Last week I cut off a foot of my hair. I had had the same style for pretty much five or six years – long, straight, just the tiniest bit of layers. Every time I got a haircut I would feel panicked even about getting a single inch cut off.
For me, my hair was my security blanket, as well as an actual blanket during the times when I wore tank tops and my arms got cold. This is only 36% a joke.
But eventually, I got tired of having to maintain such long hair, and so much of it at that. Showers took forever. Brushing it out took forever. Keeping it out of my face took forever. I was also well aware of the fact that I was almost too attached to my hair. I didn’t like caring about it that much. Some people love maintaining and caring about their long hair, which is absolutely fine. But for me, I was just getting tired of it and I didn’t like the way I felt about it.
So one day while I was home in Washington visiting my family, I went to Cash for Cuts and told them to chop it all off. Call me vain, but it really was nerve-wracking. I felt the stylist cut off the first big piece, while my mom watched on in shock. He threw it into my lap so I could feel the weight of it. It was heavy and bizarre and I had to just close my eyes and not think about it.
But I got rid of a foot of my hair. And I survived. The world didn’t end. People didn’t stare at me judgmentally. It was still a length I was comfortable with, but there was no longer a ridiculous mane that I had to work through every day. It was freeing.
To give you some perspective, here’s a shot of my hair when it was pretty damn long. As you can see, it went all the way past my shoulders and nonexistent boobs, practically down to my butt. And this was when it was curled, so normally it was even longer. More importantly, I only look happy in this picture because it was St. Patrick’s Day and I was drunk.
And here’s a picture of me with my new ‘do, exploring the streets of London on a cold, blustery day.
It’s taken some getting used to, but I’m glad I did it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s been debating the idea. Here are 10 reasons why you should definitely consider cutting your long hair.
1. Holy Beyoncé your showers are going to be fantastic.
The first few showers after you cut your hair are simply amazing. You’ll pour a huge glob of shampoo in your hands and then realize that you barely need any of it. Then you’ll prepare for the tedious task of washing your hair, only to realize you’re done in about 15 seconds. And then, the conditioner, the thing you dread most every time, runs right through your hair without a fight. The process is so beautiful and easy and smooth. You’ll have an extra 10 minutes leftover where you can just stand in the warm water and ponder your life and feel like you’re a really deep and #contemplative person.
2. You’re going to have all this time leftover that you used to spend on getting ready.
Whether it was trying to brush through all of your knotty, wet hair, or taking 30-minutes to blow dry it, or trying to figure out something to do to your hair that wasn’t just a ponytail, getting ready was a pain in the ass. Now, you can pretty much breeze through the shower, comb through your hair for a few seconds, and even blow dry it if you feel like it – it will still take you a third of the amount of time that it used to. Now you can use those extra 30 or 40 minutes to watch a show or read a book or take a walk or become an ordained minister online.
3. You’ll have occasional moments, in the beginning, where you scare yourself when you look in the mirror. Which is actually pretty funny.
It may induce a brief moment of panic where you’re like WHERE THE F*CK IS IT?! Sometimes that can be a little overwhelming. But then you remember that you have multiple inches of hair that you no longer have to brush or wash or dry or take care of in any way whatsoever, and it’s awesome.
4. It’s highly amusing when you run into someone who didn’t know you got your hair cut.
You will eventually get used to your hair and may possibly even forget how long it used to be. But then you’ll run into someone who didn’t know that you cut it all off and they’ll freak out when they see you. And then you’ll freak out because you think you just have pepper in your teeth or something, but then you’ll remember that they’re reacting to the absence of your long hair and you will probably laugh. But you also might still have pepper in your teeth* so lock it up (no, YOU lock it up).
*Definitely not speaking from experience here.
5. It’s perfect for every season.
When it’s hot AF in the summer, you’re going to feel so much better when you’re not being weighed down by a shit ton of hair. And when it starts getting cold in the fall and then becomes unbearably freezing in the winter, or just cold I guess (sorry, I live in Chicago), you won’t have to worry about giving your hair a couple hours to dry in order to avoid getting pneumonia from going outside with a wet head. Short hair for the win.
6. If you honestly hate it, you can put it in a little nugget ponytail until it grows back out.
Nugget ponytails are adorable, and anybody can rock them. My hair in the back barely even covers my neck and I can still keep it back with a hair tie. So if you honestly hate it, you can always do that for a couple of months and still look cute. Obviously, if you get a pixie haircut, you won’t be able to do that. But you’ll look like Emma Watson or Jennifer Lawrence so really, what are you even freaking out about?
7. The days of having to constantly replenish your hair products are gone.
One day you’ll be at Walgreens buying a new toothbrush and more toothpaste and anti-diarrhea medicine and all the other things you need on a consistent basis, and you’ll realize that you still don’t need more shampoo and conditioner. It’s an incredible feeling, both emotionally and financially. And your stomach will also feel good since you’re buying that Imodium.
8. You realize that your looks really don’t matter as much to people as you’re convinced that they do.
Yes, most people are a little bit shallow. Most people are going to develop an instant opinion of you when they meet you, just from looking at you. You won’t be free from judgment or insecurity or worry about what other people think. I’m just saying that you’ll realize this thing that was such a big deal to you isn’t really a big deal at all, to you or to other people. You probably knew that all along, but this is just a great reminder. People will comment on your hair, maybe, for the first couple days, and then they will just get used to it. They will forget about it. People don’t spend nearly as much time critiquing you and your physical appearance as you’re worried that they do. They’ve got their own hair to worry about.
9. To quote Lilly from The Princess Diaries, “Voltaire, hair. I would personally like to learn about Voltaire.”
Lilly (LILLY!) was kind of super annoying. But she was basically trying to say, “Hair is not a big deal Lana you dumb bitch.”
10. You will realize that you’re the same person regardless of what your hair looks like.
A huge haircut is a great way to show you that a dramatic physical change doesn’t have that much of a long-lasting effect on you. Of course, the first few days, it might be the only thing you can think about, either because you’re thrilled with it or you really don’t like it. But either way, you will eventually get used to it, and you will realize that although a haircut may have a fast, dramatic impact on your self-esteem in the beginning (in a positive or a negative way), that reaction will quickly burn out and you’ll still be left with you. You are still you, regardless of your hair or any other physical aspect on your body. You will get over it. You will get used to it. Whether you like it or hate it, it will… grow on you. Good bye, I’m done I hate myself.
~By Kim Quindlen