chi's growth

By Chin­we of Hair and Health

Neck length hair is about 4–5 inch­es stretched for some nat­u­rals. If you can retain at least a lit­tle over 3 inch­es a year, then you’re on track to reach waist length in almost five years. This sounds easy, right? Well, not so quite. The hard part for many of us is actu­al­ly retain­ing that length over time, espe­cial­ly if one doesn’t exact­ly aver­age 6 inch­es of growth per year. How­ev­er, that obsta­cle can be over­come if you quick­ly learn your hair at every stage of your growth. How? Well, here are some tips that helped me – as well as lessons learned from set­backs – to get from neck length to waist length (2008–2013).  Hope­ful­ly they can help you as well.

1. Find a hair “sib­ling” with waist length hair (i.e., a nat­ur­al who has at least 3 of the fol­low­ing: sim­i­lar hair tex­ture, den­si­ty, poros­i­ty, or type)

This was a big one for me. With­out find­ing a “hair sib­ling”, I wouldn’t have reached my goal in that time frame, if at all. After big chop­ping, I remem­ber repli­cat­ing the hair care reg­i­mens of waist length nat­u­rals (from the begin­ning of their jour­neys onwards) with hair very sim­i­lar to mine. Ser­a252 and Kemi21/Aijo were my main “hair sib­lings” because they are both pre­dom­i­nant­ly 4B/4C, medi­um-to-high den­si­ty, and low-to-medi­um poros­i­ty nat­u­rals. Addi­tion­al­ly, Sera252’s tex­ture is a mix of fine/medium like mine. I also looked to Mwedzi’s reg­i­men because of sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics, espe­cial­ly her seem­ing­ly iden­ti­cal high shrink­age rate.

“Hair cousins” (nat­u­rals who share one or two of your hair’s char­ac­ter­is­tics) are also use­ful. For instance, I looked to Nap­tural85 (for her “keep it sim­ple” meth­ods on her high shrink­age hair) though her hair type is dif­fer­ent from mine. So, find­ing “hair sib­lings” – and a few “hair cousins” – who have reached waist length can cer­tain­ly be use­ful in your growth jour­ney. Don’t just go by hair type alone but tex­ture, den­si­ty, and poros­i­ty.

2. Pay close atten­tion to your hair and how it responds to cer­tain prac­tices

As your hair grows longer, your reg­i­men will more than like­ly need reg­u­lar adjust­ments. You’ll need to pay close atten­tion to your hair and how it behaves with cer­tain prac­tices, meth­ods, etc. Does your hair respond bet­ter or worse when using your fin­gers to detan­gle instead of a comb? Does it respond bet­ter or worse with long-term pro­tec­tive styling instead of oth­er low manip­u­la­tion options? What about detan­gling on dry hair ver­sus damp or wet hair? How does your hair respond? If you fig­ure out these things soon­er than lat­er, it will save you from major set­backs along the way.

My rule of thumb: If I see sev­er­al lit­tle o’s (bro­ken 4C hairs) on the floor or in the sink, I decide that method is not for me. Notice­able break­age is usu­al­ly a good indi­ca­tor, so get in the habit of look­ing out for that (AND split ends) reg­u­lar­ly.

3. Save severe exper­i­men­ta­tion (e.g., col­or, press) for lat­er in your jour­ney

The very core of exper­i­men­ta­tion involves not know­ing what your out­come will be and when it comes to hair care, this can be detri­men­tal for those on a seri­ous growth jour­ney. Now, this tip is not nec­es­sar­i­ly in ref­er­ence to try­ing out a new prod­uct but to big com­mit­ments such as col­or­ing or press­ing your nat­ur­al hair. When tak­ing on such projects, your will­ing­ness to deal with pos­si­ble break­age or set­backs must remain present.  If it’s not, then why both­er?

4. Final­ly, incor­po­rate the hair care “stan­dards” – low manip­u­la­tion, mois­ture, and deep con­di­tion­ing

Of course, this post would not be com­plete with­out men­tion­ing some hair care “stan­dard” prac­tices, such as low manip­u­la­tion styling/routine, reg­u­lar mois­ture and reg­u­lar deep con­di­tion­ing. I have yet to hear about a nat­ur­al who has reached long lengths with­out doing all three.


