Oh, that long, shiny, bouncy shampoo-commercial hair -- we've all pined for it, but it seems like only a select few can actually achieve it. Most of us don't have a professional stylist at our beck and call (not to mention photographer and personal Photoshop artist). So how can the average girl get her long locks looking lust-worthy? A lot of it is genetics, to be sure, but with these five tips, you can be on your way to shampoo-model hair -- or close enough, anyway -- in almost no time.
And for any of you who treasure your long hair but figure you'll soon have to part ways with it and fall victim to the dreaded "mom cut" -- you might think again after reading this article.
Don't Wash Your Hair Every Day
OK - we know what you're thinking: "But won't my hair get all gross and greasy?" Yes -- if your hair is used to being shampooed every day, it'll take time to adjust. But the greasiness will be temporary, we promise! Once you get over the hump (in about a week), you'll find that your hair looks a whole lot healthier. Daily shampooing actually strips your hair of its natural oils, which dries it out and leaves it more vulnerable to the elements. If you give the shampoo a rest once in a while, the oils will have a chance to come back, making your hair more shiny and bouncy. And, hey, it's cheaper, too!
Get Regular Trims
This might sound counterintuitive, but you need to keep up with haircuts, even when you have long hair. It's not true that regular trims will make your hair grow faster (how did that one get started, anyway?), but they will help your hair look healthier.
Long hair more easily looks damaged than shorter hair does, so you should get those split ends snipped every two to three months. Not so much that you compromise your beautiful, flowing locks, of course, but just enough to spruce things up. Strengthening shampoo and a once-a-week deep conditioning will also keep those pesky ends looking perky.
Don't Blow-dry Your Hair When It's Wet
Say what? Isn't that what a hairdryer's for, you ask? Well, kind of. The general rule of thumb is to wait for your hair to be about 80 percent dry before you pull out the dryer, and that's extra-important for long hair -- more heat exposure causes more damage. So, after you get out of the shower, pat (don't rub!) your hair with a towel, apply styling lotion and detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb. Then hang out, get dressed, do your makeup, do whatever you need to do while your hair air dries. If you're crunched for time, go ahead and use medium heat to pre-dry your hair, but don't start the serious work until it's almost dry.
Skip the Roots
The more hair you have, the more product you need, right? Yes -- sometimes. If you have thick, wavy or otherwise unruly long hair, you probably need to be liberal with the styling products. But everyone else should ease up -- it's also true that the more hair you have, the more weighed-down and limp it can get. If your long hair is fine or straight, you should avoid your roots when applying conditioner or any other hair products. Your roots will end up lighter and bouncier when the product is concentrated where you need it most -- at those damage-prone ends.
Don't be Afraid if You're Over 40
There's an unwritten rule in our society -- let's call it the "Mom Hair Law" -- that dictates that all women of a certain age must chop off their hair. And while it's definitely true that long hair (like a bedraggled, waist-length blunt cut) can weigh down your face and prematurely age you, there are plenty of ways to do it right. The key is in a modern cut with all-over layers -- and a commitment to maintaining it. As we get older, our hair gets drier, coarser and thinner, so we have to put more effort into keeping it looking fresh. But does that mean you have to hack it all off? No way!
For more fresh hair tips, peruse the links on the following page.
From ancient Greek spearman to Mr. Exotic, America's most notorious big cat owner, the mullet seems destined to stick around and around.
- Foss, Melissa. "10 Common Hair-Care Myths." (Accessed July 31, 2010) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/hair/hair-care-myths-0800
- Jackson-Cannady, Ayren. "Hair Repair: Treat Dry and Damaged Hair." (Accessed July 31, 2010) http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/beauty/hair/tips/treat-dry-damaged-hair/
- Nexxus.com. "Growing Hair Longer." (Accessed July 31, 2010) http://www.nexxus.com/Hair-Issues/Grow-Longer
- Phillips, Kelly L. "Hairstyles and Haircuts for Long Hair." (Accessed July 31, 2010) http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/beauty/hair/tips/hairstyles-and-haircuts-for-long-hair/
- RealBeauty.com. "Long Hair at Any Age." (Accessed July 30, 2010) http://www.realbeauty.com/hair/styles/long/long-hair-at-any-age
- RealSimple.com. "Long Hair." (Accessed Aug. 1, 2010) http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/hair/hair-care/how-blow-dry-long-hair-10000001581055/index.html
- Reuters. "Japanese Women Hairstyles Track Economy Ups and Downs." Feb. 18. 2008. (Accessed July 31, 2010) http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-32004620080218
- TotalBeauty. "How to Blow-Dry Long Hair Perfectly (At Home!)" Feb. 8, 2010. (Accessed Aug. 1, 2010) http://www.totalbeauty.com/editors_blogs/how-to-blow-dry-long-hair-perfectly-at-home