When I first went natural almost a decade ago, I was definitely the odd one out in many of my circles. If you know anything about my story, you’ll remember that my own mother was not really supportive of the “natural thing” I was doing. She once stood in front of the door, while I was on my way to work to question my “provocative” choice of hairstyle. I’m also pretty sure that if you started around that time too, you might have received the same disapproving message from your family, friends, neighbors and others.

It wasn’t before long that going natural became more popular. It was still a “new” thing even 5 years ago, but as a “new” thing it was gaining good traction as women all over began to share their tips with the world via mediums like blogs ands YouTube. Black women were beginning to have more confidence in their hair and would see many others rock looks, styles and lengths that were at a time deemed possible for only a select few, genetically inclined ladies.

Coiffure Project Glenford Nunez

   Photo by Glenford Nunez

 

Natural hair has come a long way. We now see it in so many places  in so many colors, lengths and styles, but is natural hair, and even more specifically, is natural, long hair as inspiring and brim with meaning as it used to be?

I’ve had the opportunity to poll my subscribers on what is most important to them when it comes to natural hair. I wanted to get some raw data to help me discover what kind of information they really want to see from me.

The first question I asked was, “what does growing your natural hair longer mean to you?” Three hundred eighty-four ladies responded with various answers but despite the collection of various answers, one type of answer reoccurred and became one of the most prominent. That answer was somewhere along the lines of, “My growing longer hair means I am proof that my race doesn’t limit the length my hair can grow to.”

I found that particular answer interesting because I would say and in fact, I have said the same thing. I grow and keep my hair long because I am compelled to want to prove people’s perceptions of black women and in this case particularly black women’s hair growth and beauty, wrong.

Now that there are so many black women on team #longhairdontcare, does growing our natural hair to healthy, longer lengths still matter?

It’s clear to me on so many levels that this movement has always been about more than just hair, but should we continue to allow the socio and psychological implications of this movement influence our current hair decisions?

 

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49 Comments on "Is Long Natural Hair Still the Ultimate Goal?"

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Pretty_Poodle

Ive always wanted long hair since I was a kid.Doing the opposite hair routine(heat,combing it while wet,perms etc) always left it short.I even had a jeri curl back in middle school!Lol.I didnt go natural til 2012 and thats when I started taking care of my hair.I still have a long ways to go before it gets long and wanting long hair was and still IS one of the reasons I went natural.No shame in what you want.

Brittney

Thanks for this informative article. I think it is important for anyone to let your hair grow and get healthy.

Evelynne

This is so silly, this shaming of women for wanting long hair. I know we live in a B.S p.c world but umm long hair + women is not something new and isn’t going to change. RMFE

Alex
For me going natural originally wasn’t primarily about race or getting back to my roots. It was for economical reasons plus scalp burns are really no fun. Eventually length did come into play because when I was relaxed I had long hair so I wanted natural long hair too. I blame society for associating long hair with womanhood. Going natural definitely broke me out of that notion though since I big chopped. Now 5 years in, it’s still primarily not about length because my hair is right at my waist, 12+inches. I’ve fulfilled my economical goals; I don’t depend on… Read more »
Jane

I had long hair in the past, but I love my shorties! I understand all women who wants long and beautiful hair.
If it is really the ultimate goal for all cannot be answered so easy. I think the ultimate goal is to have healthy hair at all.
Greets

Melissa29

There is nothing to prove. I know black women are beautiful! I have to love me first, including my kinky nappy beautiful hair for what it is. I have 4C-Z hair. It became easier for me to maintain my hair with products that work for my hair texture, but I do not want to spend the whole day doing my hair either.

At least with length, I can put it in a bun/ponytail. I am good at bra strap length. But if I am in the mood to cut my hair, I will do it.

Jay Medina

I think it still does matter ! It matters to me ! I think length also determines whether your hair is healthy or not. Healthy hair grows ! It’s not the only thing that determines your hair health but it’s one of them! So yes in my opinion, length does matter !

