One wash day, almost a month ago now, I looked into the mirror and I didn’t recognize myself. My hair was different. I didn’t know why, but I did know nothing was wrong with it. I was taking my hair vitamins and giving it the ultimate TLC, so I was sure I wasn’t doing anything to cause drastic damage to my hair. It was actually the opposite. I was having a hair epiphany. My hair had entered a new phase of natural hair. It’s almost like my hair had evolved. My hair was growing – I know this because I had just reached APL – but I had finally accepted my growth and was able to visualize it. I, myself, could now SEE the growth all around. Here is a picture of what I experienced:
It was as if, in that one moment, I had realized that I went from stage 2 to stage 3.
There were many small tell-tale signs that lead up to this point, but it was at that one moment that I could see it, and it felt good. The following wash days personified what it meant to have longer hair and answered a lot of questions I collected leading up to this point. Here is a compilation of things I have learned that come with longer natural hair:
Your ends will finally start to lose that “luster” the long-haired naturals warned us about
When your hair is shorter, and your only two years into your journey, you may not see it, especially if you trim more often than not. They will break easier and will not hold product as well as they used to. I have always added more product to the ends because my ends tend to dry out the fastest, and this is even more true the longer my hair gets. You must also seal them more than the rest of your hair.
You will start to use MUCH more product.
Lately, I’ve been going through products SUPER fast, and its because there’s more hair to be covered. When I would make my DIY conditioner recipes, I would have enough left over to last me until next wash day, maybe even two. Now, I’m scraping the bottom of the bowl just for one wash day. I try to buy the biggest bottle available of my favorite and most used products. If they’re only one-size, sometimes I will buy 2-3 and combine them in another container or bottle.
Detangling sessions take A LOT longer.
I finger detangle in the shower under running water, and the longer my hair gets, the longer I’m in the shower every wash day. Also, with finger detangling, I sometimes forget to go all the way to my roots because I’ve spent most of my time on the rest of the hair, but nobody likes dry, tangled roots. This happens with comb detangling as well. When comb detangling, I have to make smaller sections, which takes more time. This lengthens my washing process a lot. I sometimes have to detangle more than once. I find myself reaching for the scissors more often, too, but that may involve the health of the ends. On the plus side, it’s easier to find and get rid of knots being able to see the ends of your hair during detangling.
Hair takes A LOT longer to dry.
Air drying my two-strand twists used to be an overnight/8-12 hr activity, now it takes a day and a half. Because I like to keep my hair heat-free, unless flat-ironing, it makes it hard figuring out how to cut down drying time. So far, I find that styling on hair that is 75-80% dry already-through towel or air drying before adding product-knocks a few hours off the dry time, but this is heavily affected by hair density.
You may need bigger, longer hair tools.
I now own about 3 sizes of hair pins because it takes an army of small bobby pins to pin anything down in my head. I have resorted to large bobby pins many times for daily use because I only need one or two to get the job done. My hair can’t fit on the smaller-sized perm rods anymore, so I had to purchase longer ones (because who knew each color came in two sizes??) On the plus side, I feel comfortable using the perm rods larger in diameter (like those big black ones!), giving you those great, post-blowout curls!
Your hair needs as much, if not more, TLC as if it were new hair.
Sometimes we can get lazy doing our natural hair. Sometimes we get style-block, which is okay, but what’s the point of giving our hair the extra attention the first couple of years to let it all fall down the drain later because of our lackadaisical hair practices now? I have fell victim to this and experienced a lot of breakage that I’m recovering from now. Don’t make that mistake of not paying attention to the signs now because you’ve finally reached your hair goal. Let’s keep that hair crown on your head!
Popular hairstyles become easier to replicate.
This statement is only true for some hairstyles. There are hairstyles that require you to have a lot of hair to complete that can be faked with effort (i.e. high bun, milkmaid braids, etc.), but theres no better feeling when you finally achieve the real deal. For me, this applies to hairstyles where most of the hair is left out. I would try hairstyles, such as half-up-half-down styles, that looked great with longer but not as good on shorter hair. Often times, they would work, but I like doing the hairstyle a year later, with a few extra inches. For ladies experiencing this, I suggest sticking to hairstyles that are meant for hair thats closer to your actual length or tweaking your hairstyles to suit your hair length. There are a few styles that I didn’t do back in the day that my hair is too long to do now. Here are a couple of examples.
S/O to Tammy for always being my hairspiration! Her style skills are just the best!!
There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with styles. I love doing it! Doing styles at different stages in your hair journey helps you see your growth. Theres also nothing wrong with doing the same hairstyles all the time. Depending on what they are, they can be a great way to retain length. I love my staple hairstyles more and more as my hair grows.
THAT LENGTH THO!
I was super excited the first time I flat-ironed my hair and I felt it graze my back. Like HELLO HAIR! If you were a little uncomfortable with your shorter hair, prepare to for great divacity when it grows out longer. Long hair don’t care is a syndrome that you are happy and more willing than ever to develop. Theres nothing like seeing that round fro just grow and grow. I love it when I haven’t seen people in a long time, and they’re all like “OMG, you’re hair is so long!!” and I don’t even remember what my hair looked like back then. That’s when you really know how far you’ve came. But you worked for it girl! Bask in your glory and all that comes with long(er) natural hair!!!
So that it! I hope this makes you more excited than scared for you hair to grow and be SUPER long, longer than you ever expected!
For more natural hair advice, click here.