someone who understands me!

From ellen_kushner, a fabulous website on the topic of long hair. And by “long,” I mean that my own hair (down to about my hips) is maybe on the short side for what she’s talking about. It’s a great site overall, with very common-sense advice for many types of hair (not just long straight Caucasian hair like mine), but what I love it for is this page, with various possibilities only marginally more complicated than my usual braid, and more interesting to boot.

Much of the long-hair advice is stuff I’ve been doing anyway — I don’t wash my hair every day (I don’t need to), I wear it in a braid (though not up) almost all the time, I don’t use a blow-dryer or curling iron or coloring products or anything else of the sort. I’ll probably try some of the other tips, though, especially since they’re generally in the vein of less maintenance rather than more. My hair is long enough already for my taste, but I wouldn’t mind making it even healthier for its length.

0 Responses to “someone who understands me!”

  1. greybar

    I am amused that one of the styles references Julia Timoshenko. 🙂

  2. anaquana

    Thank you for this! My hair goes just a little past my butt and I’ve been looking for new and easy ways to put it up.

    And, like you, I already follow most of her advice. Although I do color it maybe twice a year to a shade just a little brighter than my natural color.

  3. catvalente

    I use coloring and rarely wear it up and have pretty awesome hair–if I wear it up all the time, what’s the point of long hair? Some of the tips from these kinds of communities make it sound like such hard work.

    • Marie Brennan

      This one doesn’t sound like hard work at all — in fact, she criticizes the comms that act as if you have to do a thousand things to get results. Most of her advice is about not doing vast amounts of maintenance (trimming, blow-drying, applying treatments, etc). And I don’t think the woman would argue that it’s impossible to have awesome hair by doing other things; she’s just saying that if you want healthy long hair, your odds are better if you handle it gently and protect it from wear and tear.

      I do agree that if you wear it up all the time, you somewhat miss the point. But I was glad to find this because the styles give you a variety of attractive looks that can only be done with long hair — heck, my hair’s too short for some of them! — without them being giant amounts of effort, like a crown braid. Then, on special occasions, I can leave my hair down, and know it will look healthy instead of battered.

      • catvalente

        Oh, yeah, I blow dry, too. 🙁

        I just feel like a loooot of communities out there preach the One True Way when it comes to long hair.

        • Marie Brennan

          I got that impression, just reading through this site’s comments on those communities. Me, I’m sitting here going, “what? there’s communities for long hair?”

          Why yes, sometimes I do live under a rock.

  4. diatryma

    That is very useful, especially the answers to people insisting that I am a bad person for not donating my hair (okay, there were two people, and years ago, but still).

    • Marie Brennan

      I suspect my hair is suitable for wigmaking, as I don’t color it or blow-dry it or do anything other than occasionally shampoo and condition. But it makes me wonder why Locks of Love bothers soliciting donations, if what they get is unusable.

      • diatryma

        Mine is good for donations, or at least it doesn’t have most of the easy risks (I wear it down a lot or in fairly tight elastics; there’s not a lot of room between ‘hippie’ and ‘severe’) but so many people see my hair as their potential trophy, I have to reconcile myself to giving them a victory.

        • Marie Brennan

          Your hair should not be anybody’s trophy but your own.

          • diatryma

            I keep a lot of baggage in my hair. Even when people are not intentionally manipulating me, it’s easy to walk into free-floating issues.

            Part of me wishes I still knew those particular hairsnipers so I could have a conversation about hair donation and why I think I give quite enough of my body, thank you, and when was the last time they gave blood?

          • Marie Brennan

            I wish I could still give blood, but I form keloid scars too easily. I quit the first time I got one on the inside of my elbow.

            On the bright side, I guess I’ll never become a junkie, either.

  5. catvalente

    Oh, also, that crown braid style is possible and symmetrical if you make a low ponytail at the base of your head, split it, braid it into two braids, and wrap your head with them split around the skull, with the ends tucked in on the sides. Works awesomely.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve seen that, too. And I would try it (since my hair isn’t long enough to make a single-tail coronet) if it weren’t for the fact that my braids don’t taper: they go from “nice plait” to “disintegrating mess” in about one step, so I’m always left with a long floppy tail that doesn’t tuck in well.

    • kendokamel

      The way I get a nice corona braid is to do an inside-out french braid down either side of my head (finished out by braiding all the way to the respective ends), and then weaving the hanging bits of the braids through the bits secured to my scalp. This lets my head support the weight of the braids, and I don’t really even need pins or clips at all, except to secure the ends so they don’t come out.

  6. fjm

    A great site but I still think I was right to cut my hair off. I wasn’t trying to look younger: quite the opposite. I increasingly felt that my hair was undoing my aims for maturity. Also–referencing her comment about a bun–I really did want to wear it loose again.

    I suspect I’ll have long hair again one day, but right now, loose, short hair, is covering the hearing aids.

    • Marie Brennan

      Whereas someday I may get tired of having hair this long, and hack it all off. (And then cry for a week from the sheer trauma of loss. <g>)

      I think maturity or lack thereof, as expressed in hairstyles, are going to vary a lot from person to person. What looks grown-up on one person is a cute little-kid pixie-bob on another.

      • fjm

        I think colour often has a big role to play here: ginger hair is not exactly modest to start with. Flowing ginger locks screams preRapahelite, and that’s not exactly a mature look.

  7. xicanti

    I think I’ve just found my new favourite site. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been trying to grow my hair for years and years, but thus far I’ve failed to get it past about the middle of my back. I can already tell that this site is going to help a lot.

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