short hair liberation undesirable long hair woes wont grow hair

Today I was asked if I don’t miss my long hair. Well it’s been 5 years since I cut my hair really short and I have absolutely no regrets.

Will I go back to growing my hair?

Of course, I’ve given it some thought. But all the cons just overshadow the less than handful pros of having long hair. So the answer is clear, I won’t grow my hair long again.

And this is why.

My undesirable long hair woes…

All my life I had long hair. Complimented on my beautiful locks, that at some stage of my life was hanging until my buttocks. People had serious hair envy. But what people didn’t know was that maintaining those tresses was a mission and a half. As a child, washing and styling my hair was a painful ordeal. My mother didn’t believe in wash and go as my hair was extremely curly and would frizz easily. It took approximately two and a half hours to style my hair. Which comprised of washing, rolling my hair with curlers, setting it under a hooded hairdryer for at least an hour and a half and then blow drying it. So much heat, which often left me with a stiff neck and a red heat inflamed forehead.

My mother used to comb my hair; this daily routine gave me serious whiplash.  I swear she enjoyed every moment of combing out those knots and seeing me suffer. Plaiting my hair as tight as possible which made blinking impossible. So having beautiful long hair was a process of enduring pain – like the saying goes “suffer for beauty”. Damn right I suffered.

I continued to have long hair in my 20’s and by then I could roll my own hair with curlers and blow dry it afterwards. This was another mission as washing and styling my hair took up most of my time on a Saturday afternoon.  This was a serious workout on my arms and left me exhausted for hours.  The thought of cutting my hair very short always crossed my mind. But growing up in a very traditional community that saw hair as your crown and glory, the stereotypes that was based on looks and that having beautiful hair was a form of femininity. With that in mind, there was always that underlying fear of the critics.  The closest I came to cutting it short was cutting it in a bob. Even then people questioned me on why I went so short.

What’s more, long hair encompassed dealing with split ends, clogged shower drains, hair being stuck in zippers and being cautious not to get it tangled. I lost count of the amount of hair ties, bobby pins and hair clips I owed and lost. Having one of these in my handbag was a lifesaver and leaving home without it would spell out – disaster.  Loose hair would always end up being tied in a ponytail or pinned up in a bun. Doing and redoing it to get it perfect.  Windy, rainy, misty and humid weather conditions resulted in having perfectly styled hair turning to frizz in no time. All I can say is thank goodness for the flat iron that emerged as the most important hair-styling tool to hit the South African market in the early 2000s.

short hair liberation undesirable long hair woes wont grow hair

My decision to go short …

My decision to go short was always at the back of my mind. But it finally became a realisation in 2013 when I returned from a holiday in Australia. As the weather was so humid, my hair was mostly curly and hardly ever dry styled. The hard Australian water caused lots of damage to my hair.  Hard water means that there are higher levels of calcium, iron, copper and magnesium in the water.  My hair was dry, brittle and lifeless.

Deciding to have my hair cut wasn’t just going to the hairdresser and snipping it.  I selected a hairstyle that would best suit my facial shape. But there was the risk of my haircut going all bad and not looking entirely like the one the model sported in the picture. Although brilliant, my previous hairstylist always talked me out of cutting my hair. Therefore, I  changed my hairstylist. She came highly recommended but she never cut or styled my hair before. So it was a bit of a gamble as I put all my trust in a complete stranger.

The cut

So I finally took the plunge and decided to chop it all off.  Sitting in the chair with the cape around me, there were doubts but I had to let go. As the stylist starting cutting and strands of hair fell on the floor, I looked in the mirror and saw the shocked expressions of the other clients and stylists. Baffled by my decision, the remarks followed.

“Why are you cutting your beautiful hair?”

“I wish for long hair and now you cutting yours”

Somehow I understood their point as some people would give anything to have natural long hair. People pay thousands to put in weaves, extensions and braids.

Trying to be brave but yet so nervous as my stylist seemed to enjoy having that scissor in her hand and snipping away.

So I nervously replied – “It’s just hair and it will grow again.”

By the time the stylist was done, I looked in the mirror to see the end result and I loved it.  She did an amazing job and executed what I wanted.  Such a transformation. I felt lighter, fresher and the best thing was, I pulled off the look. And so many compliments were received from the very same clients and hairstylists who questioned my decision.

But driving home, I was a bit apprehensive on how my family would react. To my surprise they loved it.

Although my long hair did not define me; it was associated with my identity. It was part of my physical appearance, my aesthetics but it was not the core of my being. I think that’s why it was so easy for me to let go.

Short hair liberation

Who said having short hair makes you less of a woman? Short hair allows me to be feminine and glamorous. It gave me more confidence to go from conservative long hair to bold and sleek short hair.  I’m free of the fuss of having long hair. Maintaining my short hair is much easier. It literally takes me less than 30 minutes to wash and style my hair. As I don’t apply a lot of heat, it prevents hair damage. My hair is healthier and grows quicker. Having short hair is more cost effective than having long hair. I save on hair products and energy.  I don’t have to style my hair every day, in fact there are days I don’t even brush my hair. No more worrying about my hair frizzing when I exercise. The weather is no longer a factor for bad hair days.

So with that in mind, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having long hair.

PS! This is my experience and yours might be different. I you want to be bold and go for the cut, my advice is – be pretty sure this is what you really want to do.


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16 comments on “Short hair liberation: The undesirable long hair woes and why I won’t grow my hair again”

    • I had those same thoughts for many years until I was forced into the decision as the condition of my hair was just so bad. Plus with my daughters’ hair being long and that already being a mission to maintain, it just became too much. So I took the plunge and it was the best decision ever. Like you say, you never know until you actually do it. Good luck and perhaps you will make that decision when you back in the UK.

  1. My hair is breaking and looking brittle so I’ve been thinking of having it cut shorter too. You look fabulous and your style really suits you. Oh how I hate blowdrying my hair until my arms ache and my back sweats! I have another 3 weeks to make up my mind but I’m pretty much there I think! xx

    • Thank you. Good luck with that decision, sometimes we have to take risks and go for the chop – all the best and I’m sure you will look fabulous.

  2. I had long hair for years, and found I just ended up scragging it back into a ponytail all the time once I had kids. So, last year, I had it cut much much shorter, way too short to put up. And I much prefer it. #dreamteam

  3. My hair is thick and unruly so I’ve never had long hair and always wanted it. But you’ve got to make the best of what you have and it wouldn’t suit me and be too much work to look after. So short hair it is! Your hair looks lovely 🙂 Really suits you

  4. I had mid-length hair before but went short and have never looked back. Not as short as yours (though would love to some day) but it’s so much easier to maintain, especially when you’ve got small kids and don’t have all the time in the world.

  5. I had always had long hair until I broke my wrist, age 25. Suddenly, I had a pot on my arm and couldn’t control my frizz. Within weeks, it had completely matted and I had to go to the hairdressers and get it cut out (yes really!). So I had my hair all chopped off. I LOVED it. Now my hair is long again, but only because I can’t afford the upkeep of going to the hairdressers every few months. When we get a bit more money, I am DEFINITELY going short again!Also I think your hair in these pictures is BEAUTIFUL! So elegant and stylish. #blogcrush

  6. I tend to go between a bob and growing it out. I’ve just had it done and feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. So much easier to deal with. #itsok

  7. I absolutely love my short hair. I had long hair for the majority of my life but it just sat in a ponytail since I am too impatient to style it. With short hair I can style it in minutes so I feel put together. I love your hair! #DreamTeam

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