September 23, 2009

Length Obsessed

I am guilty of it, many naturals that I know have fallen prey to it. What is "it"? It is length obsession. To be perfectly honest sometimes I compare my hair's length with the person's hair that I am mesmerized by. It could be randomly walking down the street, or seeing gorgeous pictures of natural hair.

I am now in my 4th year since my BC, I am completely chemical free and confused as to why my hair grows at the rate it does. I have seen naturals with 2 years of growth that is the same length as my 10 to 12 inches I have on my head. I have done quite a bit of trimming , bad products and in the beginning ignorance cost me some length so I guess it would be a couple of inches longer if I had my ish together when I BC'ed.

We all do it, compare our hair to others. We want to know what routine they are on, what products they use and so on. I remember when I was eleven years old after a BAD kiddie perm and my mom used old recipes to regrow my hair in its natural state, and it grew, and it didn't enter my mind to compare my hair length to anyone at school or in my neighbourhood. I was content at watching my hair grow month after month. Even in high school it was the same way. I had few products and they served their purpose and my hair grew. My point is it was about me and not the other person, I was concerned with my hair and keeping it as healthy as possible. I didn't ask my friends "hey, so how long have you been growing your hair... really so what's your routine?" I honestly thought about this on the weekend. All of our hair grows at different rates; genetics, environment and how we care for our hair are the three main factors that determine length. I felt a little embarrassed that I started comparing my length to others and asking myself "what's wrong with your hair?" After thinking about this I came back to the truth - length is secondary to healthy hair. With healthy hair you will eventually get length, it may take you a little longer than the other person but would you rather engage in a race to have stringy long unhealthy hair so you could measure your length as the same as theirs?

Their are a few constants that are present with someone that has length and healthy hair:

1- Simple Routine: maintain a simple routine with minimal products and use them consistently. I have been using Aphogee products for over ten years from when I was relaxed and they never let me down. The products I use from the line add strength, body and smooth my hair. If it works don't fix it.

2- Minimal Manipulation: Wearing hairstyles that don't traumatize the hair and scalp like tight pony tails, tight braids or hairstyles that limit the scalp from being exposed or easily accessible like weaves. Instead, wear twists (twist outs), buns, free form styles like afros or hair styled with products like Kinky Curly Curling Custard for a curly 'do which allow the hair to fall naturally and prevent tension and irritation to the hair and scalp.

3- Regular Trims: This can mean a few things depending on who you speak to. Some people say regular trims means every 6 to 8 weeks. Some say every 3 to 4 months or once every 6 months and some naturals trim once a year and others not at all. Also, you need to take into account how much is being trimmed. I trim every 3 to 4 months and I usually take off 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Everyone's hair is different so by knowing how your hair reacts you can gauge how often you should trim and how much you should trim each time.

The only length of hair we should focus on is our own. Focusing on another's hair distracts us from ourselves and we can lose the right perspective. Get to know what works for your hair and stick to it, our hair is delicate and fragile and should be treated with the most amount of love.


augusta said...

i'm going on four years as well (January will mark yr 4)and i can say that i do not have 24 inches of hair. its a lil' past bra strap, but that's only in the back. i have to say that i'm not as length obsessed as i was years earlier.

when i first started, i was using products that didn't work for my hair, which eventually led to frequent trims-there was a time i trimmed my ends weekly!

i have my regimen down pat- i'm just on this never ending search for the best deep conditioner.

i'm just glad that my hair is healthy and capable of growing without the aid of chemicals.

τreciä said...

I agree with this post. Keeping it simple is the way to go. I cut my hair like nobody business this time on journey to year 3, I decided to leave the hair alone. follow a simple regimen and so far it seems to be working. I just got over paying attention to length and focus on healthy strands.

Anonymous said...

I'm guily but I blame the media, jk.

Mimi504 said...

I agree too. I have recently began a new simple regimen. Which consists of keeping my scalp/hair clean, hair moisturized and conditioned. I used to be guilty of always trimming my hair, but now instead of trimming my hair according to schedule, I trim according to what my hair looks like (which resulted in me retaining my length)

Anonymous said...

7 months ago, my hair began falling out really bad. Through trial and error I discovered that it does not matter what I put on my hair, but what I put inside of me. I eat mainly hair growing foods and herbs daily. My hair is growing like crazy and it looks healthy. Eat grains, raw eggs (this really works, mind over matter), and drink chinese herbs.
What I put on my hair never made a difference. I shampoo with pure castilian soap. Condition with Aubrey (the moisturizing one). Deep condition with mayonaise & olive oil. This works well for me.