An Open Letter to the Girls Yearning for Long Hair

An Open Letter to the Girls Yearning for Long Hair

Or just REALLY need help for their fried locks
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views

Dear girl who also wants beautiful & long locks,

It sucks. I know. I grew up with long, beautiful brown hair that makes me so sad to look back at. I wish I just let it grow long and kept it healthy, but instead I fell into the trap of bleach and synthetic dyes. I wanted to try pink streaks, blue streaks, etc. Since you're reading this, I'm assuming you did too.

"I love it!" I said, and so did you when the hair dresser bleached some highlights into your hair, or "it looks pretty good to me!" we both said after using the box dye from CVS or Walgreens. Between me and you, that was the begginning of the end for our hair. So you dyed and bleached it just like I did? Now you wish you didn't, feeling extremely jealous of every girl with hair down to her waist. Trust me, I do too. Do you also read endless articles and watch long videos on how to grow your hair long in a week? You've also seen the ones about vitamins, coconut oils and hair trims? Well I have, and I've not only read about them, but also tried most of these tips over the past two years. My hair was absolutely FRIED from bleaching it every few weeks, and I'm here to tell you the tips that helped me bring it back to normal.

First off, know that you do NOT need to dye your hair to look pretty! You're natural hair color is gorgeous and you were born with it for a reason. Getting your hair back to normal is going to be difficult, yet it is possible. It's a process and you really should not be getting a haircut more then once every three months, but if you're ready to take on this process then you have to get a good trim. Go to the hairdresser and ask him/her to cut off all the dead ends. It sounds scary and it may be a few inches, but this one cut will help you SO much in terms of growing out your hair.

Oils. Oils. Oils. Literally any oils. Coconut, argan, macadamian, almond, avacado, jojoba, olive, or any other types of oils will do WONDERS for your hair. Put it on your whole head and massage into your scalp for a few minutes. Blowdrying your hair (using a low heat setting) for a few minutes will also open up the pores on the hair shaft to absorb more oil. Then, place a towel on your pillow and sleep with the oil in your hair. In the morning make sure to rinse out the oil with shampoo. If you must, shampoo twice but also make sure you ALWAYS condition. Repeat this once a week.

STOP BRUSHING. USE A WIDE-TOOTHED COMB. Brushing gives you an array of split ends and breaks your hair, especially since it is so fragile when wet after a shower. Instead, comb your hair starting at the bottom. Even use a detangler! I us Not Hour Mothers: Way to Grow Spray. It is supposed to help your hair grow by restoring moisture and health to it. I absolutely love this spray and have been using it for awhile.

Stop with the buns - they hurt your hair. However, you can still throw your hair up into an updo if you use the right ponytails. There are certain ponytails that make a HUGE difference on how many split ends you have.

Ponytails you should not use:

Ponytails you should use:

Now I understand that some people recommend vitamins. I'm not a professional, but I've been taking biotin chewables (they taste much better than the pill) and just regular fish oil pills. I don't really like those vitamins specifically for hair growth because they've got a mix of so many things that it hurts my stomach.

That's all I have to say about hair for now! Good luck on your journey to long locks!

Cover Image Credit: Cartoons Mix

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Shaving My Head Taught Me That Self-Confidence Does Not Depend On How I Look

Shaving my head helped me gain more self-confidence than I ever thought possible.

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Hair is something that has more power over us than we think. Historically, hair was viewed as a way to identify your gender, marital status, religion, or social position. In the Quapaw tribe, single Native American women wore their hair in braids, while the married woman wore it long and loose. Hair can be sacred, as well. Many Sikhs believe that hair should not be cut in any way, as it is a gift from God.

In most of Western society, hair serves simply as a gender marker. Although we are straying away from traditional gender roles, long hair usually signifies femininity and short hair represents masculinity. The media portrays desirable young women with long, silky, effortlessly perfect hair.

For me, my hair served as a comfort. Although I struggled with its frizziness, brittleness, and tangle-ability, I relied on it to make me feel secure. When it hung to my waist in high school, I would use it to cover up my arms and shoulders when I wore sleeveless tops, as I didn't like these parts of my body.

As a child, I remember watching Natalie Portman on the Oprah Winfrey show, talking about having to shave her head for a movie role. Even though I thought it was extreme, her calm and pragmatic demeanor about it changed my perceptions on having a shaved head. I remember her saying, "I always wanted to do it once in my life, anyways. It'll grow back my natural color eventually."

Months before I left for college, I began to devise a plan. I would dye my hair the fun colors that I wasn't allowed to in high school, and then shave it all off for the new year. I got started the week after I moved into my dorm and bleached my hair. As the chemicals burned my scalp and made my eyes water, I realized that there was no going back now. I had committed to shaving my head.

When January rolled around, I was starting to get apprehensive. The weekend I had marked on my calendar approached, and I trekked through a snowstorm to the nearest SportsClips. The barber seemed bewildered at my request but didn't give me any time to reconsider. She took the clippers right to my head, and I watched as my bleach-damaged locks fell to the ground, much like the snow outside.

The first week was hard. I didn't recognize my reflection and often caught myself reaching up to play with my non-existent hair out of habit. I only went out in girly outfits or a full face of makeup, as I felt the need to assert my femininity.

As the weeks went on, however, I began to fall in love with my stubbly head.

Would I recommend shaving your head? I would. Although the journey has been challenging, the benefits make the shave well worth it. Not only do save time in the morning, but I also have learned how to stop hiding behind my hair.

Shaving my head taught me how to stop relying on my appearance for self-assurance. When I had long hair, I would often base my validation around how I looked. Although it provided me temporary confidence, it meant that I wasn't placing any confidence in my other traits. I cared more about how the world saw me than how it heard me. Now that I've stripped myself of my comfort blanket, I feel as though I can conquer anything, no matter how I look.

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