Stop with the Length Checking

This weekend I went to Natural Resources Salon for my quarterly blow out, trim and Every day Beauty hairstyle (See photo gallery below). Usually, I bring my iPhone to document the process as well as to do a length check for the world to see.  This time I felt less inclined to do so. For a few different reasons.

Hair Length Chart

Enlarge Image

Length Checks Make Me Impatient

You know, what I’m talking about. You’ve been looking at so and so’s hair. You’re ready for your hair to get to that length. You start obsessing about their hair length and regimen. You compare your hair to their hair. Every few months your checking how long your hair is. You start counting how long you’ve been natural. Oh Lawd, what’s wrong with my hair? Why isn’t it growing? Ok maybe impatient was the wrong word. It makes me CRAZY!!!

I’m Practicing Patience

I’ve had my hair mishaps. But I’m on the right track now. I’m finally content with My Hair. My regimen is working. I know that I’m retaining length. I’m seeing growth.  I want to be surprised by the length of my hair.  I figure I’ll wait 6 months for my next length check. Maybe even longer than that. My hair is already bra strap length. I don’t really want tailbone length hair. I mean, I’m not going prevent my hair from getting that long but I’m ok with around mid back length and retaining that length.

Long Hair Doesn’t Make You More of An Expert

I know my hair is growing. I don’t have to prove it to anyone.  As a natural hair blogger, I know some people rate your content and tips by how long your hair is. If your hair isn’t long or has been the same length for years they don’t want to be bothered. I get it! But I know the time, research, and experiments that I dedicate to this site .  I no longer feel a length check is necessary to validate the validity. The information, testimonies, and expert advice featured on Natural Hair speak volumes.

Say NO to the Length Checks!!! Who’s with me?

How often do you do a length check?



58 thoughts on “Stop with the Length Checking

  1. Kissa Powell

    I’m with you sis. I don’t think I’ve checked my length for about six months or more. It’s more about health. I like my hair long but like you I’m a little past BSL and that is more than cool.
    I do have to say that I want a tutorial on that style you are rocking above. That is GORGEOUS!!

    Thanks for the post, sis!

  2. Merinofro

    My hair and I have been entangled in a fabulous relationship for about 38 years before your friend the length check came along. Suddenly I found myself frustrated where I had never been before- and the results became physical…. My hair began to have problems we had never had before. Hardness, shedding, and so on….. One day, after I read someone’s something and reached for my hair to do something, I looked at myself. My philosophy all along had been ‘I leave her alone ( for the most part) and she leaves me alone ( no worries about my hair)’ and I realized I was not keeping up my part of the bargain. I was stressed because my hair was not yet such and such length….and then I just stopped. The length checks was hurting me- mentally, spiritually, and even physically. I reminded myself that it is a hair JOURNEY…… Do I want to see the sights or just be the kid in the back seat- ‘Are we there yet?’. ‘Are we there yet?’ those two years are gone, and my hair and I have reestablished our love affair full speed ahead. As it gets longer, I find that I need to do different things to it- it’s wonderful! My hair, if I were to guess is bsl…. Just about where it was when I did my bc. For some people, God makes you see that it is a journey, and I sure wasn’t ready for bsl natural hair when I thought I was. Length checks can hurt. The next time I beast over my length, it will be over the weave I have been meaning to try. HHJ

    1. Denise

      Love it! Hair can make you crazy…why? Because at some point it becomes an idol. When we begin to idolize something and allow it to consume more of our mind than our Lord and Savior, we should expect disastrous results. Let go, let God and He will direct your paths….even our hair path or “journey”!

      1. Susie

        I was obsess over my hair when I stopped relaxing. I stayed up sometimes all night! On fotki from one hair board to was taking the place of The Lord . I had to pull back….

  3. Shawna Henry

    I can agree but then again that is easy to say for someone who has a considerable amount of length. I am a year and a half natural and currently near arm pit length. For me, my goal is to be a little past bra strap length. I am not obsessed with length, but it is nice to see how well I am retaining my length over the months and how much I can retain per month. Perhaps that length check can allow you to notice some early signs of breakage or things of that matter.

