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The Pros and Cons of Long and Short Kinky Natural Hair

Avatar • Mar 9, 2015

After growing my super kinky hair out for the past four plus years, I decided to cut the back and sides down into a long tapered fro. I won’t get into the how and why of my haircut because I’ve already discussed it on my blog, but now that I’ve been on both sides of the length game, I can speak to the benefits and challenges of kinky natural hair at both short and long lengths.

Pros & Cons of Long Kinky Hair

Pro: Super Fast Styling Options

Amma's Signature Celie Twists

Amma

The greatest benefit about having long kinky hair is being able to throw it up in a puff, bun, or 5 minute updo that requires only 3 bobby pins before running out the door. Not only are all these looks quick, but they are also versatile, being appropriate for work, a date, the gym, or even a wedding.

Con: Super Long Wash Days

natural hair wash day meme

I would wait 3–4, heck even sometimes 5 weeks to wash my long kinky hair simply because I’d have to wait for a day when I have 4 hours to spare and nowhere to be. From the detangling, to the steaming, to the shampooing, to the styling, to the drying, long kinky hair is a piece of WORK to maintain.

Pro: Jealousy-Inducing Hangtime

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Regardless of how superficial it is, there are few better feelings that when a stranger comes up to you and says “wow your hair is so LONG, what is your secret?!” I mean, rarely do people comment on how healthy your hair looks, and though length is not an exclusive indicator of hair health, it often means you’re doing something right.

Con: Shrinkage Frustration

natural hair shrinkage1

 

When your hair finally reaches a certain length, you want it to be that length all the time! It’s the worst having a nice elongated twistout and then getting caught in some rain or humidity and arriving at your destination with a much more shrunken style. With shorter hair, shrinkage isn’t as bothersome since your hair is already short.

Pros & Cons of Short Kinky Hair

Pro: Shorter Detangling Time

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Less hair comes with fewer opportunities for tangles to emerge, so anticipate being able to detangle your hair much more easily with short hair as opposed to long. I completely surprised myself when I was recently able to comb through my hair with conditioner in all of 15 minutes, a process that I would have never even attempted with long hair because I just knew my arm would fall off before I could get through a section.

Con: Longer Styling Time

P Roy

P Roy

While shorter hair makes for shorter detangling, it makes up for it by requiring more styling time than for longer hair. Sections for basic styles like twists and twistouts have to be much smaller — whereas I could put my long hair in 8–12 twists to maintain a style, I have to do at least 20 on my little fro. More twists or braids sadly means more time.

Pro: Healthier Edges

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While longer hair can be bunned up and slicked back, short kinky hair can really only go in one direction — up. In just one month of having short hair, I’ve noticed my edges are less sparse since I can’t pull my hair up or back. Now if you’re the kind of natural who is obsessed with baby hairs, and you’re constantly gelling them and brushing with toothbrushes, this benefit might not apply to you, but for the rest of us, expect stronger edges with shorter hair.

Con: More Obvious Ends

Jenells-2nd-Big-Chop

Jenell

 

I’m sure when my hair was long I had pieces of all different lengths, both due to haphazard cutting, splitting, and breakage. However, when your hair falls down, the ends overlap one another and are less visible. However, when your hair stands up straight, as mine now does, every non-ideal looking end jumps out at you in the mirror. I’ve had to stop myself from tucking and pulling at every out-of-place end, but on one or two occasions I’ve brought out the scissors and snipped because a hair strand was ruining my style.

If you’ve have both long and short natural hair, what are some of the pros and cons of each length? Which length do you prefer on yourself and why?

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About Klassy Kinks

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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Coco
Coco
5 years ago

I miss the massive thickness that comes with shorter hair; I rocked amazing fros like it was nobody’s business. Most of my fav styles were all from my shorter hair days. But long hair is soooo easy to throw in a bun and go about your day.

LC
LC
5 years ago

I went to your blog to see the process and you look great with that haircut, the hairdresser did a fabulous job, very instructive!

Myllee
Myllee
5 years ago
Reply to  LC

LOL LC your avatar had me dying.

Bobby Ray
Bobby Ray
5 years ago

The best thing of long kinky natural hair is I can do my infamous updo with 5 bobby pins in 5 mins, but the worst thing is DETANGLING!! I absolutely hate it take me forever!!!!

Tasha
Tasha
5 years ago

Shorter hair isn’t always a long process to style. When I had a TWA, I used to always put my moisturizer in, work it through and just go. My twists didn’t take me long either because there wasn’t a lot of hair. Maybe I am just fast. Lol. But now I am medium length and it takes forever to do it.

Leah James
Leah James
5 years ago
Reply to  Tasha

Omg yes it literally took me a minute to style my twa now a year later it took forever to do a twist out and it came out horrible so I do just two braids pin it up and wear it like that .

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

cons of long hair- can become a security blanket, too long to detangle, up-dos are are quick if your hair is blown out or super stretched, and those up-dos and buns can get boring. pros of long hair- great styling options, can just throw into a puff or tail and go, can frame your face nicely if the cut is right, if feels good to reach a hair goal in inches sometimes, and silly but you can fling it lol. Short hair cons- people think your going through something and assume strange things, frequent cuts if you go super short, not… Read more »

shaun
shaun
5 years ago

With long hair when you wear it out you have to worry about the ends
sweeping your clothing and dry out the ends, wooly sweaters etc.

Alyss
Alyss
5 years ago
Reply to  shaun

Oh my goodness this, I have this one coat with a fuzzy hood that is fabulously warm but only wearable with braids because it will just eat my hair otherwise!

