In this day and age where many women are letting go of the perm and going natural, more and more are documenting their journeys via blogs and YT. The days that we go natural are coveted and we tend to keep count of the days and seconds since we did so. It’s not unlikely that you meet a Natural with the same or similar BC/Natural Bday and it’s easy to see their length and become discouraged at yours.
Let me explain it a little more…
I went natural on October 4, 2009. My hair is now 1 1/2 years natural… or 18 months; whatever floats your boat. People always comment and say my hair has grown so much, but then I look at other ladies on YT or blogs who BC’ed one month prior to me and their hair is way longer. Makes me mad *inserts kicking of rock*
My sister recently BC’ed and now that she’s looking at blogs and YT, she’ll often tell me that other people’s hair seems to be growing faster than hers.
Nothing’s wrong with this, and I know we’re not the only ones who compare length. However, there are key things to think about before you get discouraged!
1. BC or Transitioned- There’s a difference! Everyone “goes natural” in different ways. My October 4, 2009 is my BC after a 1 month transition. So even though I am 18 months post-BC, I had 1 month of new growth (lol, okay I’m not a good example). Some people are 1 year post-BC, but they may have transitioned for 6 months, so their growth is going to be more than yours may, even thought you’re both 1 year post-BC. Does that make sense? If not, leave a comment below and I’ll go back and re-explain.
2. Hair Grows… But are you retaining it? There’s more to this hair thing than mere growth. Hair will grow 1/2 inch each month, regardless. It looks like it’s not growing most likely because of your hair practices. I’m 18 months post-BC, however, when I first went natural, I trimmed my ends every other month unnecessarily, so a lot of my length went in the trash, lol. Add on the times I’ve straightened the mess out of my head, manipulated it too often, etc. and you have a recipe for not retaining my length. Therefore, I may come across someone who’s hair is the same “age” as mine in theory, but because of my hair practices, our length isn’t exactly the same.
The moral of the story really is, don’t be discouraged when your hair length is different than others with the same hair birthday. You’ll never know exactly what someone else does to the hair, so though they may have BCed the same day as you, no hair of head is the same!
If you want to evaluate whether or not you’re retaining length, calculate the “age” of your hair in months, divide it in half (since hair grows 1/2 inch each month). Measure your hair length and see if it matches.
*Jameka’s hair age= 18 months
(18 months divided by 2= 9 Thus my hair, theoretically, should be 9 inches)
*Jameka’s hair length when stretched= 4.5 inches
It’s okay if there’s only an inch or so difference, but if it’s drastically different, re-evaluate your hair practices (like I did)!
Ok, so my hair is only like half of the length that it should be! What do I do now?!
HAHA! Wow, so i was just talking to my sister before I got on here about how i need to start paying more attention to my hair. I BC'd (no transition) 6 months ago, and my hair isn't where I would like it to be. I noticed that when i conditioned once a week, moisturized, wet it with water everyday it grew much faster. then i abandoned it for like a month (*kanye shrug* i mean its just hair, come on..) and don't you know it just completely stopped growing! lolol so i'm gonna get back on my hair grind and show it some love and affection. Great post! u totally read my mind lol
I see the word perm all the time in articles mentioning natural black hair. Perms create a curl pattern to naturally straight hair. Relaxers are used for course hair to create straight hair, such as black women. Wanted to share this knowledge.
I think genetics has a lot to do with out hair growth. I know people who abuse their hair(permed, colored, flat-ironed on a regular) and their hair is still long and healthy. I notice that the women in their family simply have longer hair. I think we need to accept that we are not all supposed to have long hair. I have met women of other races who are "longing" for more length and it's just not happening. I think we like long hair because society tells us that long flowing hair is sexy and desirable.
Genetics has something to do with one hair growth rate. Some people's hair just grow faster than others.
Great post, many people don't take into account other factors such as diet or even height. The shorter the person the quicker it will be for them to reach certain goals because they don't have much height.
Great post. I would suggest too that some individuals use supplements like Biotin to promote length. Some may confess to it, and others may say it was a few times, but regardless a supplement of this nature would definitely exagerate hair's growth.
Check out a great new natural hair blog!
Also, hair grows an AVERAGE of 1/2 an inch per month, not exactly a 1/2 inch. In addition to protective styling, there are other factors like diet, exercise & genetics that influence how quickly your hair will grow and it's resilience.
"Big Chop" date versus "Last Relaxer" date… the latter is more important when determining hair length (assuming there have been no trims or cuts), since chopping off your relaxed ends does not always equals a TWA.
