For most of my 25 years, my Hair has been long. Right now it sits just below my waist, which according to most salons is classed as extra-long (and yes, sometimes this does incur an additional charge) and is often the first thing that people comment on when they meet me. There was that teenage summer when it crept above my shoulders (the same unfortunate time that I experimented with bleached streaks), but while fashion trends have come and gone from my wardrobe, my hair has stubbornly resisted changing with the latest crazes.
My first long-haired inspirations came in the form of Disney princesses - thank you, Sleeping Beauty (although I dread to think of the tangles she faced after 100 years asleep) - while the likes of Gisele Bündchen and Brigitte Bardot are my ultimate grown-up hair muses.
I look enviously at people with their pixie cuts and choppy bobs, but every time I sit in that salon chair a firm "just a few inches off" is my request. My favourite thing about long hair is that it makes a statement with minimal effort required - which is good for someone not particularly adventurous when it comes to styling. I also like that it has been a constant throughout much of my life. Most days I wear it down and stick to my natural texture, which is fairly straight (sometimes brushed, often not) and get it cut every two to three months to maintain good condition. When I've had a blow-dry - surely the best of all luxuries - tousled waves are my preferred finish. On a rare daring day I might go for a high ponytail or fishtail braid (the closest I've ever been to an up-do was Princess Leia buns for my nephew's Halloween party).
"I look enviously at people with their pixie cuts and choppy bobs, but every time I sit in that salon chair a firm 'just a few inches off' is my request"
Some use break-ups or transitional times in their lives as the motivation to go for the chop - my sister-in-law had her lengthy locks cut into a bob days after her wedding and then went for a Mia Farrow crop in the weeks after she gave birth. Both excellent choices. I was once told by a colleague of an unofficial rule that when you hit 30, shoulder-length should be the cut-off point for hair but luckily it's a rule that a number of Vogue editors shun. I may still have five years to go but if and when I do decide to go for the chop, age will not be a factor in my decision. Significant moments do deserve a grand gesture and hair is a noticeable place to start. However, mine has stood by me through many a relationship turmoil or career turning point - perhaps a safety blanket of sorts – and I seem to have come through them pretty well with my hair intact.
I think one day I might brave the cut (when I can't resist the calling of a lob any more) but, for now at least, the waist length is here to stay - and that's the long (not short) of it.
Five Lessons I've Learned In Looking After Long Hair
1.) Don't put off a trim. Straggly ends take a long length from luscious to lacklustre instantly.
2.) Avoid sleeping on wet hair. One, you'll risk a cold (according to my mum) and two, the next-day kinks are impossible to get rid of.
3.) A ponytail or plait while you're sleeping will mean you're not left to tackle tangles in the morning.
4.) While on the topic... a Tangle Teezer is your friend. Use it.
5.) Given that long hair tends to lack volume, a quick fix is to turn your head upside down when blow-drying to give it a natural boost.