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When Longer Hair Means You Can’t Rock the Same Styles

Avatar • Dec 20, 2014

365432589As you go through your natural hair journey, you will inevitably find that some methods will require adjustment. Length retention is a top 3 goal of many naturals. For those of you gazing longingly at the twist outs and locs of your long-haired peers, let me let you in on a little secret now that I’ve been a “black girl with long hair” for a little while: You may have to readjust in ways that you won’t like.

So, What is “Long Hair”?

In a number of articles I’ve mentioned long hair, but the concept of “long hair” is, of course, subjective.  When setting a goal, be sure to do so based on what works for your lifestyle and what length looks good on you. For me, “long hair” was defined based on the styles I wanted to accomplish and not simply an arbitrary length milestone. I knew that other naturals who shared my hair texture were able to accomplish the updos, blow outs and stretched ponytails I hoped to achieve right around mid-back length. So initially, this was my hair goal. However, I found that my shrinkage (up to 75% in some areas) made it almost a necessity to use heat to accomplish certain styles. Therefore, I knew that in order to achieve certain styles with heatless stretching and minimal effort I would need to set a goal of waist length, a goal which I have since reached. I am also fairly tall (5’9”), so someone a few inches shorter may find that hair at that length to be less attractive than shorter lengths

Will you have to Let Go of Favorite Styles?

Whether or not you have to retire some of favorite styles all depends on your ability to change your styling methods. One of my favorite styles in particular are mini twists.  In 2010, the style would take me 5 hours to complete and last for 4 weeks. Now, in order to complete the style, I need to give myself 2 days; something which I was only able to do during the Thanksgiving holiday. Given the amount of time it now takes me to complete the style, (around 12 hours with breaks) it simply is no longer practical for me to wear the style more than once or twice a year. It’s helpful to keep this in mind as you set your hair length goals. The very styles you love wearing might be difficult to achieve with longer lengths. Although I love mini twists, I am willing to give up the style for other styles I can now achieve with longer natural hair.

What is your length goal? What length do you consider to be “too long” and why?

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LBell
LBell
5 years ago

I’m thinking about doing mini-twists later next weekend…but ONLY because I’ve got several free days in a row AND I’m not doing any major traveling or celebrating this Christmas. The last time I did a set that I liked it took me a good 8 hours, which these days is about 6 hours longer than I like to spend in my hair at any one time. And my hair’s not even that long (mostly between CBL and APL). If I can continue to resist the call of the scissors — and they were seriously calling earlier this month — I’ll be… Read more »

naturalstyle
naturalstyle
5 years ago

my goal right now is bsl(im APL and 5’3) and after that it would be waist length but after that i would probably get regular trims to maintain the lenght of my hair

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

Anything past shoulder length is too much for me. In all my 13 years natural I always get to this point and chop it off because styles start to take too long. I just cut mine recently because my twist sessions were in that 4–5 hour zone. That is waaay to long to be spending on some hair so snip snip it went. I need get up and go hair at this point in my life. I’m sure I’ll want to grow it out again but for now I have no length goals other than to grow out my tapered… Read more »

Alexious Johnson
Alexious Johnson
5 years ago

My goal is waist length unstretched.…

Aliyah Morrison
Aliyah Morrison
5 years ago

My hair goal is bra strap length or arm pit length like to my breath with shrinkage unstretched. I can take any thing longer than that .

Adía
Adía
5 years ago

I’m going for armpit length. When I wear weaves and braids that’s about as long as I get them and I like working with that length

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

My current stated goal is to have the hair on top of my head be long enough to puddle on my shoulders without stretching. But I’m willing to let my hair grow as long as it will, & I am willing to adjust my care and routine accordingly. Learning to live with it as it grows has been fun, and I’m not willing yet to commit to a routine of regular trims to maintain a certain length. Based on my interpretation of other people’s experiences, I am convinced that there are workable routines for hair at every length, and I’d… Read more »

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

My current stated goal is to have the hair on top of my head be long enough to puddle on my shoulders without stretching. But I’m willing to let my hair grow as long as it will, & I am willing to adjust my care and routine accordingly. Learning to live with it as it grows has been fun, and I’m not willing yet to commit to a routine of regular trims to maintain a certain length. Based on my interpretation of other people’s experiences, I am convinced that there are workable routines for hair at every length, and I’d… Read more »

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

I’m going for BSL and I believe that I will be there in about 6 months.

Selina
Selina
5 years ago

Being damn 5“11 means I can’t go for anything less than waist length *side eye*. I normally however get mixtures of 16–22 inch weaves which falls the longest to the top of my breast. I recently bought Virgin weave at the longest length of 26″ and it would touch my tailbone when stretched at the back. It looks amazing when in it’s natural curl state and more fairy-tale like when straightened lol. Nonetheless, when my natural 4abc hair falls to my shoulders or armpit length without being stretched I am a happy woman 🙁 GOD WILLING

elizabeth31
elizabeth31
5 years ago

When my hair was 4 inches I thought I was going to do all SORTS of nonsense with it. Now that it’s almost to my belly button I can assuredly say I do nothing, I just let it go fly free. It’s too much effort to do anything but keep it moisturized, and it already looks like a statement after that–I don’t bother doing anything else lol

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