What nobody tells you about having long hair

(unsure of image source– let me know if you know who shot this. graphics by me)

For well over a year now I have been embarking on The Great Hair Grow Out, documented in a few different posts, most notably this one (the #1 most viewed post here!). And I’m still growing it, despite the fact that I feel like I might be reaching the end of what I’m capable of managing. My end goal was to have it mid-back — truly loooong hair. Long enough to have a substantial fishtail braid.

Here’s my stats for those who are interested —

My hair is thick thick thick, with a naturally wavy texture. I try to only shampoo it twice a week, sometimes three times (although I do shower every single day, natch) and it is colored regularly.

This is the longest I’ve ever had my hair — ever. It’s nearly impossible to blow out straight anymore, so there’s that. My talent for wielding my large round brush to get it super smooth has been maxed out. So as a result,  I’m learning to embrace my natural texture more and more, and I’ve finally found the perfect cocktail of products to make it work. Additionally, I use this technique via Whoorl to enhance it with a curling iron.

There’s plenty of things that no one tells you about long hair. Things like getting it stuck in the car door on a windy day (ouch!), or needing to pull it out of your face before you spit out your toothpaste in the sink (yuck!).   Or the annoying feeling of it being trapped when you put on a coat and have to pull your hair out of it. Oh, and don’t get me started on the endless amount of hairs floating around our bathroom.

But on the flip side, I feel deliciously sexy with longer locks, a surprising identity twist that I certainly didn’t expect. And in typical male fashion, the husband says he never wants me to cut it again. ::sigh:: Boys, I tell ya.

How do you feel about having long hair? Did you experience an identity shift with a haircut? Did you make a drastic change and cut it all off?


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  • This is amazing. My hair is not the longest it’s ever been, and I relate to everything you said! My hair is dark – so my fiance notices the “stray” hairs a lot more! I suppose that’s a con of long hair – I find it everywhere.

  • Every time I feel like I found the perfect cocktail, it stops working. What are some of your favorite products? Long wavy hair can be such a beast!

  • I was growing my hair out for my wedding in October and cut it all off (and donated to Locks of Love) the Tuesday after the wedding (seriously, the first day the salon was open post-nuptials). I liked long hair, and I like the change. My hair is also quite thick, though, and sometimes I feel like my short hair looks like a fluffy orange helmet… alas.

    • RachelShingleton

      My hair felt MUCH pouffier and fluffier when it was short. I was really afraid of having long hair because I assumed it would do the same thing – be big and pouffy. Surprisingly I’m amazed at how much flatter it behaves.

  • Boys, right?! My husband says the same thing 🙂 I’m in the same boat (longest hair I can remember having). I do feel decidedly more girly with long hair and I like to styling options, but man if I don’t get the urge to chop it off every time it does something annoying! Thank goodness for Pinterest or else I’d be doing a ponytail almost every day!

  • My hair is the longest it has been in a long time too, and it is really thick also (just not wavy like yours). It makes me feel sexier too which is nice…and I think my hubby loves it also. Ditto to all of the annoyances you mentioned. It drives me crazy when it gets caught in my collars and necklaces, and boy does it shed like crazy! I really love curling mine and trying new styles. Love yours this length and the natural wave is really pretty!

    • RachelShingleton

      I seriously have wondered if I have a “problem” with all this hair shedding. I am AMAZED at how much hair comes off my head every single day.

  • I have gone back and forth between Kate Middleton-style long locks and a medium to long bob for most of my life. I always joke that my hair is my best feature.

    I took the plunge in high school chopping my super long hair off and didn’t really grow it long again until before I got married. I love the ease of blow-drying short hair, but long hair is so luxurious! I am currently in the process of letting it grow out again. Seems like I grow it out and then gradually cut it shorter and shorter. I am such a wuss, I won’t do a big chop off! I love your long locks, but then again I am always jealous of blondes. 😀

    • RachelShingleton

      You really do rock some Kate Middleton style. It looks fabulous on you.

      Are you a “Little Women” fan? My favorite part of the movie is when baby Kirsten Dunst says to a freshly shorn Winona Ryder, “Oh Jo! You cut your hair – it was your one true beauty!”

  • Traci Fuller

    Oh geez, let me tell ya. I went from having a short bob to super long straight hair (my hair grows pretty fast, it turns out).

    One that you missed on your list of things no one tells you: the huge tangled knot you’ll get in the back when you want to where a scarf with your outfit for the day. I’ve literally spent an entire evening trying to get those tangles out. I don’t even know how it happens!

    And another: you bending down anywhere near any sort of food whatsoever, and unknowlngly giving yourself food-highlights. Oh well, the things we sacrifice to have long, gorgeous hair!

    • RachelShingleton

      Hahahaha YES! The food highlights! HAAAAA

  • Birdie

    I have been growing out my hair for TWO YEARS. I went from a pixie cut to current– which is somewhere between my shoulders and shoulder blades. I honestly don’t know how long I plan on going.

