Length Checks Are Ruining the Natural Journey

…And Making it a Race

Via 3goals3years.comWhen I was around 6 or 7 up until my teenage years, all I ever wanted was long, straight, dark brown hair. I imagined myself throwing it up into a casual pony or curling it as it dangled down my back. It being straight as oppose to it’s naturally nappy state was an easy fix with a perm but how to grow it long was going to be the challenge. Long hair in my mind meant beauty, validation, health; it meant “hey, look at my hair! I am black with long, straight hair. My beauty is obviously validated because of it”. I thought, man I would be so much hotter if I were the black girl with long hair in my group of friends.

Clearly, I already thought I was hot.

My dreams of having long hair, lighter brown eyes, and a few shades brighter skin, was a dream to be further removed from being black and more racially ambiguous.

A bit of self-hatred? Absolutely.

I share that tid bit because I know my long hair dreams, though straight hair specific, is one that a wealth of natural hair women run into when they decide to go natural. Length checks are all the rage and it is seriously ruining the natural hair journey. Instead of embracing our natural textures, long or short, we are so completely mesmerized by length and obsess over it that everything else that is important in this journey fades into the background. There is nothing wrong with having long natural hair and there is nothing wrong with having natural hair that is an inch long. It is a journey not a  race.

In our community length translates into beauty, validation, and proves that we are some exception to the rule that black women cannot grow long hair. It isolates women that do not have long hair making them feel as though something is wrong with them. Nothing is wrong with you, length is not everything, hair grows because that is what it does, if you aspire to long hair then grow it but don’t feel like you have to in order to display that your is healthy or your journey has been successful.

So how about we do some of these checks:

A health check

An edges check

A stop being a natural gangster check

An I am my own hair crush check

A my hair doesn’t have to be racially anonymous check

A my hair is nappy and what check

A split ends check

A stop buying a million products and swearing by each one check

What kind of checks are you trying to do?

6 thoughts on “Length Checks Are Ruining the Natural Journey

  1. Strangely, this year I’ve been eating better, exercising, and protective styling a lot. Yet it doesn’t look like my hair is growing half as fast as it was last year when I was eating crap, not working out, and combing for at least 20 minutes every other day!

    I’m really puzzled by this, but after my last length-check in May, I decided, no more. All that protective styling had taken a toll on my edges, and I was holding on to an inch of scraggly ends, some of them split! I trimmed my ends by dusting after going back and forth, and I’m now nursing my edges back to life in full flourish.

    Healthy hair is happy hair, and I’m going to forget about length for now. Perhaps for me it’s the watched pot that never boils.


  2. I have never done a length check. I have pretty much always had medium to short hair but like you wanted the really long tresses. Funny how my daughter ended up with it. I cut it not too long ago to start all over again and what I mean by starting all over again I mean I did a brain reset.
    I stopped wanting to try every product that offered me elongated curls and just let my hair curl or not curl as it wills.
    I stopped taking hairinfinity, which was giving me eight day migraines, and just make sure I take my vitamins and not worry about taking extra just for my hair
    I’m not loving my short hair but its mine and everyday I tell myself to work with what I got and make it beautiful for myself. it will grow back its not a race


    1. Preach Sista Curl! Been there…still doing that…”tell myself to work with what I got…”
      Thank you for the mirror moment!


  3. This is true to a degree. Long hair should definitely not be the only goal for going natural, and it’s unfortunate that this is what motivate many naturals. Mostly though, I see naturals who aren’t so concerned with length and more concerned with healthy hair. Great post!


  4. Great post! I’m doing the my hair is Nappy and Nappy is not a bad word check! The I break combs check and the I’m not scared of the rain check.


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