How Natural Hair Challenges Help With Length Retention

Last updated on May 27th, 2023 at 02:28 pm

length retention

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Every time you turn around, there’s a natural hair challenge going on – a Castor oil challenge, bun challenge, twists challenge, protective style or other challenge…it never ends!

Well, there must be something to it. Ya think? I think.

Regardless to the type, challenges force you to focus. In the case of natural hair challenges, there’s one thing they all have in common.

Length Retention

Yeah yeah. Some naturals would prefer to to rock a short ‘do but for the most part we are all looking to grow that Rapunzel length hair (or at least to mid-back length). Why else would the search for things like “growing long hair” and “retain length” yield such lofty results on Google:

growing long hair
retaining length


Now, I’m not an SEO expert but what I do know is when a lot of people start targeting certain keywords it’s because many people are conducting searches using those very words (amateur SEO lesson over now :-)).

Anywho, natural hair challenges usually force us to focus on one particular way of caring for our hair that yields the result of length retention. Let’s examine a few.

Castor Oil Challenge

Jenell, Founder of Kinky Curly Coily Me hosts a castor oil challenge quarterly. Participants incorporate the use of castor oil into their daily hair regimens by rubbing it into the scalp and the roots of the hair with the goal of stimulating hair growth and thickening the hair.

For the most part, the goal is hair growth but it’s closely associated with length retention because you can’t retain what doesn’t grow!

Protective Style Challenge

You can almost always find one of these challenges happening on YouTube, Instagram etc. The idea is to wear styles that protect your ends from exposure to the elements and rubbing against your clothes.

While protective styling can be a double edge sword (sometimes leading to breakage due to too much manipulation), it can help with length retention with low hair manipulation/maintenance.

I’m Kicking Off a Challenge 🙂

coconut oil

Retaining length with natural hair challenges can be difficult without focus. However, one focus could be on a specific product you use.

Coconut oil is a beloved oil for most naturals. It has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft to protect the protein integrity of the hair and help the hair retain moisture.

One thing about coconut oil is it’s typically solid at room temperature. For some of us, this makes it a little more difficult to use during the colder months.

A few months ago, I realized that hosting a coconut oil challenge during the summer months could prove very beneficial. Now that the temps are heating up, it’s easier to keep your coconut oil liquefied (especially if you live in an apartment that’s beyond warm when the AC is on vacation).

So, I kicked off a Coconut Oil Challenge where I shared ways to use coconut oil to help with length retention.

For more on retaining length on natural hair challenges, check out these length retention hairstyles for fine natural hair.

Share with friends!

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."

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jasmynn Lee

    I hope this is the right place to place my comment..
    I am natural..
    I use coconut oil to seal my hair after I cowash and add my leave-in..
    Yes my hair has been very moisurized but I have seen no difference in the strength..

  2. Devin Jackson

    1. Are you relaxed or natural? 2. How did you use coconut oil this past week? 3. Have you noticed a difference in your hair’s strength or moisture level?
    I am a natural girl lol. I really just greased my scalp a little every other day and rubbed it on my ends because they are fragile. My hair feels a little stronger already. As far as moisture levels goes yes but I put a lot in my hair because its thick and I live in Arizona its like 112°. The humidity kills my hair lol.

    1. Michelle

      112???? Lord. I hear you. Yeah coconut oil is your best friend to help retain that moisture

  3. Marcelo

    whoa, that is a ton of people looking! had no idea it was such a goal for so many of us. I did a protective style challenge last summer with a friend of mine and it was fun : ) I learned a lot. I’d definitely like to try another challenge soon, but something different. What is your favorite??

    1. Michelle

      the coconut oil challenge kicked off today 🙂

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