What’s uP: A Few Words on Long Hair

2 08 2010

When it comes to long hair on women, there is a very fine line between sexy and religious cult.

Scary! Crystal Gale, admiring her hair cape

Sexy! Julia Roberts knows when it's time for a trim

Now before you write me off as one of those chop happy hairdressers who believes that every woman over the age of 35 must surrender to the dreaded mid-length mom cut, let me say that I love long hair on women of any age. As a matter of fact, my own 33-year old hair is what I refer to as “mermaid length” this summer, simply because I haven’t come up with my next look yet. But despite my long locks, I insist on getting a haircut every 6-8 weeks to get rid of my pot scrubber ends.

Hair brings up many strong emotions for most women. We tend to hold on to styles (perhaps for too long) that we wore when we felt our most confident or sexy and while we probably can’t recall the best haircut we’ve ever received, we will never forget our worst. And that scars a lot of us. One of my worst haircuts ever came from my father by way of a bang trim. It was the summer of ’89 and I was a hotshot (ha!) middle schooler who had recently traded in these enormous coke bottle glasses for soft lenses. My self-confidence was on the climb from non-existent to hanging on by a thread when my dear father offered to trim my bangs in order to get them out of my newly contacted eyes.

It seemed easy enough. I had the “waterfall fringe” of New Jersey in the late 80’s: a huge bouffant of hair that was teased up and to the side and then sprayed into submission with a few pieces that were curled and combed onto the forehead. I gave my dad strict instructions that he was only to touch the fringy forehead pieces and NOTHING ELSE. But my dad, being the armchair Vidal Sassoon that he was, decided to mess with the waterfall. It took him about 0.25 seconds to comb the whole sculpture down and cut it straight across with a pair of eyebrow scissors and in the blink of an electric blue eye, I was left with a look to rival Pee Wee. I literally didn’t leave the house for three weeks (Thank God for summer vacation and Blockbuster) and I wouldn’t wear bangs again until my late 20’s.

Something like this has happened to just about every woman I’ve ever met. One childhood friend of mine has never grown her hair long because on a school trip to the zoo, a llama chewed off her ponytail when her back was turned. Another friend has never worn her hair above her bra strap because her mom insisted on giving her at- home Dorothy Hamill haircuts for the better part of her childhood. Women flee to a safe hair haven and in doing so, tend to go to the extremes.

Now when it comes to long hair, many gals think it’s the definition of womanly. And those silly, extension wearing Victoria’s Secret Models aren’t helping matters (Good God, where is Linda Evangelista when we need her?!) In their quest for long, flowing, underwear goddess hair, women either bypass a regular trim entirely, or go to the hairdresser with a year’s worth of scraggly ends and ask to please leave the length because they are “growing it.” To these women, I have only this to say: You are a half inch and a French braid away from Branch Davidian. So unless you have religious convictions that state otherwise, please, PLEASE shape that hair up. You will still be hot. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/lover/parent will still love you if they are worth a damn and your hair will actually grow faster. Yes, you heard me correctly. Your hair will grow faster. Because all those nasty split ends won’t be causing breakage.

Here are my tips to having long luxurious hair:

  • Have regular haircuts or trims (every 8-10 weeks if possible)
  • Every once in a while, have your hairdresser cut an inch or more off the length
  • Deep conditioning masks every week. I am in love with the Mud Mask by Aestelance right now

    Mud Mask by Aestelance

  • Folic Acid and Biotin are incredible for hair growth and health. If you don’t like to take a million pills, I recommend an over the counter pre-natal vitamin. They are packed with Folic Acid and Biotin
  • Don’t forget about your scalp. Healthy hair starts with healthy insides and continues with a healthy scalp. When lathering, really manipulate the scalp to stimulate hair follicles
  • Throw out those stupid glued in extensions. They ruin hair and feel disgusting. If you absolutely must add length, I recommend the ones that clip in.
  • Brush your hair. It seems like a no-brainer but many women will brush their hair in the morning and forget about it for the rest of the day. Brushing your hair with a bristle brush stimulates hair growth and disperses natural oils through the ends
  • Trust your stylist! The best haircut I ever had was a shoulder-length shag with full bangs. It was like nothing I had ever worn before and made me feel sexy and completely badass. I never would have thought to do it but I left it in the hands of a very gifted stylist and was treated to something very special.

    One of my favorite looks