What has helped you in your jour­ney to waist length or beyond?


Empow­er­ing women of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

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65 Comments on "4 Tips To Take Your Natural Hair from Neck Length to HEALTHY Waist Length in 5 Years or Less"

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my hair is tak­ing for­ev­er to grow . my hair is like the sec­ond and third pic­ture. the front of my head is the third pic­ture and in the back is like the sec­ond pic­ture.

LittleBabyBug Jones

i don’t know how much i can relate to peo­ple who are my ‘hair sib­lings’ lol their reg­i­mens seem far too sim­plis­tic


I’m at shoul­der length when stretched ( so the sec­ond pic ). My goal is armpit length . Although if I reached bra strap length I’ll be very hap­py .

Actu­al­ly, it is bet­ter to col­or ear­ly in your jour­ney than lat­er. I added blonde streaks in my hair when I was around 7 months nat­ur­al. Eas­i­er to mois­tur­ize when the hair is short­er. I will nev­er bleach my hair again and I still have a lit­tle col­or left in my tips as i trim around every 9 months. I get a lot of com­pli­ments today on my nat­ur­al hair and part­ly due to the tips, lol. I am 3+ years into my jour­ney now. If I decid­ed to col­or now, then I would have to cut off way more… Read more »
Khrystin Ne'Cole

My only mis­take was dying my hair to ear­ly. It’s been a year almost, I big chopped on June 30th of 2014, went to a salon after 3 months to dye it. I’ve tried main­tain­ing it to keep it mois­tur­ized at the ends but I’m start­ing to think I need to trim my ends. I just didn’t want to cut any hair yet.

sankyaw wright

awe­some hair my mom big chopped my hair three weeks ago but she left a lit­tle bit of perm ends and right now I am at neck length cant wait in the next 5 years or less


I have about 7 1/2 inch­es of hair in rough­ly a year and 8 months. I think I have a 4b/4c hair tex­ture as well and I often do pro­tec­tive styles like two strand twists, jum­bo corn­rows and sene­galese twists and main­tain a fair­ly good mois­ture reg­i­men, but my break­age lev­el is high despite all this. I dont know what I am doing wrong. Any sug­ges­tions?


Try black tea rins­es or black cof­fee rins­es. It will reduce the shed­ding and break­age to lit­tle or none nd rice water rins­es to strength­en your hair

Towanna Fletcher

I am in the same sit­u­a­tion as you are. Recent­ly I’ve been try­ing to do tea rins­es and pro­tein treat­ments more often to tack­le my break­age and shed­ding. You should give it a try!

Whitney Adu

Im 17 and don’t know how keep my tran­si­tion­ing hair mois­tur­ized. The mid­dle part of my head is real­ly short and the rest of my hair is long but over all its dry even though there is oil on it what should I do?


add humec­tants like hon­ey, glyc­erin etc to your reg­i­men. Humec­tants draw mois­ture from your envi­ron­ment to your hair. look it up to get a bet­ter under­stand­ing. Ear­ly in my jour­ney my hair would be extreme­ly dry and wouldn’t retain mois­ture I found that this helps. some­times i just fill up a spray bot­tle with water add in some hon­ey or glyc­erin or both and just spritz my hair in the morn­ing and evening. you can add in some coconut oil as well. hope­ful­ly this helps


As said below oil is not a mois­tur­iz­er. You should look for water based dai­ly mois­tur­iz­ers and then seal with oil. Plus drink as much water as pos­si­ble.


Oil doesn’t mois­tur­ize hair, only water can mois­tur­ize. Oils & but­ters should be used to seal the mois­ture in.

Kyanna Kitt

This is a great arti­cle for peo­ple look­ing to grow their hair who don’t know where to start. I have found that keep­ing my scalp clean (I have a very very oily scalp) real­ly helps with hair growth. I wash every two days which sounds crazy to most but it works for me and it’s what I have to do to keep my tight kinky curly mid-back length hair healthy.


Great arti­cle! Check out my nat­ur­al hair jour­ney thus far on my blog :)


please check out my youtube chan­nel

Leah James

Hon­est­ly I just want armpit length hair and I’m a year nat­ur­al and I’m at col­lar­bone length now so I’m almost there . I’ll be hap­py with just armpit length but if my hair hap­pens to grow longer in time I’ll be hap­py too and not every­one can reach waist length. My grand­ma is the only one in the fam­i­ly to grow hair past waist length and she had it cut to her mid back .