Carmen
Your hair will always look great if it gets the proper nutrition. It is important that hair nutrition is done from inside out. What you eat is vital to support healthy hair and healthy body. In order to make sure I am providing all the necessary vitamins for my hair I am taking special nutritional supplement, which contains the unique combination of herbs and microelements. This supplement is HairGain Formula (90 capsules) by Military Grade. This product is the only nutraceutical which possesses prostaglandin D2 blocking properties. Awesome nutritional product which defends my hair from falling out and enhances healthy… Read more »
.T.

I’ve been an on and off natural for a long time, and only about 5 years ago, i made the effort to learn how to properly care for my hair. My own hair suprises me with the things it can do, including growing past shoulder length. I’ve seen all the evidence that 4b/c hair can grow very long, but im curious about my own journey. Yes, i want tailbone length hair just so i can tick that off my list.

akilah

I have nothing to prove. Growing my hair long is just something I want to do for myself. I love weaves but tired of how costly it can get. Once I get to a certain length I’m giving up weaves for good (Well going to try to lol). If ppl believe that our race can’t grow long hair then that’s there own ignorance.

Even former cancer patients who’ve lost all their hair can grow long thick hair. Once again, some ppl are just plain ignorant and I have nothing to prove to those kind of ppl.

growing it alone
I am confused by these comments! My 3c hair was much easier to manage at waist length. Curls/coils relax with length, after I’d wash my hair, I’d just blow dry it with conditioner still on it and run my straightners over it at the lowest heat with a non greasy bees wax as a heat protectant and sealer as my hair wouldn’t break this way. It was a 2 hr routine tops! Short hair is a pain! I cut mine off due to getting over confident with dying it and I grieve for it every day. No high pineapple buns,… Read more »
herlucidsky
It’s an individual journey. If you want to prove to the world what you hair is capable of, then do it. If it’s all about aesthetics and you prefer the way long, short or medium length hair frames your face then wear it as you please. If you want to make a political statement, more power to you. Whatever the reason, as long as there is no harm being done in any way, shape of form just let yourself be, no apologies. As for me, growing healthy hair matters the most but I am also very curious about my length… Read more »
Poshnera
Women should be more concerned with what they think of themselves. Who are these black women who feel like they have something to prove about their race? To me that’s just ridiculous. You grow long hair and then what? You get questions like “is it real” or comments like “you must be mixed” it’s all pointless if that’s your objective. To me it’s like asking for validation. Educating other black women about hair care and showing what our hair can do with an educational purpose or to instill positive ideas about our beauty is one thing, but seeking validation by… Read more »
k
respectfully, i disagree. disproving sterotypes is essential for any race/culture in order to advance economically and socially. i know it seems that hair is an insignificant issue but in the black/AA culture it was a means to seperate and oppress our people. if any group of people are told that something about them is not as good as another group that will effect the way the first group lives their lives and how they view themselves. we have come a long way individually but as a whole there is still hate (group and self) that affects us. we may feel… Read more »
Mel

Yeah, I don’t get that. I like long hair for its versatility. Because it’s long (when straightened) and shrinks, I have so many options (collarbone length, textured hair on Monday and straight mid-back length on Tuesday). LOVE! So, my long hair isn’t about anyone else. It’s about me enjoying what I’ve been blessed with.
Maybe it’s because long hair isn’t new for me, but I really don’t understand why one has to “prove” herself to other people. It’s your hair. It’s about you. Make sure YOU thoroughly enjoy it.

J

I totally agree! ?????????????

Delia

Length is my goal because I miss my voluminous fro. My mother never let me relax my hair until I hit high school, and I was so mad that my poofs wouldn’t puff that I decided I wouldn’t go back…until Rihanna cut her pixie. So now I’m back to natural four years later and eight months post BC and I am happy waiting for the day that my hair is long again. I just want to see what my hair can be when I just leave it alone and don’t do anything to it besides condition and trim.

iluvedges

thumbs down….

