5 Signs You’re On Your Way to Long Hair Length

By Jc of Black Girl Long Hair

Long natural hair is not something that happens quickly, it will take between 3 to 5 years to have that much desired hair down your back. If you are just starting your journey or if you have made some mistakes and wish to redirect your energy into results, here are some of the small but highly significant steps that will mark that you are on the right path.

1. No pain when handling your hair

As a child I learned to grit my teeth and bear the pain as my hair was combed with a fine toothed comb. My hair also did not gain length and often post combing it was easy to see why – huge hair balls always followed. It still remains very common to hear the word tender-headed especially in salons when in truth hair is being ripped out and hence the reason for the pain. You are making significant progress when you get to a point where you no longer associate pain with the detangling process. Some people do experience a general tenderness (dull ache/soreness) associated with combing and this is related to the fact that they are more sensitive to even gentle tugging, however pain should never be the result of combing.

2. No hair on the floor

The less the hair you see on the floor or on your clothes when combing, the better. Ideally you should only see hair in the tool that you use to detangle (so if you are finger combing, shed hair will be unravelled with your fingers or if you are combing with a brush/comb then the shed hair should be trapped with the comb). If you have a good method of combing that suits your hair texture then you will be able to greatly minimise breakage.

3. You are patient

Patience is a big part of handling natural hair. It is required in every aspect from the shorter periods of detangling and styling to the long term period of growth and retention where you have to give your hair enough time in appropriate styles to gain length. The moment when you realise that your hair cannot be hurried, the easier you will find it handle as futile attempts will be eliminated. For example, you can easily style your hair in 5-10 minutes but patience dictates that you must select what works best for your hair. It is easy enough to make a quick bun on dry hair but this will not work when hair is wet for someone with high shrinkage. In that case, it may be easier to place 5-6 twists on wet hair and pin them up into a style. Later when your hair is dry, you can style as you please.

4. You accept that your hair cannot do everything

Natural hair is versatile and in general can be styled in almost any way. However, not all hair can do everything well. Some people can wash their hair every day and it will look perfect. Other people simply cannot do the same as their scalp may become progressively drier or if their hair is longer, daily washing is unsuitable as it increases tangling. Some people can safely heat style their hair but others cannot. If your hair feels brittle or breaks after even a low heat blow dry, you may have to accept heat is not for you. Some people can sit in protective styles for months while others would either get hair unravelling or matting if they attempted to do the same. You have to do what works for you.

5. Your product hunt is over

You need to experiment with products to find which ones best suit your hair. There does come a point though when you eventually find your favourites. You can purchase other products because you want to try them out but it is out of curiosity and not out of necessity. You know what works for you and for what reason. For example if your hair feels particularly dry, you know which conditioner to pick out of your arsenal and how long to leave it on your hair for best results. If you need to add oil to your hair, you know which one or which combination to use and how often. You know that products will not grow your hair but rather help it to stay in good condition (i.e take care of the cuticle and maintain moisture).

Ladies, how can you tell that your hair is thriving?

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.
  • rguzman

    Good content but in my experience it doesnt take 5 years. I think it depends on ur hair. Mines grows really fast. I have let it grow long then rocked a short curly look atleast 5 times.

    • queenbee9

      True–I got a TWA in 1979 that was so short a bobby pin would not stay in it. by the summer of 1980 my hair was almost APL. My hair grows very quickly but long hair is not always healthy hair. At that time, my hair grew IN SPITE of what I did to it not BECAUSE of what I did. Fast forward to 2003 and Protective hairstyles. By mid 2007 my hair was waist length–that is 4 years later . I learned then the value of protective styling and keeping my hands out of my hair. Curiously enough, when my hair was braided for months on end, I did not shampoo or moisturize or grease my scalp or anything–in the harsh mid west it just grew on its on. Now I am using product and my hair FEELS healthy–before it was gorgeous long hair but it did not feel that healthy (no bounce). ,,and back then, I hated my dependency on heat….

  • http://www.facebook.com/fganus Frenchena Ganus

    It’s taken me about 5 1/2 yrs to see the fruits of my labor. There was a lot of trial and error, and of course, frustration, in styling my natural hair and discovering which products would give my desired results. I had to learn how to treat my natural hair since I’d been relaxed for many years. Earlier in my hair journey, there was a ton of hair breakage and damage as result of improper detangling and lack of moisturizing. Today, I can truly say that my natural hair journey is on the right track. I have a solid hair regimen that is absolutely working for me. I know what hair products and tools work for my tresses. My hair is at bra-strap length now and thriving. My natural hair journey taught me how to love my hair and help others love their hair, too.

    • cb

      what did you do? was it products or handling?…diet or exercise?

      • http://www.facebook.com/fganus Frenchena Ganus

        Basically, I tried different products and techniques to determine what works best for me. Also, I learned from others by way of natural hair journals I found online and learning about different ways to retain moisture and length. Diet is key to healthy hair and skin, but hair grows anyway. It’s just a matter of handling your hair with care in order to retain your growth.

  • http://discoveringnatural.com/ DiscoveringNatural

    I would like to nominate you for the “Versatile Blogger award”. For more details about this award, go here -> http://discoveringnatural.blogspot.com/2012/09/versatile-blogger-award.html

  • http://twitter.com/musISHan0711 ISH short for Ishman

    Very helpful! Thanks! I have been natural for about 14 months now, and I still feel like I know nothing. I knew nothing when I was relaxing my hair. That’s why it was getting shorter and thinner. Now, I have a head full of thick hair that I need to learn to take care of. It looks shiny, but it feels dry. I need to educate myself on how to care for my hair.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lygeenah Ligina Houston

      I am so humbled to know that I am not the only one who sometimes feels uneducated. I’ve natural now for 2yrs. now! Still SMH. Good luck on your journey.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shonte.murch Shonte Newme NaturalMommy

    Natural for a year and 4 months and it has grown a lot since I first started cause it had broke off so bad and now it’s pretty healthy BUT I am pregnant now and very close to the end and it’s like since I’ve been pregnant instead of my hair not shedding it’s shedding now more then ever, it’s pretty bad, But i just started using castor oil so I’m praying I can see some change soon I’m 35 weeks so hopefully my hair goes back to less shedding that would be nice!

    • http://newbienaturl83.tumblr.com/ newbienatural83

      Yeah, the pregnancy hormones are a trip!! While you’re pregnant you get thick, full, lustrous, silky hair. When the baby comes out, you end up with something entirely different. I was so sad when my hair went back to ‘normal’.

  • Del Natural | All Things Hair

    Some people’s hair seems to grow faster than others. But that’s just an observational opinion. My hair has its moods. Right now I am transitioning. During my first month of transitioning my hair grew like 0.5 cm. During the second month it grew another 0.5 cm. 2 weeks into the third month and it has already done 1 cm and that’s ’cause I made a conscious decision to change my wash routine and hair regimen..


  • http://www.facebook.com/naomie.saintvil Na Oh Mi Saintvil

    it takes like 2 or 3 years for me i thank God for shea moisture products! lol

  • cuddlebug6

    YAY!!! I’m on my way!!

  • http://twitter.com/ikisouls Kizzy

    I finally was able to submit my length check. I am now all in ladies. I wish all happy growth n hair prosperity!!!

  • http://radiant-brown-beauty.com/ Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty

    woo hoo i should have booty hair soon! lol I fit into the entire 5 signs :-)


    Good content thanks read more 3 Reasons You’re Stuck at Medium Length. on ==> beauttyhair.blogspot.com/2013/08/3-reasons-youre-stuck-at-medium-length.html

  • http://batman-news.com Kay Murphy

    Great article…..