Rapunzels Are In Vogue

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Super long hair is in fashion these days, so much so that ladies who are unable to grow their hair as long as they want have been sporting extensions to produce the desired long locks. It’s been interesting hearing people comment on my hair, which I had decided to grow out again, because people who haven’t known me for long think it’s a new thing. Well, it’s not. I have always sported extremely long hair past my waist since I was a young child, and at one point in my 20’s, my hair was so long that not only would I sit on the ends, but other people sitting next to me would accidentally pin me down, and I would have to ask them to release my hair.

The longest my hair ever got was in 1991…

I know it sounds strange, but to me, my hair at this point almost seems short,compared to that time in the early 90’s when my hair was at its longest. Here’s where my hair was length-wise in June, and then in August of this year:

My hair in June 2019

By August 2019, my hair was this long, and this was even after a trim!

I still look at images of women with crazy long hair (past the gluteal fold), and find some appeal in it, but I honestly don’t know if it would drive me nuts to carry around such a long span of keratin everywhere. Let’s face it, long hair gets in the way, it’s heavy, it makes the nape of the neck hot during the summer, and caring for long hair requires some extra effort to keep it looking its healthiest. I’m not even sure my hair would reach the same length where I had it in 1991, but I suspect I’d get so sick and tired of the maintenance that I would opt for a shorter, more manageable length.

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I will say that women with very long hair do stand out. Long hair is special, it’s beautiful, and not everyone can rock a Rapunzel-length mane. I think anyone with beautiful, healthy hair who wants to grow it out should do it, even if they later decide that sporting a scarf of hair isn’t for them.

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There is also a fair amount of versatility with long hair. It can be coiled into an elegant updo, crafted into a half-up, half-down hairstyle which is fashionable and pretty, swept up into a ponytail, braided, or left loose and free. In addition, long hair makes a handy shawl or scarf if one is caught in brisk weather without a sweater or coat. Believe me, I have used my hair as insulation from cold air many times over the years!

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Lastly, there is something so romantic about very long hair. Women with uber long hair aren’t afraid to express themselves as women. A sharp contrast to pixie hair styles, long hair evokes tremendous femininity. What’s strange, though, is how oppressed the literary character Rapunzel was. She was held captive by a witch in a tower, and her only hope of escape was to find a rescuer who would have to climb up her incredibly long hair to rescue her. Eventually Rapunzel cuts her hair, which apparently symbolizes cutting ties with a maternal figure. Wow, heavy stuff.

I suspect that I will sport extremely long hair, at least waist-length, for as long as I live. I’ve spent the majority of my life with long hair as part of my signature style, and I don’t plan to change that style by chopping my strands.

Technicolor Hair

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The idea of sporting brightly and unnaturally colored hair has taken off in recent years, and has asserted itself as a means of self-expression and individuality for many people. What’s wild is that this trend has caught on with middle-aged people as well as the younger crowd. Even the names of the hair color trends suggest whimsy, such as unicorn hair and mermaid hair.

Mermaid hair is specifically defined as a mixture of marine shades blended into bleached and toned hair, while unicorn hair colors are more reminiscent of cotton candy and “girly” pastel shades. However, this by no means is any indication that this is only for girls or women. The wildly colored hair movement is found among people of different genders and ages. I’ve seen men with lilac and aqua hair, and women in their 70’s with pink hair.

Check out this collection of mermaid hair color combos from Redken:

https://www.redken.com/blog/haircolor/13-mermaid-haircolors-that-you-have-to-see-to-believe

Then we have the fantasy colors of unicorn hair which are truly imaginative and distinct:

Unicorn Hair Color

If you’ve considered trying some fun hair colors, make sure you understand what you are getting into. If you have very dark hair like I do, the color change you will see will be very subtle, only detectable in sunlight and other types of light which illuminate the coating of color which sits on top of the hair cuticle. If you really want to go for a dramatic change, you must bleach your hair to prep it for color.

But is it worth it to bleach your hair in preparation for bubble gum colors? This fantastic article, written by Nicola Dall’Asen (IG: @nicoladallasen) goes into real depth about everything that is involved with maintaining a multicolored mane, and it isn’t all rosy. It’s a good idea to do some research on different products to see which works best for you, and definitely consult with a reputable color specialist who can bleach and prep your hair with minimal hair damage.

