4 Tips to Help You Meet Your Waist Length Goal this Winter

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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?

Chinwe

Chinwe

Empowering women of color to break barriers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/ https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

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12 thoughts on “4 Tips to Help You Meet Your Waist Length Goal this Winter

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    • 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 good 1/2 to 3/4 inch past my collar bone and it is thicker too.

      My advice for you is to take care of your scalp and protecting all of your hair strands (not just your ends)

      Hope this helps, and also realize that some people just have slower hair growth, my hair only grows about 4-5 inches a year.

    • 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!

  4. 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?

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

    • 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 natural hair journey!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 stuff (you know….wash and set, blow etc). No matter who I went to, they still didn’t handle my hair the way I would like so now it’s just me :-)

    I do everything you mentioned here (except the extensions) and finally starting to see more length retention. The biggest factor for my fine hair is protein/deep conditioning and protective styling with minimal manipulation.

  7. 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 humidity and wanted to protect my strands. The goal is to love and protect your hair and all will be fine. ????

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