The Length Factor


Don’t let a fixation on length ruin your natural hair journey


Most of us have experienced the longest hair we have ever had since going natural.  We have dispelled the myth that Afro-textured hair doesn’t grow.  In the natural hair community, you will see women at different stages of their hair journey.  From TWAs (teeny-weeny afro)  to waist length hair, the different textures and styles of black hair are all beautifully unique.  However, is the initial excitement of going natural being tainted by an anxiety about length?  I’ve heard some women say that they are not too concerned about length rather, they simply want healthy hair. Most however, talk about wanting long hair.  Healthy hair grows at a regular and steady pace, so if your hair is healthy there is no reason for it not to grow. However, one factor that must be considered is terminal length.

Do not get disheartened when you see a YouTube vlogger reaching a certain length in what seems to be record time. Don’t compare them to yourself and become discouraged.  It took me over four years to reach BSL (Bra strap length), when some YouTube vloggers appeared to reach that in two to three years after their big chop.  Regardless of how long it takes for your hair to reach a certain length, once it is longer than it has ever been, you have achieved an awesome goal.  I’ve watched certain vloggers get criticized for not reaching a certain length within a certain period of time. This is despite their hair being longer than it was when it was permed.



Many of us regarded shoulder length hair as long when our hair was permed. Now that we are natural, we regard armpit length as short!  Are we not too hard on ourselves when it comes to length?  After all, armpit length hair is just as long, if not longer, than the average hair length of  Caucasian woman.  You only have to look around you to see that.  In the natural hair community we have demonstrated that black hair can grow just like any other type of hair.  However, because some of our favorite YouTube vloggers are waist length, we decide that armpit length isn’t long.  We fail to consider that some of these ‘waist length’ vloggers have been natural for 5 to 8 years.  Do not consider yourself a failure for not reaching waist length in five years.  We now must move on, from growing hair just for the sake of pulling it down our back for a length check.

Some of us look better with short hair or may have a preference for short hair.  Let us not make each other anxious about cutting our hair because we don’t want to be judged for not reaching a certain length, after a certain number of years.  Women who have cut their hair may feel the need to give a disclaimer when asked how long they have been natural.  Remember,  Afro-textured hair shrinks and your true length isn’t really evident until it is pulled down or straightened.  I have been asked numerous times if I have cut my hair by people who do not understand shrinkage.  Perhaps the fixation on length is more to do with what other people think or, it may be a need to prove to yourself that your hair can grow long. This is understandable but, don’t be afraid to be be versatile with length.

Tia Mowry

Tia Mowry

Taren 916

Taren Guy

Women of other races can cut their hair whenever they please.  Then, they can grow it back relatively quickly, when they decide to do so.  Well guess what? Black women can do the same.  With the knowledge we have acquired about our hair, we will find that most of the length struggles we had, with our relaxed hair, will no longer exist.

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

So let us celebrate hair of all lengths, textures and styles.  A TWA can be just as beautiful as waist length hair. A tapered cut or diva cut can be edgy and stylist.  We need not only experience short hair once, in our natural hair journey.

short hair instagram

KCCM Tapered Cut

KCCM Tapered Cut

Do you think there is an obsession with length within the natural hair community? Or have we now moved on from that? Share your thoughts below.


4 responses »

  1. I agree, some people choose to keep their hair short and their hair is super healthy. It shouldn’t all be about length.


  2. I like seeing natural hair of all lengths although the overemphasis that some have about long hair is a bit too much. Healthy hair of all lengths should be the goal.


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