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While Nicola focuses more on full coverage dyes, I have zero intention of ruining my naturally dark brown locks, so the only fun color products I have applied to my hair have been color conditioners. Overtone makes some amazing products, including color conditioners which are formulated to show up more on brown hair. I love the fact that application is so easy, and I also love the fact that there is no long-term commitment. If I wanted to allow the red tint which I applied to about 18 inches of my hair to fade, I would just allow my regular shampooing regimen to take place without using color conditioner, and the product would fade away after a few shampoos. I could start from scratch and maybe try purple if I wanted. Options are definitely much more limited for dark brown hair, so keep that in mind.

What I DON’T like about color conditioners (which also applies to permanent hair color) is that they make such a mess. Whenever I take a shower and wash my hair, my tub looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, and I have to remove the stains with bleach cleanser and a sponge every single time. I now have to spread a dark towel over my pillows and sheets when I sleep because the red will transfer to the fabric. I have also worn white or lightly colored clothing and then noticed later on that the neckline and back of my clothing were pink!

That being said, it has been fun experimenting with colors and knowing that I haven’t damaged my hair. In fact, Overtone Color Conditioners actually condition the hair and improve its luster. So I am definitely on board with using the products and having fun with them.

Give the temporary colors a try and see if you like them before diving into permanent color options.

How To Get Luxurious Hair



FROM THE INSIDE:

Do you have dry, brittle hair? Chances are, your diet is low in biotin, which leads to brittle hair as well as brittle nails. I have taken biotin supplements for the past twenty years, and strongly recommend this supplement for optimal hair health. Take 5,000 mcg daily. If you prefer to obtain biotin naturally from food, then incorporate eggs and nuts into your meal regimen each day.

If your hair complaint centers more around thin, dull, lifeless hair, or slow growing hair, I strongly advise increasing your protein consumption. As long as you don’t suffer from kidney disease, you should be able to safely boost your protein intake daily.

On a personal note, I had a dramatic experience with increased protein consumption and hair growth rates when I began competing in bodybuilding back in 2009. My hair has always grown rapidly, about 1/2 inch per month (average for most people is 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month). Then when I began competing, I more than doubled my protein intake, consuming 120 to 160 grams of protein daily. By coincidence, I had shaved the nape of my neck to thin out my very thick mane of hair at the same time. In eleven months, the shaved portion grew TEN INCHES. Talk about a boost in hair growth!

FROM THE OUTSIDE:

Stop washing your hair daily. When you wash your hair frequently, you strip your scalp of the natural oils which nourish and soften your hair. Trust me, your hair doesn’t get that dirty from sweat, dirt and pollutants in one day. I also strongly recommend the use of conditioner every time you shampoo. A good conditioner will nourish the hair and seal the cuticle to prevent damage from heat styling tools. Apply conditioner to your ends first, then work it up until you are almost at the scalp.

Rinse your hair with cold water after shampooing and conditioning it. Cold water smoothes the outer cuticle, sealing in moisture.

Are you desperately trying to grow your hair out, and just can’t seem to get past a certain length? Do you avoid getting trims in an effort to reach your hair growth goal sooner? The solution is to trim your hair. Why? Because regular trims rid your hair of the split ends which always have an insidious way of creeping up your strands and causing breakage.

If you really want to boost your hair health, consider applying a hair mask or oil every week. You can use a prepared hair treatment, or turn to coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or mayonnaise to treat thirsty hair. I recommend applying your substance of choice on damp hair, leaving in for 15 minutes (you can wrap your hair in a special microfiber hair towel or use a plastic bag or hair cap). Wash hair thoroughly and condition.

Summer is approaching, which means that ponytail and man bun season will be in full effect. If you tend to use thin, elastic hair bands for your updos, consider switching to a soft, fabric headband which can easily do double duty as a ponytail or man bun wrap.

Waves In My Hair

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From the time I was an infant, I always had very straight hair, and like many girls with straight locks, I always longed for waves. My desire for beachy waves was so pronounced that I spent my twenties and thirties habitually swirling my hair into an up-do with a clip while it dried in hopes that waves would form and remain there. However, because my hair is so thick and heavy, the sheer heft would uncoil my attempt at making soft curls, leaving me with the straight hair my DNA locked me into.