For my hair I BC'd (before I even knew what that was) in Feb 2005, and then I got a Hawaiian Silky treatment in 2007, does that still count as natural? Trying to figure out my calculations!!! LOL
I like the formula used as a tool to gauge if I am taking care of my hair or if I need to change something.
Natural or not, I think that some women are just not going to achieve long hair and that they have to come to grips with that. We have been socialized to believe that long hair is most desirable, healthy, feminine, etc. but we have to move beyond that thinking and not drive ourselves nuts trying to achieve something that we may not naturally have or be able to obtain.
Jameka my hair story is the same as yours! I BC'd on October 3, 2009 after a one month transition.
Ignorance was indeed bliss. Just recently I've been introduced to hair blogs, vlogs, etc…(I must have been under a rock) and I too thought my hair wasn't growing fast enough.
After educating myself on natural hair care I began to realize that many of my practives were counter productive.
Now I focus on taking care of my hair and the growth will follow.
This might be a little off topic, but FYI: Recently I re-evaluated my hair regimen. It seems like whenever I actually leave olive oil in my hair the breakage is far less! I just hate oily hair, but I cannot argue with good results so I will be olive oiling before any other products touch my hair regardless as to whether the product is natural or not.
I've been there and it was only until I stopped caring that my hair seemed to grow. I feel like my hair was like the WB frog, it only grew when I wasn't looking at it all the time lol.
I've even been asked why my hair isn't longer considering I've been natural since 2003, because you know, if you're natural that long you just HAVE to have like floor length hair! We just gotta try to keep on having fun with it and live more in the moment rather than living in the future – which is clearly impossible 😉
wow, i feel like this post was directly for me. This has been my struggle since I've gone natural 3 years ago. But when I think about my hair practices in year one and part of year two, they were horrendous. I kinda created a new natural bday because of how poorly i treated my hair and how much i didn't know or understand. In the last six months I have grown about 4 inches of hair and it's so rewarding to see the difference because I never thought it would happen but now it's so healthy and thick..so i think this post will speak to so many of our hearts and encourage us to keep going with our journey
Thank you so much for this post. I am certainly at a crossroads myself, I spend many, many hour on yt viewing other ladies, especially the ones that had (or so I thought) hair texture similar to mine. Can we say nooo comparisons. I feel like sometimes I want my hair to be either short and straight or long and kinky but definately NOT short AND NAPPY!!! AND over 50 too, NO, something has to give. Perhaps there is an age limitation to this that I was not aware of.
My hair doesn't LOOK like it's growing because it's so coily and shrinks up a lot, so looking at pictures from month to month, I can't really tell. However, if I don't pay attention for about 2-3 months, I can really see the growth. I'm just loving that I have healthy and thick hair.
Love Love Love this post! I have the same hair birthday as you! Well October 16th.
I agree that we must not look at other people's hair and compare. Good luck on your hair journey and I hope you are able to retain more length.
When I first went natural, I thought my hair was never going to grow! However, with time, it did just that. I really like what you said about re-evaluating how we care for our hair. I say this because I saw the most growth personally between year two and three. However, now that I'm in year three going on four, I feel that my hair is not growing as rapidly as I would like and slow in comparison to last year.
I recently had to sit down and think why my hair isn’t growing anymore. Then I had the "aha!" moment. I no longer have the time to dedicate to my hair as I did in the past (because now I'm in Grad School), which is causing my hair to break off.
One thing that's been helpful though, I don't know if this is common for everyone, but whenever I think my hair isn't growing, I look at old pictures and compare and contrast. My hair may not be growing vertically, but it has grown TREMENDOUSLY horizontally. Some of us witness growth by the width of our fro's and not so much by the hang.
Great post and thank you for sharing.
I used to go trolling on people's fotki pages, imagining myself with their large hair-dos and avoiding their hair-don'ts.
The one thing we just all have to realize that unlike our sisters of other races, our hair doesn't follow a general rule. Two black sistahs may have similar looking hair, but one completely breaks off with Pantene products, while another one thrives.
For length retention I've turned to the trusted rule – protective styling.
Girl, I feel you..I feel teh same way soemtimes..My mom has always said I don't have long hair because I want it too bad..I just want healthy hair
Thanks for this posts. I am so length conscious myself.
A Girl's Next Best Friend
I love this post! I think about this all the time. It took me so long to understand that my journey was going to be different from others'. I hope newer naturals understand that and just take great care of their hair. 🙂