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How to measure hair length?

Serena Piper
How to describe my desired hair length to my hairstylist? Need a guide or a chart… Thanks!

A hair length chart is a great reference point when talking about hair length with your hairdresser. Any misunderstanding in this regard can be fatal, and that’s not what you want from a visit to a salon. If you need to know how to explain everything clearly, read this guide on hair lengths!

Straight vs. Curly Hair Length Chart

There are two ways to describe the length of hair. You either say where you would want your locks to arrive referring to your body parts or precisely specify the desired hair length in inches. Both ways can be presented in a hair chart.

The latter seems like a more accurate kind of measurement, but it might be misleading for those who have curls. An important thing to remember is that the hair inches chart often is a straight hair length chart. Wavy and curly locks tend to look shorter than straight tresses of the same length since the length is lost in twists and ringlets. The curlier the mane is, the longer it has to be to reach a certain point. Waves can shrink up to 5%, while curls can lose up to 30% of the true length due to their tightness.

Also, height matters. The waist-long hair of a tall person will be longer than the same length of a petite woman. The length in inches is used when you are into buying extensions. So, don’t forget to consider your height!

The best way to talk about hair length (or at least the way that makes better sense) is not in inches but body parts.

There are three common categories in the hair length guide:

Short hair stops above the shoulders. It is up to 12 inches for straight tresses and 14-16 inches for waves and spirals.

Medium hair has the length that goes from the shoulder to the armpit, which is about 12-18 inches for straight strands and up to 24 inches for curly ones.

Long is any hair that is beyond this length.

Different hair lengths are often associated with different lifestyles. Sometimes those who opt for shorter hairstyles are busier and don’t want to spend too much time looking after the long mane. But the cut length tells a lot about the attitude and character too!

One makes a general decision about how long the locks would be, but within a certain length, there are plenty of different female haircuts that suit various face shapes and hair textures.

Short Hair Length

Let’s start with a very short hair length – buzz cut lengths! The name implies that the hair is cut by clippers rather than scissors, including different attachments applied. Immediately after the cut, the hair length would be less than 1 inch. This hairstyle reveals the shape of the head and also makes facial features more noticeable by opening the face. Obviously, it’s an edgy cut, yet not everyone’s cup of tea.

One of the most famous ear-length hair chops is called the pixie. The hair is left a bit longer on the top of the head and very short on the back and sides. The haircut is named after a fairy tale creature with pointed ears from British folklore. The open ears might be a reason for choosing this name. But more likely, the reason could be the playful look the crop gives. A well-done pixie accentuates the eyes, not the ears!

A very popular modern haircut that varies from chin to neck length is the bob. It was created by a Parisian hairdresser more than a hundred years ago. The classic bob is a blunt cut with no layers. Used to be quite scandalous and considered too short when it first appeared, it is a timeless cut that experiences a rebirth at the moment. While jaw-length hair is the most universal and flattering, a woman with a bob looks innocent and dangerous at the same time.

Another hairstyle that is quite popular for short strands is called the undercut. The hair on the top of the head is much longer than on the sides and/or the back, where it is cut very short or even shaven. This style may come with a midi length and long tresses too, which is rarely the case. With longer locks, a shaved temple might go unnoticed, but it becomes obvious on a short length, which is just perfect for making a statement.

Medium Hair Length

Shoulder-length hair can be put in a modest ponytail, and it is quite easy to wear it loose. Alternatively, it can be transformed into a lovely haircut known as the lob or long bob. The lob is a booming trend, which combines the freshness of the bob with the versatility of long hair.

If you want to be accurate with the numbers, you might ask: how many inches is shoulder length hair? It’s 14 inches for straight locks and about 16-18 inches for ringlets. It emphasizes the décolleté and looks great with low-cut dresses. However, you can opt for longer mid-length hair that lands at the lower ends of the shoulder blades. In this case, think of adding layers to the armpit-length hair to avoid a flat look.

Long Hair Length

So, what is considered long hair? The answer is simple – a mane that goes beyond the shoulder blades and longer – up to the lower back – is seen as long.

The most common and popular is mid-back length hair. It also might be coquettishly called the bra strap length.

While waist or tailbone-length hair is difficult to grow, it is still doable. But the possibility of having hip-length, knee-length, calf-length, and ankle-length hair sounds very unlikely nowadays. However, you need to know these terms too, as women with these hair lengths exist.

Xie Qiuping from China has the longest hair in the world. Her locks are 5.62 m (18 ft 5 in), as measured on 8 May 2004.

It might be useful to know that on average, hair grows 6 inches a year, so you can plan your long-time hair goals if you have any. Consider that it’s recommended to cut off half an inch every 2-3 months to prevent split ends.

Now you are prepared to meet your hairdresser! With this hair length chart in mind, you will explain what you want at the moment and what your goals for the nearest future are.

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