Is Your Hair Long Enough?

Someone recently asked if I think many people want Locs just so they can have long hair.  I don’t know the answer to that; I think it’s a case-by-case observation.  I do know that long hair has been a standard of beauty in western culture.  It has been mentioned since the beginning of western writings in every form imaginable, including prose, poetry, songs, fiction, nonfiction and even in sacred writings.

The allure of long tresses persists. It haunts those who will never be able to grow their own long hair unless they have Locs.  But what’s considered long is also relative.  I believe that for those with naturally kinky hair, unless your hair is locked (and therefore not being combed) it will only grow as long as your DNA allows. I’ve never seen anyone with loose, kinky hair down to the waist, because tightly coiled hair doesn’t grow as fast as straight hair, or hair with a loose curl.

Advertising of hair products by major companies proliferates on TV and in print ads and on billboards of women with long, flowing hair.  These images are absorbed by the subconscious, especially when we are children.  We see them over and over again, in magazines, on covers of books, hair-dye bottles and hair products of every kind.  Not to mention the long and ‘sexy’ haired models used to sell everything from cars to clothing.  There’s a subtle message being sent that you’re not attractive unless you look like this. Imagine for just a second how it would have been if the reverse were true; if all your life you saw only images of beautiful short, kinky, healthy, hair everywhere?  You can’t even imagine it, can you?  Probably not, because long is the standard for beauty in America and of course long, straight and blond hair is considered the ultimate description of beauty in the western world; an idea that’s spreading globally, which is not a good thing if that’s not your heritage.

Many clients who come to me for consultations mention on their questionnaire that they want their hair to be long, or at least longer.  There’s nothing wrong with that, if you hair has the DNA to grow longer and if it’s not short because it’s damaged, fried, broken off or just not cared for properly.

As a child I dreamed of having long hair. Literally, I used to have dreams that I had long hair.  Then one day in 1977, after sitting for eight hours to have my hair braided with extensions, I had long hair! (It was very well crafted by gifted braider Shay Wafer, a good friend to this day, who taught me to add extensions to hair.)

Finally, I had long hair (kind of).  I must tell you, this was way before most people knew of any type of extensions; men certainly knew nothing about braided extensions or extensions of any kind.  What amazed me was the attention I received, especially from men, because they believed this was my real hair.  It was unbelievable!  But what really surprised me was my reaction to these men.  Instead of being flattered, I felt offended.  I realized it wasn’t me that they were responding to, but it was the long hair.  And the dream, my dream about what long hair would mean to me, fell apart.  I realized I was still who I had always been.  Long hair didn’t make me a better person, a more beautiful person.  I was still me, but with long extensions and now I was seen as so desirable because of this false hair.  That was a real eye-opener and helped me to put a lot of things in perspective around image, self-esteem and self-knowledge.  Hair does not make the woman!

Now, 30 years later, a lot has changed regarding our feelings about our hair.  There has been so much awareness, awakening, discovery and acceptance and acknowledgement!  I feel so blessed to have witnessed most of this firsthand through the many beautiful sisters who have sat in my chair or who have come to Khamit Kinks over the years to transform not only her hair, but also their minds.

What’s wrong with long hair?  Absolutely nothing, if that’s what you want.  It’s not how long your hair is or how you wear it.  Your thoughts are what’s important. Do you love your hair?  Do you accept and appreciate it?  Do demonstrate respect by taking good care of the health of your hair?

How long your hair is, matters not.  What matter is how long your memory is of your ancient ancestors who knew best how to love and treat our hair.  They have images of this on the pyramids and ancient sculptures of our regal kinky crown can be in museums around the world.

So I ask the question again, ‘Is your hair long enough’?  Is would want some advise regarding this matter please visit us at Khamit Kinks.com or give us a call at 718-422-2600.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by tre2k on June 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I agree with you that DNA does in fact dictate how long our hair can grow. But the shortest growing phase in humans is 2yrs and using a moderate rate of 1/2 inch per month with no breakage yields 12 inches of hair. I think that standard (stretched of course) is reasonable. Barring exceptions, which there always are, I believe kinky hair if cared for and NOT over combed can acheive at least 12 inches. (google hair growth phases)
    Oh and I’ve seen waist loose (not loc’d) length 4a hair.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Robin on June 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    There are MANY black women growing their hair to waist length. The natural hair community online – YouTube – is just astounding me daily as to the lengths black women are growing their hair to with proper care. Chicoro, Kim Love of kimmaytube or luvnaturals.com, Nikkimae, Rusticbeauty, Crownofhisglory, Donna Mac. I would urge you to check out what’s going on these days in natural hair.

    Reply

    • Thank you for urging me to check out what going on these days in natural hair. While medium to loosely curled textured may grow waist length, one thing that many aren’t aware of is the fact that just because something works on You Tube for person A, B or C, doesn’t necessarily translate into working for all the dozens, hundreds or thousands watching on their computer. But again, Thank you for your timely advice.

      Reply

  3. Posted by nevisnice on June 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Anu,

    Thank you for your refreshing commentary!!! I share your sentiments 100%. And while I appreciate the other posters’ take on growing long kinky hair, I really don’t see anything wrong with hair that DOESN’T or CAN’T grow long. Short kinky textured hair is beautiful, and can be very feminine. It really is about changing our mindset about how we view hair texture, length and femininity in the African/African American community. I think we need to shift away from the whole “you CAN grow long hair if you care for it right” mantra because the reality of it is that not everyone can grow long hair, no matter how well they care for their hair.

    You tube is great on hair care, but to echo Anu, what works for those you-tubers doesn’t work for all, or even half, of black women. Otherwise, why aren’t there more black women on the street with long 4a or whatever hair? (I can’t stand the fact that there is a “hair grade” for different textures but that’s a whole other issue, lol). We certainly can’t say we aren’t taking good care of our hair, since black women are major hair care/product consumers.

    That being said, personally I love having short natural hair. So much easier to maintain, and I am really loving it over these hot summer days :). I’ve had long hair in the past but I’m just not a long-hair kind of woman, I figure I could always come visit Khamit Kinks if I want to get some length added by getting kinky twists 🙂 I really like the kinky twist style, so cute!

    Keep the great posts coming!

    Reply

    • Dear Nevisnice,
      I’m not sure where you are, but here in NY today was a scorcher, 93 degrees. It is hot! And reading your post was like having a tall glass of cold ice tea in all this heat. I totally agree with you regarding shifting away from the whole worship (my word) of long hair. All hair types and lengths are beautiful to me when the hair is healthy and well cared for. That should be the goal, not how long can it be. But of course everyone travels a different road to self discovery about many things in life including the beauty of their hair.

      I enjoyed your writing style and your perspective.

      Thank you for your insight and support!
      ~Anu

      Reply

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