CJ

I like how long hair looks on me, i feel my face is too fat for short hair, & I pretty much had long hair all my life. So yes long hair is still a goal to be because I’m aiming for waist length & healthy hair because it’s like mid back I guess but just trying to keep it healthy.

naturale15

Tbh I’m young nobody around me has long hair and tailbone is the ultimate goal and I”ve had people tell me when I was younger,especiallyin elementary school “Black Girls can’t grow long hair unless they’re mized with something” and that caused me to hate my hair growing up. So length is the ultimat goal and yeah health is in there too cause you cant grow long unhealthy hair

LBell
Let me preface this by saying that when I first decided to grow my natural hair long (this was about 15 years ago, and 4 years after I first went natural) I too had this desire to prove that black women could grow long hair. More specifically, I wanted to prove that a black woman like me — dark-skinned, nappy-headed, never had hair longer than SL — could grow long hair. (I’ve always known black girls and women with long hair but they were few and far between in my little corner of the world.) I can’t say exactly when… Read more »
Poshnera

Yesssss to this!

LBell
I hit Post too soon… To clarify my statement about fine tightly-coiled natural hair being worn long and loose, I myself wear mine loose pretty much exclusively and I’m in “APL territory”, lol. However, I know for a fact that I don’t retain nearly as much length as I would were I to wear twists or loc my hair. Part of that has to do with the fact that I no longer have the time and patience to baby my hair the way it would need to be babied in order for me to retain more length. People with straight… Read more »
cacey
exactly this! this is what i had to realize about two years ago. i could have long hair easily if i were willing to keep my hair in protective styles nonstop (hence why i had mid back length hair all through childhood up to my teen years without ever having to worry about length; in fact, i took it for granted) or loc it up (the ultimate PS). leaving my hair loose and to the elements is a whole nother story but i just prefer my hair loose. i wear WNGs all the time because i like the fuller look… Read more »
JenniD
The long hair thing really throws me about naturals because it isn’t always a good look for ALL women. When I first went natural back in 2002 I just wanted natural hair period. Didn’t really think about length checks or length goals. I just didn’t want to of the mind set of I had to have a relaxer to be acceptable. I had been doing so much reading and investigation of my culture that I no longer felt comfortable changing my hair texture anymore. To this day I am not comfortable with straight hair. Now I caught the #longhairdon’tcare bug… Read more »
Yabiola

I’ve been natural for 5 years, and I trim my hair at least once a year. I went natural because I had one too many bad relaxer experiences. I also was curious to see what my natural hair texture was like (my mom had relaxed my hair since age 3). When straightened, I keep my hair at shoulder length because it’s just easiest to manage that way. I am capable of growing it longer but I personally choose not to because the shorter my hair is, the less time it takes to do it.

Miss Elisa K.

At first I wanted long beautiful natural hair. But now I just want healthy hair I can manage. I know my lifestyle will never be conducive for long natural hair, unless I get me some more coins and can afford a good hairstylist I trust. Until that time, shoulder-length is good for me.

Sophie
Interesting question. I’ve seen a lot of people who don’t treat growing their hair out as the main goal and maintain a shorter length that is well maintained and styled who do seem like they’re as much in control of their hair health as someone who’s gotten really good at growing it out. Personally, I’m trying to grow my hair out to be reasonably long (not so long that it becomes a chore, though.. probably mid-back at the longest). Part of this, honestly, is that (as a previous poster commented) long hair is something that seems to confer something in… Read more »
Jasmine

I’m just curious to see how long my hair can get before I start to not want to do it lol

Caray

YESSSS, long hair is the ultimate goal but I love the look of natural hair was the reason for going natural, long hair is just a bonus. Currently at APL goal is BSL!!

PS. This site isnt the same anymore isnt the thumbs up n down was remove and all the monitoring. Post dont even get as many comments…

Stace

I’m glad the thumbs up thumbs down buttons are gone. They were fuel for fire. I feel people felt braver when they had a comment that had many thumbs up, and this would encourage them to comment again. Comments that got thumbs down would generate more negativity, and often times there was no comment to justify why the thumbs down was given. It was becoming a really negative space and I swear to you, the very week they took it down was going to be my last week on this site, because the comment section was becoming a beast.

CollegeKid-OnABudget

I’ve noticed that to meanwhile CN has tons of comments and interesting article and it seems like they use CN articles but few changes this site needs a change in good way

Nappy 4C Rocks

yes, thumbs up!

