everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair

featured reader #1 – Gillian

Name: Gillian N
Age: 38
Location: Sydney, Australia

How long is your hair? 37” When I first started growing my hair in 2008, my longest layer was 25”.

Is your hair naturally curly?  Yes. My mother has afro hair and my father has straight hair so this is the result! My eldest brother has lovely afro hair like my mother, my second eldest brother has wavy hair and I have afro curly hair.

What type of curls do you have?  I’ve had ringlet type curls (3B) but now it’s longer and the weight of the hair has lengthened out the ringlets.

Have you ever straightened your hair?  No, my hair is a homage to my mother and her mother (my grandmother) before that. I would never straighten my hair. The thought of it has never occurred to me. To be honest, because my hair has an afro texture, it would be very difficult to straighten.

What products do you use for cleansing your hair?  I use Tresseme Conditioner and I have recently returned to shampooing my hair with Tresemme Shampoo.

What products do you use for styling your hair?  I wet my hair (leaving conditioner in) and rub a mixture of Garnier Fructis Surf Hair (to give it shape) and Taft Glued (to give it hold). Then I wait until it’s almost dry and I scrunch out the crunch which is a process that a lot of curlies will be familiar with. I find taking out any excess product with an old t-shirt works out well.

Do you change products often?  Searching for the perfect product is like searching for the Holy Grail. Does it even exist? I’ve never found a product that I have been completely happy with. It’s more difficult as well living in Australia as there are a lot of great products available overseas that are not available here.  I try not to change products. If it works, I’m very brand loyal. But as every curly girl knows, as soon as you like a product, it gets discontinued!

Where do you buy your products?  I try not to spend a lot of money on products. I think with curly hair, the simpler you make your routine, the better it is. I usually try and buy supermarket brands. Not only are they cheaper but if you run out of a product, you can quickly run out and buy some more at the supermarket.

What is your hair care routine?  My hair is quite long now as it’s almost hip curly so I’m more focused on thickening the hair. My 2012 hair maintenance plan is:

  • Trimming my hair 0.5 centimetres every month.
  • Trying to extend periods between washing my hair.
  • Oiling the ends of my hair with jojoba oil the night before I’m going to wash my hair.
  • Wearing my hair in a braid more often when I go out instead of wearing my hair down (my biggest hair vice).
  • Sleeping on a satin pillow.
  • Doing an S&D (search and destroy) weekly.
  • Putting amla in my hair every second week.
  • Taking my hair vitamins; Silica, Biotin, MSM & Omega 3

There is a lot that is said about henna on hair forums but not enough about the benefits of amla. I try and put amla in my hair every second week and it does absolute wonders for thickening my hair. It’s only temporary but I love the way that my hair looks after an amla treatment. I buy the Hesh brand again from a local Indian supermarket down my road. It costs less than $2 per packet. I use three packets for my hair.

How do you wear your hair most often, up or down?  I work from home so I try and wear my hair in a braid as much as possible. When I go out, I like to wear my hair down. I don’t see the point in having long hair if you don’t enjoy it.

What is one hair tip you would like to give people?  Take control of your hair journey. I believe that hairdressers were sabotaging my growth and I don’t think it was a coincidence that when I started cutting my own hair, that my hair started to grow. And exercise patience, hair only grows 0.5” per month after all!

When did you decide to grow your hair long?  I’ve always loved long hair but I’ve always found it difficult to grow. But something in me just clicked in 2008. I think I had just read The Secret and I had this belief it would grow. I started looking at hair blogs and forums. Your hair blog was the first one that I found and I was very inspired by your curly hair journey.

What influenced that decision?  People like yourself and Terri who wrote ‘curly like me’ who took time out of their day to write about their hair tips and what worked and maybe more importantly what didn’t. Looking at pictures of people’s hair growth is very inspiring. I also love visiting hair blogs like yours and going on forums like the Long Hair Community, the Long Hair Boutique and Naturally Curly forum.

What do you like about your hair?  I like the way my curls are very defined and I like the length. There are not as many woman who have curly hair in Australia so I like the fact that my look is very distinctive. There are many women with curly hair who either straighten their hair or resign themselves to it but I absolutely love my hair and always have. I have never worn my hair straight. I don’t think it would suit me anyway. Curly hair is a way of life.

What do you dislike about your hair?  I don’t like the thinness of my hair. And the worst part is that my hair used to be incredibly thick but I put a treatment in it to take the frizz out of the curl and it hasn’t been the same since. I have always regretted that. I just didn’t know how to care for my hair at that time. However, I do believe that if I look after it, it will become thicker in time. You really need patience if you want to grow your hair.

Do you ever receive compliments about your hair?  I don’t often receive compliments about my hair but I think that is because Australians are obsessed with straightening their hair. I receive a lot of ‘interesting’ comments about my hair usually directed along the lines I should straighten it. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about what people thought about my hair good or bad, I don’t need validation from people. And to be honest, I’m not a fan of straight hair. I’ve always loved my hair.

Having said that though, I did get a compliment the other day from a man who said that he loves curly hair. I’ve heard of women having partners who tell them they should straighten their hair or that they are ‘lazy’ if they don’t straighten their hair. I would never be with someone like that. If someone doesn’t like any part of your appearance, they are not worthy of you. It’s a no-brainer.

How do you feel about strangers complimenting your hair?  I don’t think people compliment strangers often enough! I also make an effort to go out of my way to compliment strangers with mixed reactions. It’s a sad world we live in where we can’t give a stranger a compliment without arousing suspicion or them thinking we’re trying to convert them to some obscure religion.


Gillian’s personal blog:  30 Is The New Black

Gillian is one of my readers that has been following my blog the longest and has been in contact with me the most.  I appreciate her interest, input, and encouragement.  Thanks Gillian! 🙂



6 responses

  1. Awwww … what an honour being featured on your blog! I should be thanking you for being such an inspiration and for taking the time to share all your hair tips with readers like me. You are my hair idol and honestly if it wasn’t for you, my hair would not have reached the great lengths it has today! I look forward to seeing more reader’s profiles!

    August 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

    • Amy

      That was fun. Thanks for sharing this. Curly hair is much more fun than straight hair, I think. (Though sometimes I do envy the ‘no frizz’ thing that comes with straight hair. LOL)
      Do you think you share how you do your ‘messy bun’? I love that look and find it tricky to do on myself. :-p

      August 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      • Amy, that is something that took me a looong time to figure out. lol I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

        August 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

  2. brynne

    I love her hair! I wish mine was like that…

    August 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

  3. Ruth

    my hair is pass my butt and a little curl to it wish there was more- I have a hard time doing any thing with it I should try new things but I love the length people are always telling me how pretty it is but my family and alot of strangers tell me its to long to cut it and give it to locks of love well if i ever cut it they are welcome to have it but i hate to be told to cut my hair its rude

    August 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    • Ruth, look through the “my hair journal” category of my blog, there’s a lot of info there about my trial/error/success of bringing out more curls. (also, the “style how-to” section) Maybe you could find something useful. 🙂 As for Locks of Love… It seems some people think anyone with long hair is selfish when there are children out there with no hair. There are a lot of ways to respond to that. Learn some stats about Locks of Love and start informing them when they bring it up. I like to tell people of other ways I help, such as donating blood and walking in Relay for Life. If they won’t listen, say, “I don’t see you packing up your food and sending it to starving children.” (lol)

      August 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

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