The perception of hair length differs from person to person. As we add to that subjectivity the objective complexity of different hair types, we can begin to understand why most people would be at a loss to estimate how long their hair actually is and which category it fits into.
If you find yourself looking in the mirror wondering if you’ve reached the point where you need to change your hairstyle and hair care routine, or just want to be better equipped to assess your hair length, then you’ve found the right place.
In this hair length guide, we’ll go into the details you need to know: how to assess different hair lengths, how to know how long you can grow your hair, and how to choose the perfect hair length for you.
Length of Hair and Hair Type
As you probably know, there are different types of hair. If you quickly thought of your friends, you would most probably be very apt in arranging them in a line, starting with the ones with the most straight hair and ending with the ones with coily hair. This is intuitive knowledge of something that has only recently been coined as the Andre Walker Hair Typing System. This classification system makes it a bit easier to understand the distinction between hair types and place yourself on the spectrum.
How the hair types affect hair length is extremely easy to understand. Take, for example, a ribbon – if you curl it around itself in a spiral, the distance from its top to bottom will be much shorter than if you hadn’t curled it. Although curly mane looks shorter, in reality, it’s much longer when extended. So, from curly to straight, there are different degrees of distortion in terms of how long the hair appears.
Straight hair is pretty much as long as it looks, save for when it has a light wave – but even then, the difference will be minimal. When it comes to wavy hair, the distortion will be a bit more considerable, and for curly or kinky-coily hair, we’re getting the largest degree of distortion possible. It’ll seem short even if you minimize the shrinkage, when, in fact, it can be longer than straight hair!
How to Measure Your Hair Length
There are a few different ways in which you can know your hair length. First, you can have a look at the hair length chart and estimate the inches based on your particular hair texture and how far it goes beyond your shoulders.
Mind that this will still give you an average hair length, as your own height and neck length matter here too (think of a distance between the top of the head and a waist of a tall and a petite woman).
Women often refer to a hair length chart when buying hair extensions or a wig. Looking at the chart will help you know what length you need to buy to reach your length goals or add fullness to the mane without affecting the length. However, mind that the hair length chart shows where extensions will fall when placed on the top of your head; if you place hair extensions at the nape area, they will eventually be much longer.
The other way to determine the length of your hair – and definitely a more precise one – is to remove a hair from the top of your head and use a regular measure tape or ruler to see how long your hair is (be sure to stretch a hair as you do this). Although it is not recommended to pluck your hair every other day, this method will be good to use if, for example, you’re looking to donate your hair and want to know the exact length in inches.
Common Ways to Describe Hair Length
Of course, you often do not need to know the exact number of inches to describe how long your locks are or what hairstyle you want to achieve. Thus, it makes sense to use body parts, not inches, as reference points.
Short hair is a general category that describes any hairstyle where your hair will fall above your shoulders. This often makes less than 12 inches for straight hair and up to 18 inches for curls. This way, short hair ranges from a buzzcut to pixie (ear-length hair), bob (chin-length hair), and long bob or lob style (shoulder-length hair).
Medium hair goes for the length between the shoulders and the armpits. Armpit-length hair is 18 to 24 inches long for straight and curly hair types accordingly.
Long hair ranges in terms of inches the most. The most common types here are mid-back length (bra strap length) and tailbone length hair. Only a few beauties can eventually achieve healthy knee-, calf-, or floor-length hair.
What’s the Right Hair Length for You?
A lot of people think that the longer our hair is, the better. But that is not necessarily true. There are a few factors to take into consideration when choosing the perfect length for you.
1. Your Face Shape
Many people forget the fact that our hair frames our faces. Depending on where you cut your hair, it can accentuate certain features more than others. For example, middle-length haircuts with bangs that have some body or curl in them make the best haircuts for long faces. At the same time, short hair helps to add volume on top and often makes the most flattering choice for round faces.
While a lot of hairstyling is done to make faces look more like what’s considered the ‘ideal’ face shape (oval), you can decide for yourself which features you want to highlight and which you’d like to balance out with your hair length.
2. Your Preferred Length
While it’s good to keep in mind that certain lengths will be more or less flattering to you, it’s important to go for what you like and what will make you feel the most confident. After all, your hair is an integral part of you, and you should love it. And if you have always wondered what it would be like to cut your hair short, why not just try?
3. The Health of Your Locks
One reason why long hair gets so much admiration is because it really needs to be healthy to grow long without breakage. There is no use skipping the trim and sticking to the length if the ends look thin and shattered. Stay alert to early signs of balding and make sure you retain the thickness of your trends along with the length.
Can Everyone Grow Long Hair?
This is an often asked question – does your hair just keep growing if you don’t trim it? The answer, sadly, is no. Your hair all grows to a specific length that it simply can’t surpass. This is largely influenced by genetics, so looking at how long your mother or grandmother could grow their hair will give you hints here. However, poor nutrition or inappropriate hair care can also cause hair to fall out before it reaches its full-length potential.
If you have set out to make your hair grow as long as it can, take patience. On average, hair grows half an inch per month, which makes a total of 6 inches per year. Still, for some, the growth phase can be even longer, from 2 to 7 years. There are several ways to speed up hair growth, though:
- Taking vitamins for hair growth;
- Practicing the inversion method;
- Using natural remedies like onion juice and ACV rinse.
How to Protect Your Hair Length
We know that most people don’t want to get trims when they are trying to grow their hair. The risk of the hairdresser cutting off too much and the stress of it makes people who looking to retain long mane avoid any type of haircuts. However, this is not the best way to protect your hair length. Here is what you should be doing instead:
- trim split ends regularly not to let breakage progress too far up your hair;
- use hair ties with soft, silky fabrics that won’t add more friction to your ends;
- put your hair in protective hairstyles to avoid daily tear and wear, causing friction;
- keep your locks moisturized at all times.
Choosing the right hair length for you and reaching it can be a long journey. Hopefully, all the information we’ve listed above will help to get you on your way towards the hair of your dreams – whatever the length.