How to Achieve Shiny, Healthy Waist-Length Hair

waist length hair


Waist-length hair makes a beautiful statement and can be achieved a few different ways. Besides adding foods like avocado, chia seed, and eggs to your diet, you need to follow some pretty general maintenance steps to grow and maintain waist-length hair. We reached out to two hair gurus for some tried-and-true hair care tips. We got advice on how to grow and take care of waist-length hair, as well as how to experiment with waist-length extensions if you'd rather take that route.

Meet the Expert

  • Ursula Stephen is a Unilever global haircare brand ambassador and the owner of Ursula Stephen The Salon in Brooklyn. Her celebrity clients include Rihanna, Zendaya, and Laverne Cox.
  • Carolyn Aronson is the CEO and founder of It's a 10 Haircare. She has over 20 years of experience as a hairstylist and salon owner.

There are any internet forums and YouTube videos dedicated to answering questions about how to grow hair down to your waist. So before we dove into our full list, I wanted to ask each of our experts what they thought the key was to growing hair to your desired length, and their answers were simple: trims, cleansing, and conditioning. 

Trims Are Essential

"Hair grows about an average of 1/2-inch per month," Aronson says. "If you're trying to grow your hair long, trimming it every six to eight weeks is enough to keep your ends healthy yet still let it grow." For those with natural hair, Stephen recommends getting a trim every three-and-a-half to four months "to avoid single-strand knots and split ends." 

Find a Shampoo That Can Help Promote Hair Growth

We've all likely been tempted by a haircare commercial or advertisement that claims to give you longer, stronger hair. However, it can be difficult to confirm whether these claims measure up, but some shampoos are specially formulated to support healthy hair growth, which is especially helpful for those experiencing hair loss. You'll want to look for a cleanser that provides nourishment to the scalp with the ability to remove buildup. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it's possible. To find the right shampoo, look for a sulfate-free product with scalp-stimulating and hair-strengthening ingredients like peppermint oil and antioxidants.

Keep Hot Tools and Styling to a Minimum

Like any other hair length, waist-length hair requires TLC, which means deep conditioning and minimal hot tool use are necessary to prevent breakage and promote healthy hair growth. "Breakage often is a result of dryness and over-processed hair, whether from heat, chemicals, or styling. If you're suffering from breakage, I recommend using a deep conditioner to strengthen and moisturize the hair shaft," Stephen says. 

Stephen also encourages minimizing the use of heat tools. "Try keeping your hair in protective styles to reduce breakage from everyday styling." If you can't put down the hot tools, Aronson suggests using a light styling serum while straightening [with a] flat iron or a conditioning curl cream before diffusing. "[This] will help protect the hair from heat damage," she explains.

Say Goodbye to Hot Showers

Hot showers not only dry out and irritate your skin, but they can do the same to your hair. Stephen co-signs this scientific fact. "It's definitely very important to keep the water at a lukewarm temperature. Avoid hot temperatures, as they will quickly dry out your scalp." If you want to ensure you seal in the benefits of your hair-washing routine, rinse your conditioner out with cool water. This method will help rinse your hair clean of the conditioner without stripping away the good stuff you just put in. 

Use a Hair Mask

Conditioning is a crucial step to any haircare regimen, especially when trying to retain length. Since shampoo opens the hair cuticle during the cleansing process, you need a conditioner to seal the hair shaft while locking in nutrients as a preventive measure to combat breaking and split ends. You'll want to select a conditioner based on your hair type, so you don't run the risk of using a product that is too heavy or a conditioner that doesn't provide enough moisture. "My go-to for pre-styling treatment is Dove's Amplified Textures Moisture Spa Recovery Mask," Stephen says. "The creamy formula is infused with honey and strengthens the hair shaft from within, reducing breakage and letting you easily comb through your hair."

Try Extensions (But Prioritize Haircare)

If you want to experiment with waist-length hair without committing to growing yours out, extensions are a simple way to switch up your look. The options are endless, whether your hair is straight or curly. Some of the most popular brands for extensions are Glam Seamless (for tape-ins/clip-ins), Indique Hair (for natural hair), and Extensions Plus (for all hair types). You can try clip-ins, tape-ins, sew-ins, and of course traditional protective styling.

