But I’m assuming the same women also did this when they had a relaxer.

tristan
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tristan

the girl in the pic looks like issa rae

Yahaloma
Guest

I know what you mean. I have had to experiment with my hair just to find out what is best for my hair. When I use braids it doesn’t retain much length; however, when I do low manipulation, once a week detangling hair styles, it flourishes. It took me 2 years of trying to get to this stage, and now is when I am seeing the results.

Cezss
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Cezss

Hello, how long it is between two pictures ? Before after? I cut my hair it there’s almost 5 months and i’m obsessed with the great day he will become long. M’y hair type is roughly like yours that is to say curly. Thank you in advance for your answers

Cezss
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Cezss

Sorry for my english i’m french

Tee
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Tee

I wish that in terms of caring about length, I could go back to the days when I didn’t even know what length checks, APL, BSL, MBL, etc… were. I can admit that I’ve been obsessed with growing my hair long and while I don’t do length checks every week, just the fact that I care about it so much gets on my own nerves. So my resolution for this year is to just relax and enjoy my hair journey without thinking about how long it is going to be in six months. I’ve banned myself from doing any length… Read more »

MsMcFly
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MsMcFly

Whoever the girl is in that picture was super beautiful with short hair! She’s just one of the lucky ones LOL

Jordan
Guest

I agree with all 3 pointers. For me, once I stopped focusing on how long my hair was and really committed myself to making it as healthy as possible THATS when I started noticing growth.. It’s the journey not the destination

lockstress
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lockstress

I REFUSE to go crazy or be a slave to checking the length. It’s clearly growing. I’m more interested in my hair’s state of health.

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[…] Hair Growth Goals […]

kristanna solomon
Guest

How Long Did It Take Your Hair To Get This Long.?

Kayla
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Kayla

It is very frustrating to see women with long, flowing natural hair while I’m still rockin’ my too-short to put in a ponytail and too-long to be a TWA hair. What satisfies me is the HEALTH of my hair, rather than the length.

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[…] For the entire article, head over to Black Girl with Long Hair to read 3 Things to Consider When Setting Hair Length Goals. […]

lisa
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lisa

where did she get the sweatshirt?

Cherelle
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Cherelle

If your still interested… Kingsruletogether.com

Sammie
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Sammie

Does hair stop growing long after a certain age?

NubianPrize
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NubianPrize

Hair growth slows down as you age & may not grow as long, but I’ve seen numerous older women with long hair> However ‚.more & more are wearing short afros even if they don’t look good because they’re almost bald.

Mia
Guest
Mia

What was the length of time in between those two hair pics..in other words how long were you growing your hair for?

Mar
Guest
Mar

Is it impossible to grow long hair is you only retain an inch or so of length a year?

Hair Goals
Guest

YAASSSS we absolutely love this post on setting hair goals, you made such great points Geneice!!

Lots of love from the hair goals team! 🙂

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