Evolution of The Fro: Managing Your Hair Through Each Length Phase

Hi ladies!

Often times we are given the basics of  how to care for our hair generally- moisturise and seal, detangle/comb wet or damp hair, take care of your ends etc. However as useful as this advice is many of us  (myself included), often overlook the need to educate others about the specific skills and tips needed  for the different length stages of  hair. Here is a quick run down.

Your hair is short, cute and you're loving it. Here you just want to master the basics of getting a simple routine down. How often you want to deep condition, when to moisturise and combing. At this stage you can still get away with an afro comb.
Pay specific attention to when your hair feels dry and what products it likes. This is the testing zone and with relatively short hair, the floor is open to all sorts of experiments as there is not much to lose (no pun intended).
Be wary of excessive use of head bands or accessories which may put a strain on your hairline. We all love us a good headband during this stage.
Also be wary of over manipulation. As much as you can do whatever you want, don't take it too far if you are concerned about health and length retention :-)

The Awkward Stage

 Your hair is now too long to be short, but not quite long enough to be considered long. You've also settled into your staples. The extra length makes you want to play with it more. At this stage you want to master the art of detangling (dry and wet), knot and tangle prevention, breakage prevention, heatless stretching and protective styles that work for you.

A major pitfall at this length is wanting to get you hair to longer lengths faster. You will find yourself looking up all sorts of growth potions, pills and length retention methods to get to APL and beyond within the next three months! Don't jump onto every band wagon, try one thing at a time (give it a three to four month trial) and above all be patient with your hair. 
Again be wary of over manipulating your ends as you try to stretch your hair for visible length. Note that the damage caused at this stage will usually become visible when your hair is longer. So try to prevent mid-shaft splits which are caused by rough manipulation and over-stretching. And pay closer attention to your ends.

Long Hair

 Armpit Length

Ijeoma of Klassy Kinks

At APL and beyond the most important thing to grasp is that you are dealing with old hair. I repeat! You. Are. Dealing. With. Old. Hair. You want to find more protein based products to help strengthen the last 3 to 4 inches of your as it is weaker due to age. Incorporate indirect heat for more effective deep conditioning. Somehow at this stage people complain that their hair goes off their staples. I think it is because the hair requires more from a product to maintain it due to age. Consider trying out a few new products to keep the fro happy. Don't be afraid to trim and dust (cutting off less than a quarter of an inch of your ends) as necessary, your hair is more prone to splitting now. Consider a dusting schedule as well.

The temptation to use direct heat will be stronger as your hair is longer. Try to keep it to a minimum. This is where your detangling and tangle prevention skills will come in handy as your hair is more prone to tangling and knotting. I've personally found keeping my hair stretched does a world of good in this department.

Bra-Strap Length and Longer

Hair crush Geraldine The Great
By now you have caught the concepts of  handling the hair as gently as possible, detangling, quickie protective styling, keeping it stretched and more protein. Be sure to keep the protein-moisture balance in place.
Due to longer length, you are more experimental in terms of styling and more willing to venture into braid-outs, bantu knot-outs, flexi-rods, and most especially heat styling and straightening. A word of caution to go at this  with a pinch of salt - style in moderation.

 One more thing about the long hair stage is that due to length, washing may be conducted  less often at it is when majority of manipulation and breakage occur. After watching quite a number of long-haired naturals on youtube and reading some of their blogs, the general trend is to wash fortnightly or even less often to reduce breakage. However they keep their hair stretched and as moisturised as possible between sessions. They also ensure they keep their scalps clean although they aren't washing all the hair as often. This is usually with a quick roots-and-scalp-only rinse through, or rubbing the scalp with cotton wool dipped in water and apple cider vinegar, or undiluted apple cider vinegar.

I'll be back next week with more demystifying.

What tips do you think are essential at each stage? Add on to the list!


  1. i shall be saving this post

  2. At the long hair stage, my advice is.... cut it and start all over again!

    LOL, okay I'm kidding.

    Good post, Bee!

  3. Lol Berry.Don't we all love Geraldine's mane.Even though I am transitioning,I am past the TWA,awkward and APL lengths,when I do chop,ill be taking all these into consideration.Nice write up.

  4. adding this post to my home screen...
    nice post..

  5. i shall be saving this post for motivation

  6. I have learnt more from your write up.

  7. At twa stage,love your hair and stop over crushing on other naturals haiir

  8. I'm currently in the APL stage and my staples have worn off.

    I'm currently trying out alternatives.

    1. Same thing going on here...Looking for new conditioners and leave-ins most especially.

  9. I'm at the last stage, and that has been the most challenging for me when it comes to trying to maintain the old ends.


Please drop a comment, we want to learn from you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...