Time for Another Length Check

Yep, it's nearly a month later, and I'm still rocking this do and apparently the same top. LOL!

A couple of months ago, I dropped out of participating in a Bra strap-length challenge that I initiated last year on Nappturality.com. It seems that everytime I reach BSL, my ends are in horrible shape and need to be cut. Well, I had planned on cutting them anyway because I wanted to get rid of my layers. But what continues to disheartened me is that my length retention is not good quality and NEEDS to be cut. Well, I’ve always said that I would rather have shorter healthy hair than longer hair that isn’t healthy. So instead of getting a cut for purely aesthetic reasons, it’s out of necessity as well. And that bites.

Now I’m frustrated because it’s not as if I don’t know how to take care of my hair. I follow all the good rules of the road to keep my hair stylish, but healthy with an overall goal to maximize retention. But no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get good viable length much past the 14 inch mark. After three years, it just seems that getting to 18 inches has become rediculously elusive. Well, a long time ago, I had come to the conclusion that some people just didn’t grow really longer lengths well. NOT that it doesn’t grow, but once people get to a certain length, quality retention past that point becomes extremely challenging and sometimes dang near impossible. Problem is, I just never wanted that to apply to me.

Nevertheless, several months ago I determined it did, so I decided to try and accept this, move on and just enjoy the hair that I’ve been blessed to have on my head. I mean, after all, it’s longer than its ever been in my entire life so surely I could be happy with ONLY about 14 inches of hair. Right?

Wrong dang it!

Every time I think I’m ready to stop obsessing about length, I run into nappy-headed folks like Mcm96001 on FOTKI http://public.fotki.com/mcm96001/coils/stretched.html (caramelicious on Nappturality.com) and my obsession for longer hair starts all over again.


So six months later, I became increasingly curious about any progress that I may have made and that’s what finally prompted another length check. As usual, my hair has been in protective styles, with little manipulation. I rarely use a comb or brush to detangle, and when I do so with my fingers, I’m as gentle as can be. Now as you can see, I’ve made some progress, but it’s not much in my book. From March til now, it’s been six months and based on my average hair growth of 1/2 inch a month, I should have at least three additional inches of hair on my head. But it seems to me that I’ve only retained about an inch of length — and it’s not even quality retention. Now why is that? Several days ago, I did some spot checks to determine the condition of my ends by plucking several hairs from various areas on the top of my head . What I discovered really dismayed me. Each one of my ends that I looked at was split nearly an inch up my hair shaft. That is definitely not good, and it’s very disheartening because honestly, it needs to be cut . And if I don’t, it’s likely to break off anyway. 


I’m soooo not sure what to do about this. Someone on NP suggested protein treatments. I do think it’s a good idea and it certainly couldn’t hurt. But I just don’t know if it will do any good. Wow, is this a defeatest attitude or what? And, beyond this…I’m stumped.  Stumped but perhaps not defeated cause contray to how I felt a couple of months ago, I don’t think I’m ready to throw in the towel just yet. But I don’t want to jump through a whole lot of hoops just to get more length. It just seems to me that there’s gotta be something, some small tweak in my routine that could make all the difference in the world and get me over this hump.

So I’m asking for help. Is there anyone out there who has longer hair than mine that would be willing to give me some tips or things to try to help me retain healthy length? If so, any and all advice and tips would be greatly appreciated.


9 Responses to “Time for Another Length Check”
  1. nappiejean says:

    I can’t help you with your length problem as I took out my scissors a month ago and cut 5 or more inches off the 10 inches I’d grown over the last couple of years. I was bone weary of trying to style so much hair at my age (55 years old). I was tired of having to get a friend of my teenage daughter to come over and freshen up my twists, box braids, or whatever just so I could look presentable on Sundays for church.

    I love long hair on others, especially big twist outs; but alas, the upkeep doesn’t fit my my life or lifestyle.

    Here’s a question I posed on NP and thought I’d ask you since you are one of the only nappy hair blogs by a –cough. cough.- mature blogger.

    Do you know other older women (over 40) blogging and doing video tutorials on styling and caring for our natural hair? I have my favorite blogs and videos by younger nappies, but what I was wondering why there aren’t any (beyond your blog) more sisters of us over 45 who are sharing tips on caring for our natural hair.

