3 Lessons On Growing Short Hair I Learned Once I Hit Back Length

3 Lessons On Growing Short Hair I Learned Once I Hit Back Length

By Black Girl Long Hair

Have your ever gazed longingly at a picture of a woman with natural, long, thick coils and thought, “When my hair gets to that length you can’t tell me nothing,”? If so, then this article is for you! The cliché, “hindsight is 20/20,” rings quite true when it comes to what I’ve learned about my hair. I’ve gone from 4 inches of coils to dry, brittle hair stuck just above shoulder length for 5 years to wigs and a few quick growth bandwagons to boot. After seven and a half years of being natural there are some lessons I’ve learned that would have made my hair journey ten times easier. Hopefully this retrospective reflection on my hair journey will help those of you at an earlier stage in your journey.

Lesson 1

There’s no need to take shortcuts to see results. You want to give your hair an opportunity to retain length and health without the intervention of methods that may cause side effects that can harm your hair and health. You also don’t want to apply methods that may improve your rate of hair growth but also lead you to false expectations. For example, if hypothetically you’re able to retain one inch one month, you might assume that you will be able to grow and retain a foot of hair in a year. Let me assure you that I’ve been down that road and it is one fraught with delusions of grandeur. Set a goal to achieve the healthiest hair that you can, rather than achieving fast growth and I promise you will find your journey more enjoyable and less frustrating.

Lesson 2

Single strand knots, split ends and tangles are not your enemies. Annoying, yes but not the enemies you think they are. Early in my healthy hair journey, I found tangles and knots extraordinarily frustrating because I felt that each one represented 100 more that I had not yet discovered. However, I eventually realized that other than regular trimming I didn’t need to do anything else to rid myself of these irritating hair nuisances. Again, let me assure you that tangles and small knots have not hindered my hair growth so don’t worry that every knot you detect will hinder yours.

Lesson 3

Protective styles that adversely affect other aspects of your hair health are simply not worth it. For about 7 or 8 months in 2009-2010 I was an avid wearer of half wigs. Eventually, I realized that my sensitive edges were irritated by the mild tension required to secure the wigs to my hair. While wearing the wigs allowed me to hide my large fuzzy twists for two weeks at a time, it also weakened my edges. I made the decision to stop wearing half wigs even though it meant that I would have to style my hair regularly and give up my lazy go to protective style. If a protective style helps you to grow hair down your back but causes bald spots or thin edges, it is NOT protecting your hair. Be sure to monitor both the health of your hair and scalp if you wear wigs or weaves to be sure that you aren’t unwittingly damaging your tresses.

Is there anything you have learned earlier in your hair journey that changed the way you handle your hair?

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • Lisa Middleton

    I’m an avid wearer of half wigs and yes my edges are starting to look thin. I’m experimenting with ways to take the pressure off my edges because I want to wear the wigs another year. My hair grew 7 inches hidden under the wigs.

    • Nayo

      I stopped wearing braids and cornrows b/c my edges evwntually ended up extremely thin. I started using castor oil on them for almost a year now and my edges are filling in. I do yarn breads for protective styling and keep them super loose around my side’s and edges and that works to. The synthetic hair irritates my scalp.

      • missme1189

        What did you do when the synthetic hair irritated your scalp? That’s a problem I’m having now with the yarn braids.

        • breez

          If you’re using kanekalon hair, try toyokalon and vice versa. One works better for me than the other (cant remember which – havent had braids in a long long while).
          I only use sulfur 8 for my scalp when in braids. Old skool, but it works.

    • Tamm

      Why not wear a full cap wig? I have scarring alopecia from relaxers & I am also natural-3 years. I’ve worn a full cap wig for 1 year now and its great. My trick is to put a thin satin bonnet or those satin sweat caps for working out with the breathe holes in top (can find in Sally’s) under my wig so that my edges, scalp, and hair are protected. I twist my hair underneath the wig too.

  • queenbee9

    I’ve stopped wearing my beloved braids and twists. My skin and scalp were reacting adversely to the synthetic hair and also the so called human hair. The hypersensitivity eventually led to contact dermatitis and my first outbreak of psoriasis. Once I removed that fake hair, my palms began to clear up and my hair stopped shedding so readily.

    • brnskn

      Thats why I dont do weaves and rarely braids..psoriasis flare up.

  • Jay

    I wear wigs and weaves. They help keep my hair moistened and healthy. Braids I DO NOT DO because they weaken my edges.

  • Aliyah

    I wore braids for months to grow out my hair once I took it out I realized my hair did grow but it pulled out some of my edges . My edges were thinning . I hated weaves only wore weave a few times and wigs were horrible for the Summer time . I love my hair the way it is . All natural

    • Simplymegg1920

      Next time do crochet braids to give you that box braid look.

  • Victoria

    Protective styling actually helps me! A lot! Not realizing until now but I will go between box braids, yarn braids, marley twist, sew-ins, and wigs.. And each time in between I will wear out my natural hair ( twist out, braid outs, etc) I’ll only do wigs when I’m stuck on what to do next .. And even then my hair is fully moisturized and it’s braided down for about 2 weeks. I don’t leave in a protective style no longer than 2 months. And even then i would have been washed and refreshed it lol.

    • Victoria

      Another style I will do is medium twist, my hair isn’t one for being “out” so I’ll rock those until it’s wash day. Or a month or so.

  • lovely2236

    That water is your friend!!! I cannot stress it enough always use water in your hair to help keep it moisturized! I stopped using water in my hair not purposely but because I was using the products in my hair and I thought that that would help but my hair had came to a standstill but now I started back using the water and I can already see the growth!

    • Nathalie

      Using water how? To wash? To style? To drink?

      • QueenKinks

        All! Drink plenty of water. Use water based products. I mix leave in, water, jbco in a spray bottle that I use daily. My hair drinks water and products.

      • lovely2236

        Yes, all 3! But mainly to style spray ur hair a little every time before you style it and then use ur oil to lock it in


    I’m on a journey to wear wigs for a year, while doing my weekly wash routine.

    • Chino

      Don’t do it! I did it for a year and my edges from the lace fronts are weak and thin. It helped me to retain length but now i have no edges.

    • Nneka Chukwudi

      You can wear lace fronts without using glue to secure the wig. I simply use a bobby pin and I take the wig off at night, and apply coconut oil or castor oil to my scalp as needed. Works for.me, and the wig lasts longer too

  • YA_YA

    Hello and greeting Ladies, i have recently gained an obsession. With the health of my hair and growth. If you have any suggestions that would help in this voyage please feel free to leave your comment or email me at Erin.taylor12@aol.com… Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to hearing your comments. Have a wonderful day.

  • Victoria Elyse

    Is there any way to reverse thinning edges? I’ve been wearing two two-strand twists in the front of my hair with the rest in a ponytail all year and now my edges are seeming sparse.

    • Tamm

      Try castor oil and hairfinity. Also, stop the style that you believe is causing thinned edges (tight twists, ponytails, braid, weaves attached to hair)

    • mzthang0519

      Have you started any particular birth control method. I noticed slight thinning at my temples after my 3rd baby and an IUD placement.

  • Sherry

    Good reality check.

  • nwnov21

    I have learned through watching youtube videos that you don’t have to buy expensive products to make you hair tangle free. Condition! Condition! Condition! Add oil coconut or olive to your conditioner and you are good to go.

  • NessaO

    Very helpful article. I’m trying to focus on the basic and keep my routine fuss free as well.