Full trans­paren­cy here: I’m at the end of month 2 as a par­tic­i­pant in The Mane Choice’s Mane­tab­o­lism Hair Growth Chal­lenge. I’m in no way being paid to pro­mote the vit­a­min, I am sim­ply being sup­plied with free vit­a­mins for 6 months (plus I’ll be doing a give­away of 2 bot­tles of the vit­a­min in April).

Now that we’ve got that out the way, let me share a fun­ny sto­ry with you all cir­cu­lat­ing around this pic­ture I post­ed on Insta­gram only a few weeks in to tak­ing the vit­a­min:

A hair short of 2 weeks (it's been 12 days to be exact) taking @themanechoice @manetabolism vitamins. Am I crazy for thinking o see growth already?!? I can't wait to get at least 2 months in, so I can do this giveaway and have ya'll join me! #naturalhair #hairgrowth #healthyhairjourney #themanechoice #Manetabolism @courtneynaturalhair

The cap­tion read: A hair short of 2 weeks (it’s been 12 days to be exact) tak­ing @themanechoice @manetabolism vit­a­mins. Am I crazy for think­ing I see growth already?!? I can’t wait to get at least 2 months in, so I can do this give­away and have ya’ll join me!

My fol­low­ers went IN on me. Not a full read­ing, but enough to make me recon­sid­er my life as a blog­ger. Of course I’m being a lit­tle dra­mat­ic, but they def­i­nite­ly let me know that they were here for noth­ing oth­er than the hard­core truth. I was told every­thing from, “you’ll see what you want to see” to “your facial posi­tion is dif­fer­ent”, and “your sweater is visu­al­ly inter­fer­ing”. Of course,  it was all in love and want­i­ng to see the progress with the vit­a­min for noth­ing less than what it actu­al­ly was. I get it. Total­ly. My fol­low­ers and nat­u­ral­is­tas on the whole are tired of being mar­ket­ed to through blog­gers (at least in that cheesy, painful­ly obvi­ous way), and want the facts. They want the truth. And so do I.

So I did what any per­son who knows what to do with crit­i­cism does — take it in, make some changes, and do bet­ter next time. So with that being said, allow me to use the lessons learned and share with you how to do a prop­er length check (for those that are inter­est­ed in track­ing length reten­tion):

Tip 1: Pick the right tools for the long-haul.

If you pick a par­tic­u­lar shirt, be pre­pared to use that shirt — Every. Sin­gle. Time. I per­son­al­ly rec­om­mend mak­ing your own DIY Length Check Shirt, because try­ing to recap­ture the same exact angles in an unmarked t-shirt or tank top is an exer­cise in futil­i­ty. You’ll use all the mem­o­ry in your phone try­ing to get the pic­tures right, and spend even more time in your pho­to grid app try­ing to make sure your shoul­ders line up. Trust me. Also, a shirt that has some sort of print or graph­ic on the front works best. That way, along with the mea­sure­ments at the back, you’ll have a visu­al ref­er­ence for the front. If you’re going to go the tape mea­sure route, make sure you’ve got some help. You’ll need a sec­ond pair of hands to hold the mea­sure while you hold your hair in a stretched state, or at least to hold the cam­era.

Tip 2: Have at least 2 or 3 points of ref­er­ence.

Dif­fer­ent areas of your hair may grow at dif­fer­ent rates. For exam­ple, the front of my hair grows dis­re­spect­ful­ly fast in com­par­i­son to the back of my hair. How­ev­er, I would nev­er know that because the front shrinks up so much more. If you’re look­ing to remain encour­aged along a growth/length reten­tion jour­ney, hav­ing mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences or check­points for your length will help you keep it all in per­spec­tive. It will also help you deter­mine if there are any changes you need to make in your styling reg­i­men, espe­cial­ly if you begin notic­ing break­age or increas­ing­ly thin­ning ends.

Tip 3: Always grab the same areas.

