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View Full Version : Pointy ends and terminal length



lacereza
April 23rd, 2008, 08:02 PM
I have a theory, and I'd love it if you knowlegable gals (and guys) would weigh in.

The proportion of pointy ended hairs (ie those that haven't been cut) would increase along the length of the hair as it grows. This would mean, I think, that at some point you'd be able to predict approximate terminal length by calculating the ratio of pointed to cut strands. S&D would mess it up though!

Has this been discussed before? And what kind of formula might be useful to try to work it out?

EdG
April 23rd, 2008, 08:46 PM
I think that would essentially be the same as measuring the rate of taper (i.e. measuring ponytail circumference as a function of length).

From rate of taper, one can get an approximate idea of one's terminal length. Thin ends imply that one has reached terminal length (as in my photo).

lacereza, you are nowhere near terminal length. :cheese:
Ed

lacereza
April 23rd, 2008, 09:14 PM
Oh, I know I'm not :) I think mine'd be pretty long. I've just been thinking about it since I've taken to prowling this forum during working hours!

EdG
April 23rd, 2008, 09:23 PM
I think mine'd be pretty long.I think so too.

There's only one way to find out for sure. It may take 5-10 years! :)
Ed

spidermom
April 23rd, 2008, 09:32 PM
I don't think hair growth is well understood. For instance, judging by how thin my ends had become before my most recent cut-back, you would think I was near terminal. Then I cut it back and got a growth spurt. My hair is pretty much right back where it was before the cut, and it took only a little more than a month. The ends are much thicker and are, of course, blunt rather than pointed. Now my hair doesn't look like it's anywhere near terminal. See what I mean?
Before trim:
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c79/spidermom/pretrim1.jpg
Signature picture is current.

DaveDecker
April 23rd, 2008, 09:43 PM
I think that would essentially be the same as measuring the rate of taper (i.e. measuring ponytail circumference as a function of length).

From rate of taper, one can get an approximate idea of one's terminal length. Thin ends imply that one has reached terminal length (as in my photo).

EdG, that was precisely my discovery. My terminal length was ankle.

mommy101405
April 23rd, 2008, 10:17 PM
So is there such a thing as someone who doesn't have a terminal length? B/c I see pics online of women who have hair longer than their bodies by several feet.

spidermom
April 23rd, 2008, 10:55 PM
So is there such a thing as someone who doesn't have a terminal length? B/c I see pics online of women who have hair longer than their bodies by several feet.

I have also.

sipnsun
June 30th, 2008, 08:39 AM
I think spidermom is correct in saying there is a lot we don't understand about hair growth. The pointy ends theory is a good on though, sadly I've done so many S&D's that I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see.

Darkhorse1
June 30th, 2008, 08:47 AM
From my understanding of hair growth (for adults), your hair grows from the scalp. Ends that are unmanaged might have splits in them. This then can cause a split up the shaft, which causes breakage, making the hair look uneven, dull and splits can also weigh down ends. A good trim/even a little trim might make hair appear shorter for a bit, but the hair will grow 'faster' due to the fact the split ends won't break off the length you have.

Hope that makes sense?

Katze
June 30th, 2008, 09:29 AM
I dunno. My ends stay just as pointy no matter how much I S&D, and throughout the slooooow growth from shoulder to BSL, that pointiness - or taper - has just moved down the length.

Of course, I did have severely layered hair (see "chic bleached shag cut" in upper L of sig pic) and a lot of damage that I've been slowly trimming.

My BF has iii, F/M, 2c hair - similar to mine but thicker - and he also has taper but you don't see it because of the curl and thickness. Wet and combed straight, his hair tapers almost as much as mine.

I thought it was a fine hair thing, but Spidermom's hair isn't fine and she has it too...

And a friend of mine with midback, VERY thick, C, 1a hair has NO taper at all, and she doesn't trim.