  4. Nessy

    I’m trying not to length check but it’s hard, really.
    Even if I love my hair to death i feel forced to do it. I’m also practicing patience but when I take my braids down I need to check even if i know my hair has grown a little bit.

  5. rashee

    I’ve been natural for nine years… I don’t think I’ve ever cared about a length check… more about style… I’ve chopped my hair off many times – back to short – either because I wanted to rock the short style or to make sure my fro stayed even. (it’s ALL ABOUT THE CUT)…I agree the “length” of your hair is not validity of the advice you share… the health of your hair is. Whether long or short…if it’s healthy it will always look good (along with a good cut/style).

  6. Kendralyn C. Jasper

    I have not done a real length check for the same reasons that you stated. I am very happy with the health of my hair now as opposed to the length. So I am soooooooo with you! NO MORE LENGTH CHECKS!!!!

  7. allimarie

    I don’t get the hype around length checks either, never have. Since the start of my journey my length goal has been the same: to be able to put my hair in a ponytail that has some hang-time. The only reason that this is even my length goal is because that’s how I wore my hair daily when I was relaxed. I’ve never bothered w/ the metric or body measurements, for what? It’s never been important to me.

  8. ladon

    I don’t think it makes a difference. You reasons are great and unique to you. For someone who doesn’t get impatient or likes to gauge their progress or chooses to do it for their own personal reasons, it can be exciting and motivating. I love it when people simply do what works for them. 🙂

  9. NappyFu (@NappyFu)

    I absolutely agree. I don’t even do length checks. I don’t want to get lost in the chaos of hair growth checks and as you said “why is my hair not growing its the same spot it was at last month” I don’t hv the mindframe for that. I believe as long as my hair maintenance is consistent, healthy and stong. She (my hair) will grow!

  10. Marilyn

    I’ve never even thought about doing a length test and I’ve been natural about two years now. Kinda curious but I love my curls and have yet to even put a blow dryer in my hair. I know it’s getting longer because I want from an inch all around to huge ponytails now if I want t rock a curly pony and lots of tangles, does anyone have a suggestion for tangles on very defined spiral curled hair!!!

  11. sandy

    It’s strange to me to compare your natural hair to the length it would be if it were straightened. Why not just straighten it? I don’t get that. What you see is the length it is. It’s almost like saying there is something wrong with shrinkage. I don’t know: it makes no difference to me. I’m more interested in the health of my hair.

  12. Latoya

    I did a length check once…. at around 9 months post-relaxer. I even pulled out a ruler. I was like 1/2 inch short of what I thought I should be. Before I pulled out the ruler I was totally fine with my length. I stopped with the length checks that day. I personally plan on maintaining somewhere around my current length. My hair is very thick and dense and I just couldn’t imagine having my hair much longer than it is now.

  13. Andrea

    I am a little over a year and a half post relaxer. I am just thankful that I have my thickness and the health of my hair back. I had relaxers for the better part of my teen and adult life and they were killing my hair slowly (sometimes quickly). I said all that to say I don’t do length checks…maybe thickness checks now and then. 🙂

  14. Susie

    I stopped doing length checks second year of going natural. This is my sixth year an I’m bra length which is fine. My concern is keeping it strong, an healthy.


    I was OBSESSED with doing length checks when I was 1-2 years along in my natural journey….I swear I checked twice a month! Now that I’m approaching 5 years, I have to REMIND myself to do them (to make sure my growth isn’t stagnant)…and even with that, I forget! I haven’t done one in about 6 months and I just might forget to do one on my curly-versary…haha!

  16. Me me

    We need to get off the length fetish. The growth cycle of European hair is different. Because of the climate over there, and not innate superiority, they had to build technology to prepare for the colder weather and spread out and eventually dominated the culture with their standards, which black people try to adopt, often without even realizing it. This is awful, but I’ve heard some really conscious black people once describe white hair to dog hair. Now if that negative imagery and concept were to spread, maybe the idea that that kind of hair is better would go away.

    I’m also conscious but appreciate white hair as much as I do black hair. I appreciate healthy hair. But I’m partial to kinky hair. I love the texture and look of it and I hate that there are black women still today stuck in the stone ages who equate kinky hair to ‘bad hair’. So they stick that stupid synthetic long hair on their heads which to me makes them look hideous.

