Recently I answered an interview question: “Do you have hair length goals or is hair health is more important to you?”
As I thought about that answer I realized that it’s been years since the LENGTH of my hair has been a primary goal. Even when I had relaxed hair, my focus shifted over time from LONG hair, to HEALTHY hair.
Maybe that shift happened partially because my hair growth seemed to have a ceiling, no pun intended. During the time I chemically straightened my hair, it would never grow longer than the nape of my neck, no matter what. So all my childhood dreams of long, flowing hair, slowly died.
But another reason for the shift in my hair priorities, was Ellen. Ellen was my hairdresser for a few years. She was a fiery, no-nonsense, born-again Christian, Spirit-filled, tell-it-like-it-is kinda lady. Whenever I went to get my hair shampooed or relaxed I would come away with some newly-gleaned wisdom about hair and life. One of those nuggets dropped in my lap when I heard her lamenting one day:
“I don’t know WHY these women just keeping all of this long hair and when you look closely at it, all you see is split ends. They need to CUT off those split ends and learn to treat their hair properly so they can have HEALTHY hair. What’s the use of putting in these pretty styles into long, UNHEALTHY hair?”
That single lament marked a turning point in how I thought about hair. My eye started to become trained in whether hair looked healthy and vibrant, or dull and lifeless, regardless of length, style or whether it was chemically processed. And I began to get curious about what would help me to attain and maintain a healthy main, regardless of its length.
Fast forward to now, when I have really long locs which, by the way, I’m really wanting to cut, and I have my own hair maintenance product, Irie Essentialz Hair & Scalp Oil. I can’t TELL you how many women have asked me: will this help my hair to grow long? Will it make my hair grow quickly?
Here’s my answer: healthy hair on a healthy body will grow. Eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, keep your scalp clean, learn how to treat your hair for moisture and resilience, be gentle with your hair. All things being equal, it will grow!
So: if I had to make a choice between healthy hair and long hair, healthy hair wins EVERY time. If I can have both – I’ll keep long hair in the cold months and short hair in the warm months, thank you!