Lots of people debate this here; some peoples' hair seems to grow longer without tapering, other peoples' hair tapers and the "point" moves slowly down. Maybe it's a hair texture thing, or a genetic thing, or a thickness thing...

nessthing
June 30th, 2008, 01:13 PM
My hair has a definite taper to it from sheer mechanical damage. I've never dyed or done anything chemical or otherwise to the bulk of my hair, and right around BSL the thickness drops off considerably because I never conditioned and used to blow dry and brush a lot.

I still comb way too much, but eh, I'm vain.

Now that my hair is all protected in coney plastic and I let it air dry and use a (seamed, I'm evil) comb, I'm pretty sure the thickness has been able to move down a little bit, but the ends are still breaking off. I've got short, broken splits all the way up almost past BSL. I'm at about hip right now. I really should bite the bullet and cut off a few inches, but I'm so close to sitting on it...

I guess the moral of the story is that taper isn't always an indicator of terminal. From my extremely esteemed experience (as someone on the internet who has seen lots of pictures of long hair) it looks like untrimmed terminal length hair is mostly thick all the way down and then suddenly drops off a lot, leaving 5-10 inches of a few longer hairs afterward.

julya
June 30th, 2008, 01:33 PM
I don't have pointy ends yet, so I suppose terminal is still a far way off. My nape ponytail circumference is about 3.25" and where I tie off a braid is about 2". Is that a lot of taper? I'm not sure. My braids start to look noticeably thinner at about BSL.

harpgal
June 30th, 2008, 04:21 PM
I think that taper has two factors. One being that hair grows at uneven speeds, and two being that only so many strands will stay in their follicles for a very long time. Also, this varies for all of us.

Speedbump
June 30th, 2008, 05:34 PM
The problem with using overall volume taper to determine probable terminal length is that it cannot differentiate between damage and natural differences in hair growth. Also, for those who have natural U or V hemlines like me, this test would not work either because if we don't cut we will always have severe overall volume taper no matter how close to terminal we are.

As far as I can tell, the only way to find out where your terminal length is ... is to grow it till is stops. :lol:

Kirin
June 30th, 2008, 06:04 PM
Now someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but taper and thinning of ends begins to happen because each hair has its own growth rate and phase. Some stop growing or fall out, others continue to grow, others are stalled, and some (that had fallen out) enter a new growing phase.

From what I've been taught on hair, it doesnt come out all even like spaghetti out of a press....... if it were like that 20 percent of all the spaghetti's would get a "late start" on the others. The way to thinkin a hemline is to blunt cut it and let it grow again in increments, although depending on growth phases it will only thicken so much.

Again I could be wrong, but Taper really has nothing to do with terminal length being acheived.

sapphire-o
June 30th, 2008, 06:39 PM
Well all I understand is terminal length is mostly indicated by shedding. If you have average shedding rate, your terminal is probably average (classic to thigh). High shedding rate that can not be reduced by better health or diet is simply genetic. And there's nothing wrong with a shorter terminal length. Those with floor length hair naturally shed very few hair everyday.

spidermom
June 30th, 2008, 08:54 PM
By pointy ends, do you mean the natural appearance of a single uncut hair? Or do you mean fairy tale ends (which on straight hair look pointy, as in coming to a V or VyWWyV at the bottom)?

Darkhorse1
June 30th, 2008, 09:18 PM
I asked my hair dresser this and she said the reason your hair will get a U or V hemline is because hair will grow out--but if you have breakage, and we all have it, those shorter hairs will grow out, and the none broken ones grow, and you get uneven hair growth. I noticed my hair did not grow evenly and I asked her why, and she explained this to me. It was very interesting.

I'm also a bit relieved to read that others find their hair thins out as it gets past a certain length--that was another thread topic for me to post, but now I've seen it here, I don't have to post it ;)

Riot Crrl
June 30th, 2008, 09:21 PM
Now someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but taper and thinning of ends begins to happen because each hair has its own growth rate and phase. Some stop growing or fall out, others continue to grow, others are stalled, and some (that had fallen out) enter a new growing phase.