    The black pop stars that have been allowed to succeed in the industry — let’s face it, the system needs to throw us a few bones — they take a few pop stars and hype them up really good so that we think we have black people in the running — haha — these stars like Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, etc., they validate the white standard of beauty, which in turn we emulate. Also ever notice that the more ‘famous’ these tokens get, the blonder they get?

  17. Sandee

    I’m curious about why you might have deleted my comment…hmm… Well. At least you’ll get to see my comment and that’s all that matters.

    I want to suggest that while you’re on the subject of hair length, in the vein of retrogression, why don’t you as a beauty expert let all of us black women know the best way to bleach our skin, what color blonde, ala Beyonce, we should use to dye our hair, and which white movie star’s nose we should get when we get nose jobs.

    1. NHR Post author

      Um your comment wasn’t deleted. Maybe your mistaken by the comment moderation process. All comments are approved before posted; this could be the way you did not see you comment.

      As for the rest of your comment…

  18. redhairedgirl

    I am in the process of growing out my hair so I can donate it. I have what my students call a “white girl afro.” It’s a thick, stubborn wave that I stopped fighting to straighten in college. It won’t grow now!

  19. Shina

    If I had your hair length I would not care about length either. Everyone is different. As a newly natural I am concern about length because I don’t know how long my hair can grow. my hair was never healthy because my mom did not know how to do hair and did not properly take care my hair or her hair. I really don’t have anyone to really give me an idea how long my hair can grow. Don’t get it wrong, I take absolute great care of my hair to make sure it is healthy. But length is very important to me as well. We all have goals as we should, that’s what keeping me motivated. The statement about not worry about length and focus on health is easier said than done, especially for someone like me. I love long hair. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my short hair, and love styling it. I just prefer to have it longer because of different hairstyles I would love to do. Don’t judge me because I love to look in the mirror wishing I can pull my hair and i see it stretching pass my chin. All of that is motivating me to continue to care for my hair and to continue to keep up with protective style. if you want to have long hair it start with the health of the hair. therefore, I am doing what need to do to get the result I hope to get. Think about it this way. When someone is tying to lose weight they often look at someone else and say I wish I could like that. Just because they go on a losing weight journey (diet and exercise) don’t really mean they are trying to look exactly like the person but they are a motivation to where they would love to be. Let’s be real, we all have something or someone that gives up inspiration and motivation. That is the reason I watch youtube videos and read blogs. Because they inspire me not because I want my hair texture to be just like theirs but because I would love to achieve a certain goal and to do so I need some form of inspiration and motivation.

    To summarize, there is nothing wrong with being obsess with length. I believe it just motivate to continue to take great care of the haiir and to know if a product is working or not. I am loving and enjoying my journey, but I also have a picture in my mind of where my goal should be. I check very often to make sure my hair is growing to see if what I am doing is working.

    1. Tamara Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I understand where you’re coming from. One of the reason I went natural is because I wanted to see how long my hair would grow.

  20. kameeka b.

    I’m with you on this, I don’t measure my hair. I just know its growing by the length of time it takes me to do my twists. The only time I’ll measure is if I take part in a hair challenge. And I haven’t done one of those since last year when I joined the kccm castor oil challenge. Length isn’t as important to me as the health of my hair. And I know my hair will get to wherever I want to be as long as I take care of it.

  21. Karen

    OMG !! I thought the same thing yesterday haha. ” what if my hair doesnt grow that much in a year will my followers unfollow me” …I usually do a length check after taking out my braids but that isn’t that often I do braids. I try to focus on cutting my unhealthy ends and eating vitamins/exercising and moisturizing more than length checks.

  22. Sabrina @seriouslynatural

    Yes, I’m with you! This constant checking to see each inch is counterproductive. As my mother always used to say, “A watched pot never boils”. Enjoy your hair, take care of it and allow it to grow without you watching every moment.

