How Long is Too Long for Hair: Natural Hair Especially

Last updated on May 27th, 2023 at 10:47 am

Growing and having longer hair isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes diligence to grow long hair and it takes faithfulness to maintain it. However, “how long is too long for hair” and at what length you should decide, “that’s it!” is going to be different for everyone.

Before I share what I think about at what length your hair is considered long and what is the ideal hair length, let’s first look at a broad but concise definition of what long hair is.

What Is Long Hair?

how long is too long for hair

So, first off what is considered long hair? There’s two potential answers to that question:

  • When do YOU consider your hair to be long? Then, that’s it. Never mind what everybody else thinks.
  • If you want to go with a standard for what is considered long for hair then in my opinion (because this IS an opinion no matter who you ask), as a reference point, once you surpasses 15 inches or shoulder length, it’s considered long. It may not be extremely long but it’s long based on your head, neck and torso length.

15 inches of hair can be arm pit length from the bottom of the head on som and appear shorter (or longer) on others. Your body’s overall length makes that determination.

Hair Length Chart

The above length chart shows an estimation of how long hair is at varying lengths. Where the length of your hair falls will be slightly different based on your curl pattern and body length but this is a good guide to reference. Plus, it can inspire you.

Let’s now look at some factors to take into consideration when determining for yourself how long is too long for hair.

Hair Type and Growing Long Hair

hair types

What you’re about to read is a pain point for some people. So, I wanted to get it out the way early on.

Some may think that only certain races or those with a certain hair type can grow long hair. That’s completely untrue. 

Others may think that you can’t grow long hair if you have a fine hair type, regardless of your race.

long fine hair in a ponytail
Long fine hair in a ponytail

You’ll find a link in the “What Next” section below that shatters each of these beliefs. While I encourage you to read the additional articles at the end of this one, I want to slay those false beliefs with this one statement:

If you have no health or hormonal issues that would affect the health of your hair, you can absolutely 100% grow long hair.

Fine Natural Hair and Faith

There. I said it and I won’t debate it.

The type of hair you have doesn’t determine if you can grow long locks of hair. It may require a bit more work if you have curly hair or a hair type that is a bit more tightly coiled. Yet, that does not mean you can’t reach the goal of long hair if that’s what you want.

Growing long hair requires a lot. I won’t sugarcoat that. However, it is possible for everyone to grow long hair if desired.

Face Shape and Long Hair

face shapes

One thing to take into consideration when deciding how long to grow your hair is your face shape.

Is it oval? round? oblong? square? 

Take into consideration the shape of your face, if you are wanting to make it appear differently. For example, if you want your hair to appear shorter in length, having longer hair and an oblong face may cause your face to appear longer.

Someone with a naturally longer face may appear more balanced in their features with medium length haircuts that give a softer look. Notice I said “more balanced” and not more attractive.

So, You Want to Grow Longer Hair?

how long is too long for hair

The journey to long or extremely longer hair is never linear. Often times we experience set backs on the way to achieving much length.

This could be caused by a number of factors:

  • Getting regular trims too often
  • Sitting in a stylist’s chair and receiving a cut when you only wanted a trim
  • Not properly caring for your hair (for example, you don’t know your hair’s porosity so you care for it incorrectly)
  • Neglecting the health of your hair altogether

If you are starting with short hair (for example, a short pixie cut), it can take some time for your hair to grow out from these types of short cuts. A lot of patience is required to reach long-term hair goals such as this.

If you are starting with very short hair, you will go through an awkward stage where it feels like your hair will never grow but be consistent with your healthy hair practices.

IT

WILL

GROW!

It’s Your Personal Preference

In spite of the advice that is given by others (including myself), how long you grow your hair and even how you style it, is a personal preference.

I’d never be so arrogant as to say “you should do this” or “you should do that.”

Do you want long hair?

Waist length? hip length? knee length?

I say have at it!

A scripture that I love that supports this is found in 1 Corinthians 11:15. It says, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

So, if God approves of long hair, who are we as mere humans to say no, a person shouldn’t grow it long?

Food for Thought: The worst thing you can do when trying to grow your hair out is to leave it in the hands of another.

Reaching Maximum Length Potential

when is hair too long
how to decide when your hair is too long

While it is possible for most everyone to grow long hair, the average person will not reach an obscene length.

Genetics do play a role in being able to grow super long hair.

To simply grow your hair as long as it WILL grow, keep these in mind:

  • Reduce the instances and progression of split ends
  • Pamper the ends of your hair
  • Nourish your hair follicles
  • Distribute your scalp’s natural oils down the hair shaft (especially important for those of us with curly hair)
  • Avoid products that dry your hair out
  • Nutrition
  • Maintain a healthy balance of moisture and protein
  • Protect your hair at all times
  • Time is a factor

Let’s look at each of these individually.