Admit­ted­ly, when I wrote this, I imme­di­ate­ly thought of break­age, due to exces­sive manip­u­la­tion of a par­tic­u­lar area. But then I real­ized, unless you’re doing length checks on a daily/weekly basis (which I absolute­ly do not rec­om­mend), you should be fine. The main idea here is to make sure that you have con­sis­tent points of ref­er­ence for your pho­tos. If you mea­sured your hair at the front on the right side last month, why would you com­pare it to the left side this month? Keep it sim­ple, and keep it all the same.


Tip 4: Avoid angles. 

There’s a hilar­i­ous meme cir­cu­lat­ing on social media of a girl doing a length check with her head tilt­ed back as she’s essen­tial­ly bent over back­wards. As hilar­i­ous as it is, it’s true. I see so many #length­check pic­tures where it’s painful­ly obvi­ous that the head is tilt­ed back or for­ward to give the impres­sion of extra length. As much as pos­si­ble, try to look straight ahead in all shots. I know, cam­era angles are a lady’s best friend (right next to fil­ters and light­ing), but they’ve got to go if you’re seri­ous about being as accu­rate as pos­si­ble.

Tip 5: Don’t do it too often.


There is absolute­ly no point in check­ing your hair every day, every 7 days, every 10 days. Most hair grows between half an inch and an inch per month. What are you check­ing for, nanome­ters? Wait at least 3 weeks between length checks, oth­er­wise you’re bound to get dis­cour­aged. My per­son­al rule of thumb is every 30 days or every month. Give your hair enough time to work it’s mag­ic!

What are some of your best prac­tices when it comes to length checks?

For more tran­si­tion­ing and nat­ur­al hair tips from Christi­na, check out her blog, The Mane Objec­tive. You can also find her on YouTube, Insta­gram and Face­book.

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and prod­uct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­ur­al hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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24 Comments on "5 Tips to Conduct a Proper Length Check"

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[…] 5 Tips to Con­duct a Prop­er Length Check | Black Girl with … http://blackgirllonghair.com/Full trans­paren­cy here: I’m at the end of month 2 as a par­tic­i­pant in The Mane Choice’s Mane­tab­o­lism Hair Growth Chal­lenge. I’m in no way being paid … 5 Steps to See Hair Length Gains With­in 2 Months. The 6 Best Leave In … […]

I mea­sure with tape once a month and proud of it. lol I also believe it is an accu­rate mea­sure­ment; our bod­ies change dai­ly. I’m in the gym 4–5x a week and this win­ter I reached my weight gain goal. Need­less to say my body has been shift­ing and doing it’s thing in response to the vig­or­ous train­ing so for that I stick with tape. I chose to use tape because I messed up bad with my hair last year so one side is 3″ short­er than the oth­er so tape real­ly helps me keep my eye on that side… Read more »

Awe­some, enter­tain­ing blog. Maybe I should read it again, but I don’t see how to enter your give away


dang peo­ple are tak­ing peo­ple want­i­ng to do length checks too seri­ous­ly. So peo­ple want a cer­tain length and you don’t care…FINE!
Let peo­ple want what they want and you want what you want.
Maybe they enjoy the process of see­ing their hair grow?
I like the tips on this arti­cle, thanks for shar­ing!

I agree with you Bri (nice name btw!) and CSI. Cer­tain peo­ple have cer­tain goals. Some­times they aren’t just try­ing to track length, but also the health of their hair and how well they take care of their hair. It’s almost like telling some­one that’s try­ing to lose weight to not look at a scale. Sure, that might work for some­one that just wants to be healthy because we know that a healthy body isn’t ALL about the weight, but it can still play a fac­tor and a cer­tain weight is a goal for some. In the same way, some peo­ple… Read more »

I total­ly agree with you. I’m one who did the checks at the begin­ning and stopped. My hair didn’t grow a lick for 1 1/2 yrs and I was none the wis­er. Wish I had been check­ing I wouldn’t have wast­ed so much time. I would’ve real­ized I had some poor hair care habits. Now I’m wait­ing for these Manetabolsm pills to come in and I can NOT wait! Awe­some post. Your hair is so gor­geous…