From what I've been taught on hair, it doesnt come out all even like spaghetti out of a press....... if it were like that 20 percent of all the spaghetti's would get a "late start" on the others. The way to thinkin a hemline is to blunt cut it and let it grow again in increments, although depending on growth phases it will only thicken so much.

Again I could be wrong, but Taper really has nothing to do with terminal length being acheived.

I am living proof of this. My last professional haircut was a little over three months ago. I have no splits or breakage that I can find. The individual ends, while I have not examined them under a microscope, appear under close scrutiny by the naked eye to still be quite bluntly and cleanly snipped.

What they are not, is the same length in relation to each other that they were when cut. There is taper of I would say, 1/2" to 3/4" even in this short time.

I know I am no where near my terminal length, my hair is several inches shorter than it was six months ago.

spidermom
June 30th, 2008, 09:34 PM
I asked my hair dresser this and she said the reason your hair will get a U or V hemline is because hair will grow out--but if you have breakage, and we all have it, those shorter hairs will grow out, and the none broken ones grow, and you get uneven hair growth. I noticed my hair did not grow evenly and I asked her why, and she explained this to me. It was very interesting.

I'm also a bit relieved to read that others find their hair thins out as it gets past a certain length--that was another thread topic for me to post, but now I've seen it here, I don't have to post it ;)

That's only part of the reason. The other part is that not all hairs are on the same time-table. At any one time on your head, some hairs are shedding out, some are actively growing, and some are resting, doing nothing. Also, some hairs grow faster than other hairs. My hair seems to grow faster on the right side, back of head.

jel
July 1st, 2008, 02:33 AM
Or do you mean fairy tale ends (which on straight hair look pointy, as in coming to a V or VyWWyV at the bottom)?


I love this!!! I have VyWWyV hair! :D :D :D Thanks, Spidermom!

</end hijack>

spidermom
July 1st, 2008, 08:33 AM
I love this!!! I have VyWWyV hair! :D :D :D Thanks, Spidermom!

</end hijack>

You are most welcome.

blue_nant
July 1st, 2008, 09:23 PM
... I guess the moral of the story is that taper isn't always an indicator of terminal. From my extremely esteemed experience (as someone on the internet who has seen lots of pictures of long hair) it looks like untrimmed terminal length hair is mostly thick all the way down and then suddenly drops off a lot, leaving 5-10 inches of a few longer hairs afterward.

Taper is totally not an indicator of terminal. As far as I can tell, mine has always tapered, my braid is a totally gradual taper. There is no even thickness, vertically, if that makes sense.

So now (laugh) I'm going to post quick and see if this is visually borne out by my siggy, lol.

It's been growing really well for the past 5 yrs or so since I started using jojoba and decreasing the breakage in the bottom half or so. I've gained length, but maintained the taper ... but maybe I wouldn't notice new thickness since the newer hair, presumably close to my head, isn't easily visible ... hmmmmm ... the old hair is where i notice length because of non-breakage ... okay, now i'm babbling ...

Shell
July 2nd, 2008, 10:41 AM
That's only part of the reason. The other part is that not all hairs are on the same time-table. At any one time on your head, some hairs are shedding out, some are actively growing, and some are resting, doing nothing. Also, some hairs grow faster than other hairs. My hair seems to grow faster on the right side, back of head.

A while back someone linked a study about why hair grows to a "V" shape, and apparently (for most people) the hair at the crown grows fastest, and so, you are more likely to end up with a V shape if you don't trim.

Emichiee
July 2nd, 2008, 10:59 AM
I have once figured out how much taper I have by measuring the hairs circumference from top to bottom.
Then I took those numbers and figured out how many % of taper that is on my length.
Since it showed I have 20% left to go I also figured out how much that would be in cm/ inches.

But that would only be true if my hair would keep tapering exactly the way it used to and I think my frequent trims will change the end result.:)