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5 Tips to Conduct a Proper Length Check

• Mar 31, 2014

Full transparency here: I’m at the end of month 2 as a participant in The Mane Choice’s Manetabolism Hair Growth Challenge. I’m in no way being paid to promote the vitamin, I am simply being supplied with free vitamins for 6 months (plus I’ll be doing a giveaway of 2 bottles of the vitamin in April).

Now that we’ve got that out the way, let me share a funny story with you all circulating around this picture I posted on Instagram only a few weeks in to taking the vitamin:

A hair short of 2 weeks (it's been 12 days to be exact) taking @themanechoice @manetabolism vitamins. Am I crazy for thinking o see growth already?!? I can't wait to get at least 2 months in, so I can do this giveaway and have ya'll join me! #naturalhair #hairgrowth #healthyhairjourney #themanechoice #Manetabolism @courtneynaturalhair

The caption read: A hair short of 2 weeks (it’s been 12 days to be exact) taking @themanechoice @manetabolism vitamins. Am I crazy for thinking I see growth already?!? I can’t wait to get at least 2 months in, so I can do this giveaway and have ya’ll join me!

My followers went IN on me. Not a full reading, but enough to make me reconsider my life as a blogger. Of course I’m being a little dramatic, but they definitely let me know that they were here for nothing other than the hardcore truth. I was told everything from, “you’ll see what you want to see” to “your facial position is different”, and “your sweater is visually interfering”. Of course,  it was all in love and wanting to see the progress with the vitamin for nothing less than what it actually was. I get it. Totally. My followers and naturalistas on the whole are tired of being marketed to through bloggers (at least in that cheesy, painfully obvious way), and want the facts. They want the truth. And so do I.

So I did what any person who knows what to do with criticism does — take it in, make some changes, and do better next time. So with that being said, allow me to use the lessons learned and share with you how to do a proper length check (for those that are interested in tracking length retention):

Tip 1: Pick the right tools for the long-haul.

If you pick a particular shirt, be prepared to use that shirt — Every. Single. Time. I personally recommend making your own DIY Length Check Shirt, because trying to recapture the same exact angles in an unmarked t-shirt or tank top is an exercise in futility. You’ll use all the memory in your phone trying to get the pictures right, and spend even more time in your photo grid app trying to make sure your shoulders line up. Trust me. Also, a shirt that has some sort of print or graphic on the front works best. That way, along with the measurements at the back, you’ll have a visual reference for the front. If you’re going to go the tape measure route, make sure you’ve got some help. You’ll need a second pair of hands to hold the measure while you hold your hair in a stretched state, or at least to hold the camera.

Tip 2: Have at least 2 or 3 points of reference.

Different areas of your hair may grow at different rates. For example, the front of my hair grows disrespectfully fast in comparison to the back of my hair. However, I would never know that because the front shrinks up so much more. If you’re looking to remain encouraged along a growth/length retention journey, having multiple references or checkpoints for your length will help you keep it all in perspective. It will also help you determine if there are any changes you need to make in your styling regimen, especially if you begin noticing breakage or increasingly thinning ends.

Tip 3: Always grab the same areas.

Admittedly, when I wrote this, I immediately thought of breakage, due to excessive manipulation of a particular area. But then I realized, unless you’re doing length checks on a daily/weekly basis (which I absolutely do not recommend), you should be fine. The main idea here is to make sure that you have consistent points of reference for your photos. If you measured your hair at the front on the right side last month, why would you compare it to the left side this month? Keep it simple, and keep it all the same.

Tip 4: Avoid angles.

There’s a hilarious meme circulating on social media of a girl doing a length check with her head tilted back as she’s essentially bent over backwards. As hilarious as it is, it’s true. I see so many #lengthcheck pictures where it’s painfully obvious that the head is tilted back or forward to give the impression of extra length. As much as possible, try to look straight ahead in all shots. I know, camera angles are a lady’s best friend (right next to filters and lighting), but they’ve got to go if you’re serious about being as accurate as possible.

Tip 5: Don’t do it too often.

There is absolutely no point in checking your hair every day, every 7 days, every 10 days. Most hair grows between half an inch and an inch per month. What are you checking for, nanometers? Wait at least 3 weeks between length checks, otherwise you’re bound to get discouraged. My personal rule of thumb is every 30 days or every month. Give your hair enough time to work it’s magic!

What are some of your best practices when it comes to length checks?

For more transitioning and natural hair tips from Christina, check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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24 Comments on "5 Tips to Conduct a Proper Length Check"

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#4 is the truth! And it is quite humorous when it’s like that picture.