Great advice but every­one is not genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­posed to grow waist length hair. That depends on your hair’s growth cycle…how long a hair will grow before it falls out. It’s usu­al­ly about 2–7 years. If your cycle makes your hair ‘s grow­ing phase last 2 years & your hair grows 1/2″ a month then that equals 6 inch­es /year or 12″ in 2 years; that’s the lim­it & then the hair sheds & the cycle starts again. A 3 year growth phase would yield 18″, which could pro­duce waist length hair, assum­ing that there’s no bad break­age, improp­er regimens,etc .… Read more »

agreed 100%


Hi I live in Kansas and would like to know is it pos­si­ble to grow waist length hair in the cli­mate I live in? I ask because I have south­ern fam­i­ly mem­bers and all they’re hair is long they say it’s the cli­mate they live in Where it’s most­ly warm year round. I hope my ques­tion isn’t con­fus­ing. Thanks


I like your points because they are real­is­tic and achiev­able. Thank you.


Very use­ful. I will try these


I’m in dire need of a hair sib­ling lol… But I’m not sure if my hair is long enough to know exact­ly what type of hair I have. I love Nap­tural85 but I’m not sure if we are a good match… When or how do you know that you’ve found your sib­ling?


You’ll know you’ve found your sib­ling when, as you’re watch­ing their tuto­r­i­al on YouTube, you say to your­self, “Her hair looks like mine in that state” (straight or curly). Some­times it can help deter­mine which prod­ucts you can try. I know that not every­one will like the same prod­ucts, but if you’re new­ly nat­ur­al it helps if you have a start­ing point.


For those of us who are new to nat­ur­al hair, can some­one break down what this arti­cle actu­al means? What is a hair sib­ling and how do you deter­mine what grade of hair you have? I’m bat­tling severe hair loss (in my opin­ion) from a sup­posed pro­tec­tive style. Between that and the inabil­i­ty to keep my hair mois­tur­ized, I’ve pret­ty much giv­en up and am resigned to the fact that I will look like a Chia Pet for the rest of my life.



A hair sib­ling means find­ing some­one whose hair looks sim­i­lar to yours, in terms of ‘type’, length, etc. This helps because you can see how some styles may look on your hair, and in my opin­ion, it pre­vents feel­ing so dis­cour­aged. For exam­ple, I have a mix­ture of kinky/curly hair so I know that by watch­ing some­one whose hair has a loos­er curl than mine, I can get some ok ideas, but the results are going to look dif­fer­ent. Hope this helps :)

Find­ing a “hair sib­ling” has been pret­ty dif­fi­cult for me. I’ve been nat­ur­al for about 2 years now and I’m mixed race so my hair ranges any­where in between 1b at the front of my head (yes, it is lit­er­al­ly straight and will not stay curled for long regard­less of what I do) to 4a at the back of my head (dri­est part of my head that will not retain mois­ture regard­less of what I do). The rest of my hair is most­ly 3b. I’m at the point where I no longer care what my hair looks like, as long… Read more »

Um I’m 3c/4a so I’m not sure if this is for me . My grand­ma has the same hair as me but she has long nat­ur­al hair I just want to reach the same length my hair was when it was straight permed before I cut it off which is shoul­der length after that maybe bra strap length then I’ll stop super long hair would be too much to man­age . I’m also neck length only been nat­ur­al for 6 months .

