How to Measure Your Natural Hair Length

Measuring Hair Length

Is your goal is to grow from a short length to long, gorgeous hair? You may be wondering about the best way to measure your hair length and keep track of your progress. You put a lot of time and effort into taking care of your hair and you want to see if it’s paying off!

There are several ways to go about doing this. Some are easier than others and some are more accurate. The method that you choose will depend on how you plan to use the information, what’s most convenient for you, and who you plan to share the information with.

Using Body Markers

One of the most popular methods, and probably the easiest way of measuring your hair length is by describing it using body parts as milestones. For example, you could say your goal is to grow from ear length to shoulder length hair, mid-back length hair, or hip length hair.

This method is an excellent way of measuring the length of your hair because it is fairly simple and it’s easy for others to understand. It’s also very convenient, as it doesn’t require any measuring equipment and you can measure your own hair without help from anyone else. It’s easy to photograph your results in order to keep track of your progress, and it works whether you have straight hair, wavy hair, or curly hair.

Using body markers also allows you to divide your measurements into different categories of hair length. A short hair length would include shoulder-length hair or shorter. A medium hair length would be armpit length to waist length. A long hair length would be anything waist length or longer.

The down side of the body marker method is that everyone’s body is different. If you are attempting to compare your hair length to your favorite Youtuber, this is not the most accurate way to go about it. Let’s say you are 6 ft tall and your Youtube friend is 5 ft tall. Bra strap length on her may be 15 inches and bra strap length on you may be 20 inches, so of course someone with a shorter torso will reach bra strap length much faster.

Use the body marker method if you want the fastest, easiest way to measure, if the measurements are just for you to monitor your own progress, or if you want to take photos to document your hair care journey.

The hair length chart pictured below gives you and idea of some body markers that you can use to set and monitor your hair growth.

hair length body markers infographic


Length Check T-shirts

The next method of measurement is using a length check t-shirt. The t-shirts have the measurements (usually in inches) already marked on the back of the shirt, so you can pull your hair down to a line on the shirt and it will tell you how long your hair is.

Length check t-shirts are a cute and fun way to document your journey and you get the satisfaction of being able to easily see when you’ve reached a new milestone and celebrate your progress. These shirts make is very easy to take comparison shots of your progress to keep for yourself or to share on your social media pages.

The downside of these shirts is that, as with the body marker method, everyone’s body is different. The t-shirts may not fit the same way on everyone, which would affect the markers on the shirt if they are measured in inches.

Additionally, the lines on the t-shirt may not have been accurately measured to begin with, so if complete accuracy is important to you, that would be something to inquire about prior to purchasing.

A limitation of these shirts is that they only measure the length of the back of your hair. Since different parts of your hair may be different lengths, you won’t be gathering the most accurate information with a length check t-shirt. If you are interested in monitoring the length of your crown or the front of your hair, these shirts may not be the best way to get an accurate measurement.

length check t shirt to measure your hair length

Measuring Tape

A third method of measuring hair length is using a soft tape measure. You would place the tape at your scalp and stretch your hair down the length of the tape in order to find your hair’s length in inches or centimeters. Using a flexible measuring tape is a great way to determine exactly how many inches of hair you’ve grown or retained throughout the year.

This method is one of the most accurate ways to measure. It also has the benefit of being able to determine the length of your hair in areas where you may have different hair lengths - like the front, the nape of your neck, and the top of your head.

If you have thick hair, you may need to measure one small section at a time for the most accurate results.

A measuring tape is also good to use if you would like to compare your hair length to someone else’s since it does not rely on height or body structure to find a measurement. 

A downside to the tape measure method is that you may not have a measuring tape readily available, you may need help holding the tape and your hair at the same time, and this method is more difficult to photograph.

measuring tape to measure your hair length

How to monitor your progress

Don’t perform your length checks too often, or you’ll get discouraged by what seems like a lack of progress. The average hair strands grow at a rate of 0.5 inches per month, so give yourself at least two to three months between measurements to give your hair time to grow.

In the meantime you can use hair extensions or a curly wig to fake it until you make it! Just make sure that you take care of your hair underneath and choose hair stylists who are as dedicated to maintaining your healthy hair as you are. The last thing you want is to damage the hair that you spent so much time growing.

Pictures are the best way to keep track of how your hair is growing. Start with a photo of your current hair length, and then take a comparison photo every 2-3 months to see how you’re doing. If you notice that your aren’t making any progress, this would be a good time to stop and reevaluate what your hair care routine so that you can make the necessary changes.

For this reason, it is advisable to take your hair down from a protective styles or a lace front wig at least monthly so that you can do a proper wash and conditioning treatment to ensure that your hair remains healthy as you grow it out.

Since you have different hair lengths on different parts of your head, it may be helpful to monitor your growth progress in more than one section of your hair. This is also helpful if you are regrowing an area of your hair that has been damaged.

If you have a curly hair type, please keep in mind that it is not necessary to have straight hair in order to perform an accurate length check. You can monitor the difference in your hair length in its natural state, or you can simply pull your hair to stretch it while measuring. Depending on your hair texture, you may want to stretch your hair with braids or rollers before measuring. Using heat to straighten your hair is not necessary, if you’re concerned about heat damage.


Your preferred method of measurement will depend on how accurate you would like to results to be and the purpose of your measurements. If you are simply keeping track of your own progress or sharing photos of your journey online, the body marker method is the simplest way to go.

The other methods can be used just for fun, or if you’d like to put a number on your measurement for improved accuracy. No matter what method you choose, don’t stress about reaching the next milestone! With the right products and healthy hair care best practices, you’ll get to your goal before you know it.

Some people are of the opinion that you should choose the right length based on your face shape or that you have to pick a hair style that is the right fit for your bone structure. I think long hair looks beautiful on those with round faces, square faces - it doesn’t matter! Regardless of your height or face shape you should choose the hair length that makes you happy. Long hair is for everyone!

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