Skip to main content

Why I Stopped Doing Growth Challenges to Retain Length

Avatar • Aug 25, 2014

 

In the beginning of 2014, I was a little length obsessed.

…No, I was TOTALLY length obsessed.

Fresh off my big moderate chop, I no longer had the additional length that my heat damaged ends provided. And although I loved my new natural hair, I couldn’t wait to grow it out more. So when The Mane Choice put the call out for bloggers to take their 6 month Manetabolism challenge, I took the bait. In retrospect, I realize that I bit off more than I could chew. The parameters of the challenge were simple enough — upload a comparison/growth picture at the end of every month every 30 days for 6 months. But what happened inside of those 4 months (I didn’t continue for the last 2, but more on that later) was symptomatic of me doing entirely too much.

Yes, the growth I experienced was awesome, but doing length checks drove me crazy. Having to repeatedly try to capture my hair from the same angles and areas proved to be quite a chore. Even after I caved in and created a length check t‐shirt. I became length obsessed — tugging and pulling at areas of hair to measure on an almost weekly basis, checking for any discernable growth (even though I knew better). I also became overly invested in checking up on other challenge participants’ growth, and stacking it against mine (even though I knew better). I prioritized the length of my hair over the health of my hair.

Even though I knew better.

Since chopping in December, I had been battling against dry ends. Although, normal healthy hair logic dictates that I cut or gradually trim them, I did everything but — for the sake of retaining length. My refusal to trim ended up making things worse — my detangling sessions became hellish, the ends were beginning to snap off more, and I really began to dread wash day because my hair was so much more prone to tangles and knotting. I knew the ends needed to go, but I pushed the truth aside in favor of being able to say, “look how much my hair grew!”

As I mentioned earlier, I never made it to the 6 month culminating period of the challenge. Not for any intriguing or piquant reasons, though. Honestly, the reason I stopped is actually pretty simple/boring. The Mane Choice stopped sending me vitamins. The real reason? I don’t know. Their shipping during my months 3 and 4 got a little patchy due to some backorder issues. I didn’t sweat it too much, because I feel like customers paying money should always take precedence over bloggers receiving goods for free.99. Months 5 and 6 never happened. I sent an email (only 1, I didn’t bother sending follow up correspondences) inquiring about the rest of my bottles for the duration of the challenge, but I never got a response. I didn’t sweat it too much at the time, and looking back at it now, it was a blessing in disguise.

This is not an indictment of The Mane Choice or Manetabolism vitamins. While on the challenge, I experienced more growth than typical for my hair. I really do believe the vitamins worked –you can follow all my results here. I just know now that these growth challenges — whether it be vitamins, castor oil, inversion (are people really still doing that?), or otherwise — are not for me. At the end of the day, they had me worried ’bout the wrong thangs.

 

Not me, but an extreme case of length over health.

This is not to discourage anyone from purchasing hair growth vitamins, extensively protectively styling, doing castor oil massages or hanging off the side of your bed (seriously, is anyone still doing the inversion method?). If you are able to strike a balance between growth and overall hair health without compromise, then by all means go for it! But for those of us who can get a little, eh, one‐track minded, proceed with caution. Our hair gives us warning signs when we’re off track — some experience breakage, dryness, more tangles, or even thinning. The problems pile on when we ignore those warning signs, in pursuit of longer hair. If your healthy hair journey does not prioritize the health of your hair, then take it from me — you’re on the wrong train.

Since ending my growth challenge in late May/early June, I’ve trimmed my hair three times — to the tune of about 2.5 inches of dead, crispy, tangly, dry ends gone. My hair is healthier, I’m happier, detangling isn’t a chore or nightmare, and my hair even looks a little thicker. I’ve got a little more left to trim, and I will do so diligently and in due time. Right now, I’m just really focused on being good to my hair. Taking care of it the way I know I should, taking my vitamins and supplements for overall health, and taking my behind to the gym.

 

And no, I haven’t touched my length check shirt since.

 

Have you found yourself caught up in the hair growth challenge craze? 

Did it help or harm your healthy hair goals?

Avatar

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

27
Leave a Reply

avatar
18 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
PrettydarkskinnedgirlDenisseKaylaStaceMichelle @Radiant Brown Beauty Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Netta
Guest

I noticed that when I participated in both castor oil and inversion challenges while having loose hair that I tend to neglect my day to day as well. The very first challenge I did was while wearing yarn braids and that forced me to maintain. That is the only way I do any challenge anymore since my hair is already prepped for success.

Chrissie
Guest
Chrissie

I dunno the story behind that lower picture but it’s really frightening. Health first always! I was going to say health over aesthetics, but that isn’t even aesthetically pleasing.

mscf
Guest

lolol @ frightening. i’ve honestly never seen a case that bad.

cacey
Guest
cacey

i have, unfortunately -_‐

iluvedges
Guest
iluvedges

the ends…ugh…the ends

Scrolling
Guest
Scrolling

The length over health is crazy!
I’ve looked at reviews for Hairfinity (I know it wasn’t mentioned) and a lot of women experienced thinning hair throughout their trials. Length is great but it’s worthless when it’s unhealthy.