Nappy 4C Rocks

what about healthy natural hair? Do you consider healthy natural hair a bonus? Or if the hair is long than that is ok?

devany

hmmm this is interesting , i never really thought about growing my hair long for that reason. my reason is because i simply love long hair, i dont think we should grow our hair out just to prove a point. who cares what other ppl think? if ppl think natural hair/relaxed hair cant grow long then thats their ignorance…

Stace
I think it still is. When I big chopped I cut off 18 inches of relaxed hair. The white stylist was shocked and was excited at the opportunity to cut “hair my texture”. I felt proud that I could dispel the myth that a black woman’s hair can’t grow long and healthy, and that if it does she would never cut it because it wouldn’t grow back. I had long hair the majority of my life, so naturally I would want to grow it back out long. I don’t really care about texture. There was no real reason for me… Read more »
Nia

I have 3b hair and its not that thick so its really hard for me to maintain a lot of volume. when i started my natural journey i wanted long hair but once my hair reached mid back length i had no volume my curls seemed really flat so i cut layers and made my hair a few inches shorter. once you get longer hair you realize that you have to sacrifice a lot examples: volume, time, more money for products, ect.

kinksnnaps

For me it is. I just like the look of long curly hair. No apologies!

Kit Lang
My goal (but I’m new to this – just six months) is to have shoulder length hair. Just long enough that I can do things with it besides a cinnabun or wash and go. I had relaxed hair that was nearly waist-length when I was in my 20’s and always *thought* I wanted long hair again, but every time it got to shoulder length, I would chop it off, sometimes right back to TWA – but I always texturized it and ended up relaxing as it grew and so went the cycle. Now my natural hair is long enough to… Read more »
naturally Tee

I think I just want other black women who are not natural to see the proof is in the pudding. Everytime I hear someone that isn’t natural say your hair is pretty but natural isn’t for me. I just want to shake them and say it’s what is naturally growing from your head something can’t be more for you than that. I think that’s what keeps me going somewhere there is a girl who may finally decide to leave the creamy crack alone because of my hair

Darlyn

If a woman with natural hair wants to wear her hair short, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Personally, I am growing my hair out (it comes to my collarbone now).

Qura
Honestly, I think that it does. A lot of us wore weaves to make our hair appear longer and now we want to achieve that same look but without the cost. My basis behind going natural was simply because after watching Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” and seeing what relaxers do to a can of soda. Number 1 it shocked me and number 2 my hair never grew passed a certain length. My hair is now bra strap length and still growing. Relaxers aren’t meant for everyone and I love and want people to embrace there long natural hair. Not just… Read more »
Darlyn

I started transitioning after seeing that soda can part too.

Shaniqua
It’s definitely an interesting question. I’ve been natural now for over 3 years and have achieved my goal of waist length hair. When I initially set that goal for myself, people around me would either straight up laugh at my “lofty” aim, or just look at me with the skepticism of someone who doesn’t believe what you’re saying is possible, but doesn’t want to rain on your parade either. Three and a half years later, the other women in my family who thought my hair looked “dry and unkempt” right after my big chop ask me how I got my… Read more »
mia
There are certain things that give men power and certain things that give women power (in general, but obviously, there are exceptions). Long hair give women power. A woman can be average looking but if her hair is long, she is perceived to be more attractive, more feminine, etc. And just looking more stereotypically feminine is general gives women more power, imo. Wearing dresses, heels, makeup, behaving in a more stereotypically feminine manner gives you more power. Black women are the ones who are constantly being told how we are the least feminine. Even when we have long weave in… Read more »
Aliyah

I agree this is why I’m getting a kinky curly afro wig that is natural and looks like my natural hair . Watch the compliments come only and I cut my real hair short months ago but I feel like a boy sometimes so I hide it under scarfs and hats soon my afro wig will be coming in and I’m excited .

Lana

I wish they would bring back the thumbs up button cause you nailed it. Everything you said is so on point and I completely agree you. You stated it so perfectly.

alt-K

Agreed. I hate that we are constantly viewed as not feminine by our own men and men who belong to other racial and nationality groups.

sowhatwhocares

thumbs up!

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