May 15, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For….Length And All That Comes With It.

It’s understandable that many girls, particularly us brown girls; grow up longing for long hair (pun intended).  For so many years we’ve been almost brainwashed into believing we simply cannot grow hair past a certain length.  And to be honest that’s half true.  In the past, we quite frankly didn’t know how to achieve and retain length so we dismissed it as being part of our truth, so to speak.  Now armed with more information and inspiration than ever, we now know better.  Whether you are striving for collar bone length, arm pit length or bra strap length, keep in mind that with that length comes a whole ‘nother set of natural hair issues.  You always hear, “I’ll be glad when my hair is longer” or “when my hair grows another few inches..…” followed by how great life will be once said goal is reached.  If you’re one of those, take note of just a few #longcurlyhairproblems and why you should be careful what you wish for.

Things just aren’t the same anymore
When my hair was shorter, I was the queen of wash and gos.  I would literally wash and run out the door on a daily basis and be good.  Each curl presented itself in such a way that it appeared to be right at home.  While some lucky naturals, most notably my girl, Elle from Quest for The Perfect Curl, with a bit of length on them have had great success with them and still do, I do not.

      More Hair More Problems
Biggie may have been on to something with this philosophy.  This is somewhat tied to the first issue because once my hair grew past a certain length and wash and gos were no longer an option, I had to opt for more labor intensive styles that required my hair to be completely dry in order to look good.  This meant more prep work the night before, more detangling, more, more, more…think “Sex and the City” promo song.

Love and war between fashion and hair
While I was used to wearing my hair out at its shorter state, this became more of a challenge once it reached new lengths.  I now had to contend with my hair battling the collar on my new shirt that I couldn’t wait to wear or the dope scarf around my neck, even my ear candy became an enemy.  I’m of the “you can have it all” mindset and never want to choose between my hair and my fashion! That would be blasphemy in ever since of the word.  Unless you pin your mane up at all times, this will no doubt be an issue.  The nape area suffers as I now experience double the challenges in my “kitchen” area than anywhere else on my head.

Paparazzi on my tail
Now to an extent, this is something that goes with the natural hair territory no matter the length.  I liken it to fame.  It’s great and everyone wants to live the life, but with it comes paparazzi which I call tangles and knots.  They pop up whenever the opportunity presents itself. To what degree of course depends on many factors such as your hair type, the manner in which you handle your hair, etc.  There’s simply more opportunity to fray, split or knot which is something I did not experience as much prior to the growth.

But what about my old regimen?
When my hair was shorter, I didn’t really have a detangling process per say.  I combed through my hair with relative ease.  With my new length I had to adjust my mind set – similar to what I did when transitioning from relaxed to natural.  It required coming up with a complete hair care regimen if I wanted to retain my length.  Everything from the shampoo process to the styling process changed.

The point I’m making is there are plusses and minuses with any head of hair, no matter the length and the grass is not always greener.  There’s nothing wrong with length goals or any goal for that matter, as long as you go into the situation armed with information.  It will make for a much smoother and healthier journey. 

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