Long hair, don’t care...
I always wanted long hair when I was younger, but it never seemed to happen. I only unlocked the secrets when laziness and burnout basically combined during my junior doctor years. I didn’t even realise my hair had grown pretty long until it was basically waist length. It turns out that if you want long hair, you need to do as little to your hair as possible. Be lazy. So lazy.
This is not a remotely medically rigorous post, because we learn almost nothing about hair in med school.
Blow drying is bad. Combing too much is bad.
I learned recently that even washing and drying too vigorously is also bad. Tangling is bad. Basicaly everything you can do to your hair is… bad. Apparently you’re not meant to wash the hell out of the ends, because that just causes damage, and learning to be more gentle with my hair has made me feel a bit like a Princess, thiough alas one without an entourage to deal with my hair for me.
The longer my hair is, the more I’ve focused my washing on the scalp and on finding ways to wash without hair getting too tangled because untangling it becomes exponentially more nightmareish the longer it is. It’s just practical to try to cut down tangling, but I only realised much later that it also avoids unnecessary damage, so it grows even longer. When my life got busier, I cut down on things like blow drying because who cared about that kind of thing any more? Sure, letting my hair air dry naturally just means I spend a lot of my evenings indulging in unintentional Hermione Granger cosplay, but hey.
Hardressers also often recommend not washing hair too often, because it strips the natural oils and promotes hair getting over-greasy to compensate.
Dying hair frequently, and treating hair is also, unsurprisingly damaging. I admire people who have funky hair colours and actually manage the upkeep (or don’t, because life is busy and that’s OK), but I could never do that, probably.
I rarely dye my hair and don’t bleach it; I basically pick the colour
most like my natural shade and cover the greys every few months when my
roots have grown in to such a degree it can’t be hidden.
I’d probably dye my hair a lot less if I wasn’t very very grey under there. One day I’ll want to grow it out, but that’s going to be hard, because I really am very grey, so growing it out will be noticeable unless I dye the whole thing grey first XD I’m in two minds about when to let my hair go natural; on one hand I love the idea of having hair like starlight, and I’m sure it will look striking. On the other, I’m not even 35 and I’m just not ready for my appearance to permanently alter so visibly in a way that would attract a lot of comment.
Personally, I chose to keratin treat my hair, but only because it makes it easier to manage; the initial damage is offset by having hair that is much easier to brush, takes less time and effort to wash, and is much more manageable in general. It’s laziness in the longterm, and I think it’s probably helped keep my hair even longer. Less faffing around means less potential damage, or so the wealth of online hairdressers tell me. The only way it complicates things is requiring hair products that are sulfate and salt free to maintain the treatment for as long as possible. It can get a little complex, but I guess once you find a product that works, then it’s easy.
I have to say that I hadn’t realised the importance of conditioner. Or just treating hair as gently as possible; who knew? When you have short hair, you can abuse your hair all you want, because it gets cut before it’s ‘old enough’ for it to really matter. Long hair stores up years’ worth of damage from life, which is why reading up on how to reduce damage is probably useful if you want long, nice hair. To be honest, this was not something I’ve cared about much; I never really had a beauty regime and was never intensive in my hair care; I had assumed that maybe I wasn’t doing enough. It turns out that doing as little as possible (in most respects) is actually what it’s all about. I’m no hair expert, so I recommend anyone getting serious about their hair does their own research, but having done some reading and realising that less is more pleases both my vanity and my laziness.