These days we are hearing the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ being thrown around in just about every conversation. We all know the details surrounding the use of those terms and many of us on social media have had some fun coming up with our own “alternative facts” that we have all had a good laugh at.
I wanted to add to the conversation with a pretty common belief among naturals. How many times have you had a conversation with someone and the topic of how long you have been natural comes up? Sometimes when that question is asked it’s because the person is trying to gauge how long your hair should be based on the number of years you say.
In most conversations, women just have a genuine interest in the journey of the person they are talking to without any underlying assumptions, which is what should happen. In this post, I want to tackle the small percentage of us who correlate hair length with years natural. 4 reasons this notion is an alternative fact!
1. long hair is not everyone’s goal
The first reason you should never make the assumption that a woman’s hair length is directly related to the number of years she is natural is because she might have different goals from you or even the majority.
Everyone’s hair journey isn’t driven by the need to have long hair! Women still like the versatility of keeping their hair short if they choose to, growing out their hair when they choose to and they tend to fluctuate between those decisions for years.
2. Setbacks are real
Natural hair does not automatically mean healthy hair! Women who have been natural all their lives can tell you all of the ups and downs of the journey. Many have suffered setbacks that may have meant cutting their hair dramatically.
If you have respect for the journey and the fact that there are pitfalls and fluctuations then you will find that there is no room for assumptions on years vs length.
3. Take the pressure off yourself
This notion that your hair should be long by X amount of years is a lot of pressure for you and your hair. Everyone is different, hair growth is an intricate process that is affected by genetics, overall health and the structure and shape of the hair strand.
Some women retain more length because the strand is less curly and on the opposite end of the scale some women have slower hair growth phases in comparison to others.
The smartest way to approach predicting the future length of your hair is figuring out how your hair behaves based on your overall health and genetics and then determine what regimen to adopt if long hair is your goal.
4. Terminal length does exist
Terminal length is simply the longest possible length your hair can reach if you just allowed it to grow without it ever breaking or being cut. The number of shed hairs human beings lose per day is a 100 but the truth is that number is not set in stone.
There are some women that lose much less and in science these numbers we are given are just guidelines and in some instances just guesses when it comes to predictions on length. Even though we have no real facts when we are looking for specific inches on growth, terminal length is very real and very different for everyone.
If you find that your hair cannot move past bra strap length or shoulder length but then you tweak your regimen and gain half an inch then you are not at your terminal length and you should continue following that regimen.
The concept of terminal length is an entire blog post on to itself but the fact that it exists proves that you cannot assume that a woman’s hair should be X amount of inches long because she has been natural for over X amount of years.
The moral of the story is everyone is different and as you navigate your own journey you have to get in the habit making hair predictions based on your own hair. There is nothing wrong with looking at other naturals for guidance but it is always best to do that without assumptions.
What other ‘alternative facts’ can you think of that exist withing the natural hair community.
Image – @yvonnenelsongh