Chandra
Guest

Good for you! Although I know that it takes getting “caught up” sometimes to realize you are doing too much. Lol. It all seems fun until you start to stress over how much length you may or may not be retaining. Success should be measured in overall health and if you still want length, it comes! I realized long ago that those challenges were not for me, I need a strong personal conviction behind a challenge in order to succeed. Set your own tailor made healthy hair goals and you will do a lot better. : )

Missc
Guest
Missc

Um, that last pic tho.…
O_O

mscf
Guest

at the risk of sounding a little natural hair ignorant, i didn’t even know there were such challenges, outside of simple product testing. kinda dunno how i feel about the idea of a length challenge…

personally, im extremely low maintenance to the danger of neglect. it takes waaayy too much time to coddle and babysit hair the way same people do. i think the best thing to do sometimes is just give it what it needs and then leave it alone.

http://mysocalledfashion.com

Deb
Guest
Deb

It’s not just the natural hair community. Black women with relaxed hair do it too and I know white women in certain hair communities do it too. Just anyone really into hair…

Stace
Guest
Stace

What Indian women as well. Everyone into long healthy hair is pretty much doing the same thing. I remember years ago, I saw an indian lab mate giving do‐grow hair grease to a white girl who was complaining that her hair never grew past shoulder length. The struggle is real out there for many.

Dee
Guest

I just purchased my second bottle of Hairfinity. I have been on this quest for longer lengths particularly because I miss my giant fro from my early twenties. I’m not caught up in the growth hype because I understand the length where my hair is its healthiest and what gives it the best shape. I will say this though: taking these vitamins has definitely made me up my water intake, increase the amount of fruits, veggies, and protein I eat and work out more. I want ALLL the goods from the supplement to go to my hair not malnourished parts… Read more »

cacey
Guest
cacey

the bottommost picture tho, of that girl with that shadowy ends.… 0_0

Veronica
Guest
Veronica

I think a lot of natural women would would concentrate more on health of hair if it weren’t for natural YouTube vloggers. They can be a blessing and a curse. I always thought your hair was basically the length it naturally fell if you braided it or had it in a braid‐out. I never saw people pulling down hair until I started watching Kimmaytube back when her speaking of pH and her homemade leave‐in was all the rage. She didn’t invent pulling shrunken hair down but I think she’s one of the people responsible for popularizing it. She’s helped many… Read more »

DiJah
Guest
DiJah

I’ve never done a hair challenge, or any other challenge for that matter. I do take vitamins, and a hair, skin, and nails vitamins from gnc but I stopped about a month ago because 1. I got tired of taking those alongside my regular vitamins, and 2. I was just over taking vitamins in general. I will say this.. When I was taking those HSN vits, I was checking to see if my hair was growing, because hair boards swore by these and sad to say I didn’t see/ experience any growth. Just yesterday I did a lil check, and… Read more »

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

yes girl these length checks can be stressful! I used to do it monthly but then realizing my hair only grows about 1/4 inch a month(with no growth aids), I decided I needed to stop. I wasn’t going to see much of a difference and when you are length checking and don’t see much growth, you can get very discouraged.

Now, I only do “official” checks once every 6 months or so. (I do still occassionally pull my hair down to “check” on wash day lol.…it’s an obsession!)

Barbara1923
Guest

*phew*
Thought I was the only one who thought hair health took precedence over hair length.
Truth is, I have NEVER done a length check in the 2 years I have had natural hair. I remember once a year and take a picture but totally forget it exists until it is way too late.
My hair has grown TREMENDOUSLY for someone who doesn’t care about length, lol and I am very happy about that.

Barbara
http://www.barbara1923.com
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/barbsportrait.jpg[/img]

Patricia
Guest
Patricia

Does hairfinity really works ? I dont understand the concept of taking pills to grow hair !

panda
Guest
panda

I’m shaving my hair bald and starting all over again, I never used to obsess over my hair or length to an unhealthy degree until I went natural, hair is now almost like an idol to me, sometimes I wouldn’t want to go out because of it, and to get back my sanity and have hair that looks good, I’m taking it all off, i want back the me that rocked 1 inch of hair when I was 11, the me that dyed my hair a bright fiery ginger when I was 13, the me that cut my hair however… Read more »

Kel
Guest
Kel

Lol

nappy headed black girl
Guest

To answer one of your questions, yes, people are still doing the inversion method lol

And no, I’ve never been into length checks or challenges. I truly only measured my hair once since I’ve been natural. I’m a snail’s pace grower anyway, so I focus more on just keeping it moisturized and clean. The growth will come with time.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

High five to *snails pace growing lol. Me too. Your locs are lusciously long though!

Stace
Guest
Stace

That last pic was just a distraction. I can’t even remember what this article was about after looking at it.

Kayla
Guest
Kayla

Exactly. That picture is a visual disturbance. What happened?

Prettydarkskinnedgirl
Guest
Prettydarkskinnedgirl

Dying laughing @ visual disturbance! I thought I was visually assaulted but I like visually disturbed better lol

Denisse
Guest
Denisse

This post hit close to home because I am one of those girls obsessed with hair lengths. When I come to think about it when I first started I was crazy about length. Yeah I wanted it but it was about health and I knew eventually it will come but 6 years later and comparing my hair to people who had 2/3 years drove me nuts. I remember in 2011 my hair was longer than what it is now and I feel now because I was so focused on hair it just did. I kept getting knots and I’m finally… Read more »

Prettydarkskinnedgirl
Guest
Prettydarkskinnedgirl

I agree that length obsession is a possible side effect of using supplements like Manetabolism, especially for those of us who are length snobs anyway. I would like to offer that Manetabolism isn’t just useful for growing longer hair; it’s also great for just growing more hair period. I decided to try it because years of using relaxers & heat damage left me with a quarter‐sized thin spot in my crown that was growing sooooo slowly. Nothing seemed to help & I was worried it would never fill back in after I was almost 2 years into my transition. I… Read more »

Shopping Cart