Why do some vlog­gers say I want my hair to be waist length or say I have waist length hair and then point to the area where their hips are or where the belt of the pants are. Isn’t that hip-length? I thought waist-length was high­er up where your nat­ur­al waist line is …  As for length checks, I per­son­al­ly pre­fer to wear my hair in a braid-out or twist-out or just braids. As the months have pro­gressed my braid-outs and plaits fall a lit­tle bit low­er below my shoul­ders than they used to. I mea­sure my length that way as I… Read more »

You have a gor­geous smile, Christi­na. Would love to see it more often in your posts!

TMC toronto meetup march 29th

use­ful tips! but don’t pull on your hair too much that you’ll end up break­ing it.


Stop push­ing those pills. And the length checks are dumb


My length check is visu­al when I glance up and real­ize my hair looks longer than it did before (like when I real­ized I was only 3 inch­es short of my goal to bel­ly but­ton length!) 

I don’t know inch­es, and doubt I ever will. I think it’s a look I’m after only.


I nev­er do length checks. It’s sil­ly. I can just look in the mir­ror and notice that my hair grew or didn’t grow. I don’t need to check the length…that’s just seems sil­ly?


Did a 6 month length check the oth­er night… the back of my hair is 16 inch­es (grew 3 inch­es) but my mid­ddle is only 18 inch­es — it only grew an inch???????? Extreme­ly baf­fled! Defo might con­sid­er hairfin­i­ty pills and see it helps


On aver­age, hair grows half an inch per month, regard­less of eth­nic­i­ty. I’d advise not telling peo­ple that between .5 and 1in per month is nor­mal… that’s reck­less mis­in­for­ma­tion.


I’m with AThorn.^ Your hair is grow­ing, folks. Calm down. A watched pot nev­er boils. I just cut off 11 year old super long locs and in that whole time nev­er felt the need to mea­sure my hair. Not once. I’m com­ing from a place of respect here when I ask the ques­tion: What is exact­ly behind these obses­sions with length checks?


To answer your ques­tion, peo­ple are obsessed with length checks because they are obsessed with hav­ing long nat­ur­al hair. 

Kind of under­stand­able con­sid­er­ing many have nev­er had long hair and soci­ety tends to think that we are inca­pable of grow­ing it. Kind of ridicu­lous when you think of how extreme peo­ple get.


Omg I want those vit­a­mins . Could give me the name of your YouTube chan­nel and blog please

Jay Symone

I can def­i­nite­ly under­stand how peo­ple can get very intense with hair care and length checks. I only do length checks on spe­cial occa­sions. But I admit, I am one of those bloggers/vloggers that uses mea­sur­ing tape *bows head* but I do it because I per­son­al­ly am not good with points of ref­er­ence. I could be doing it in dif­fer­ent locations/lighting/cloths so the tape is my con­stant. But I’m also not obsesed with hair growth to take hair vit­a­mins. I know whats healthy for my hair so I shall con­tin­ue doing it. :-)


I hate when I see blog­gers and vlog­gers do length checks with mea­sur­ing tape. I mean, check it with a mea­sur­ing device once or twice a year but I think peo­ple take length checks; in gen­er­al, way too seri­ous­ly. I appre­ci­ate points of ref­er­ence over the exact­ness of tape. Just stick with healthy hair prac­tices and move on. Your hair is grow­ing, I swear! Lol


Well said. I get tired of length checks too.


I agree com­plete­ly! takes the fun out of enjoy­ing your hair.


wow thanks i appre­ci­ate this! these points cer­tain­ly make sense. i’ve cer­tain­ly seen my fair share of the bust­ed length check pho­tos but i think most v/bloggers do a decent job of por­tray­ing their length as is.


Well, You were curi­ous about the pills. No ha in that. Just next time don’t blog about it. =)
Keep it to your­self. Every­one think that they can tell you what is best for you. Do you. It was an inter­est­ing read.


#4 is the truth! And it is quite humor­ous when it’s like that pic­ture.