Blessing Fleming-Patterson
Blessing Fleming-Patterson

We have the same hair type

Shanae Moore
It’s been a long road for me & I’m still try­ing to under­stand my hair! :) In the begin­ning I exper­i­ment­ed way too much, used too much heat, was very igno­rant to mois­ture & seal­ing and I end­ed up start­ing all over (bc-ing) in 2010. Even after start­ing over i still had set­backs but I believe I’m the right track now. I love the idea of a hair sib­ling! That’s usu­al­ly what I do for styling know­ing that I’ll get sim­i­lar results. As far as the den­si­ty and poros­i­ty — time for more study & research. Im most­ly 4c with… Read more »
Ms LiLi

Wish those links in the arti­cle worked as I believe those ladies men­tioned have sim­i­lar hair as to own.


check out my chan­nel more vids to come

Jessica Dudley
Hey ladies! I had some heat dam­age and end­ed up hav­ing to cut my hair to neck length in May 2013. I just did a length check this August 2014 and my hair is just past bra strap length. I am aim­ing for mid­dle back length by Sum­mer 2015. I think what helped me was using prod­ucts with nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents and stay­ing away from alco­hol based prod­ucts bc those dried out my hair. I deep con­di­tion my hair every week using my Hueti­ful steam­er, take the Mane Choice vit­a­mins, drink water, and I juice using a com­bo of fresh fruits… Read more »

I wish that I had the means to pur­chase a steam­er.


This was a good post for me. Nap­tural85 is my hair sib­ling. Same type, tex­ture, poros­i­ty, den­si­ty, and sim­i­lar tem­pera­ments. Every­thing that has worked/works for her works for me too. These were awe­some tips!!! I’m cur­rent­ly APL. I’m not real­ly focused on length but it’s nice to know that I can grow my own hair (instead of my mom and step­mom who did it for 18yrs of my life lol)


Nice arti­cle. Nap­tural85 is my hair half-sib­ling. My hair resem­bles hers a lot but there are some dif­fer­ences. I thank God for YouTube which helped me to find nat­u­rals with sim­i­lar hair tex­tures as mine.


Keep­ing it sim­ple is help­ing me retain length. I am start­ing to learn what my hair likes and doesn’t and adjust accord­ing­ly. Thanks for your arti­cle!

Jen. Miller

Thank you for these tips girlie! I do have a ques­tion though- how on earth do you prac­tice low manip­u­la­tion when you do wash and go’s on your TWA. My hair is thin so twist outs are a no go for me at this point, and for some rea­son when­ev­er I do a style in which I don’t wet my hair dai­ly, my hands are cov­ered in hair when I final­ly do wet and style it. Nor­mal?



Hi ladies! Right now, I have neck length hair when my hair is stretched with braids. Does any­body here use vit­a­mins for hair growth (I’m not refer­ring to Hairfin­i­ty, Mane­tab­o­lism or any­thing of that sort)?


I don’t use vit­a­mins specif­i­cal­ly for hair growth, but I have noticed increased length reten­tion once I start­ed being strict about tak­ing a women’s gum­my mul­ti­vi­t­a­min and flaxseed oil pills. The flaxseed oil pills notice­ably increased my nat­ur­al oil pro­duc­tion on my scalp, and I’ve seen an improve­ment in the con­di­tion of my skin over­all. It took me about 3 months to notice any dif­fer­ence.


Thank for your input, Dananana. :-)


The first one sounds pret­ty stu­pid to me..what may work for one per­son might not for the next..factor in lifestyle and the pos­si­bil­i­ties are endless..the rest of the tips are great though


The irony of this crit­i­cism is crack­ing me up right now. “What may work for one per­son might not for the next…” The first one–finding a hair sibling/cousin– IS what worked for her. If it doesn’t work for you (which you might not even know if you didn’t try it), it STILL might help some­one else to find their own path on their hair jour­ney. It’s not “stu­pid” to try things to see what works. That’s what hair journeys–and life, come to that–are all about: find­ing what works and stick­ing to that for as long as it works.


I was refer­ring to hair products..what may work on one per­sons head may not work for the next person..although they have the same tex­ture.


Glad I could make you laugh. Have a great day!


Great arti­cle. I chopped off most of my hair in 2008/2009. I didn’t active­ly try to grow it until 2011. But I think I’m a year away from waist length which is super excit­ing. I watch Nap­ti­ral85. Deep con­di­tion­ing and low main­te­nance styles have helped great­ly.


By Jan­u­ary 2015 I will be at BSL, at that point I will be nat­ur­al for 20 months. I think one thing I do that helps me retain length is wash­ing with Sul­fate Free Sham­poo instead of Co-Wash­ing! Co Wash­ing did noth­ing for my hair, it left it dull, dry & dirty. I also spritz water on my hair dai­ly with coconut oil.

ss (short & sweet)

What were your favorite sul­fate free sham­poos?


