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View Full Version : A theory behind "My hair just doesn't grow below APL" phenomena



Flor
December 26th, 2013, 02:35 AM
It's just something I've been thinking, so I thought it'd be fun to discuss :)

So my theory is, when growing hair long, it's rather dangerous going to conventional hairdressers for regular trims while it's between shoulder and APL marks. The idea is that it's hairdresser's expert zone, the length they're very familiar with, the length they can do A LOT with. So it must be easy for them to picture cookie-cutter style on hair that length and talk one into getting a "healthy ends" cut. Meaning, cut it up to the point where one lonely random white dot appears. They also don't really do "trims" at that length, they style-cut and put in layers, and it's much harder to keep track on how much exactly is being cut that way. Which with regular salon visits results in being stuck at above APL forever. I believe this is the phenomena known as "My hair just doesn't grow below APL" that a lot of women who frequent hair salons complain about when they spot someone with really long hair.

When one's hair is BSL or waist or longer and in good condition, it's a different story. Because it shows person's commitment to long hair and either good hair genes or pure Disney magic ;) Sure, there are still scissor-happy hairdressers and those that like to play extreme makeover, but at that length one gets the upper hand over hairdresser's opinion on length. Cutting hair that long becomes a whole new ordeal which takes hairdressers out of their comfort zone. Sectioning and layering waist-length hair is a major task, compared to APL, so they're more likely to accept the concept of a "trim".

What do you say? Agree, disagree?? Share personal experience? :)

NoRush
December 26th, 2013, 03:41 AM
I agree that long hair is a whole lot more dificult to deal with than short. IMO mostly because most don't know anything about good detangling products (in my case flaxseed oil for example, i never need a comb with that stuff) so dealing with waist long, hard to detangle, non slippery har must be a nightmare. Also the weight and the simple physical limitations of the hairdresser, their arms are only so long... But also, long hair is bad businness, if you only go in once or twice a year to get an inch taken off, so there is also a sell behind the "feel good" cut, it takes a hell of a lot of money to maintain, especially if you color as well. I'm not saying it's only a sales tecnique, I'm sure hair stylists also see that a certain cut would look great on you, but yeah... And finally, it depends on the hairdressers personality I think, some are too fashion oriented and don't really take into account that other people might not give a fig about trends, others only interested in proving themselves so they try to get you to be their guinea pig, others are respectful of you choice just because they figure it's your problem and then there's the best kind for me, those who just do what you wat them to do because if you get what you ask for you'll be happy and come back, even if you change your mind later on because now you trust them.

Before my own "extreme makeover" (waist to ear) two years ago, I had been a long hair for most of my life and I really liked getting my hair styled at the salon, but I never liked getting it cut. At some point I wanted to get something different and fun without touching the length and my hair stylist promised me just that, he wouldn't take any length but my hair would still be fab, enter layers. That was the beginning of the end because not even he could actually trim the layers without changing the cut slightly, do that once, twice, three times at one point he left me with a layer on top of my head that looked pretty much like a mullet, almost two years later, when that was almost collarbone I chopped everything off to get rid of all the layers (and the damage from two years of no trims and heat styling and crap on them) altoghther.

Fashion cuts are not meant to last, they're meant to change with the season so there is no consideration made to maintaining them IMO. Personally I thing the best way of keeping long hair in a fashionable cut (for those who want that, of course) is to have is shaped in a med to deep V. Easy to trim and face framing.

YamaMaya
December 26th, 2013, 05:00 AM
I've never had a problem growing my hair long, then again I'm not one for visiting the salon very often. I started trimming my own hair out of laziness/cheapness, plus I've had some rather traumatic experiences where stylists cut several inches off my hair when I only asked for a trim. I refused to see the stylist for several years during childhood because of one such incident.

spidermom
December 26th, 2013, 07:17 AM
Not for me. The stylist I had at the time took me from pixie to BSL, when I changed stylists.

ejking2
December 26th, 2013, 07:31 AM
When one's hair is BSL or waist or longer and in good condition, it's a different story.

IME, no. I was generally able to talk them out of giving me layers, but a one-inch "trim" at this stage seems to constitute 3-6 inches to far too many hairdressers. I had this trouble before LHC when I was still going to the hairdresser at BSL, and I'm very sure these same stylists would love to give me an APL layered cut now that I'm passing waist with healthy virgin hair. Possibly they thought my hair was damaged because it's fine.

chen bao jun
December 26th, 2013, 07:55 AM
Hairdressers do love to cut hair (with some exceptions, there are some good ones on this forum) for all the reasons listed above. Familiarity, it's bread and butter to them to give you a high maintenance hairstyle that keeps you coming back, they are used to the 'look' of stylish hair, which is never very long. However, I think a lot of people think their hair won't grow past APL for other reasons. Often, it won't. for many, many people, flat ironing, chemical processes etc. keep their hair somewhere around that length because the damage really starts to show on ends longer than that, which need to be cut off to look decent, or actually just BREAK off. Heck, for a lot of hair types, good old mechanical damage will do that, from just the normal sulphate shampoo (often everyday) rubadubdub on top of the head in hot water, plastic ball bristle brush routine that people are taught as 'hair care'.

