Things no one tells you about having long hair

On a lighter note today: Girls who usually wear your hair past your shoulders, I salute you. I’ve done this only twice (maybe thrice?) now. My hair is, at present, the longest it has ever been… and it’s driving me insane.

Frustration in the front, party in the back?

My tresses should be long enough to donate now without going for a G.I. Jane look, so I’m finally going to get a cut this month. I didn’t grow my hair out on purpose so that I could donate it, but it got really long while I was taking care of my mom and I figured I may as well put it to good use. She didn’t lose her hair with the lung cancer treatments–and, in fact, it reverted from charcoal back to its natural auburn–but she did need a wig when she had breast cancer. I remember her synthetic wig being a source of entertainment, confidence, and even frustration. I have no idea whether wigs made from real hair are less itchy, but I know they were out of her price range. Hopefully the hair I part with will annoy its recipient far less than it’s annoying me.

Here’s what I’ve learned about having long hair:

Don’t Even Look At It!

If the actual strands of your hair are fine and it has a tendency to get “stringy” quickly, the secret to long hair is ignoring it. Don’t brush it, comb it, touch it, or style it and it will be neither greasy nor composed entirely of split ends. This is what I’d always gotten wrong in the past; my hair needed to be washed every other day because I tried too hard to keep it happy, but now I can go almost a week without the roots getting greasy.

These days, after I wash my hair, I condition the hell out of it, wrap it in a towel to dry it, then twist it into a knot atop my head and leave it for as long as possible. If I add a leave-in product, I do brush it first so I can distribute it evenly, but I don’t usually add a leave-in product. To un-dred your hair, which is inevitable with this approach, simply pull a few strands at a time out of the mat. Or, if you’re in a hurry, hide that shit in a ponytail or up-do until you have time to unravel the rat’s nest later. DO NOT BRUSH IT OUT.

Gross Inconvenience

Having hair past your shoulders is inconvenient for so very many reasons, including but not limited to:

1. It can easily get stuck under you or a partner in any situation that finds you sitting or lying down. I think I’ve gotten actual whiplash from trying to turn my head while cuddled up watching Netflix.

2. Randos behind you will pin your hair to the back of your seat with their knees, hips, butts, etc., if you don’t keep it in a very-side side ponytail or on top of your head at all times. I recently lost a patch of hair this way in an auditorium. Alas, my low, loose ponytail had given me a false sense of security.

3. It will also get stuck in your armpits, especially if they are bare. Putting on deodorant in the morning? Treacherous. Should you dare to do this with your hair down while nekkid, wearing just a bra, or wearing a tank top, you will inevitably fling your hair into your already deodorant-y armpit if you look at the opposite one before applying. On the plus side, no frizz?

4. Also, if you want to wash your face in the sink, you will have to spend as much time getting your hair up into a secure top knot as you spend doing the actual washing. Otherwise, it either smacks you in the face or steeps sneakily in the soapy water while you’re trying to remove your eye makeup without going blind.

5. As soon as I wet my hair in the shower, it gets suctioned to my upper back and I have to scrape it off with my hands in order to look down or turn my head, lest I pull a bunch of it out. This is in part because…

6. IT WEIGHS SO FUCKING MUCH. I wore a high ponytail, like, 4 days ago and my scalp still hurts. This is why I rarely add leave-in products. How do you long-locked ladies deal? Does your scalp get used to this over time?

7. Because I’m not used to having long hair, I keep pulling strands out, thinking they’re not attached to my scalp. -_- Alternatively, I munch on them when they get into my food without my noticing, then pull them out of my scalp in an effort to pull them out of my mouth. (Audrey Hepburn I am not.)

8. The temptation for my cats is too great. Far too great.

9. If they’re not safely tucked in a bun, the ends of my hair get exposed to all sorts of crud. On public transit, they rub the dusty, grimy windowsills. This is also sometimes true in offices and waiting rooms. If I bend over in a public restroom to retrieve my bottoms, my hair may very well touch the vile floor. If I were to bend over to write a message in a guestbook, I’d likely end up with confetti in my hair. Etc.

For these reasons and more, my hair is almost always contained by an elastic, and thus I don’t see much benefit to my maintaining long hair. For those of you who rock hair past your shoulders on the regular, especially if you leave it down, I am beyond impressed that I’ve never heard any of you complain about these things. I’ve literally started a Pinterest board called Lazy Girl Hair for catharsis. (We’ll be reunited soon, bob!)

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