Anisa Glover
Anisa Glover
5 years ago

I’m just not a short hair girl. It was cute when I had it but I love my buns and big hair. Just a preference

Philly Jawn
Philly Jawn
5 years ago

i prefer my hair long it just feels better because im tall and when i had short hair i looked like a big 8th grader plus my man hates short hair so compromise it is

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

I’m heavy-handed with product, I sweat at the drop of a hat, and I’m visually impaired. When my hair was shorter, I could just mop up the moisture (and displaced product) and keep it moving. Now that my hair is longer (YAY!), it keeps me quite warm in winter, but warmer weather has already started to make its way into the Carolinas, and my hair gets in my way when I’m doing things. So now, I’m beginning to try comfortable ways to put my hair up so it stays out of my face (and my nose, and my mouth, and… Read more »

Leah James
Leah James
5 years ago

I have medium length natural hair so what about us ? What if your hair is out of the twa stage but not in the long hair stage yet ? I wear it in two braids with my own hair as protective style . It’s shoulder length and shrinks up to neck length but since i now keep it braided all the time i don’t have to worry about shrinkage anymore .

Leah James
Leah James
5 years ago

That’s What I’m Saying

Leah James
Leah James
5 years ago

Make pros and cons for medium length hair it’s too short for styles like buns ponytails etc but too long to do twa styles and wash and go’s plus more tangles . You start to dread shrinkage after twa. The only styles you can do is wigs weave extensions curly afro picked out afro straight natural hair puff twist out braid out cornrow braids two braids etc . I do two braids because my twists outs and braid outs came out horrible and weaves break off my hair . My hair is much healthier and grows out more when I… Read more »

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago
Reply to  Leah James

Its important for medium length hair to be shaped. Shape will give you better twist outs and braid outs that fall in a predictable manner. You won’t really dread shrinkage because with shape your hair should look great either way. Naturals be sleeping on a good hair cut. Even if your goal is to grow it out longer a shaping will help big time.

dmalikat
dmalikat
5 years ago

Long hair over here and Con — much longer time to style. Takes me 6–8 hours for a flexi rod set. The short hair bun equivalent is the TWA or the puff with a headband. Con-detangling, con — more expensive to see a stylist. Pro-styles last longer. All lengths have their advantage, just be thankful for whatever length you have and the rest will fall in place. 🙂

Anon46
Anon46
5 years ago

I prefer short hair. Pros-can wash/cleanse daily, short drying times, no one is constantly stopping me to ask for natural hair tips, quick wng styling Cons-can’t do big buns, hate the grow out stage, can’t do updos with 3 bobby pins, twist updos aren’t as cute No matter the length, my wash days are short bc I don’t do unnecessary steps. I’m now at medium length, which i hate bc hair is too short to be cute & not long enough to be lon. My twist outs/braidouts look terrible at this length. Only pro to mid length hair is I still… Read more »

melissa
melissa
5 years ago

Oh just to add. for me when you have short natural hair. skin has to be perfect or you gotta learn to do makeup right. I dont know what it is. My sister actually pointed out when we started our journey. when you have longer hair or a weave it hides the face issues or bad skin is easier to forgive. When your hair is shorter you have to make sure the skin is looking good because you cant hide behind anything. I hope am making sense.

LC
LC
5 years ago

lmao!

Aliyah Morrison
Aliyah Morrison
5 years ago

Ok what if you don’t have super kinky 4b/4c hair and what if you dont have short or long hair ? I have medium length hair and I keep it braided in cornrows . What about us with medium length hair . I also have multiple curl patterns so it is frustrating but I don’t have to worry about rain or humidity since it’s braided in a cornrow protective style .

Aliyah Morrison
Aliyah Morrison
5 years ago

I had short hair before when I big chopped but now it’s medium length can you make an article for the pros and cons for the “awkward stage length ” . I literally stopped wash and go and started protective styling with cornrow braids since it’s so difficult to deal with . I can do buns Afro puffs and other styles but I can’t do long ponytails and many other styles long hair naturals can do . In the awkward stage protective styling is crucial and I don’t have 4b/4c hair but 3c/4a hair is ALOT of work as well… Read more »

Sharon
Sharon
5 years ago

I can’t wait for my hair to be longer. Right now I have a fro that reminds me too much of Big Shirley from “What’s Happening”

Coocoo4cocopuffs
Coocoo4cocopuffs
5 years ago

What about the pros and cons of being mid length lol!

BlueCornMoon
BlueCornMoon
5 years ago

I prefer long hair by far !! When I had long natural hair back in the 70s I would put it in 2 fat cornrows in different styles & it looked great. I could even do it after I got curly perms.Now I’m back to natural again & after a bout of alopecia,I’m hoping to grow it out again.

LBell
LBell
5 years ago

I think those of us with Afro-textured hair and massive amounts of shrinkage have the best of both worlds, at least when it comes to styling. I’m not hung up on showing off my length and I haven’t truly straightened my hair in years but I used to get a kick out of people’s shocked faces on the rare times I would straighten it. Just last week one of my co-workers asked me if I’d gotten a haircut (I had just gone back to wearing my coily ‘fro after a couple of weeks of twistouts and updos) and I said… Read more »

Anna
Anna
5 years ago

I like my hair short. My husband is used to me changing up my looks, so he doesn’t care anymore lol. It’s easier to get out the door with and leaves me more time with my family. Every now and then I’ll get a silk out, but I still keep it in a shorter style.

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