Struggles of long hair that all girls can relate to


Long hair, don’t
care! Long hair devotees such as myself are often so attached to our locks
that we will endure lots of daily annoyances and hassles because they simply go
with the tress territory. If you have long hair that falls past your shoulders,
chances are, you deal with your strands getting in the way of your normal
activities, from eating to applying makeup, multiple times throughout the
course of a single day. Regardless, it doesn’t matter how tedious or
troublesome the foibles of having long follicles are. You can’t and won’t part
with it or hack it all off. And that’s totally okay.
These are the legit struggles
of having long hair — texture and style don’t matter, only length. Everyday
women truly relate to these issues, as I polled a variety of sources — friends,
colleagues, and acquaintances. Even a male friend weighed in, since dudes have
long hair, too! The one conclusion? The struggles of long hair are real but
they are not insurmountable.

There are days when we
long-haired girls who wash, brush, blow dry, and style our hair end up with
enough strands on the bathroom floor that we could make a wig out of them. Yes,
I add a few minutes to my morning routine by sweeping up all those strands I
have shed with a Swiffer or a piece of toilet paper. But no matter how thorough
I think the cleanup job is, there will always, always be a few strands I didn’t
catch. Where do these hairs hide when I am sweeping up their friends?
My colleague Jem Aswad stated
that his teenager daughter is always flustered to find hair “absolutely
everywhere” — the bathroom floor, in little hairballs on the carpet that
look like cockroaches, and on sheets. My friend Gabriella Meghan groused,
“I probably have to clean more that somebody with short hair.”

Washing and conditioning is
never just washing and conditioning. Over time, long hairs clog drains in
the shower or the sink. It’s not only gross to yank a clump of matted, soggy
hair from the drain cover — I often wretch and get dry heaves when I have
to do this cleaning ritual — but it will also cause the drain to back up, since
the tangles of hair create blockage and don’t allow water to drain
Next thing you know, you are
standing in an inch or two of dirty water when showering. Yuck. It gets so bad
that Liquid Plumr doesn’t do the trick. You have to call an actual plumber
to snake the tub and pull out the thick, disgusting clog. I have dealt with
this several times at my condo over the years. 
forced to wear it up on hot days

Personally, my hair is my
protective curtain and my shield. I prefer to wear it down and framing my face,
since that’s what my long, Jennifer Aniston-inspired, angled layers are there
for. I don’t mind the additional time and energy it takes to style it before
heading out. However, on super hot and humid summer days, I hate being forced
to pull my hair back into a ponytail, due to a sweaty neck. 
Stringy, sweat-soaked hair
never looks good and thus I have no choice but to throw it in a messy pony.
It’s the lesser of two evils. My friend Seneid Kennedy concurred, grumbling
about her struggle to “resist the urge to always put it up in a ponytail
or a bun even after you spent forever styling it.”
never can really just wash and go

Having long hair isn’t exactly
a wash ‘n’ go lifestyle. It’s always a process and can take an eternity to
style. Even on days when you skip a wash, you have to brush out the tangles and
use dry shampoo to freshen up or risk looking a bit too bedhead-y. 
If you are like me and wash
your strands daily, or even every other day, it can take a good half-hour or
longer to condition, style, and blow dry. Let’s not even talk about using heat
styling tools on a hot day, because that adds to the aforementioned sweaty
My pals Jill Perrin and Cassie
Whitt both complained about how having long hair makes you feel hot all of the
time. Jill stated that “blowdrying in summer makes you feel like you need
another shower immediately after,” while Cassie pointed out that “my
hair is pretty straight and low-maintenance, but my head is SO HOT ALL THE
TIME! It gets very sweaty.”
of ice cream (and food in general, actually)

