From childhood to adulthood, it was always preached to me that everything about hair revolves around length.

As a self-proclaimed on-and-off again natural from childhood to adulthood, it was always preached to me that everything about hair revolves around length. In every hair related conversation to this day, 5 out of 6 people I’m conversing with are consistently speaking about length. I found it to be interesting how my friends–and some family members–have become naturals who obsesses over doing constant length checks. These conversations, in some way, remind me of hidden insecurities that straight hair is the “key” to being beautiful and empowerment.

Now I do volume checks instead of length checks

I admit that when I first started my transitioning phase, I was also obsessed with doing length checks. Now that I’ve become realistic about my own hair goals, I’m more in tune with doing volume checks. You may be asking yourself what exactly that consists of.

Because I have densely packed tightly coiled strands, I’m more interested in my hair growing upward and outward versus the length when my hair is fully stretched out with heat. For tightly coiled naturalistas like myself, the hair mainly grows in more of an upward direction than growing downward, unlike those with looser curl patterns. 

I live by the motto: The bigger the hair, the harder they stare.

There are a number of reasons why I’m more concerned with constant volume checks.

1. I like my hair to be big and not flat against my head. I feel like I lose part of my individuality whenever I straighten my hair for a length check because its similar to rejecting my own standards of who I am as an individual. Every head of natural hair is so different that it makes each one of us unique. I don’t want to mask something that expresses a unique feature of my being.

2. The fear of my curls not coming back on the next wash will forever haunt me. Yes, I know my coily hair’s heat tolerance, in addition to an efficient method for straightening my hair. However, going through the year-long process to rehabilitate my curls hurts my little natural heart.

Length vs. volume–what matters to you?

Although more women of color are going back to their natural roots, the conversation of “hair goals” can be seen as divided into separate schools of thinking. Some hold onto the old school way of thinking that length is the ultimate goal; others simply want a healthy head of hair.

There’s no harm done in wanting to monitor the growing volume of your hair. While measuring your length, however, there are certain precautions to take in order to not cause damage. I strongly advocate for my fellow naturalistas to embrace the growing volume of their hair throughout their journey. We don’t have to conform to old ideologies of associating beauty with long waist-length hair to be seen as beautiful. Be You!

Photos courtesy of Jessica Kat

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