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New Journey, New Mission - I cut my hair last week!
by Kim_Love - November 21, 2014

SHORT SUMMARY:

After 5 long (long!)years of maintaining my hair on the Thriver's regimen, it's time for a change.  I've recently cut my hair to a more manageable length in order to cut down on the amount of time I spend maintaining it.  My new length, APL (armpit length) which is now even throughout my entire head, also improves the look of my styles.  My new hairLUV path is "Thriving-Maintainer", meaning, I will still carefully handle my hair, but style it more often. YAY!

 

Stretched Hair

TIME FOR A CHANGE

Back in the Fall of 2009, I began a growth-focused hair journey.  Over 5 years, I took exceptional care of my hair to preserve as many strands as possible.  When I started my journey, my hair had never grown past shoulder length and I was determined to grow it as long as possible.

What I achieved was beyond my wildest dreams.  Within six months, I had grown hair beyond my armpits and a year later it was about waist length.

And although the longest reaching part of my hair actually made it to tailbone length, much of my hair has remained at hip length for the past 3 years (2011 - 2014). 

This was crazy.  Beyond crazy.  And gratifying! I never knew I could grow my hair so long.  I loved dispelling myths about afro-textured hair.  Yes, our hair can grow long and I had video documented proof for all the world to see.

However, I never intended to keep the same hair care routine going beyond 5 years! I never intended to devote the majority of my Saturdays and Sundays caring for my hair forever.

I surpassed my hair length goal a long time ago and there's nothing left to prove.   I simply want my weekends back!

 

Stretched Hair 2

MAINTAINING LONG HAIR REQUIRES EFFORT

Maintaining very long afro-textured natural hair requires incredible discipline and time commitment.  You have to carefully handle your strands to prevent breakage and wash it routinely to remove dust and debris which contribute to knots.  I spent on average 6-8 hours each Sunday on my hair care routine:

2 - 2.5 hours to detangle

1.5 hours to wash, condition and part into sections

2 - 4 hours to style

I usually placed my hair in two-strand twists I could easily set with rollers later in the week.  I kept my hair in protective styles 95% of the month!  This means I rarely ever wore it out and "glamorous" because the styling trade-off (breakage, longer detangling sessions) was too much of a risk and I had a goal to reach.

APL

 

NEW STYLING OPTIONS

With my new hair cut, I have different styling options.  Even though I grew my hair incredibly long and had many styling options, I usually wore it up in a bun to keep it off my shoulders (purse straps, car doors, ouch!).  Plus, even though my hair was long all over, it was never completely even.  The back of my hair (which is lower on my body) easily reached hip length, but the front and sides were always waist length.  This means I always had to style my hair with this in mind.  Styles I wore when my hair was shorter didn't look the same (or as good) at a longer length.

I have medium density hair. Density refers to the actual number of follicles on your head. You are born with a permanent number of pores on your scalp dedicated to outputting hair.  Hair does not become thicker as it becomes longer.  Length does not equal fuller hair, just longer hair.

There are several good reasons people get hair cuts.  A good cut can improve the shape and appearance of your styles.  My hair now feels and appears thicker even though it's not.  Part of the reason is that hair naturally tapers as it grows longer and the more even your hair the fuller your ends will look.

I'M FREE TO STYLE MY HAIR MORE OFTEN. YAY, I'M FREE! :-) 

Because of the risk of knots, tangles and breakage, I rarely wore my hair out.  Styling wasn't worth the cost of longer detangling sessions.  And since my goal was to grow my hair very long, styling just wasn't worth the cost of setbacks.

Now that I'm on a less growth-focused hairLUV path, I can take more risks and feel good about them.  I can "enjoy my hair" the way (normal?) people do. 

BETTER UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF MY CUSTOMERS

My new hairLUV path allows me to better understand my customers.

Most people have daily lives that restrict the amount of time to care for their hair.  Few people have the time or desire to grow hair beyond their waists.

Although the hair tips I've given over the years are useful no matter your current length, longer hair care maintenance requires a level of commitment most people can not make.

By cutting my hair to a length most customers have or can reasonably maintain, my tutorials become more relevant.

The overwhelming majority of my customers and hairLUV members have hair above waist length.  In fact, armpit is the most common length stated by hairLUV members (shoulder length is a close second).

The most common question I get when I create hair tutorials is "what about shorter hair lengths?" Most people want to style their hair as much as possible, so it makes sense for me to focus more on styling.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A minority of people really never got the point of my hair journey, or just couldn't relate to my level of commitment all these years.  Fortunately, the vast majority of you have always understood my mission and dedication to my goal.  I hope I've made you proud.  I am proud of what I've accomplished over these past 6 years of my life.  It's time for a new journey though! 

Don't worry, I'm not about to start neglecting my hair!  I feel it's kind of impossible to break some of the (obsessive) habits I've formed over the past few years.  I still handle my hair gently with an awareness that every strand counts. But now I won't have to concern myself with examining my ends and cutting them individually.

Bantu Knot Out

MY NEW HAIR CARE ROUTINE

hairLUV path: Thriving-Maintainer

Detangling: Once a week

Washing: Once a week

Conditioning: Once a week

Trimming:  Classic trim (with a focus on maintaining a "neater" hemline)

Length Goal:  Bra strap length

Now that I've cut it (and I admittedly got a little scissor happy) my perfect "lifestyle length" is probably closer to bra-strap.  I realized this after styling my hair for the first time since I cut it.  

I want my hair to graze my shoulders when I wear it out so I'm not concerned with purse straps. But I want it to fall well below my shoulders when I do a no-heat stretch (for versatility).

With my new style-focused routine, this shouldn't be a problem.  And won't that be exciting to witness?  To see the limits of a more style-focused routine.

I'm SUPER excited about my new journey and so relieved to return to more simpler, care-free (but not careless!) times. ;-) 

Take care,

♥ Kim 

18 Comments
Shantesblues
Shantesblues
What did you do with your hair? Donated? Store it?
Nov 26 '14 | 0 Likes
    Shantesblues
    Shantesblues
    No freaking way. 😲😲I can't believe it. You look fabulous darling! Your hair looks so healthy and fuller. That Banu knot out is stunning....Need a tutorial ASAP. Yay good for you Kim. Enjoy the extra time, your the hardest working hair woman in the business lol
    Nov 26 '14 | 0 Likes
      Dacoilwhisperer
      Dacoilwhisperer
      Hey Kim! Good for you! Do what's best for you and your lifestyle! I too cut my BSL hair to EL (ear length), a DOPE tampered cut, because I could NO LONGER dedicate 8 hours to my hair on the weekends. It would make me anxious to wash my hair. Truth be told I started to hate, yes hate my hair. No longer! Takes me 2 hours from detangle to style and I LOVE it! The cut is EVERYTHING and I'm back loving my hair again. So carefree and I'm happy with my decision. Granted we live in a world that loves longer hair... Shoot I love long hair as well but with 2 jobs and a husband... no ma'am, I just won't do it. #nolongeraslavetomyhair
      Nov 24 '14 | 0 Likes