Hair FAQ

This page feels a little narcissistic, but I don’t always have time to respond to the same questions (and I do get them a lot!), so I hope this is helpful or satisfies some of your curiosity!

Is it real?

100%. Though I occasionally wear wigs, hairpieces or a fringe for costumes.

What’s your secret?

No secrets. My own journey simply includes: good genetics (I have no idea what my maximum / terminal length is yet), years of patience (tangles and pain), gentle brushing/combing, rarely using heat or dyes, and only small trims.

How long is it?

It reaches my ankles and I am 5’2″ (or 157cm) tall. Exact strand length varies, but forehead-to-ends length (one accepted way of measuring) is over 1.5m.

Is that your natural colour?

Usually, yes. I’ve applied 3 semi-permanent black dyes in the past 10 years, but they fade out and I’m left with the dark brown again.

How long have you been growing it?

Obviously the amount of years changes constantly, but since around 2003-2004. It reached my hips around 2007, which means it took another 8 years or so to get to ankle-length.

Have you ever had a haircut?

Yes. I had it long when I was a little girl, but then from about age 9-15 it was almost always chin or shoulder length.

How often do you trim it?

Once or twice I year I cut off the split ends and neaten things up a little. About 2 inches each time.

Is it healthy? You must have lots of split ends!

It’s quite healthy, and I have a normal amount of split ends — perhaps even less than most. Trims take care of the longest parts as they become a little shabby, and snipping individuals split ends takes care of the lengths. Also, there is no sense comparing the look or condition of professionally-styled or salon-treated hair with long natural hair — a fresh style will always look neater and shinier for a little while but does not necessarily reflect “health”.

Is it heavy?

The weight is distributed quite comfortably in one or two plaits. However, it’s weighty and often uncomfortable to wear up in any style, and very burdensome when completely wet. I have to be careful when washing to move slowly and not put my neck out. I’m sure I would notice a huge difference if it were suddenly all cut off, but the process has been so gradual that it’s hard to judge.

That must be a lot of work!

Considering the amount of time most people spend on styling or salons, I think it averages out to be about the same, and only because of the brushing/detangling time required. Otherwise, it’s probably a lot less work than expected.

You must go through a lot of shampoo!

Actually, very little! Since I wash less often than most people, oil build-up is slower, and I only need to add a small amount of shampoo to the top section. The rest filters down through the ends and is not as needed there anyway, since it’s always contained and doesn’t get very dirty.

Conditioner, on the other hand…

Do you ever wear it out?

Only sometimes, for photos or similar. It floats around, snags on everything and tangles instantly, so it’s not possible to wear even some of it out without really compromising comfort and practicality. Even when it was only around waist-length this was still the case.

How long does it take to brush?

10-40 minutes, depending on the build-up of tangles! The longest it ever took was 4 hours, after I endured an obscene amount of back-combing for a photo shoot. Not my favourite memory.

How long does it take to braid?

A minute or two for one plait, but that doesn’t include brushing time (above).

How long does it take to wash?

Around 10 minutes, if no other issues complicate things!

Can I touch it?

If you ask first, I’m usually fine with it. If you’re a man – usually not.

Can I use you as a hair model?

This is tricky, because I don’t really have time or physical energy to model very often, and live in a country town. But agencies or professionals who are serious should get in touch personally to discuss. If you don’t have prior experience with extremely long hair styling, then I may decline. Unless we have an existing rapport, I do not work TFP. I am also not usually comfortable with male photographers – sorry!

Will you donate it?

No. This is not a “selfish” decision – it’s part of my body and my identity, and other people are not “owed” a part of my body. High quality synthetic and human hair wigs are available and affordable, and nobody “needs” my hair specifically. Also, hair donation companies do not necessarily have ethical business practises.

That would be worth a lot!

Based on hair sales marketplaces and other information, I don’t think it’s worth as much as people think – perhaps $1500 or less? I’d rather keep it!

Has it ever fallen into the toilet?

NO. I don’t know why this is hard to believe!

Don’t you sit on it all the time?

I sit on it, stand on it (ow), sleep on it, get it caught in things, hit people with it accidentally, shut it in the car door… Par for the course.

Please never cut it.

Please don’t tell me what to do. 🙂 It is objectifying and kind of weird!