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View Full Version : Taper...?



Ashley
May 6th, 2008, 09:51 AM
Now that my hair is nearing waist, I have a few concerns regarding taper...

It is slowly starting to get thinner; probably most obvious when I am wearing a braid. The braid is definitely thicker at the starting point than the ends. Is this normal to start around this length, or when does it usually occur?

I just hope that doesn't mean my ends will only get thinner as my hair grows longer... :( I mean, the braid can't thicken up, right?

Any thoughts on this?
Thank you! :flower:

Ursula
May 6th, 2008, 09:58 AM
It is completely normal for hair to get thinner down the length when it is longer.

You can thicken up your length, and reduce (but not eliminate) taper by trimming regularly, letting the slower-growing hairs catch up with those that are growing faster.

Meli
May 6th, 2008, 10:02 AM
It's natural for hair to taper because of the growth cycle. The longer it gets, the fewer hairs have reached that far in their individual growth cycle. Where the taper begins to be visible is very individual, and depends on both genes and haircare. Someone with much breakage, like me, will have more taper than someone with undamaged hair. If old damage makes the hair taper faster, it can be thicker at a given length with gentle haircare and trimming. However, there would be a maximum thickness at every given length, which occurs if all hairs are perfectly healthy and undamaged and there have been no periods with more shedding than normal.

aisling
May 6th, 2008, 10:03 AM
Your hair starts tapering as soon as it's past shoulders, really, it does, it's just hard to notice. I'm sure you know about how hair grow, that we shed hair every day and new hairs start to grow after that. That means it completely impossible for your hair not to taper at all and the longer it gets, the more visible the tapering becomes.

This is the basic, natural taper, the tapering can then be pronounced due to damage, hairs have either broken off or been cut off (S&D). By being careful with your hair you can avoid breakage. With good hair habits and by regualr trimming, your ends might even thicken up, especially if you have old damage to your ends.

Still, tapering is unavoidable as it is part of our hairs' growth pattern. If all hairs started growing at once, we'd have thicker ends, but then they'd all shed at once as well, leaving us bald :)

ETA: See, the others typed faster than me :)

spidermom
May 6th, 2008, 10:05 AM
It is completely normal for hair to get thinner down the length when it is longer.

You can thicken up your length, and reduce (but not eliminate) taper by trimming regularly, letting the slower-growing hairs catch up with those that are growing faster.

I agree with this. Observe:
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c79/spidermom/braidtaper.jpg
(before most recent trim)
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c79/spidermom/agedbraid.jpg
after

Ashley
May 6th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Thanks guys! I knew about the cycle and irregular growth, but still, some people seem to have hip length hair with minimal taper (you, aisling, for example). I'm just scared it will only get thinner and thinner... and I do trim every 6 months or so.

Also, it's as if the feel of the length changes as it gets longer. My hair feels more like a 'web'; the hair tangles easily and it doesn't lay as sleek on my back as it used to. I guess I just never had really long hair before. :lol: I have to adjust, LOL!

Guenever
May 6th, 2008, 10:39 AM
My taper got way more obvious after reaching waist.. Now at TB it's starting to get so extreme that I'm not happy about my hair anymore and *have* to start trimming to even it up.. I can't wear it down because my ends are see-through.. So classic has to wait.. (sadly)

My circ. drops dramatically at APL and at BSL it gets visible - and I really don't know if it's the damage from dyeing/teasing/hair spray/blow drying etc or I can't reduce it because it's the way my hair is.. I fear the latter even though I had minimal taper when I had TB length aged 6-7 (well.. okay, TB then is probably BSL/high waist on me now :wink:)

What I'm saying is that I'm in the same boat - I worry about not reaching my goal because of genetics, grrr :demon:

<She>
May 6th, 2008, 10:50 AM
You shouldn't worry about the tapering. I had taper when I was at above waist but it grew out anyway. If the taper really bothers you, you could trim it little by little to even it out. But, maybe it'll start tapering again at that shorter lenght.

My hair also doesn't lay flat on my back, so I either oil it or comb it down gently to avoid that.

aisling
May 6th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Thanks guys! I knew about the cycle and irregular growth, but still, some people seem to have hip length hair with minimal taper (you, aisling, for example). I'm just scared it will only get thinner and thinner... and I do trim every 6 months or so.


I obviously need to take a pic of my braid and show you, it's not very thick towards the end at all :) I'm glad you're feeling better now.

Ashley
May 6th, 2008, 01:32 PM
Thanks guys, for sharing your experiences! I guess I just have to wait and see. Hopefully it won't be too bad when I reach my goal; either hip or TB.

Aisling, I always thought your hair/braid looked pretty even! You're very lucky. :) Would love to see a picture!

harpgal
May 6th, 2008, 01:44 PM
It is completely normal for hair to get thinner down the length when it is longer.

You can thicken up your length, and reduce (but not eliminate) taper by trimming regularly, letting the slower-growing hairs catch up with those that are growing faster.

This is very true.

Ashley, we all have tapers of one sort or another. With careful management (gentle care and frequent small trims), one can control the taper to some degree but the taper always wins in the end. I do believe that the bulk that is at the nape can move further down with time, but eventually a person's hair will taper out. Personally, I think a taper is very beautiful if it is well proportioned.

n3m3sis42
May 6th, 2008, 05:01 PM
I'm getting really close to waist now, and I've started to notice a lot more taper within the past year. I've been taking a lot better care of my hair in the past year, but the hairs that have been on my head long enough to be close to waist obviously didn't get the benefit of that. :)

My plan is to keep growing until I am significantly past waist length and then re-assess. If I feel like my ends are too thin at that point, I'm going to trim back to waist and either maintain there for a little while to see if that helps, or else keep growing but go back to trimming more regularly (currently I'm trimming 1-2 times a year, no more than one inch each time).

I don't think you said on this thread, but if you did and I missed it, I apologize. Do you trim regularly?

trolleypup
May 6th, 2008, 06:02 PM
Taper is natural...and it becomes more visible as you get towards your terminal length. Absent unusual shed episodes, your ponytail circumference (or diameter) should decrease fairly evenly from your nape to your ends...to zero, if you aren't trimming at all. Your terminal length is determined by genetics[1], although other factors (haircare, health, etc.) can cause a "false" terminal length.

And yes, fairytale ends get invisible...that bothers some people, others don't care or like the effect. Lighter, finer hair shows this more than darker, coarser hair.

[1] My longest strands are 42" long. 7 years at 1/2 inch per month. A slightly longer cycle than average, but not unusual.

Ashley
May 7th, 2008, 04:06 PM
Thanks guys, it's comforting to read about everyone's experiences.

I do trim every 6 months, but I have no idea if this is regular enough to be effective against taper. I have no one I can trust with my hair in my family, and I am not confident enough to try it myself; so I visit a hairdresser twice a year and do S&D in between. My hair grows quite slowly so I'd rather stay away from scissors unless my ends get uneven and visibly thinner...