Regardless of which method you choose, caring for your scalp and hair should remain a priority, and pre-extension prep is vital. Stephen recommends washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo to remove any product buildup and following-up with a leave-in conditioner to prep the hair. If you’re caring for reusable extensions, Aronson says we should “care for them as if it’s your own hair. Detanglers, thermal heat styling products, masks, [and] wrapping them at night are all still a must to help preserve the length of use.” 

Invest in a Silk Scarf and Pillowcase

Both experts agree that silk and satin are the best nighttime fabrics to use on the hair. For some, that might mean sleeping on a silk pillowcase; for others, that may mean a combination of both (that's what I do)—either way, don't let your hair hit the pillow without it. "I recommend wearing a satin scarf or bonnet and sleeping on a satin pillowcase every night to prevent your hair from becoming dry," Stephen says. "Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase strips the moisture out of your hair." We love Slip's Pure Silk pillowcase, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

All and all, growing and caring for waist-length hair seems to be fairly similar to taking care of shorter hair. Stephen did leave us with one more gem that can be used in beauty and in life: "Be patient with your hair and trust the process. Remember, moisture is your best friend!"

Keep scrolling for some waist-length hair inspiration.

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Gray Waist-Length Hair

JoAni Johnson wears a natural gray waist-length blowout

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Waist length hair is a great way to show off any shade, and we love how it makes going gray feel that much more glamorous. Paired with a good haircare routine to keep your silver strands bright and healthy, this style is sure to blow everyone away.

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Waist-Length Coils

Cipriana Quann wears waist-length natural coily hair


Your hair is your crown, so don't be afraid to take up space. Cipriana Quann and her twin sister, TK Wonder, have always embraced the longest of natural styles, and whether you grow your strands out over time or enhance them with extensions, this is a look you can take pride in.

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Curly Ponytails

Joyjah Estrada wears waist-length curly high pigtails


Waist-length hair has the power to make any style feel that much more glamorous, and we love the sheer volume of these curly high pigtails.

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An Embellished Ponytail

Janelle Monae wears a ponytail braid with many bedazzled barrettes

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Elevate your long, braided ponytail with whatever accessories your heart desires, whether that's ribbons, beads, or bedazzled barrettes.

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SZA wears wavy waist-length hair with a center part


Embrace your mermaid dreams with waist-length waves. If this isn't your natural texture, you have so many options to achieve the look: Think wigs, braids, extensions, and three-barrel curling irons (just be sure to use a heat protectant if you go for the latter).

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A Textured Ponytail

Kiki Layne wears a high, waist-length ponytail with natural texture


Feel regal with an ultra-high ponytail that cascades far past your shoulders—it's a great way to show off your natural texture.

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Auburn Coils

Ciara wears auburn waist-length hair with coily texture and white and tan clips


Auburn strands are always stunning, and we love how these coils look in an ultra-long style pinned back with an array of clips.

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Halo Crown Box Braids

Gabrielle Union wears waist-length box braids half-up in halo crown


Box braids are stunning at waist length, and you can take yours to the next level by styling some of them into a crown braid, leaving the bottom layer free in its full glory.

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Box Braids

Zendaya wears waist-length box braids and raspberry smoky eyeshadow


Alternatively, classic box braids are always a good idea. Embrace your natural shade or weave in some standout extensions, like the subtle auburn visible here on Zendaya.

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Braid Out

You also can use braids as a tool to achieve beautiful volume and definition, both of which will help your waist-length hair to stand out.

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Havana Twists

Sharon Alexie wears waist-length Havana twists and hooded Loewe robe

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Sharon Alexie's waist-grazing Havana twists have become part of her signature look, and they're sure to boost your confidence if you make the style your own.

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A Classic Middle Part

Beyonce wears a long, sleek blonde blowout with center part and tiny sunglasses


Whether you wear it in a blowout or natural, waist-length hair with a center part is always a powerful choice.

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Smooth and Sleek

Dascha Polanco wears sleek waist-length hair


Show off your length with the flat-ironed strands. To achieve smooth and shiny hair, a nourishing routine is as important as the styling process.

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Ava DuVernay wears waist-length, auburn locs

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Locs are always a stunning way to show off waist-length hair, and Ava DuVernay is a standout example of how to wear them well.

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A Middle-Parted Ponytail

A ponytail may be simple to create, but it's a whole statement when you've achieved a head-turning long mane.

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