Creme of Nature Argan Oil Sul­fate, I tried Shea Mois­ture I did­nt like its.


I love that sham­poo & it’s the only one I ever used since I start­ed my hair jour­ney almost 2 years ago. It leaves your hair feel­ing so mois­tur­ized & smooth that you real­ly do feel like you could skip con­di­tion­ing. I hope they keep it just the way it is because it’s my one & only sta­ple prod­uct (recov­er­ing prod­uct junkie)!


Yes, Caray! I have been search­ing and search­ing and search­ing for a great sham­poo, and i final­ly found it in Creme of Nature Argan Sul­fate free. My hair was­nt stripped at ALL and even felt like i could’ve skipped the con­di­tion­er (i did­nt!). Love it! And to think I was *this* close to drop­ping 17 bucks on Mixed Chicks Sham­poo at Tar­get- smh


You’re my hair sib­ling! I love read­ing your arti­cles here and on your blog. I wore twists all through my school year, and they real­ly saved me a lot of time for school, so THANK YOU!


My four years of growth has gar­nered about 10 inch­es all over — apl in the back and collarbone/shoulder length else­where. *sighs* it seems I retain best when I loooong term pro­tec­tive style (3–4 months) only prob­lem is my hair looks a darn mess.


What do you mean your hair looks a mess?


10 inch­es in 4 yrs, that does­nt seem like a lot of growth, could the pro­tec­tive be hurt­ing u retain my length?? That means your hair only grew 3 inch­es a yr.…


It is just about right because you haven’t account­ed for loss of about 3 inch­es through shed­ding, trim­ming and just gen­er­al styling


Shed­ding does­nt cause length loss, that is called break­age. And styling that caus­es break­age means youre doing some­thing wrong. Ive been waist length with and with­out a relax­er.
Pro­tec­tive styling when done wrong caus­es break­age which leads to loss. This isnt shade its called cor­rec­tive advice. Maybe once a week or twice a month styling is her thing, or more mois­ture.
And unless some­one says they are offend­ed dont say they are giv­ing shade.


some peo­ples growth rate is less than 1/2″ a month so because of that it could end up being 10 inch­es a year.


Very true but her 3 to 4 months of pro­tec­tive styling maybe caus­ing her hair to break and thats why its grow­ing so slow. 3 inch­es of growth a yr. is very slow growth, for all that pro­tec­tive styling she is doing.

Ummm…she may have only begun pro­tec­tive styling in recent years. Before I uti­lized pro­tec­tive styling, my hair hov­ered around the same length for 3 out of the 5 years that I’ve been nat­ur­al: neck to shoul­der length and no more. It wasn’t until I start­ed exper­i­ment­ing with PS that I passed that plateau. Mind you, I only PS 1–3 weeks at a time, but that’s because my hair can’t han­dle any longer than that with­out start­ing to loc. Some folks need less manip­u­la­tion –> longer stints of PS. Fur­ther­more, some peo­ple real­ly do only get 3–4 inch­es of growth a… Read more »

oops sor­ry not 10″ a year. i meant 10″ in four years.


Great arti­cle. I big chopped in Octo­ber 2013 and had 2 inch­es of hair. I now have 7 inch­es after two small trims. I’m far from waist length but I plan to drink lots of water, eat well, mois­turise, deep con­di­tion, trim as need­ed and just be gen­tle with my hair. I hope to see good results.


Good read!! Kudos to you Chin­we, you always pro­vide use­ful info. I’m far from waist length( cur­rent­ly been at apl for far too long to men­tion *sighs*)but I am keep­ing hope alive. Lol @ hair sib­ling and cousins. I seri­ous­ly need to put the above prac­tices in place and stop play­ing games!! Makes no dag on sense.


I’m on my way to BSL. Sim­ply­ounique was my “hair sib­ling”, but now she’s relaxed. (Though I was nev­er a sub­scriber or reg­u­lar fol­low­er). I think week­ly deep conditioning+steaming, and keep­ing my hair pro­tect­ed 90% of the time will get me to BSL by year’s end/early 2015.
I wear my giant stretched out fro 1 or 2 days pri­or to wash day, but any oth­er time, my strands are protected/covered.