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

everyday long hair issues

tangles & knots

I don’t personally have a lot of experience with tangles, so I’m probably not the best source of information on this topic.  But I’m still going to share with you what I know because many times tangles is what keeps you girls from growing your hair long, or makes you want to cut it off.  If you are the type to brush through your hair, ripping out the knots as you go…. imagine me slapping your hand and saying “NO!” 🙂  Believe me, that’s the worst way for you to deal with it!  Few things make me cringe more than a child crying out in pain as her head is being yanked around by a brush in her mother’s hand.  The mother always saying, “She just hates having her hair brushed!”  Many times I have asked for permission to take over, and the little girl sat calmly and quietly as I detangled her hair.  No, she doesn’t hate having her hair brushed, she just hates the way you do it.

Like I said, I have limited experience.  I have been blessed with hair that simply is not prone to tangle.  I think it’s because it’s more on the coarse side.  However, I have dealt with a lot of different types of hair on other people, including very fine hair, tightly curled thick hair, and children’s hair.  Please keep in mind that different hair types have different needs.  These are just some basic principles that I have discovered to work well for me.

Tangles are very damaging to the hair and cause weak spots and breakage.  Here are a few rules to follow to avoid tangles, and to deal with them when they do happen.

hair1.  Avoid letting your hair loose on a windy day.  If your hair tangles easily, please follow this piece of advice!  I knew a girl who had to cut her knee length hair off at her waist because she spent a day outside enjoying the feel of wind in her hair.  She ended up with a huge knot.  Three different people worked on it over the next few days with very little success.  She cut the knot out, but it left a gap that was too noticeable, so she cut it all off.

So put your hair up or in a braid if you’re going to be out on a windy day.  The same goes for riding a motorcycle, riding in the car with the windows down, etc.  Don’t let the wind whip your hair.

Note:  It is a good idea to always put your child’s hair in a protective style (braid, bun, etc.) when she goes out to play.  Especially if she has very long or very curly hair.  Why subject your children to long, unpleasant detangling sessions when it can be prevented?  It will save you and her a lot of time and frustration.

2.  Condition!  I know you’re going to get tired of hearing me say this.  You’re probably thinking “that’s her cure for everything!”  Well, you’re not far off.  🙂  If your hair is dry or brittle, it will be much more likely to tangle.  A good conditioning routine can take care of this.  Proper hydration means your hairs are smoother and less inclined to catch on each other and knot together.

3.  Use a wide tooth comb.  This is something I started doing about 20 years ago and I never looked back.  I know there are many different types of styling brushes.  If you want to use a brush for styling, ok.  But don’t use it to detangle.

4. Start at the bottom and work up.  Never start combing or brushing at the top, even if you don’t think you have any tangles.  This can create tangles.  Also, work in sections.  If your hair is very tangled, smaller sections work better and you don’t get frustrated as easily.

Something that I found to work really well for my hair is to always detangle in the shower while my hair is soaking wet and conditioner applied heavily.  I usually stand under the shower head so the water runs down my hair while I’m combing.  You’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to comb/brush wet hair because it will stretch and break the hairs.  It’s different when it’s coated in conditioner.  The comb slides through without stretching the hair (unless you run into a knot, at which point you will immediately stop and pull out the comb, then gently work on the knot).  It’s much easier for me than combing it dry.  By all means, do whatever works for you.

I’ve heard good things about the Tangle Teezer.  I have never personally used one, but 3 of the hair girls I watch on youtube rave about them.  If you’re not opposed to using a brush, it might be worth a try.


hair everywhere!

I remember a story a long haired friend told about how her coworker found one of her hairs in his house.  She had never, ever been in his house.  Thinking back, he remembered that he had sat in her desk chair for a few minutes one day at work.  Apparently one of her hairs that had been on the chair attached itself to his clothing and hitched a ride home with him.  She said “It’s a good thing he wasn’t murdered, I might have been blamed when they found my hair on the scene!”

Probably the biggest annoyance to me that comes with having long hair is that you find it everywhere.  Evveryyywheeeerrre.  Because the hairs are so big, they’re noticeable.  They’re easy to find.  Or more like… it’s easier for them to find you!  They lurk in the carpet and wrap themselves around your toes.  They thread themselves through your clothing and drop off at inopportune moments (like in the kitchen).  They collectively sabotage your drains and vacuum cleaners.  It seems that no matter how hard you try, no matter how diligent you are about disposing of them, they still end up everywhere.

