Is Long Natural Hair Still the Ultimate Goal?

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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Just another naturalista playing by my own rules! Got hair that doesn't seem to grow past your shoulders? Check out my free Grow Your Hair Faster Video Course


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49 thoughts on “Is Long Natural Hair Still the Ultimate Goal?

  1. 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 “proving” something is pointless!

    • 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.

    • 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 that we have nothing to prove as individuals but i still have people (black/people of color) approach me in a state of wonder about my hair. or other women who have relaxed hair say there is no way for them to go “natural”. i have nothing against anyone who continues to relax/or chemically treat their hair but i do have a problem when they feel its the only way for them to be or feel beautiful.

  2. 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 potential. So I will let it grow as long as it can grow.

  3. 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, no sweeping it from my face like I’m staring in my own sexy perfume ad, no hair draping down my back and off my shoulders and boobs making that sexy low back low front top just sooo much sexier!

    Long hair is hot for all women of all races not just black women and not every one can pull of a cute pixy cut or a bob length hair do.

    There is an element of “yeah I’m black and look what I have done with my hair”… But so what! Why not strive for long sexy hair if that’s what you want. It’s what I want. RIP my over died, candy flossed textured long hair, there will always be a place in my hart for you, I’ll remember you as you were in health and dream of the day we are reunited. Boo hoo hooo!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 hair growth.

  7. 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 !

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 salons, and I make my own products. I’ve also healed my hair from relaxer damage. Now it’s about manageability and fulfilling this idea in my head that my hair is not inherently different. I’m almost there. Back in the day it’d take me all night to just get my hair clean, today 1.5-2 hours if I’m not lollygaggin. If length was the ultimate goal I would’ve been stopped back when I was struggling or this past year when I reached 12inches. I still feel like I have much to learn about my hair and I have absolutely no desire to quit.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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