Length musings

Hey all!

As I mentioned previously, my bathroom wall was repaired on Monday. Wouldn’t you know that yesterday, when I was awakened at 5:45 AM by Hazel demanding her breakfast, I went to use the bathroom and discovered that the bathroom ceiling was leaking for only the 698th time. I called the super on his cell and probably woke him up as he sounded groggy but I didn’t give a shit. The ceiling was still leaking 2 1/2 hours later when I had to leave for work, which was when he finally decided to come to my apartment to check the leak out. I couldn’t afford to take the day off as I had a very urgent deadline to meet. I have no idea what caused this latest leak. All I know is that it had stopped when I got home yesterday. And just when I had the bathroom wall repaired. Probably figures.

As far as my hair goes, I co-washed it this morning for the first time in a week. I usually co-wash my hair twice a week and lo-poo about once every other week, but I was lazy. I couldn’t afford to be lazy much longer as my hair gets extremely itchy when I go more than a week without washing. I co-washed with Suave Naturals, then used Kinky Curly Knot Today and then the Kinky Curly Curling Custard for a wash n ‘go. I’ve been doing a lot of those this summer as its a style that doesn’t require a lot of manipulation and thus it can result in less breakage. I didn’t take a picture today but here is an example of what my hair looks like with KCCC:


I do like that it defines my curls so well but the time the stuff takes to dry is ridiculous-anywhere from 12-18 hours depending on the weather. Since I’ve gotten the Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream, I haven’t used KCCC as much since the Jane Carter stuff isn’t as sticky and doesn’t take as long to dry, but I have a tub of KCCC that’s three quarters full right now. I’m not sure I’ll be able to use it all before the cold weather sets in, since I don’t do wash and goes all the time. We’ll see.

Also, you can’t tell from that picture, but my hair stretched is approaching APL (armpit length). Curly and kinky hair are usually longer than they appear. In my case, I have very tight curls that coil around themselves and when my hair is dry, it shrinks about 60-75%. The last time my hair was armpit length, I was a child, so I’m very excited to be approaching that length again at this point in my life. Initially, when I first went natural, I figured I’d be happy enough to get to APL but now that I’m nearly there, I’m figuring, why should I stop there?  My new goal is BSL (bra strap length). It’ll probably take about a year or so for me to reach that goal, but I’ll enjoy the journey on the way there. Since I’ve been natural, I’ve also come to change my definition of what long hair is. For many years, I considered shoulder length hair to be long. A lot of black women do, actually. Many people think that black people’s hair doesn’t grow. Which isn’t true. Your hair is always growing. If you have permed hair, after at least 4 weeks, your hair always has new growth at the roots, which is your natural hair. The issue is retaining length. The caustic chemicals that relaxers contain eventually break the bonds in your hair, which lead to breakage. Also, kinky hair is actually the most fragile of all hair types due to the fact that its tight curls coil around themselves and each coil is a potential breakage point. Many people think all natural hair is thick and coarse, but in actuality, although it may LOOK that way, a lot of them have fine and thin hair like I do. Many black women engage in hair practices that actually perpetuates breakage, such as using relaxers, getting tight braid extensions or weaves, using fine tooth combs, etc, which leads to the stereotype that our hair doesn’t grow. However, after perusing the You Tube channels of African Export, Rustic Beauty and Sera2544, all of whom have long hair past APL, I saw what could be possible if we give our hair the proper care. So now I no longer consider shoulder length hair to be long. These days, that’s medium length hair to me.

I’m not sure if I’ll want to grow my hair past BSL though. The longer it gets, the more time you need to devote to it and I’m finding it hard to find the time to devote to my hair now at its current length because my life is kind of full. I work full time, go to the gym 3-5 days a week and see friends about once or twice a week, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time to devote to pampering my hair. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. Many naturals swear by protective styling to retain length, but many protective styles are either off limits to me or look horrid on my hair. I can’t do buns even though I’m at the length where I could do one. My edges even after nearly two years of being natural are still very thin from previous abuse from relaxers and too tight braid extensions. A bun would just pull at my edges and possibly make them thinner. And forget twists and braids. Without extensions, they look sickly on my head. I don’t have a lot of strands on my head, so they look very scalpy on me. Besides, I don’t have the time or the inclination to devote 5 odd hours to putting them in every week or so. There are tuck and goes, but the ones I’ve attempted to do in the past were fails. When it gets cold, I might try those again. There are some naturals who retain length while rarely doing protective styling, like Elle, so there is some hope that I can do the same, provided I give my hair the proper care. However, her hair is way thicker and coarser than mine, so I don’t know. Would I be able to retain length without protective styling? What do you think?


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