If you happen to be eating a
sticky food, like ice cream, and your hair somehow lands in your cookies ‘n’
cream, due to a gust of wind or a quick turn of your head, you are screwed. You
can grab a napkin and dab at the melty, sugary mess, but it almost always dries
hard and crunchy and your ‘do is pretty much done for the day. It looks bunk
and gross and I can never successfully brush out the sticky knot, either. The
only fix is a fresh wash. 
As my associate Debbie Sellnow
noted, “I’m like a little kid getting my hair in my food.” There is
no shame here; all long-haired girls have been there, done that, and will do it
have to be extra cautious around candles

You have to be really careful
around candles because burning hair doesn’t smell good and is generally
incredibly dangerous. As my friend Ginger Ella mused, “It’s a fire
If you want to blow out a
candle, you can’t just bend over, exhale, and be done with it. Oh no — not even
close. You have to use your hand as a makeshift ponytail holder and hold your
hair back at the nape of your neck or else you risk your pretty strands going
up in flames. My long hair has trained me to do this whenever I light candles,
because once, when I didn’t, I ended up with slightly singed strands.
I never, ever want to feel or smell that again.
ties are always breaking and/or getting lost

There must be some black hole
where hair ties go to die. Personally, I buy at least five packs of ten black
hair ties a year and they all inevitably go missing. I never get more than
five wears out of a single tie, either. I try and keep them on my key ring or
in my bathroom around my face wash pump, since I need to pull my hair off
my face to wash it. But somehow, some way, they always end up gone, baby gone.
The ones that don’t vanish
often stretch out and become threadbare, eventually snapping. Besides the hair
ties that go M.I.A., my friend Randi Newport said, “My hair tie is always
breaking. Or they magically disappear thanks to my cat.” 
Hair ties also can’t handle
the load of hair that is either too long or too thick and therefore snap, which
is why my colleague Ana Santos grumbles that it’s “too much effort to
manage daily, broken hair ties.” The aforementioned Cassie has had to
resort to another method, saying, “I have to use scrunchies instead
ties don’t quite fit right

This struggle actually came
from a male friend. Hair ties are not an exact science and there is no formula
to purchasing the right ones. “If you tie it two times around, it’s too
loose. If you tie them three times around, it’s too tight,” said Alexander
I can relate, and when you
unloop them, hair gets ripped out and wrapped around the tie. I am
constantly removing loose hairs knotted around my not-missing hair
ties. It’s always something.
days are not your friend

Windy days almost always
result in tangles and knots that you have to either brush out with a tool or
your fingers. That, too, can hurt. Or it can leave you with a big rat’s
nest-looking mess. What if you have a date or an important work meeting? As my
colleagues Gail Worley said, “Dealing with a windy situation” is
problematic. In my experience, it’s not always an inconvenience that is best
solved with a hat, either
fatigue from doing braids

One of the biggest perks of
having long, luxurious hair is infinite styling options. You can do buns, boxer
braids, pigtails, bows like Lady Gaga, whatever! That versatility is terrific.
However, you can suffer from serious soreness when trying to fasten your hair
in French or fishtail braids, as my colleague Laura Peterson stated. 
She labeled “getting arm
fatigue from doing my own hair” as a big issue. Anyone who has ever held
their hands over their head while styling strands knows how heavy and sore they
can get from these positions. The end result can be sloppy, meaning you have to
start over. We have all wasted plenty of time re-doing hair over arm
and heavy hair can be difficult

Thick hair may be gorgeous and
an enviable quality, but it has its pitfalls too. It can cause pain and become
really high maintenance. As my friend Jaime Schultz explained, “My biggest
struggle is that I have thick hair and it’s insanely heavy. I get headaches if
my hair is pulled up for too long, but I also constantly need to get my hair
thinned out because it becomes unmanageable the longer and thicker it
Certainly, a too tight updo
can pull on your scalp and hurt like hell. My colleague Samantha Knight echoed
that sentiment, citing “ponytail headaches” as her biggest long hair
challenge, while Elise Hines stated that her thick hair can be difficult for a
hairdresser to properly style. 
She relayed, “As a person
with long, curly, mixed texture, ethnic hair, my biggest struggle is finding
hair dressers who are capable of cutting it evenly — even when it’s blown out.
One chunk of my hair was nearly two inches shorter than the rest as of my last
trim because the previous hairdresser got scissor happy and covered up her
misstep by flat ironing my hair into complete submission.”
can go limp if it’s too long

