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How To Measure Your Natural Hair Length (4 Methods)

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Measuring your hair’s length is one of the most fascinating things to do especially if you are actively trying to grow your hair.

In fact, a few years ago I could even say that I was obsessed with the length of my hair and seeing how much my hair had grown when I was actively paying attention to it.

Trying to work out how much your hair has grown is one of the most frustrating but deeply rewarding things to do. Measuring the length of your hair gives you insight into how good your hair care routine is and if there is anything that you need to change or do differently.

Once you know your hair is growing, you know you must be doing something right.

Most people want to make sure they are doing things right when it comes to their hair growth journey, especially those of us with natural hair.

Today we are going to look at what is the best way to do a hair length check? We are going to cover this plus the different ways that you can measure your hair length including how to measure straight and curly hair as well as look at the different terms that surround hair length.


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How to measure hair


Different Categories Of Hair Length

We all measure hair length in different ways with a number of different variables.

Long length hair, can be considered as long hair that is waist length.

Medium length hair, hair that is around your shoulders.

Short length hair, hair that is anywhere around or above your ears.

These are just very loose ways in which you can categorise different hair lengths to see how far along you are in your hair journey.


Different Methods To Measure Your Hair Length

There are lots of different ways that you can measure the length of your hair. Some are more effective than others but generally speaking each of the ways will give you an idea of where you stand.

Let’s take a look at some of the different methods that we can use to measure the length of your hair.


1. Hair Length Chart

Hair length charts can give you a relatively good idea of where your hair is. Generally speaking, your hair will fall into a particular category on the hair length chart. It’s fairly easy to judge where your hair is according to a chart.

Some of the common terms to measure your hair are as follows:

Ear length, bra strap length, shoulder-length hair etc.

The idea behind measuring your hair strands in this way is that you can easily see from the chart where your hair is.

You simply take a section of hair, stretch it out and see where it reaches according to the chart.


Hair Growth Chart


Pro’s Of Using A Hair Chart

  • You can quickly see where your hair is without too much fuss.


Con’s Of Using A Hair Chart

  • Measuring your hair in this way doesn’t give accurate measurement as to the growth you may have had in the space of a month etc. It won’t be until you reach the next milestone on the hair chart that you can be assured that you have seen real growth. This could be discouraging for some.
  • It doesn’t necessarily take into consideration the fact that your hair may be of different lengths in different places. This may be difficult to track.


2. Measuring Tape

Using a hair measuring tape is another great way to check on the progress of your hair growth. It’s a simple and effective way to take a true measurement of your natural hair length.

The best practice for using a measuring tape:

  • Take a section of hair and gently pull it straight if you have curly or wavy hair.
  • Press the tape as close to the root of your hair as possible, right from the crown of your head.
  • Unravel the tape until you get to the end of the section of hair.
  • Take note of the number on the measuring tape.


Measuring tape for hair 


Pros Of The Measuring Tape Method

  • By using the centimetre side of the measuring tape you can very quickly see how much growth you have had in a short space of time.
  • You can easily measure different parts of your hair if your hair is not one length.


Cons Of The Measuring Tape Method

  • It’s better to use a soft tape to prevent snags to your strands of hair and for easy manoeuvre.
  • It can be tricky to hold the tape measure at the top of your head and see the number it measures at the same time, you may need a friend to help you.


3. Length Checking T-Shirts

Length checking shirts have become extremely popular recently. It is a very similar method to the length check chart in that they can both use body parts as a unit of measurement but there are some that will also use inches of length to measure growth.




Pros Of Using Length Checking T-Shirts

  • It’s very easy to see where your hair reaches on the t-shirt which makes measuring very simple.
  • Easy to track growth inch by inch.


Cons Of Using Length Checking T-Shirts

  • If you don’t wear the t-shirt in the exact same manner as you did the first time it could throw your results off.
  • Depending on your body type the t-shirt will fit different people differently so comparing your growth to the next person will not necessarily be the same.


4. Comparision Pictures

Taking comparison shots as your hair grows is another really good idea. Being able to compare your personal growth can be a huge confidence booster.

You can take pictures as often as you like for comparison. You can do so weekly, monthly or quarterly if you like.


Pros Of Taking Comparison Pictures

  • You can easily see your personal progress.
  • It takes only a second to take a selfie
  • The results can be stored and tracked on your phone very easily along with the date.


Cons Of Taking Comparison Pictures

  • These results can be inaccurate depending on how your hair is behaving on the day
  • You cannot get an accurate measurement of growth
  • In some pictures, you may not notice any growth at all. This can be discouraging.


Which Method Is The Best For Measuring Growth?

Personally speaking, I would say that using a tape to measure growth is the best method. Although this method can take a little time to complete it will give you the best, most accurate results.

You can easily track your growth over a period of time by noting down your results each time.

If you don’t have the time to invest in using a tape measure then I would say a length checking t-shirt could be the next best option.


Consider Types Of Hair

Hair types are also something that you should consider when talking about how to measure your hair length.

Andre walker created a system which allows a person to categorise their hair into hair types. These range from straight to very kinky curly textures.

You can see from the hair chart below where your hair falls into which category.

The reason to consider hair type when talking about measuring hair length is that trying to take pictures of hair growth when you have straight hair or wavy hair is going to be very different to taking comparison pictures of hair 4c hair texture where the curls are a lot tighter and therefore growth is more difficult to see.

This is why it’s always a good idea to stretch your hair to check growth.

You must also consider that hair density can also make a difference in how your hair looks in terms of growth. If you have more dense hair strands it could make your hair appear shorter as your hair will have more of an outward growth rather than downwards. This is more the case for those of us with natural hair.


Final Thoughts On How To Measure Your Hair Length

Although it’s great to know how much your hair is growing it should not become an obsession. Hair can be enjoyed at different lengths and the length of your hair should not define your hair journey.

Rather than checking on the progress of your hair growth, be more interested in being able to indicate that your hair is healthy and the products that you are using are working well for you.

Another important factor is to make sure your length retention is good. There’s no point in trying to grow your hair long if you are not following the best practice when it comes to retaining that length and taking good care of your hair.


How to measure hair growth



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