c2000 Sandy

I started growing my hair when I turned 30, determined not to give in to short frizzy haircuts that most older women wear. Currently I am 46 years old with hair I can just barely sit on. It has been as long as mid-thigh, but my current length is the most flattering.

Here are some tips for growing long, beautiful hair, based on fifteen years of experience.

1. Be patient. One day of frustration can result in losing two years of growth. Don't let your hair frustrate or agitate you into cutting it.

2. Have at least one "hair mate". Julie (with waistlength hair) and I meet about every week to try out new styles. It makes us feel young to have girl time together. We also encourage each other and giggle about the people who try to get us to cut our hair. Her favorite answer to those who think she should cut it is, "Why? Do you need some?"

3. Go to the hairdresser only for color. Hairdressers are highly motivated to get you coming in for frequent cuts and trims. At 46, I need a little help with color now and then, but a little gray here and there looks natural, so I highlight only. It has been 14 years or so since a hairdresser trimmed my hair and it looks great! I would rather spend the money on new accessories and conditioners!

4. Compliment other women with long hair. Having long hair is like being in a sorority. You have to be there for one another. Once your hair grows almost to waist length, you will start making eye contact and smiling with other long haired sisters. Walk right up to people and compliment them, like even in the mall. I do it all the time. Put the shoe on the other foot, would it ever bug you to have another woman compliment your hair, even a stranger?

5. Stop feeling like a minority. Most non-westernized Caucasian and Asian women wear their hair at full length for life. It seems like only in more developed countries where the beauty industry is market driven have women been duped into cutting their over and over. This trend also seems to go hand in hand with women struggling with their femininity. Women with short hair often gain weight and stop wearing feminine clothing. Long hair is socially powerful, and it is no wonder that some short-haired "butch" feminists feel like they have to yell a lot to get attention and power. Consider Muslim countries where women have to cover their hair which leads to oppression. If women want more social power they need to grow it and show it!

6. Let your hair decide how long to get. Think it over, do you really want to live and die never knowing how long your hair will get? Let it grow to full length at least once in your lifetime as a form of self discovery. For most women, some 90%, this is down to the crease right below your buns (often called "classic" length). For me it was to mid-thigh before it stopped growing. I enjoyed the feel of having it that long (brushing my thighs as I walked was a very cool feeling), but then I cut it back to classic length for that wonderfully feminine look which looks great it every situation at all times.

7. When you go out in public and you are wearing your hair down, count how many people sneak a look at it. After a while you get good at catching them. Men and women both are fascinated by long hair. People will actually run into things while looking at it.

8. Hang in there! When your hair grows a lot longer than the table top you are sitting at for meals, it gets a lot easier to handle. When you are first growing out bangs and your hair is shoulder length, you find yourself forever pushing it back. As it gets longer, it gets easier, especially when in approaches waist length. Then if you put it behind your shoulder, it stays there. And it stops falling into your food and whatever else is on your table. Waistlength hair just doesn't fall in your face. Once mine approached classic length, I almost never had to move it out of the way anymore.

9. It is a myth that long hair is too heavy and so you have to cut it. A woman in New York this past year cut three feet off her very thick hair and it weighed less than eight ounces! Your scalp was specially designed to support your hair at full length, this is simple genetics; in fact your scalp can support your entire bodyweight for short periods of time, as shown by circus performers. However, be careful not to wear it wet and down as you walk around for three hours of drying time. Wet hair can indeed be quite heavy. The longer mine got, the more I started washing it at night. I love braiding it a little damp (a front braid in front of my shoulder for sleeping so it won't get caught beneath me) and waking up with mounds of waves.

10. If you want to wash your hair with a minimum of tangling, then part it in the middle and brush it before getting in the shower. Then put one plait in front of each shoulder. Keep the plaits separate as you wash them from the scalp down. Never bunch your hair up when you wash it. Keep it straight down as you wash from the scalp to the tips, running your fingers lightly through each plait to keep it from tangling and to fully wash it. Same with conditioner, work it down from the scalp to the tips. Give yourself oil treatments as often as you can pamper yourself.

11. Encourage co-workers to grow their hair out. Several women at my church are now trying it because I suggested it. Many are surprised to see that the Bible even encourages long hair for women. Don't lie and say "how cute!" when someone gets her hair cut short. Why we do this so often I don't really understand.

12. Enjoy the sensuality of having long hair. Why are we afraid to say that long hair feels really, really good against our skin? Enjoy the following moments:

I believe that we women have a genetically determined emotional need to experience things like the above list, much like our need to give birth or breast feed. Otherwise we go through life feeling like something is missing. Don't go through life emotionally amputated!

13. Long hair can change your whole lovemaking routine. Try this out! Put on something very feminine. Light some candles and ask your husband to brush your hair. As you are married longer, lovemaking can get pretty abrupt and routine, and this is a way of bringing more affection and romance into it. It just sets a different tone. You'd be crazy not to do this at least once a week since it makes love making much more satisfying for us as women.

14. Banish from your house anything that can hurt your hair, such as metal clips. Also brushes with sharpish bristle tips will break lots of hairs. Be very careful around mixers, power tools, and lawn equipment. Watch out for elevator doors and escalator handrails. Be very careful when blowing out candles.

15. Get your husband (or boyfriend if you are younger) involved. Many males are too shy to admit it, but most men are hard-wired genetically to be attracted to long hair on women. Those men who are more assertive will just say so! Say racy things about your hair in front of him and you can reel him in at will. (Can you believe I just wrote that?)

16. Make up your mind to wear your hair long for life. In most cultures, the older you are, the longer your hair is. It is a mark of honor. Ask yourself what looks better, an elderly woman with silky white hair skillfully put up or a frizzy thinning perm?

17. It takes about as long to grow your hair out (from a short cut to classic length) as it does to go to college and graduate school. But in my opinion, a full head of classic length hair does more for the self esteem and positive image than any degree from a school.

18. Trim only damaged hair until you reach full length. I once went 18 months without a trim with no ill effects.

Long hair projects a wonderfully positive image. It says to all around you that you are patient, sensual, spiritual, feminine, classic and comfortable with your sexuality. You go for it, girl!

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