My hair became even thicker after I began competing in 2009. While many other women my age were lamenting the loss of their locks, I experienced such a surge in fullness that for about a year, I shaved the nape of my neck to lessen the mass of hair I had. A lot of it had to do with the increased protein intake (up to 180 grams a day at one point) which I had to incorporate into my regimen while I prepped for competitions. My hair also grew much more rapidly, and in 2010, my hair grew ten inches in eleven months. How do I know this? Because the area I had shaven grew a full eleven inches in that span of time, and the overall length of my hair kept me visiting my hairstylist for trims every six weeks.

Then I entered peri-menopause. What a joyous time, when a commercial can send you into a fit of tears, layering clothing becomes essential because of the hot flashes and night sweats, and your skin decides that it no longer wants to fight against the pull of gravity. About a year after I began sailing on the rocky seas of menopause, I had a haircut by an amazing stylist who remains my regular stylist to this day.

By some very odd coincidence, I noticed a pronounced wave throughout my hair when I washed my hair several days later. I thought perhaps I hadn’t washed out the styling products completely, but my hair began to look wavier and wavier with every subsequent wash. This persisted for over a year, and continued to perplex and annoy me. I went from never styling my hair, to developing a blow-drying and flat-ironing regimen which I still haven’t perfected, even to this day.

The rogue waves in my hair don’t seem to have rhyme or reason either. The waves on the right side of my head which frame my face are much wavier than on the left side, and for whatever bizarre reason, the right side is resistant to my efforts to obliterate the kinks with a flat-iron, even if I treat small sections and repeatedly iron the sections.

The sudden nature of the change in my hair texture was alarming. I remember hearing women tell tales, which I figured were tall tales, about how the texture of their hair changed overnight. And here I experienced the exact thing.

While hormones play a large role in hair texture (thyroid, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone), it can be rather strange to wake up with waves you never had, or to go from uber-curly hair to arrow straight hair overnight. It’s like the hormone fairy has a special hair wand which she uses to transform a woman’s strands like magic. The other funny thing is that hair follicles may return to their original state after a few years. My hair is starting to calm down somewhat, and there are times when my hair will be almost arrow straight after drying naturally.

I love the theory which Jonathan Torch, the founder of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute, has devised. He maintains that changes in the tone of the muscles at the base of the hair follicles are the culprits in hair texture changes over time.

All I know is that my hair seems to have a mind of its own now!

My Hair Care Routine

Corrected Stacey bikini LHGFX

I get a lot of questions about my hair, so I am using this post to provide information about my hair and how I take care of it.

Q: Is that ALL your hair?
A: Yes, every bit of it. I have NO extensions. There was only one time I ever had extensions in my hair, and it was for a video and photo shoot I did in the summer of 2014:
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Q: Is your hair more Japanese in texture, or more Caucasian?
A: I have mutt hair, with some blonde strands, but the overall texture of my hair pulls more to my Japanese heritage, a darker brown, thick, and relatively shiny. I have very little hair loss when I brush my hair, and am very thankful for that! My hair is even thicker in my forties than it was when I was younger, a trait which I attribute to a high protein diet and biotin supplements.

Q: I see some red highlights in your hair. Are those natural?
A: I naturally have a lot of red in my hair, but I try to tone it down because when I go out in the sun too much, the natural reds in my hair begin to look very brassy. I really don’t like that look at all. When I was a kid, my hair was very red, and I almost looked like a carrot-top!

Q: Do you have grey hairs?
A: I definitely have some grey hair, and started getting them when I was 33 years old. So I have to cover them with root touch-up every couple of weeks. I am a long way from being completely grey, but I am fighting every last grey hair kicking and screaming!

Q: How often do you wash your hair?
A: I wash my hair twice a week, using shampoo and conditioner by Pureology. I towel dry my hair, then let it air dry. I spent about a year blow drying and flat ironing it because my hair suddenly got very wavy, and I really couldn’t stand it! However, the texture once again is changing, and has almost completely reverted back to its natural straight state, so I pretty much just leave it alone. Once my hair is almost completely dry, I apply about a quarter-sized dollop of hair oil to the ends and distribute.

Q: Do you use any special hair treatments?
A: If time allows, I will do a ten minute hair mask once a week or so.