Reduce Instances and Progression of Split Ends

In order for you to grow long hair, one of the main things you will need to do is reduce how often you get split ends as well as stopping the progression of them up the hair shaft.

If you have thick hair, this may be easier to achieve than for someone with thin hair but it is achievable. However, regardless of your thickness, it will take a long time to grow long hair. That’s just how it is. The amount of time it takes will vastly depend on how you care for the ends of your hair.

That’s because hair growth isn’t usually the problem for most people. Length retention is.

Your ability to retain the length you grow in good condition will be a huge determining factor.

Below you’ll find an article sharing tips for how to prevent excessive split ends because they are going to happen. We just don’t want them to happen often.

Pamper The Ends of Your Hair

While very closely associated to reducing split ends, pampering the ends of your hair goes beyond just keeping them from splitting. To pamper the ends of your hair is to nourish them, strengthen them and keep them moisturized.

These actions will lead to a reduction of split ends resulting in you retaining more length.

Nourish Your Hair Follicles

Giving your scalp what it needs to grow healthy hair is just as important as attending to the ends of your hair.

Massaging your scalp with a nourishing hair oil and keeping it clarified of build up will help you to grow your hair longer.

Even though doing scalp massages with hair oils are good for the scalp, there’s a balance to it. You also don’t want to have an oily scalp that attracts dirt and clogs the hair follicles.

An oily scalp is also not good for those with finer hair or even straight hair. Too much oil may lubricate but it will also weigh it down.

Distribution of your scalps natural oils

One of the reasons it can be difficult for those with curly hair to recognize length is dryness. So, being able to distribute your scalps natural oils down your strands can greatly help with that.

This can be done during your scalp massage when the oils in your scalp are stimulated.

Avoid hair products that dry your hair out

The importance of maintaining moisturized hair when you are looking to grow it long can not be overstated.

Using products that dry your hair out like dry shampoo and alcohol based products are no good for supporting a growth journey.

Nutrition

Good nutrition will feed your hair growth. If your dietary intake is poor, your body will very smartly allocate the nutrients most needed to your vital organs. Your hair will get whats left if anything.

Hydration is important too. it’s not just spraying moisture on your hair but making sure you drink enough water to feed your cells (including your hair follicles). 

Maintain a healthy balance of moisture and protein

Regardless of your hair texture or length, it’s important to ensure you maintain a healthy balance of moisture and protein. If one is off, your hair is prone to excess breakage and shedding.

​As a “rule” of thumb I like to apply hair masks that contain protein on wash day at least once a month.

These are usually light protein treatments. On other wash days I’ll use deep conditioners that don’t contain any protein but then I’ll infuse them with oils like this Peppermint and Garlic Hit from Curly Proverbz.

Protect your hair at all times

If you’re going to grow long hair (especially super long), protection is important at every stage of your haircare. This includes how you handle it and maintain it:

– Styling

​- Sleeping

– Detangling

– Washing and Conditioning

– When traveling

The more you protect your hair, the more opportunity you give it to grow and thrive.

Time is a factor

Think about time from two different angles.

There’s the time it takes to grow hair long and there’s the time you have left while on this earth.

Obviously, the younger you start growing out your tresses (taking into consideration trial and error), is more beneficial because you have more time.

Older women looking to grow long hair have less time to grow either due to hormonal changes (hair growth slows some as you age) or simply not having the number of years available to do so. It really depends on when you make the personal decision to start growing long hair.

Long Hairstyles – Inspiration

long hairstyles inspiration

Once you do answer for yourself “how long is too long for hair?,” styling your locks can either be challenging or a joy. Above are some different styles on various lengths of long hair to inspire you in doing a new look once you get to your desired goal.

Please don’t get caught up in the race of the person with the hairstyle. Also, please don’t get caught up in knowing if some of the styles are all their hair. These images are to give you inspiration for your own hairstyling.

If you grow your tresses to any of these lengths, you can do these styles no matter your curl pattern or texture. The thickness of your mane may play a role in how full the styles appear but that’s what’s so great about each of us. We are all unique.

One last thing to make note of regarding styling long hair is you may decide that for a particular look, you need to shorten a section of your hair to adjust the way the style looks.

That’s entirely OK and also goes back to personal preference.

So How Long is Too Long for Hair and What Next?

Now that you realize that the answer to the question, “How long is too long for hair?” is subjective, here are the resources and additional articles referenced throughout the article.

The tips shared in these articles will help you to reach longer lengths:

Hair Growth Secrets for Black Hair: 7 Tips to Grow Faster

5 Ways to Reduce Split Ends

Top 10 Detangling Length Retention Tips for Length Retention

Hair Loss: How Complaining Causes Stress and Hair Loss

Scalp Massages: Tips & Benefits for Fine Hair

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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