Before you read this post, I want to make one thing clear — I like my hair, and I like having long hair. If I truly couldn’t stand my hair, I would cut it without issue. This isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” post. I came up with it because I know so many women with shorter natural hair who often gripe about having short hair or tell me that they are anxious to have hair the same length as mine. All hair comes with some type of annoying little gripes here and there, so I think it’s important that we love our hair at each stage it’s in, because without a doubt, there will something that you miss when your hair changes.
Like, I didn’t love it when my fro started flopping over but it was still too short to look like anything more than a curly bowl cut, but at the same time it took less than a day to dry. And now, while the ease and convenience of a bun is unmatched, there are several annoying things about having long hair. We always see the grass as being greener on the other side, but the grass may be a different type and just as green. So here are the most aggravating things that I find about having long hair. This is also based on my routine and hair care practices, so not everyone will have these issues.
1. When a product doesn’t work on your hair, you can’t simply hop in the shower and redo it because it takes an hour to wash and style your hair, plus drying. When I was testing products with short hair, I redid my hair multiple times a day SO many times, it’s nearly impossible to count. I can’t do that at all now, because for one, it usually takes a couple of hours for me to realize that a combination isn’t drying so nicely and by that time, my schedule isn’t going to allow for a re-style. Also, who wants to use up that much water for multiple 45-minute showers?
2. Your hair won’t fit under your hooded dryer because it gets an indent as it grows. For a while, I thought my hooded dryer was the BEST! I sat under my dryer for an hour or so and my hair would be dry enough where I knew that it would finish drying during the day, especially at the roots because they dry last when I air dry. But when my hair got longer, the wet hair that fit inside the dryer obviously would dry quicker than what was left out, and it left this ugly dent in my hair that takes a lot of effort to scrunch out. I still use my dryer in a pinch, but diffusing is better for preventing that dent. You can see my dryer and diffuser in this video here:
3. First day hair often leaves your hair flat. With natural hair, you really shouldn’t be scrunching or fluffing your hair out until it is fully dry to prevent frizz and hold your curl shape. So with heavy, longer hair, wet cat hair might happen. It always takes my hair a day or two to get to a point where I like the volume when using a gel, so if I have plans I make a point to do my hair the day before so it’s dry and bigger. I don’t even bother filming on days with first day hair because someone will always comment on my hair looking thinner or flat.
4. It takes over 24 hours for your hair to dry. Now, I’ve had an issue with how long my hair takes to dry even with short hair because my hair is pretty low porosity, but with long hair, I find it 100x more annoying. I don’t even like to work out with wet hair so a lot of the time I don’t work out on styling days, or I won’t even leave the house until my ends stop dripping on my clothes so I’m not out in public looking like I got caught in the rain. And sometimes, depending on humidity and products used, it can take my hair three days to fully dry, and by that time I’m usually ready to re-style!
5. Multi-day hair is a must but the weather doesn’t always agree with you. Because of what I mentioned above, there’s just no way that I can do my hair everyday. My hair would always be wet and I’d spend 85% of my life in my “hair drying clothes.” I’ve gotten pretty good at my routine, but I can’t control rain, and on first day, semi-damp hair, the humidity affects it even more and sometimes hinders my goal for three-day hair at minimum. This is where longer hair does come in handy though, because it’s most likely going to be a bun day.
6. You use up products quickly and it can get expensive. I’m seeing more and more luxury natural hair lines pop up (meaning $25+ for most products), and I just can’t do it. Shampoos, pomades, and treatments I am usually okay with being more expensive, but I can’t use a $25 8oz gel or styler because it’s probably going to be gone in three uses. I even find myself running out of leave-in conditioner frequently and I’m lucky that I have some staples that I can buy locally.
7. Samples of anything are completely pointless if you’re testing a product on your hair. I said what I said, and I’ll say it again. I hate natural hair samples. I usually use something at minimum 3 times before I draw a conclusion about it, and samples just aren’t going to do it. Most I can barely use once on my whole head. And yes, I’m quite aware that a lot of samples are meant to be used once, but unless somethings is AH-MAZE-ING, I’m usually not going to buy a full size to keep testing it.
8. You can’t get dressed until your hair is somewhat dry unless you want to soak the top you’re wearing. See reference to “hair drying clothes” above. When I had short hair, even if it was wet, it wasn’t an issue. I sat at meetings with wet hair, went out with friends with wet hair…everything. Now when my hair is wet it’s like I’m banished from society (okay, I’m being dramatic) until it’s kind of dry, because it sits on my shirt/skin and makes everything wet. Sometimes I even shower again once my hair is half dry to rinse any gel/leave-in residue that’s on my shoulders, chest, and back.
9. Your hair has the ability to get more tangled in your sleep when it’s out, and if you put it in a bun, it gets stretched out. A couple of years ago I got into bunning while sleeping, and that was cool when my hair was a bit shorter and I couldn’t fit much in a bun. But now, unless the bun is very loose (and basically worthless), it stretches out my hair too much. On the other hand, if I sleep with it out, it’s always much more tangled on my next detangling/wash day. My night routine is currently a hot mess hybrid that includes two scarves and a hair hood.
10. Doing many natural hair styles on your hair can take forever. For instance, it takes me around 4 hours to flat iron my hair or do a set of twists. That’s why I rarely do them. When my hair was shorter, twists took maybe an hour and a half. Years ago, when my hair shorter but still past my shoulders, it took me 6–7 hours to do mini-twists on blown out hair. I was obsessed with the style but I’m too traumatized to attempt it again. I know that some people don’t mind and even find doing their hair therapeutic, but anything that takes longer than an hour has me at my wits end.
So yes, while long can be wonderful, it is certainly not without fault. If you’re on a grow out journey, love your shorter hair while you can, and have fun with it! I still regret not dyeing my TWA platinum blonde (which would have likely made more sense than to bleach my hair now).
What hair gripes do you have?