It took me 8 years to get to bra strap length and just 1 year to get to tailbone length. But before I got to my desired length, I had little clue as to what my hair needed most so I could never really retain length, though my hair looked very healthy.
My plateau began once I reached shoulder length. I was a stickler for split ends and noticed, without fail that my ends would get so tattered at that length that I felt it necessary to cut them every time. Some of my cuts were so drastic — cutting over 3 inches in length — that I refer to them as “mini-chops”. Each mini chop set me back 6 to 9 months.
I had no clue that by the time my hair grew past my ears it would need reasonably more protection and less manipulation to continue get to longer lengths. By my 3rd year through the journey, I had moved to a new area where the water was particularly harsh on my strands. I didn’t understand the impact at the time, so it took me a while to address the issue. My hair had gone from luscious, and sheeny to drab and thin.
My issue was a combination of ends breakage and slowed growth from the root. I was encountering a new level of stress through grad school, but the major issue was my desperately tattered ends that grew dreadful from not employing protective and low manipulation styles, and the use of hard water that changed my texture entirely.
And so I just kept cutting my hair. It was normal for me to come to the end of a year, notice my tattered ends and extremely dry strands from hard water and decide the best solution was a cut.
I’m not sure who made me aware, or how I became aware, but I learned that the hard water had a lot to do with how well my hair was doing. Pretty soon I was investing in distilled water to wash my hair with and then down the line, a shower filter. I also accidentally stumbled upon protective styling with extensions when I used Marley hair to create a very natural twist style.
Protective and low manipulation styles became my go-to the year that I finally reached tailbone length. Coupling that with my knowledge of how to battle against the effects of hard water, my length retention progress began to soar.
Ladies, how do you overcome length plateaus and identify the issues contributing to it?