I’m almost 24 and I’ve never cut my hair (in case you missed it, read the confessions about my long hair here), which means if I had a dollar for every person who has gasped at my lengths, I wouldn’t need to work for a living. Having long hair could very well be a goal for many Indian women—it’s been associated with the idea of beauty for ages—but the styling and maintenance requires serious work. From keeping time aside for hair treatments to making sure your mane’s tangle-free at all times and doesn’t get stuck in your clothes or accessories is no mean feat.
Michel Baltazar, creative director of training and education, Jean-Claude Biguine India, works with hair of varying lengths, textures and colours on a daily basis, so he understands how each type requires different levels of care. “Very often, women cut their hair shorter because their long hair has not been cared for properly. Long hair, in general, requires more maintenance than short hair,” he explains. We got the expert to share the wealth of his experience with long hair.
Firstly, trims are key to maintain the health of long hair
“One of the most important tips to maintain beautiful long hair is to get a trim regularly to deal with split ends. I recommend a visit to the salon every six to eight weeks to redraw the haircut,” advises Baltazar. Regular trims ensure that your hair looks fresh consistently and grows uniformly.
Pick your shampoo according to your hair washing routine
Not everybody washes their hair every day or every two days, and that’s okay. Using the right products is key to promoting hair growth. “If you wash your hair every day, make sure you use a mild shampoo. If you wash your mane every two or three days, use a deep cleansing, more nourishing formula,” Baltazar recommends. Whatever the frequency, the expert stresses on the importance of using conditioner each time, especially to help detangle your hair without breaking it.
Befriend hair masks and oil-based serums
The hair expert advises those with long hair to use a nourishing hair mask at least once a week. He also suggests using an oil through your hair to help it repair and regenerate. “I recommend one or two drops of the Moroccanoil Oil Treatment on the mid-lengths and ends [on a daily basis]. This will protect your hair and help moisturise them,” he says.
In-salon treatments are more important than ever
The sun, humidity, pollution and even the friction caused by your hair rubbing against your clothes can all make it fragile and thus prone to breakage. “Long hair is hair that needs to be detangled more often [than shorter lengths], so the risk of it breaking is multiplied,” says Baltazar. “Olaplex is the best. It repairs your strands and makes your hair stronger on the whole, [while also reducing damage to] bring them closer to their natural state.” Love head massages? Go ahead and schedule one! “It is very important to stimulate the scalp with massages for healthy microcirculation, which boosts the regrowth of hair,” he adds.
Don’t shy away from experimenting with your hairstyle
“Long hair gives you the freedom to play with multiple hairstyles,” says Baltazar. Apart from the basic straightening and curling, there is no limit to the types of updos and braids you can create with long hair. As is with any hair look, make sure that you speak to your hairstylist about your face shape while zeroing in on a style you like. The right face shape and hairstyle combination can make or break a look.
What you eat and how you dry your hair can affect its health
If you have a long mane, Baltazar advises investing in an absorbent towel that is made for hair. “Do not rub your hair; simply squeeze the towel around your head and absorb excess water. The Aquis towel is one of the best absorbent towels on the market,” he says. He also establishes the importance of a good diet to ensure your long mane is healthy. “Your hair is a reflection of your health—to have beautiful hair is to have a good balanced diet of fibre, proteins, iron and amino acids,” he concludes.