If your hair is on the thinner
side, “it gets limp if it’s too long,” says my friend and colleague
Juliet Huddy. She also pointed out that a flat ‘do “can age you,”
since a full, lush, and thick mane certainly conveys youth. If you are trying
to retain youth by having long hair that’s just too limp, it can appear as
though you are trying a little too hard. The end result is an unflattering
gloss is a challenge

Wearing lip gloss and even
lipstick is a challenge, since a stray or random hair can get stuck to your
lips. It’s not a cute look and the product can make a mess of your ends. My
friend Jill Augusto grumbled, “I can never wear a sticky lip gloss. God
forbid a breeze comes along!” On a breezy day, your hair will remain
attached your lips and lip gloss until you physically do the work to remove it.
a bed can be difficult

Sleeping with long hair can
become quite the task. Not only do you toss, turn, and end up with a tangles,
but if you are sharing a bed with someone, you can become immobilized. 
My aforementioned friend
Seneid Kennedy reminded me of the dilemma of “when your partner falls
asleep on your hair and you go to turn over,” which my co-worker Kristin
Torres echoed as one of “the worst” struggles of being long-locked.
It’s painful and makes nighttime anything but restful.
gets stuck in weird places

My friends Kelsey Zimmerman
and Alleen Hughes were frustrated over the fact that hair can get stuck in
unusual places. Kelsey complained that “it sometimes gets stuck on my
purse,” while Alleen straight up hates it “when my hair gets stuck in
my armpits.”
That makes total sense, since
hair hangs in the same general vicinity of purses ‘n’ pits. You have to pull it
out gingerly so as not to rip out any strands and perhaps run your fingers
through hair to re-style it. When hair is caught in your armpits, your ends
might wind up smelling like your deodorant or be left with a white residue.
I’ve been a victim of such many times.
can end up styling it 50 times a day

Sometimes, long hair getting
in the way becomes so irritating that you have to put it up for a few since you
are chasing your kids around or leaning over your desk. You eventually allow it
to flow free again, only to throw it back in a messy bun while doing errands or
chores. This can become a routine where you are “putting it up and down
like 50 times a day,” like my friend Bridjet Jacqueline. Based on
your activities, you might waste all this extra time addressing your hair in
certain situations. 
gets in your butt crack

Several of my friends
expressed uncertainty at how that lone strand of hair travels down from their
scalps into their underwear and ultimately lodges itself in their butt cracks.
You have to be subtle when pulling it out or you will be subjected to stares or
raised eyebrows; I was once mortified after I pulled out a “butt
hair” at the mall and noticed teenagers having a laugh at me. But it’s
like unintentional flossing and super uncomfortable to have that tiny strand of
hair down there, since you can always feel it. It will irritate you until it is
removed. As Debbie Sellnow proclaimed, “Hair stuck in the butt — I wish
this was something I’d never heard of but it is all too common.”
the right products

Elise Hines also called
attention to an important issue and challenge that befalls her and countless
other gorgeous-locked women. She has experienced difficulty “finding hair
products for mixed race people.” Beauty companies need to be even
more inclusive and consider all different types of hair and backgrounds when it
comes to creating products lines and tools. 
struggle is real but worth it

There are other long-haired
struggles, from doing extra work to keep it healthy and paying lots of money
for products to actually finding the best shampoo, conditioner, and styling
agents. But long hair is worth all the hassle if you love how it looks or frames
your face. Sure, there is something exciting and freeing about hacking it all
off and rocking a short ‘do, which shows off your features, is quick and easy
to style, and can be versatile depending on how you play with it. But to truly
overcome these “long hair struggles,” you need to adopt a “long
hair, don’t care” attitude. 
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.