  23. Shornelle

    As I do agree that it is counterproductive, talk to me who has been natural for more than 10 years and my hair is simply just shoulder length. (OMG!!! is she serious?) Indeed I am. I chopped off my hair when I was in college in MN (I’m from The Bahamas) however, I didn’t know that natural hair needs more care, is more brittle (so to speak) than hair that is filled with chemicals, needs to treated with tlc, etc. Now I’m on a JOURNEY myself, trying everything out because I’ve always had growing hair so I never cared much about it either way (permed or natural). I’m eager to see where I can take it in terms of length. It is more healthy today than when I got on this train a few months ago. I’ve gotten my oils and creams and shampoos and etc and I’m trying hard to learn my hair but guess what??? Not caring for over 20+ years has left me totally dumb to my hair. I wish I could just leave it in someone elses hands but that’s a costly price I would have to pay, lol. Well to make a long story short (yeah right), I’m doing exactly the opposite of what I shouldn’t be doing like checking it’s daily growth (don’t look at me like that!) I’m trying the GHE and LOC methods to see if they work for me, one day I won’t be watching my pot, lol. Thanks for your blogs.

  24. thinklikelinda

    I most definitely agree! I was super obsessed with length but now I am just enjoying my transitioning journey:) I am 8 months post and very amazed and content with the new growth I have! I’m lucky my hair grows this quick it takes years for some people. I’m trying my best not to length check my hair till 1 month before my transition hits 1 year in April 2014, which is also when my second son will be born!:D

  25. Kandice Gray (Kandi Yam)

    I completely agree with you and found myself thinking about cutting it all off and starting over witha twa! I may regret it or love it. I was getting mad at my hair too but I just want to love it again. I miss that. 😦

  26. KinkyCoilFoibles

    I think i never even thought about the word length check until i started trolling around blogs and boards. And i have to say I was a lot happier when i didn’t know what BSL APL and BL meant. So I like now that my hair is strong, its soft when wet and you know what i have a twist ponytail so that’s enough length for me. To straighten it just to see how long it is when i don’t wear it straight? Just makes no sense to me anymore. Thank you for the article.

  27. soulpurposeooc

    The operative word is obsession. We must however, have goals. In order to know how close you are to reaching that goal, you must have a measure. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” There is no goal unless it can be measured somehow from point A to Z and points in between. We have to have some idea of where we are headed and how to get there. We have to know what is good growth from stunted growth so that if changes are necessary, we can make them.

    To say “stop measuring your hair” is counterproductive to a person with goals. Willy Nilly haircare is fine if you have no goals and don’t want to trace your journey. Fine, no foul. But don’t hate upon those who do have goals and have measurable success. Hair has been (and apparently still is) an issue with us.
    But to obsess over it is quite another thing! All things in moderation. There is nothing inherently evil about measuring your hair’s growth. Just keep it in moderation. Side Note: Truth be told, some of us are just discovering that we CAN grow our hair long…and we are in the honeymoon phase. Just leave it alone, it will all pan out and level off. Right now a lot of us are very excited!

  28. swirlygrl

    Sigh….aside from all the annoying religious dribble from most of the commentator posts on here, I tend to agree with the article very much. I was just telling my daughter, I wish these women would quit checking their hair length on YOUTUBE!! it’s an obsession with a lot of them. Even the so called GURUS are into this hair length checking thing. It is really getting annoying. I would like longer hair too, it’s to my bra strap now, I did a big chop about 2 years ago when I was prego with my son. I cut out my hair extensions and just started regrowing it. Hair will grow, damn, you don’t have to check it every freaken 2 week ladies!
    I understand the need to check the progress of our hair, but it’s just super annoying when you go on youtube looking for advice and you see all these women checking their hair length obsessively!

    Of course I’m guilty of checking my own hair length, But I have always known my hair could grow well. My whole family has the ability to grow long hair so I already knew I could. However, I don’t check my hair every week. I only check my hair length when I notice my hair looks different somehow. If I notice it got longer or thicker than I may check my length.

  29. Lisa

    I’ve stopped with the length check also and found myself more at peace with my hair. I’m more focused on having a good regimen and keeping my hair moisturized and protected.

  30. clittle44

    I agree , I stopped doing length checks months ago . Mostly because I’m just happy with the versatility of my natural hair.

  31. LM

    I live in mahattan can someone please give me a hairstylist who really knows how to
    1. care for natural hair
    2. knows how to trim not cut but trim natural hair
    I need help..


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