Well, You were curious about the pills. No ha in that. Just next time don’t blog about it. =)
Keep it to yourself. Everyone think that they can tell you what is best for you. Do you. It was an interesting read.


wow thanks i appreciate this! these points certainly make sense. i’ve certainly seen my fair share of the busted length check photos but i think most v/bloggers do a decent job of portraying their length as is.


I hate when I see bloggers and vloggers do length checks with measuring tape. I mean, check it with a measuring device once or twice a year but I think people take length checks; in general, way too seriously. I appreciate points of reference over the exactness of tape. Just stick with healthy hair practices and move on. Your hair is growing, I swear! Lol


Well said. I get tired of length checks too.


I agree completely! takes the fun out of enjoying your hair.

Jay Symone

I can definitely understand how people can get very intense with hair care and length checks. I only do length checks on special occasions. But I admit, I am one of those bloggers/vloggers that uses measuring tape *bows head* but I do it because I personally am not good with points of reference. I could be doing it in different locations/lighting/cloths so the tape is my constant. But I’m also not obsesed with hair growth to take hair vitamins. I know whats healthy for my hair so I shall continue doing it. 🙂


Omg I want those vitamins . Could give me the name of your YouTube channel and blog please


I’m with AThorn.^ Your hair is growing, folks. Calm down. A watched pot never boils. I just cut off 11 year old super long locs and in that whole time never felt the need to measure my hair. Not once. I’m coming from a place of respect here when I ask the question: What is exactly behind these obsessions with length checks?


To answer your question, people are obsessed with length checks because they are obsessed with having long natural hair.

Kind of understandable considering many have never had long hair and society tends to think that we are incapable of growing it. Kind of ridiculous when you think of how extreme people get.


On average, hair grows half an inch per month, regardless of ethnicity. I’d advise not telling people that between .5 and 1in per month is normal… that’s reckless misinformation.


Did a 6 month length check the other night… the back of my hair is 16 inches (grew 3 inches) but my midddle is only 18 inches — it only grew an inch???????? Extremely baffled! Defo might consider hairfinity pills and see it helps


I never do length checks. It’s silly. I can just look in the mirror and notice that my hair grew or didn’t grow. I don’t need to check the length…that’s just seems silly?


My length check is visual when I glance up and realize my hair looks longer than it did before (like when I realized I was only 3 inches short of my goal to belly button length!)

I don’t know inches, and doubt I ever will. I think it’s a look I’m after only.


Stop pushing those pills. And the length checks are dumb

TMC toronto meetup march 29th

useful tips! but don’t pull on your hair too much that you’ll end up breaking it.


You have a gorgeous smile, Christina. Would love to see it more often in your posts!

Why do some vloggers say I want my hair to be waist length or say I have waist length hair and then point to the area where their hips are or where the belt of the pants are. Isn’t that hip-length? I thought waist-length was higher up where your natural waist line is … As for length checks, I personally prefer to wear my hair in a braid-out or twist-out or just braids. As the months have progressed my braid-outs and plaits fall a little bit lower below my shoulders than they used to. I measure my length that way… Read more »

dang people are taking people wanting to do length checks too seriously. So people want a certain length and you don’t care…FINE!
Let people want what they want and you want what you want.
Maybe they enjoy the process of seeing their hair grow?
I like the tips on this article, thanks for sharing!


I totally agree with you. I’m one who did the checks at the beginning and stopped. My hair didn’t grow a lick for 1 1/2 yrs and I was none the wiser. Wish I had been checking I wouldn’t have wasted so much time. I would’ve realized I had some poor hair care habits. Now I’m waiting for these Manetabolsm pills to come in and I can NOT wait! Awesome post. Your hair is so gorgeous…

I agree with you Bri (nice name btw!) and CSI. Certain people have certain goals. Sometimes they aren’t just trying to track length, but also the health of their hair and how well they take care of their hair. It’s almost like telling someone that’s trying to lose weight to not look at a scale. Sure, that might work for someone that just wants to be healthy because we know that a healthy body isn’t ALL about the weight, but it can still play a factor and a certain weight is a goal for some. In the same way, some… Read more »

Awesome, entertaining blog. Maybe I should read it again, but I don’t see how to enter your give away

I measure with tape once a month and proud of it. lol I also believe it is an accurate measurement; our bodies change daily. I’m in the gym 4–5x a week and this winter I reached my weight gain goal. Needless to say my body has been shifting and doing it’s thing in response to the vigorous training so for that I stick with tape. I chose to use tape because I messed up bad with my hair last year so one side is 3″ shorter than the other so tape really helps me keep my eye on that side… Read more »

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