Let’s talk hair.
I’ve seen the post-wedding chop discussed on the blog (for reference, check out Mrs. Jet Setter, Mrs. Blue Whale, and Mrs. Palm Tree, all of whom are making me reconsider this entire post because I love their PWCs so much) and around the boards. Well, I was one step ahead of the game, and I did a post-college chop instead.
Two years ago. (personal photo)
I’m not really sure why I did it—to look more professional? To symbolize my transformation from college bum to grown woman? To break me of my sloppy topknot habit? Because it was summer and my neck was sweaty? Whatever the reason, it all got hacked off.
Pretty much as soon as I got the big chop, I was ready to start growing it again. My hair had been more or less bra strap length since high school, and I just didn’t feel like me. I don’t handle change too well.
And then, I got engaged, and I went into full-blown panic mode. This is so horrible and selfish of me, and I can’t believe I’m putting this on the Internet, but part of the reason I wanted a longer engagement was because I wanted plenty of time to grow my hair to a more respectable (for me!) length. Not to prepare myself emotionally, not to lose weight, not to save money, but because I wanted my lovely long hair back. Ooooooookay.
So what am I doing to accomplish this lofty, worthwhile goal of mine?
First, the scientific stuff. Hair grows, on average, about a half inch per month. You cannot fight Mother Nature on this. Ignore the serums, supplements, etc. that say otherwise. They will not work. Your hair grows at the rate that it grows, and you get what you get and you don’t get upset. IT’S SCIENCE. (I’m an accountant.)
Instead of focusing on getting my hair to grow as fast as possible, I’m working on maintaining as much length as possible. Who cares if my hair grows a half inch per month if my split ends are an inch long?
I present to you my master plan for long, healthy hair:
- Eat right. You know how I said earlier that special hair growth supplements don’t work? Well, I was only partially right—they work if you have any nutritional gaps that they can fill. If you’re not getting enough B vitamins, for instance—most prevalent in red meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs—then yes, a Vitamin B/biotin supplement will work wonders for you, but if you’re already eating a balanced diet, supplements won’t do a thing. Instead of blowing a ton of money on expensive supplements, spend it at the grocery store. Don’t skimp on the healthy fats and lean proteins; your hair is made primarily of protein, so it makes sense that incorporating protein into your diet will benefit your hair. Take a regular old multivitamin if you’re so compelled.
- Please, please, please quit heat styling. On a good day, I have beachy, Blake Lively-esque waves. However, most of the time, I look like Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. Needless to say, giving up my blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron, and hot rollers in favor of embracing my natural texture has been challenging. But it’s been worth it; not deep-frying my hair to tame it into submission every single morning has paid off – not a split end in sight. You don’t have to take it to my extreme, though; at the very least, use a good heat protectant (I like GVP Thermal Protection Spray from Sally’s) and maybe cut back the heat styling to every other day.
- Maybe stop brushing your hair so much, too. You know how every time you brush or comb your hair, you end up pulling a bit of hair out? If you don’t do that so much, that hair will stay attached to your head and not end up clumped in your brush. Crazy, right? All sarcasm aside, I comb my hair once when I get out of the shower, and that’s it. If things get a little unruly, a little finger tousle usually sorts things out. For a while, I was using a certain cleansing conditioner that rhymes with Hen, and the product directions recommend both massaging it into your hair for a prolonged period of time AND combing it through your hair. If I didn’t scrub the bejesus out of my head, my hair looked greasy. If I did, I ended up with a sewer rat-sized clump of hair on my drain. It didn’t take long for my hair to start looking awfully thin on top. Long story short, I went back to regular shampoo that didn’t require so much manual labor, and hey presto, my hair thickened right back up. So stop touching your hair.
- No chemicals. Sorry, Bees. No fun allowed when you’re on a strict hair growth regimen. My hair is naturally a very attractive shade of mousy brown, so I can’t fully commit to this point. I’ve just given up permanent color—I still use demi-permanent color on a regular basis. That counts, right? Do your best to put away your hair color, your relaxers, your perms, all that good stuff.
- Oh, and no more super-tight ponytails. Back in my long hair glory days, I always had a bit of breakage at my crown. Coincidentally, it was in the exact same spot where my ponytails and topknots sat. Nowadays, I try to leave my hair alone as much as possible. If I have to put it up, I don’t tie it nearly as tightly as I used to. I still use regular old hair elastics, but if you were feeling really passionate about it, fabric-covered Scrunchies are your best choice to keep breakage at bay.
Stephanie Tanner does it right. (via Full House Wikia)
- Find products that will nourish your hair. Use them. Nowadays, the only product I use in my hair on an everyday basis is Orofluido elixir. It does everything I could possibly want—tames the frizz, makes my hair look shiny and healthy, and protects my hair from the elements. It makes foregoing the heat styling acceptable. I also deep condition once a week with this macadamia oil hair masque. It’s great at repairing the damage I’ve done from not adhering to the bullet points I detailed above. (I only cheat sometimes, I promise.) Hydrated hair = happy hair = healthy hair.
- Quit stressing. Alternately, find a healthy outlet for your stress. Stress causes hair thinning, which is counterproductive to our goal of fabulous long hair. Take this as an excuse to treat yourself.
- Get regular trims. Blah blah blah, sounds counterproductive, but we want quality, not quantity. Once your ends start splitting, the split will eventually go up the shaft of your hair unless you cut it off. Emphasize the fact that you are just looking for a trim to clean up any dead ends. This shouldn’t require more than a quarter inch trim unless you’ve done some serious damage.
So I’ve been working really hard for the past year to grow my hair out, and here I am!
BM B and I. (personal photo)
Today, my hair is solidly armpit length. I’ve got a little over four months to go before the wedding, and I’m feeling pretty confident that I can add at least another inch-ish of healthy, quality length before then.
So about that post-wedding chop—over my dead body. Not after all the work I’ve put into growing it out.
Anyone else growing their hair out for the wedding?