Earlier in my natural hair journey, I used to do a length check quite often. I have stopped now because I realized that although I was not obsessing over length, I had an unconscious bias where I believed that I had to wait until I was a certain hair length before I can do a certain hairstyle.
That bias was reducing how happy I was with myself and when I realized I took a better stance about my hair length. I made the decision that I would enjoy my hair at whatever length it is. But I know it is still a thing of interest to want to know how long your hair is or how long it grows in a month so I will be breaking down everything you need to know about length checks.
What is a length check?
A length check basically involves stretching a section of your hair (or all your hair). Doing this allows you to see your hair length with minimal shrinkage. The hair length is usually measured against a certain part of the body, compared with length milestones or measured in cm or inches.
Hair length milestones
Hair length milestones are those points that are noticeable and adopted as a generalized marker for hair length. They are relative as the length between milestones will depend on individual body types but they are used nonetheless.
You can read some popular hair length milestones below;
- Neck length: The stretched tip rests at the base of the neck.
- Collar bone length – Collar bone length hair will rest on the collar bone when stretched.
- Shoulder length – Shoulder length hair rests on the top border of the scapula which is the bone at the back.
- Armpit length – At this length, the hair should rest at the apex if the armpit.
- Bra strap length – This is when the stretched hair rests on the top border of the bra strap.
- Mid-back length – The hair rests in the middle of the back or a little below the lower border of the bra strap.
- Waist-length – The hair rests on the waist just above the level of the hips.
How to do a length check
So there are three main ways to do a length check;
Using the length check shirt
These are shirts that have a measuring scale along the back. The measuring scale is graduated in inches or centimeters. To check your hair length, you will stretch your hair (or have someone stretch it) along the measuring scale on the shirt. It is important to keep in mind that there may be inconsistency because of the stretch of the shirt.
Using a tape rule or ruler
This involves taking sections from your hair, maybe a section from the back, and one from the front then measuring with the tape or ruler. it’s most accurate when it comes to measuring and it takes into account various sections of your head that may have different hair lengths.
Using comparison shots
This doesn’t necessarily show the length of the hair in inches or centimeters but it shows that there is length retention by comparing the former length with the newly acquired length. This is a quite popular option and it is the easiest because all you have to do is take pictures.
You can also use a comparison shot to judge increasing hair volume or change in hair shape. All you need to do is take a picture of your hair in whatever state you want (stretched or defined). do the same type of picture every few months in a similar position and watch for a change in your hair length or volume across the photos.
Length checks shouldn’t be done like every week or everyday, you’ll hardly notice any changes if you do that, every few months is a better interval between length checks.
If you want to learn how to achieve your natural hair goals then you should check out this blog post.
Have you ever done a length check? What were your results?
Have fun! Stay glam!
– Drop of black