Yes, hair, but not like "Hairspray", the musical, but hair as in the hair that grows on your head, or you wish it did. Call it hair, cabello, cheveux, haj... call it birdnest, mane, "barely-there", wig... this is an entry about hair. Then again, I have always had a reason to talk about hair given my world wide famous hair, always dark, long and in the way. And then it happens so that I get a boyfriend after successfully escaping in countless occasions from relationships of any kind, and guess what? He has quite an extent of hair on himself as well! Long, rich, dark blond, slightly curly on the ends, sprinkled with silver and yet not what you'd call salt-and-peppa. So yeah, when it comes to hair, I may say, I feel at home.
Here in Costa Rica, the weather has been playing around, fooling with all of us, breaking the dry and rainy seasons into bits and throwing them at us without any order. It's been a while since I had my hair short, so I don't remember exactly how does this affect people with short hair, but those of us who Samsonically wear our manes long have to stiffle under the hot wetness or hot, dry days pinning our long strands somehow and somewhere away from our overheated napes and shoulders. Do you know the feeling? Your hair getting in your face, sticking to it with the faint layer of sweat spraying it, turning your skin from forehead to shoulders into a sensitive, sticky surface that seems to work better than those "paper cats" people use to catch flies. The discomfort seems to ignore all boundaries, and the mane you have suffered for, endured time and patience making grow, dreaming with the day it would reach... whatever you want it to reach, is suddenly threatened to have a close encounter with the scissors. Any scissors, as long as you are free from it.
So, to cut it or let it live?
Truth is that long hair actually poses a wide versatility for us women. Any number of hairstyles can be managed with it, from simple ponytails to elaborated buns and braids. Yes, there are things that can only be done with long hair. Then again, that's a plus for women, for I really can't imagine a man spending 30 minutes in front of the mirror on a morning before work doing a double French braid with his hair, or pinning it up in a ballerina bun, or a 60's bun. So, in the end, well, if you are a guy, you just fish some hairband, gather the whole thing in a ponytail at the nape of your neck, which seems to be the only socially acceptable hairstyle for long maned men these days, and get over. If you can, you turn to the barber, who will smile at you and chop your mane, happy that you decided to join the ranks of the STUDS, the REAL MEN again. The barber will probably think he made another worthy man out of a sissy or some useless, rocker rebel in the path of becoming... a sissy.
Us women, endure the hair, or we "free ourselves" by chopping our hair off and into some trendy style that will fall out of style in a few months, when the hair reaches that impossible length where it's in the way all the time, but it's not long enough to gather it in a ponytail and live with it. By then we probably will regret cutting it in the first place and will think of all those years spent letting it grow not dumped on the floor of our hairdresser, or a dumpster. So we suffer, pin it up and keep it out of the way.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to put an end to it. Once a hairdresser of mine said:
"If you are going to wear it up all the time, why do you want it long?"
Well, God bless his soul, he's right. The point of long hair is for it to be long, to be free and to flow behind us, flapping in the wind like a banner, a flag or the wings of a beautiful black swan. (My hair is dark. Your swan is whatever your hair color is.) And it's not that I'm against hairdresses and Hyne knows I love to get my hair in many, many different ways, but truth is that if you are always going to pin it up, loop it up, tie it up, Honey, stop the suffering and cut it off! There are very, very beautiful hairstyles and I'm sure you can find the one you like and that fits you best. Take this one, for example. This is very short, trendy, feminine without being some dripping Emily Brönte, "romance and femininity above all" style. I had it, I love it and I can whole heartedly recommend it to everybody. It's fesh, nice and requires a minimal maintenance and care. You can brush it or comb it and get a style, or leave it as you woke up and have a magnificent, enticing bed-head style.
However, if you want to stick to your long hair, then let it loose. Take the clip, the band, the sticks out of it and let it fall on your shoulders, cascade down your back. I understand that at first it might be difficult. Or maybe your hair is not really in condition to be let loose. Maybe it's too dry, too greasy, to messy or it has peacock-complex and opens up like a satellital dish the moment you let it loose. Yeah, I know the feeling. Suddenly it's like you receive Eurosports Channel directly into your brain. I understand you don't want your friends calling you "Sputnyik". However, all these things can be solved, by letting your hair go.
