Get­ting those few remain­ing inch­es to waistlength can be a real strug­gle for some nat­u­rals.  Though you may know that the key is to pre­serve those ends, fig­ur­ing out how to actu­al­ly do that can be tough at this length.  Here are some things that helped me get over the hump in 2013 that may hope­ful­ly help you as well:

1. Hide your hair in braid exten­sions

Back when I was work­ing towards those last few inch­es to waistlength, braid exten­sions were one of a few things I incor­po­rat­ed for help. They have been great for help­ing me pre­serve that 1–2 inch­es of growth in my relaxed, tran­si­tion­ing and nat­ur­al days. Braid exten­sions (when done prop­er­ly and cared for well) can give me close to 100% length reten­tion. Why? This is because there is prac­ti­cal­ly no manip­u­la­tion of my ends, which remain intact and hid­den for the dura­tion of the wear (i.e., 2–3 months). So if you are MBL and desir­ing those last few inch­es, maybe braid exten­sions will work for you.

2. Adjust your detan­gling rou­tine

For many nat­u­rals, a lot of break­age and length loss occurs dur­ing the detan­gling process. Some­times, this par­tic­u­lar type of break­age hap­pens grad­u­al­ly over time, mak­ing it hard to notice until months or a year down the line, when you won­der why you’re not any clos­er to waistlength. (At least this was true in my case.) Adjust­ing my detan­gling rou­tine was nec­es­sary and help­ful. For you, that might mean:

switch­ing from combs to your fin­gers as detan­gling tools (or even vise ver­sa)

detan­gling on dry instead of wet hair

blow dry­ing your strands after a wash to min­i­mize tan­gle for­ma­tion

3. Oil, oil, …. Did I say oil?

A few years back, I was look­ing at what most long-haired nat­u­rals had in com­mon and a reli­gious use of oil was one of the things list­ed. It makes a lot of sense, con­sid­er­ing the many ben­e­fits that come with the sub­stance: seal­ing in mois­ture, lubri­cat­ing the strands, min­i­miz­ing fric­tion and thus split ends and break­age, etc. So incor­po­rate oil beyond a mere step in your mois­tur­iz­ing rou­tine. Use it for pre-poo­ing, oil rins­ing, detan­gling, con­di­tion­ing and han­dling your ends (e.g., undo­ing your braids/twists).

4. Deep con­di­tion more intense­ly and more reg­u­lar­ly

When try­ing to retain those last few inch­es to waistlength, deep con­di­tion­ing is anoth­er key com­po­nent … and I mean SUPER deep con­di­tion­ing. Up until now, your hair prob­a­bly thrived with just 15 min­utes of con­di­tion­ing under a show­er cap. How­ev­er, now you might require 30 min­utes of deep con­di­tion­ing with heat to reach that next length. Oth­er things you can try are:

Switch from month­ly deep con­di­tion­ing ses­sions to bi-week­ly

Change your non-pro­tein con­di­tion­er to a pro­tein con­di­tion­er

Sub­sti­tute your stan­dard sul­fate-free sham­poo with a cleans­ing con­di­tion­er

The real­i­ty is that the old­er the ends of your hair, the more care and con­di­tion­ing it will need.

How did you over­come the chal­lenge of retain­ing those last few inch­es to waistlength?


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

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12 Comments on "4 Tips to Help You Meet Your Waist Length Goal this Winter"

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Great tips!

Thank you for shar­ing! The only thing I need to be care­ful with is exten­sions, as my edges are weak but seem to be grow­ing in. I fig­ure as long as I work on the health of my hair the length will even­tu­al­ly come. I do agree on oil­ing and deep con­di­tion­ing. I use oil to seal my hair, as a pre-poo, when I take down my mini-twists (use oil for this, not con­di­tion­er or it will take for­ev­er). Deep con­di­tion­ing is a must. I just start­ed using Aphogee 2-minute recon­struc­ter because I was trav­el­ing, would be in heat and… Read more »
Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty
I’m still on the jour­ney. I have so many lengths thanks to these lay­ers. MBL in the back, Slight­ly past APL on the sides.…then there’s my crown that’s doing what­ev­er the heck it wants LOL! Oil­ing is def­i­nite­ly help­ful and so are the oth­er tips. The braids/extensions I find do work well for fine hair. The instal­la­tion is just too much for fine hair and break­age is pret­ty imminent…even with care. Also, unless you are doing it your­self, break­age is guar­an­teed. Nobody can care for your hair bet­ter than you can :-) I used to go to the salon for sim­ple… Read more »

Ya knoooow tip 4 is some­thing I’m gonna be more aware of, as it is a reminder about the ends need­ing more care. I may now start using heat for my dc, and am exper­i­ment­ing with aphoogee 2 minute recon­struc­tor.


My goal is to get to full shoul­der length. I’ll be doing as advised except for the exten­sions, I have yet to find some­one who will not insist on blow­ing out my hair first or pulling my hair tight­ly at the root for a neater look. What I’m more inter­est­ed in right now more than length(my hair is 6–7″ long) is increas­ing think­ness, is that pos­si­ble?

Of course. I used to have shoul­der length hair that was flat as a pan­cake. But once I start­ed deep con­di­tion­ing with ava­ca­dos, bananas, Greek yogurt,etc, I flat ironed my hair and saw a HUGE dif­fer­ence with my nat­ur­al hair. It was so thick, live­ly, and shiny. If you take care of and love your nat­ur­al hair, it’ll be so much bet­ter. I thought I nat­u­ral­ly had thin hair, but thats not true. Now I’m two or three inch­es away from waist length, in only a year of lov­ing my curls. I wish you the best of luck on your… Read more »

Yes, actu­al­ly. The key is to gain more length and allow your hair to shrink. This will give the illu­sion of more thick­ness.


I have b4 low poros­i­ty hair and I have been nat­ur­al for now two years and am only at cbl, I need a reg­i­ment to grow my hair, what can I do


I would sug­gest not to focus on length. Just focus on tak­ing care of your hair. You could try detan­gling with con­di­tion­er and your fin­gers, deep con­di­tion­ing when­ev­er your hair says it needs it, wear­ing loose pro­tec­tive styles, and mois­tur­iz­ing as need­ed with nat­ur­al prod­ucts. They don’t have to be expen­sive, just coconut oil, shea but­ter, aloe Vera juice, and water. Some youtu­bers (nap­tural85, mahogany­curls, bar­gain­princess, mini Mar­ley, Alyssa for­ev­er, and jew­jew­bee) should be able to help you build your reg­i­men. Good luck!

My hair is in the same posi­tion as yours (except with medi­um-high poros­i­ty). After two years, my hair final­ly is at col­lar­bone length. For me, I’ve start­ed doing more week­ly pro­tec­tive styles (like wear­ing flat twists for 3–5 days then wear­ing it out for a cou­ple days and repeat­ing the process) and mak­ing sure my scalp is at opti­mal health (doing more scalp mas­sages, using tea tree essen­tial oil, and exfo­li­at­ing with a brown sug­ar scrub) have been work­ing pret­ty well. At the begin­ning of Octo­ber, my hair had just got­ten to col­lar bone length. But now, it is a… Read more »

Great reminders but I have to con­cen­trate on get­ting to back-length before waist-length. I think I’ll rock braided/cornrow styles this win­ter. I know a few peo­ple that don’t charge too much.

oh why?

I agree about braids, but peo­ple need to research about braids being done cor­rect­ly and care for correctly…dry detan­gling one needs LOTS of patience.…cleansing con­di­tion­er not for me, but I hear it works great for others…and oil, well any oil but coconut is great