Everyone Is Cutting Their Hair but I’m Trying to Make Mine Longer

Here's how I keep it long, thick, and wavy.

By: Tara Gonzalez
Photography: Alec Kugler

For a while it felt like everyone was doing something extreme to their hair, like cutting it off into a bob or dying it platinum blonde. And for someone like me, who has only ever gone to the extreme of getting bangs and then growing them out, I felt somewhat left out. Not necessarily because I didn’t do anything to my hair, but because I had no desire to.

I’ve honestly always just liked my hair the way it is. It’s long, it’s thick, and it’s really dark; it’s one of my defining characteristics. It makes me impossibly hot in the summer and keeps me warm in the winter; it never stays in place when I need it to, and strands of it frequently stick to my NARS lipstick (which is, by the way, almost always Afghan Red). And even when I hate it, I love it, and I never do much to it.

I recently cut a couple inches off in the summer, and I felt 10 pounds lighter, but recently I’ve found myself mourning the missing length. In order to make the next couple of inches possible, heres what I do every Sunday to keep my hair healthy and how I get it prepped and wavy for the week ahead. 

Mane ‘N Tail Shampoo and Conditioner: Mane ‘N Tail is my ride-OR-die. I will never stop using this shampoo and conditioner. Everyone always comments on how healthy my hair is, and I think this is probably one of the secrets behind it. I’ve been using it for years, and I’m pretty sure it’s responsible for my hip-grazing length because of how moisturizing it is. More moisture, which means less breakage, which means a never-ending flow of thick locks.

Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler: After I shower using Mane ‘n Tail, I spritz in this Paul Mitchell detangler spray. With long hair comes a lot of knots because there is so much hair to get stuck in so much other hair. This spray is MAGIC, and a little of it is enough to make my hair smooth enough to comb through without hurting myself or breaking my knots.

Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Sculpting Foam: This is the most amazing product I’ve ever used. If I run out of it, I promptly panic because that's how much I depend on it. I put some foam in the palm of my hand and massage it into my completely wet hair before scrunching it up to create a lot of volume and waves. It also smells like coconut, which is a nice added bonus.

EVO Shebang-A-Bang Dry Spray Wax: EVO Shebang-A-Bang Dry Spray Wax is probably one of the funnest things to say aloud and my favorite new product. It was introduced to me by Julie Dickson, founder and head stylist at Pembley (she cuts my hair and is the best person ever), who told me it’s a great way to give my hair that undone texture. Ever since I started spraying it on after scrunching my hair, I noticed a difference right away. It helps keep the waves firmly in place, just like Julie told me it would, but without looking like I tried.

Scunci No Damage Hair Elastics: I pretty much never blow-dry my hair. I want to say it’s because I try to keep it extra healthy—and I’m sure that’s part of the reason why it’s not damaged—but the real reason is it would take way too much time. Instead I lightly towel-dry it and then part my hair. I put my hair up into two buns and use about three hair ties for each. They frequently break because my hair is thick, so I always keep a whole pack of these handy.

I’ll sleep in the buns and let my hair out of the elastics in the morning, letting it air-dry on the subway so the waves will be perfect and dry by the time I get to my desk.

Sachajuan Hair Paste: Julie also introduced me to this magical tub of hair happiness. I don’t use this on Sunday nights, but I do check to make sure I have enough at the end of every week, as it’s the best pomade to quickly run through my hair with my fingers. I used to feel that my waves would die down and get frizzy at the end of the day, so I would put the buns back up for a little. This hair paste eliminates the need for that because it keeps everything in place while making my hair shine with a matte finish.

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