    But I

    • nappyme says:

      Nappyjean, it’s interesting about the age of folks online on these hair boards and such. I’m soon to be 49 and I’m sure I’m one of the “oldest” members on NP. Why more of us don’t blog, I don’t know. When I was younger, I loved doing hair. Not so much when I got older, but I have always been good at it. Once I stopped wearing braid extensions in my hair, my participation on NP made me realize that I enjoyed writing about hair. I’ve always made a living in corporate america as a writer, but I didn’t think I would stick this out if I wasn’t getting paid for it. I’d tried journaling off and on over the years, and would never keep it going. But when I got connected to the online hair world, one of the blogs that I visited frequently was Roshini.net who now does Glamazini.net. She and a few others who had very extensive personal hair journey sites were my inspiration for my own blog. All of whom were younger than me. I originally started with just the goal of keeping it going for one year. Who knew that more than three years later it would turn into an ongoing passion?

      On occasion, I have gone several months without posting something, but that’s kinda rare. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of it all and stop. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It’s such a part of me that at the moment, I can’t imagine NOT blogging about my hair.

  2. Anna Renee says:

    Wow, this is interesting, I was thinking the same thing. Im going to be 49 as well in December and have started blogging. NappyNaturallyCool or napnatcool@blogspot.com. There are some issues we older ladies have–well maybe just me. I have noticed that my hair strands seem thinner than when I was younger and some of the strands are straight! I have very tightly coiled 4B hair! Is that an age thing? PS, I was calling myself NappyBoo, but decided to use my real name!

  3. nappiejean says:

    Well, I’m sure women our/my age would say that they don’t blog nor hang out on blogs because they’re too busy and don’t have time. But the real reason probably has to do with the fact that women our/my age aren’t glued to technology and the Internet like younger women are. They do what they must on the computer, but that’s about it. They are less likely to use it to build relationships, certainly not with strangers.

    Oh well, I enjoy dropping by your blog and learning everything I can from you about natural hair care. Keep up the good work.

  4. unique4me says:

    NappyJean, I am also an older natural (48), but I do not blog because I feel my natural hair is not long enough and I am still in the trial and error stages. I have been natural for 18 months. I do have a fotki http://public.fotki.com/lovnmihur/
    pw curlsrule
    I believe the reason you do not see more blogs from women our age is because we are still caught up in the relaxer stages. Most of my friends have relaxer, even my two sisters who are older than I, have relaxers. I have asked my sisters why they do not go natural, one sister states it is just easy to take care of relaxed hair, meaning the Texas humidity and all. The other sister I believe is waiting until she has no more hair and is left with no other choice, because the relaxers are eating up her hair and she refuses to see this.
    Women my age I do see that are natural are wearing locs or short afros. Most just do not want to be bothered with having to style their hair on a daily basis.
    My goal is to have long natural curly hair, therefore this is keeping me from cutting, trimming, or getting frustrated with the shrinkage.
    My only style advice I can give is to keep your hair moisturized and stay in protective styles as much as possible.

  5. Perhaps some of us don’t like revealing our age. Maybe when I start feeling that age, I will talk about it. Otherwise, I don’t get into it.

  6. ms-gg says:

    I so feel you nappyme. For the past year I have been wrestling with my hair and breakage issues. I cut my hair all off last month and now I am rocking a caesar. My hair had thinned out all the way to the root on a lot of strands and despite my efforts to “save my hair” by doing protective styles but still no luck.
    I just wrote that to say that you are not alone in this battle. I am sure you are going to get it. I may not be a good person to get advice from but maybe you should try bagging your ends during the night? Also because of your color you might do need the protein treatment to help strengthen your hair. And 14 inches is obviously not your stopping point, it is just that you need to get over this hump and I know you can do it! Good luck miss lady!

  7. nappyme says:

    Ms-gg… a caesar? Are you kidding me. Oh…my…stars… I absolutely loved your hair. Waaaahhhhh!

    Yeah, I’ve got some breakage in spots too. But I pretty much know what mine is from. Staying in the same protective style too long. That puts a lot of stress on you hair along the parts. It’s kinda like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So right now, I’m trying to take a break from that kind of styling. I’ve got it in a ponytail that I banded and then pulled up and secured with a hair clip. I dunno, I’m a little at a loss right now about what to do with my hair.

    But hey, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the encouragement and your well wishes. Back atcha lady. And good luck with your hair too.

    Take care,
    XXXs and OOOs

  8. Barb says:

    We, over 45 ladies must remember that age is only a number, especially when you are young @ heart. Our kinky hair, no matter what age is suppose to be our “crown & glory. I love my kinky hair. I want it healthy and heat free because that’s the way God made it and we all know that God don’t make no junk!

    Love & Peace

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