The Problem With Length Checks and Hair Challenges (A Friendly Critique of the Hair Goals Set on Forums)
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The natural hair community can be a warm and welcoming space, full of information and inspiration. It can also be a space that celebrates certain attributes over others, and sometimes seeing enough of the same message can lead new naturals (and even old school naturals) to feel discouraged. As a fellow blogger, one of the first natural hair bloggers, and a proud part of the online natural hair community, I can’t help but notice the trend in online forums and sites perpetually seeking information about cultivating long hair by any means necessary. It’s something I understand yet lament at the same time. One of my earliest hair related memories was of rocking a towel on my head and wishing my hair was as long and as big as Diana Ross’ was. We are taught at an early age that long hair is a thing to be prized. We are taught at an early age that long hair is covetable and worthy of envy. We are oftentimes taught that to the detriment of the appreciation of our own hair.

I think many of the hair challenges online can be fun and inspiring, and it can lead us to take better care of our hair sometimes, by doing scalp massages using healthy natural oils and ingredients. But I also think the obsession with growing hair that is back length, or BSL (Bra Strap Length) can become an unhealthy obsession. My hair grows OUT. It grows UP. It grows in a dense and compact cloud of its own construction. It doesn’t necessarily grow down, and constantly pulling on it to measure it made me feel some kind of way, instead of loving it for what it is. A challenge can be a good and healthy thing when done with the right motivations. But it’s important to live your life without comparing yourself to others. Too much of that can lead some of us to not appreciate our natural hair for what it is and what it can be – healthy, strong, and uniquely beautiful on its own terms. That’s just my opinion. I’d love to hear yours!

Do you love hair challenges and length checks? How do they make you feel about your hair? Have they helped you learn any healthy hair tips?

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