Length check and long overdue hair update

I took pictures last week to check my hair growth progress (quarterly check in). I was really disappointed. Generally speaking, it looks like it has not grown AT ALL in the past three months.

I'm not sure if the lack of growth is a farse because I use my body as a measurement tool, or if it's a fact because I've had some serious breakage, or if it's a fact because I've reached my hair's break point AKA critical length (Jc talks about it here and here). I measured my hair with a ruler and got the following measurements:

Front - 9.5"
Side - 9"
Back - 7.5"

Check the side-by side January/April comparisons...

I don't know exactly what the deal is but I do know that my hair has never been longer than the length it is currently at. The last time it was this long was when I was a freshman in high school - over 10 years ago. The books I've read highlight that when hair reaches this break point, it needs extra TLC, perhaps even a change in regimen.  The lack of progress has led me to frustration...and to wear my hair out last week - I know counterproductive. Additionally, if I still plan on participating in Loo's hair challenge, I need to keep my hair in 2-week sets of twists until baby Naja comes.

So, what's my plan? Here's a quick recap: Weeks 9-10 I wore a flat twist updo, weeks 11-12, I wore two-strand twists, and week 13 I wore a series of out styles. I'm moving into week 14 of the 6-month challenge. Saturday night I two-strand twisted my hair, after a fresh wash, with the intention to start locs moving forward.

I decided to do this because I don't want to spend hours on my hair at this point in my life. I want to be presentable, and I want to have long hair. I cannot seem to achieve all of these things without committing a significant amount of time to my hair (4+ hours a week). And to be frank - I'm tired of dealing with it. I really just want easy hair right now, and when you have hair like mine, managing it to be healthy is WORK!

I mentioned locking my hair in previous post here. While I don't love everything about locs, I also don't love everything about being a free-strand natural. Thus I decided to go with the style that gives me the least amount of grief, paired with the most satisfaction for my current wants and needs. Technically speaking, I should really be able to continue with the challenge if I stick with my plan of locking my hair. In short, that's the plan. I have more details below for those of you with more questions.

Answers to other questions for my hair enthusiasts
Why did you start with two-strand twists (in contrast with comb coils)? Because of the length of my hair. I called a salon to ask them what they normally do to start locs on shoulder-length natural hair, and they said they would do two-strand twists.
Why didn't you go to a professional? When I called the salon and they told me they would start my locs with two-strand twists, I thought it would be wasteful to pay them to do something I do well. Why pay them upwards of $120?
Are you aiming for free form locs? No, I used a comb for all of my parts and plan to keep my parts separated and neat.
Do you plan to go to a professional for re-twisting/styling? Nope.
How many twists did you do? About 80 in total. The first two times I loc'd - I went for really small ones, now I realize that I'd prefer medium-sized locs, about the size of a pen.
What products did you use on your twists? A mix of flaxseed oil and aloe vera gel. I plan to use this mix for re-twisting.
How long did it take you to twist your hair? 2.5 hours
How often do you plan to re-twist your hair? Monthly, perhaps every 2 weeks for the first couple of months.
Are you REALLY SERIOUS about this? I can't say for certain that I won't change my mind, but I will say that I have a lot of things changing in my life now, and I feel like now is a great time to make this move. My hair has been very symbolic of what is going on in my life. I feel like transitioning into a low(er) maintenance category is a good move right now. There's something about locs that are low-key and beautiful. Locs require patience and waiting...there are definite parallels to my personal life.

If I missed something - feel free to ask a question in the comments.


  1. Aww good luck! Hair should not be a source of frustration especially with the little one on the way!

    I do think that your hair actually looks thicker in Jan compared April. It tapers much more in April which probably means an inch or two cut off may help the hair to gain length again.

    Anyway, all that aside, I do wish you the best with the loc journey!!

  2. I'm glad you posted this. My length check is today and although I have noticed growth since wearing the afro twists, I think that I'm going to be a tad disappointed when I get my ends clipped today. I don't know if wearing the twists is going to be counterproductive as well - you get growth but need your ends trimmed. If that turns out to be the case, at least I can say it's healthy afterwards and then just move on. I still believe in the wash regimen I've chosen for this hair challenge, but need to find better ways to keep my ends right. You've seen my hair so you know. lol

    I do understand your need for change and I know your hair will look great no matter how you choose to style it. Third time's a charm, right?

    BTW, love the name "Naja".

  3. @ Jc - you are totally right, I feel like something happened over the last three months that caused some serious damage. If I were to continue as a free strand, a trim is imminent!

    @ Libby - story of our lives...and thanks times two :)

  4. Thank you, I learned something new about locs today. I didn't know they could be started with two strand twist. I have never did a length check, but I think I should start.

    Congrats on your new hair life! Can't wait for the pictures!!

  5. My length check wasn't a total disappointment. Oooh, my hair is super super thick! I went to my stylist from back in the day (when I was getting my press and curl on) and she shampooed, blow dried, and actually trimmed it, not cut it. Now I think the January trim was a cut instead. Anyhoo, I'll be posting length check photos this week. Be sure to check back and see.

  6. @Libby - yay! I'm glad to hear that, can't wait to see some pics.

  7. Curious- are you going to blow dry your hair before you put your two strand twists in? Do stylists typically blow dry your hair before they do two strand twist for locing?

  8. @ Anonymous - I did NOT blow dry my hair before I put the 2-strand twists in, I did the twists on wet hair. As my hair dried, I used a spritz bottle to keep it wet. All of the stylists that I know always do the twists (for starter locs) on wet hair.