I have found a few ways to help in this area.  I used to have to clean out my shower drain about once a month simply because it would stop draining.  What I pulled out looked like a drowned mouse and smelled like death.  Because of that, I started sticking my loose hairs to the shower wall during my shower.  IMG_5441Any hairs that I find on my hands or stuck to my body will go on the shower wall.  I detangle my hair in the shower, so I get a ton.  It ends up looking like this —> by the time I’m done.  (this is an actual pic of my shower)  After my shower, I simply wipe my hand across the wall to gather up all the hair and drop it in the trash.  It may seem gross, but it’s not near as gross as the dead mouse drain thing.  I also have one of these, draina drain strainer, to catch anything that I don’t.  It even traps my husband’s hair which is only a couple inches long!  You can pick one up somewhere like Walmart.  There are different options for drain shapes and sizes.broom

Another indispensible item in our house is a rubber broom.  Several years ago, my mom saw one in a magazine and decided to give it a try.  With three long haired people living in the house, it was part of our regular vacuuming routine to sit and dig hair out of the vacuum cleaner!  We hated that so much!  I’m telling you, this broom will find more hair than you ever imagined was lurking in your carpet.  And it will pick up more hair than your vacuum will.  You can also use it on your furniture or in your car.  I bought mine online at simplygoodstuff.com, but they’re available on several different sites.

I hope these little tips will help you out.  Let me know how it goes for you.  If you have any more suggestions for capturing these rogues, please share!

lose the towel!

A big issue with long hair is damage.  The more damaged your hair is, the harder it is to gain (or maintain) length.  Also, the longer your hair is, the easier it gets damaged.  Some of that, you just can’t help.  It’s nature.  But there are some things that we commonly do on a regular basis that actually cause damage to the hair.  Towel-drying is one of those things.  In case you haven’t noticed, towels have a very rough texture.  This texture grabs your hair and pulls and tugs it in different directions.  This can cause breakage.  And please tell me you’re not rubbing the towel over your hair to dry it!

Several years ago, I stopped using towels on my hair.  I learned first about plopping and started doing that with my towel with great success.  But a towel is heavy and hard to secure in a plop.  When I heard about using a t-shirt, I tried it immediately and never looked back.  A t-shirt is very soft (usually 100% cotton) with a smooth texture that doesn’t grab at your hair.  I had a lot less frizz, and over time, less breakage.  I simply love it!

If you have curly hair and you don’t plop, you should try it!  But drying with a t-shirt is not limited to curly girls!  Here are a couple of videos showing how to use a t-shirt to dry your hair.

This one is for those with straight hair that don’t want to plop.  She made this video at my request!  How sweet! 🙂  By the way, she has some great style tutorials so be sure to check out her youtube channel Torrin Paige

This one is for plopping.  There’s a lot of talking at the beginning, but the plopping explanation starts at about 8 minutes, so you can skip to there if you want.  This is basically how I do it.  You won’t need an extra long shirt, no matter how long your hair is. 

dealing with static

Winter is quickly approaching.  With winter comes static electricity.  Static in your hair is a big deal.  The longer your hair is, the bigger deal it is.  It can get a little creepy when your hair starts reaching out to people standing two or three feet away, or when you pull back from a hug and your hair is still clinging to the other person. 

Imagine this with 3 feet of hair!

So I’m going to share with you some ways I’ve learned to help reduce static in hair.

1.  Wear clothing that isn’t prone to static.  We all know that sweaters are like the best conductors of electricity, right?  But does that stop us?  No!  🙂  Here’s a tip….. natural fiber clothing (cotton, bamboo, wool, silk, leather, etc.) is less prone to static than synthetic fibers.  Cotton is actually neutral when it comes to electricity.  Cotton sweaters don’t get static!  (But you have to get fabrics that are 100% cotton, not mixed with a synthetic.)  So keep this in mind when you go shopping for your winter clothes, hats, coats, gloves, and scarves.

2.  If you wear something that is prone to static, wear your hair up.  This is the simplest solution.

3.  Use combs made of bone or horn.  I used to use a plastic wide-tooth comb.  Every time I combed my hair, it would get static.  Since buying a horn comb, I no longer have that problem.  (I do use a plastic comb in the shower because water can damage natural ones.  Besides, in the shower you don’t have to worry about static.)

4.  Using fabric softener or dryer sheets on your hair is a very common remedy that I hear a lot.  And I admit, in a pinch, I’ve prayed Static Guard on my hair.  I don’t recommend this.  It works, but the chemicals are not good for your hair.  Please only do this if you’re desperate!

5.  Condition, Condition, Condition.  I can’t stress this enough!  This is the most important thing to do!  Dryness is what brings about so much static.  I read that even dry skin will cause static in your clothing.  So keep your hair (and skin) moisturized!  Do regular deep conditioning treatments about once a month, and use plenty of conditioner when you wash your hair.  Make sure you don’t have build-up that is preventing the moisture from soaking in.  I like to scrunch raw shea butter into the ends immediately after my shower to seal in the moisture.  (I also use it as body lotion.)  For those with straight hair, smoothing a few drops of oil into your ends daily is highly recommended.

I wish you all a happy, static-free winter!!