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

featured reader

featured reader #2 – Elizabeth

My second reader is a more recent but still enthusiastic follower.  She expressed interest in various hair care routines, hair journey stories, and favorite hair styles of other readers.  So please help her out by being my next featured reader! 🙂

Name:  Elizabeth
Age:  23
Location:  USA

How long is your hair?  33″

Is your hair naturally curly?  No.  The underlayer of my hair has a slight wave to it at the nape of my neck, but it’s so heavy it’s hard to see unless I have my hair up in an half-do.

What products do you use for cleansing your hair?  I use all Giovanni products at the moment, but I have used Suave, Chagrin Natural Bars, and Baking Soda in the past.  Giovanni so far has worked the best and offers gentle SLS-free products.  I’ll also use WEN cleansing conditioner when I have to wash a lot.

What products do you use for styling your hair?  I use Giovanni anti-frizz; I don’t generally have frizzy hair, but I like how it smells and it helps with the static since I live in a drier climate.

Do you change products often?  No.  I went through a phase where I was changing them up every few weeks, but that age old motto “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” really epitomizes my hair’s needs.

Where do you buy your products?  Walmart for the win!  If I’m buying henna I’ll either go to my health food store or go online.  WEN is available online, but I bum mine off my mum. 😛

What is your hair care routine?  A typical week for me would be to use coconut oil (if I remember) the night before I wash, and then shampoo (twice) with Giovanni, rinse, squirt diluted conditioner all through my hair, let it sit and rinse with lukewarm to cold water.  I towel dry (I never use heat) and then scrunch my anti-frizz serum through my damp hair after combing it with a wide tooth comb and I’m done!  I’ll use different hair masques, all homemade, when I have the time or when I feel the need to do so.  I used to S&D (search and destroy) religiously, but honestly I haven’t seen a huge need for it right now and I have a feeling with the length and thickness of my hair I might just go crazy trying to get rid of everything.  Instead, I just treat it gently, don’t wear it in restricting or really tight hairstyles a lot and use coconut oil and that seems to be helping.  I also cut out all SLS products from my hair’s diet and that has made a big difference as well.  I usually will wait anywhere from two to four days between washing again depending on how dirty my hair is.  If I have to wash it two days in a row, I’ll use WEN instead of the Giovanni.  I will trim as I see fit, but my hair grows fairly evenly so there isn’t a huge need for it.

How do you wear your hair most often, up or down?  Down.  Since I’ve recently layered it there is more movement and I’m able to keep it down.  Usually the last day before I wash, my natural oils have built up enough on my scalp that I prefer keeping it up.

When did you decide to grow your hair long?  My family is full of longhairs and I have gone from long hair to short to long to short to long all my life.  This time around, I’m growing it out because 1) I love long hair 2) it suits me, but also because it makes me happy and it is a little bit of a security blanket and this time around I’m not growing it out just for the sake of having long hair and bragging rights.  I’m growing it out because I truly enjoy having it longer.

What influenced that decision?  A small portion of growing my hair long again was being bored with the short hair, but a lot of it was feeling self conscious about myself; I didn’t like how I looked or felt.  I wanted something unique to me and also I saw that it made my husband happy for me to have hair that was really long and feminine, so that’s a big encouragement.

What do you like about your hair?  I love the heaviness of it, and I love how thick and crazy it can get.  It’s like me; not willing to be forced into any style that it doesn’t like. 🙂

What do you dislike about your hair?  I tend to get really nasty tangles at the nape of my neck and I get headaches when I keep it up for too long.

Do you ever receive compliments about your hair?  For the most part the majority of compliments I get are from my mom or my coworkers.  My friends don’t get why I would bother with long hair especially since short and sassy is all the range haha!

How do you feel about strangers complimenting your hair?  Honestly I find it really flattering, and it makes me feel great!  The one comment I’ve been getting a lot lately is “Your hair is really long!” and I don’t really know how to respond to that one other than “um….yeah…it is…?”  It’s not really a compliment so much as a comment, so I can’t really say thank you lol.

If you could give one tip, what would it be?  Treat your hair like old lace whenever possible, and don’t assume that there is one magic hair fix; everyone will have different needs.

Elizabeth’s personal blog:  www.thecontagiousintrovert.blogspot.com


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! 🙂


coming in August

Featured Reader!

Here’s a sneak peak from our very first featured reader.

If you would like to be featured on my blog, please email me (link in the side bar) and I will tell you what you need to do.