    Every time I try to go short, I have someone talk me out– reminding me that 2 years is a very, very long time. This last time, I had really thick bangs cut– which are helping.

    It would also help to have thick, wavy hair like yours and not thin, thin, thin, strrraaaaiight hair. Sigh.

    • RachelShingleton

      I too will occasionally talk myself off the cutting ledge. It helps to remember how long I’ve been working towards this! But at hte same time, I know eventually I’ll probably cut it all off. And then it can regrow again. That’s probably my favorite thing about hair — it’s forever changing.

      • imnotsopatient

        please do’nt cut your hair agian,, u have beautiful hair texture, it reminds me of my doll blonde wavy hair.

  • KellyW

    I hate the shedding. And my hair getting caught in my purse strap on my shoulder = drives me nuts. I have grown mine out for over 2 years, and really planned on cutting it off at my last appointment, but the day before, my husband made the comment about how much he liked it long…..

    • RachelShingleton

      What is it with guys liking the hair long?

      • KellyW

        I don’t know! To his credit, he has liked it short too. But, on average, I think guys like longer hair.

        • imnotsopatient

          definately most guys like longer hair,, its sexy!!

  • I have my longest hair of two decades right now. the older i’ve gotten (read: gray), the curlier, which is great for summer. Sucks for winter. I have ridiculously thick hair and sweating when working out is a pain. what’s your hair potion cocktail of choice?

    • RachelShingleton

      Ugh – sweating. Yes. I hear you. I know exactly what you mean.

      Ok, hair potion of choice is this. When I want it curly, I run a wide tooth comb through it to detangle while in the shower. Sometimes I spray it with detangler, sometimes I don’t. When I get out, I immediately scrunch a ton of Moroccan Oil Curl Mousse in. It is amazing. No, really – it’s the best curl product I have ever used. If I feel like my hair is extra dry, I’ll also put a small amount of Moroccan Oil in. Then I’ll air dry or diffuse.

      When I style my hair straight(ish), I always use a spray-in detangler and a hefty dose of Moroccan Oil. I use a wide tooth comb again to detangle.

  • This post made me laugh. We do find my nearly waist length hair in every possible place.

    And, I forwent blow drying years ago! Troublesome bother. Natural texture it is. I hear you.


  • Lindsey P.

    I see you use moroccan oil curl mousse… Have you tried the curl defining cream from them? If so, why do you like the mousse better? I use the cream because I was afraid the mousse would send my hair (exactly the same description as yours) flying straight back to the 80’s Crunchy Crunchland style!

    • RachelShingleton

      I haven’t tried the curl defining cream. In general, I haven’t had much luck w/ curl cremes from other brands, and I heard several people rave about the MO mousse. I have to say, I too was concerned about big 80s crunchies, but so far, that hasn’t been the case.

  • After a bad haircut over Christmas, I am starting the arduous task of growing out my hair. It is currently almost chin-length. I know that this is going to be a long process, but I’m ready for a different look as it has never been much longer than my shoulders. I’m trying to keep my hair healthy so that it won’t break and look thin as it gets longer. Thanks for your posts. They have been very helpful and entertaining!

  • Your hair looks beautiful long! I always remember it short. And that was lovely, too! Thought I’d chime in and say some men DO prefer short hair. I’ve been growing mine out for awhile and it took almost a year before my husband quit asking when I was going to cut it short, again. Grateful he loves me either way. 🙂 And don’t get me started on the shedding issues – FOUR daughters. ALL with long hair. Yikes.

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  • imnotsopatient

    sigh~~ im glad u finally got ur hair so long ,, im still growng mine and my dream goal is tailbone length (ahh fairytale length)… my length right now is one inch away from apl,, therefore i am cureently on a hair regimen where i put insane amount of castor oil on my hair every other day and that makes my hair grow an inch a month (thankfully) otherwise i would go cray cray having to wait half an inch a month.

    Basiacally sacrificing the cleanliness of my hair for growth!

  • FastMovingHuldra

    When I was a kid, I always had long hair, then when I was 20 I got it cut to my shoulders in a “Rachel” haircut. It was cool for a bit and it did give me a fresh start to grow my hair out and take proper care of it this time, but I ended up getting a set of 22″ clip-ins because I felt like mid-length was too “normal” to fit my personality. While my hair was shorter, I experimented with dye a lot and shaved the sides as not to feel like an [insert stereotype with mundane hair]. I like having the choice of wearing it down and feeling like a mythical creature, having infinite ways to braid and bun it, and also being able to put it back no-nonsense when I’m doing something. A lot of people are happy with mid-length hair and I won’t diss them for that, but it’s not for everyone and though it feels “mundane” for me personally, other people can find it does suit them better.

  • Edgar Vargas

    Congrats! It looks amazing. I hope my hair looks this pretty once it has grown out 🙂