Now, you must understand that long hair requires a substantial investment in time, care, patience and, yes, products. Not like you MUST get all the Alpha Parf line, though it is desirable, but you certainly have to take care of it.
First of all, get to know your hair. Be realistic. Don't see more damage than what really is, nor minimize the real damage. Check the ends for splits, check the color comparing it to the color of your hair closer to the roots. A certain amount of discoloration can be normal, particularly in lighter coloured hairs, but jet black roots and pale caramel on the ends is a no-no. Make sure to check if your hair tends to have frizz (looks all electrified, sponges up), lacks shine, lacks body, has uneven ends, doesn't look curly or flat but some undefinable something that's none of all. Something I do is take a small portion of my hair, like a lock, and point the end up. Start with a few inches and then try pointing up longer and longer parts of hair. A few inches can stand against gravity, but never more than four. The hair that stands is dry, lifeless. Hair must be flexible, and must bend down, otherwise is dry and dead and you should trim it down.
I suggest you look for a hairdresser that you can trust. The most expensive is not always the best, nor the one with appointment lists. Your hairdresser is like your doctor, your dentist, your lawyer: it's for ever, so make sure to get someone you trust. The best way to find one of these is talking with your friends. You may want to go with your friend once just to see how the hairdresser works on his or her head before you put your mane under their scissors. Make sure to be clear with your hairdresser and tell them what you want. There are some hairdressers who believe to know better than the client, what the client should do with his or her hair. Avoid these. Remember that you are the one walking with that hair around, not them, so the decision must be 100% yours, and if they don't like it or can't do it, you can always find someone who can.
So, after telling your hairdresser your plans with your hair, which can be let it grow, and discussing a plan of action about whether styling it somehow or leaving it plain (that's my style), as well as the frequency with which you should get over for trimming, you must do the first trimming. This one might require you to cut a bit more than you wanted or expected. Don't be afraid, hair grows. However, make sure you are comfortable with how much length are you losing. You don't wanna walk in Cher and walk out Sinead O'Connor when you were going in for a trimming. This is why you should first assess the damage by your own.
At home, prepare a care plan, for which your hairdresser can help suggesting you creams, shampoos and treatments. There are things, like "butters" you put on, leave for five minutes or more and then wash out. I suggest you to select a line of hair products according to your main problems. However, please, never put more than four products on the same time on your hair. If you need to use many, either seek for a multipurpose treatment, or divide the treatments on different days, so that your hair can take in all the creams and don't get saturated and dull. Also, just because a line has many, many products, it doesn't mean you have to use them all. Use those that fit you, those you can handle. Sometimes products describe how can the different products be used together. Which comes first, which follows, when use which... In these cases, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS and the DOSES. Do not overwhelm your hair!
I, for once, love Gliss Kur. Can't find it in Costa Rica, so I always buy myself a large arsenal of it when I go home. However, you don't have to marry with with one brand, one type, but try different types. Your hair can also get "bored" of a product. Hairdressers recommend you to change your shampoo and conditioner every 3 months. If that's your case (my hair is in love with Gliss Kur, so that ain't happening to me) take the chance and combine the different treatments by using the different shampoos every three months. Frizz, split ends, flat hair, shine.
Give yourself time to know your hair and treat it well. A soft brush shouldn't miss from your things, and yes, brush it not only to get it untangled, but also to help the natural oils spread on it and make it shiny and stronger, and also help the blood circulation on your scalp, which aids your hair be healthier.
Long hair, like all lenght hairs, needs to be freed from time to time, so please, as often as you can, just let it flow, let it go. The strands will thank you. Hairbands and clips mark it weaken it and then will start fraying it where they hold it together, ripping it, damaging it. It doesn't matter how loose, how soft the hairband or clip is, it will damage and kill your hair if you use it too much. So don't. Loose is the only way your hair has to move, so that the roots get a little action, your scalp gets a bit incentivated to increase your blood flow to it, bring more nourishment to the hairstrands and so, get you a healthier mane.
So really, the bottomline is: free your hair, free your style, live it, love it, and if it is too much trouble, find it in a new style.