Selene_Thorns
December 26th, 2013, 07:56 AM
I actually have a growth problem and I was wondering if your theory could explain it, but there's one problem - I NEVER go to hairdressers! If at all, I cut my hair on my own, and I do so pretty seldom, since I do want it to grow as much as it can. But it just doesn't :(

sourgrl
December 26th, 2013, 09:13 AM
My cycle over the years (nearly 20);has always been grow to BSL, cut back to collar. In all that time I can only recall one hairdresser that was not comfortable cutting my long hair so drastically short. So, yes, I think in some circumstances the APL phenomenon is a result of scissor happy hairdressers touting the idea that healthy hair requires regular trims. People trust the 'professional' opinion of their hairdresser. Then you add all the other things people do to their hair that causes damage it is no wonder some people get stuck at APL.

lapushka
December 26th, 2013, 09:59 AM
Each head of good long hair is one that doesn't visit hairdressers that often, that's my take. I agree that the ones claiming that their hair doesn't or won't grow are a little blinded by their stylists and styles (probably).

Madora
December 26th, 2013, 10:10 AM
Each head of good long hair is one that doesn't visit hairdressers that often, that's my take. I agree that the ones claiming that their hair doesn't or won't grow are a little blinded by their stylists and styles (probably).

^^^ Emphatically! You must be firm when you go in for a trim and SHOW the stylist exactly what you want trimmed off..and make 'em repeat it. I rarely went into a hairdresser once I started growing long hair years ago.

LauraLongLocks
December 26th, 2013, 10:26 AM
I think a lot of people fry their hair to the point that if they don't cut it to APL or shorter, it looks awful. I see a lot of APL and shorter hair where I live and it's mostly fried with heat styling and dyeing. Also, unless one has the intention of looking for long hair care information online, they aren't going to find answers to their hair questions by visiting the "expert" at the salon and buying their expensive products or by perusing the drug store shelves with their thousands of hair products. The how-tos of caring for long hair are found here at LHC, and informative blogs and youtube videos. I knew nothing of how to care for long hair, and used to rip through my tangles with a paddle brush (the kind with the nubs) when my hair was wet. I piled my hair up on my head to wash. I never used oils, or serums to help with the detangling. I never wore my hair up. I didn't own a sleep cap or satin pillowcase. I shampooed and conditioned every day. I didn't know any ways to style it except a ponytail or an english braid. So, my hair had to be at APL or shorter or it looked awful. When I learned how to detangle and do CWC, I was able to get it to BSL. Then the lice disaster brought me to a pixie again in 2008. Here I am 4.5 years out since that last pixie and my hair is at waist, looking healthier and more beautiful than ever before. I just had to learn how to take care of long hair. No one in my family ever knew, so they couldn't teach me when I was a child. Now I'm passing good hair care onto my daughters, and they are growing their hair out, too. It's nice to be able to give them that mom time with their hair.

truepeacenik
December 26th, 2013, 10:48 AM
Hairdressers do love to cut hair (with some exceptions, there are some good ones on this forum) for all the reasons listed above. Familiarity, it's bread and butter to them to give you a high maintenance hairstyle that keeps you coming back, they are used to the 'look' of stylish hair, which is never very long. However, I think a lot of people think their hair won't grow past APL for other reasons. Often, it won't. for many, many people, flat ironing, chemical processes etc. keep their hair somewhere around that length because the damage really starts to show on ends longer than that, which need to be cut off to look decent, or actually just BREAK off. Heck, for a lot of hair types, good old mechanical damage will do that, from just the normal sulphate shampoo (often everyday) rubadubdub on top of the head in hot water, plastic ball bristle brush routine that people are taught as 'hair care'.


It's just something I've been thinking, so I thought it'd be fun to discuss :)

So my theory is, when growing hair long, it's rather dangerous going to conventional hairdressers for regular trims while it's between shoulder and APL marks. The idea is that it's hairdresser's expert zone, the length they're very familiar with, the length they can do A LOT with. So it must be easy for them to picture cookie-cutter style on hair that length and talk one into getting a "healthy ends" cut. Meaning, cut it up to the point where one lonely random white dot appears. They also don't really do "trims" at that length, they style-cut and put in layers, and it's much harder to keep track on how much exactly is being cut that way. Which with regular salon visits results in being stuck at above APL forever. I believe this is the phenomena known as "My hair just doesn't grow below APL" that a lot of women who frequent hair salons complain about when they spot someone with really long hair.

When one's hair is BSL or waist or longer and in good condition, it's a different story. Because it shows person's commitment to long hair and either good hair genes or pure Disney magic ;) Sure, there are still scissor-happy hairdressers and those that like to play extreme makeover, but at that length one gets the upper hand over hairdresser's opinion on length. Cutting hair that long becomes a whole new ordeal which takes hairdressers out of their comfort zone. Sectioning and layering waist-length hair is a major task, compared to APL, so they're more likely to accept the concept of a "trim".

What do you say? Agree, disagree?? Share personal experience? :)

I think it's a blend.
A lot of answers are coming from our knowledge base.

We are talking about informed people, not ignorant (not exposed to the information) people.

We know to be insistent and protective of our hair, but the average woman hopping stylists and styles does not.
That woman is likely to think one of two things: the stylist is an expert and knows all potential issues, or, the stylist is a technician I can direct to do what I want.

Since I had a smart stylist in high school point out that my hair was too thick and heavy to pull off the Randy Rhodes look, I went forward with an appreciation of the knowledge stylists gain. (For those wondering, I looked more like Rudy Sarzo when she was done. Yeah, I've never been a girly sort)


So Average Woman (AW), operates under piecemeal information. Likely she just wants to look good with a small amount of effort. She's clutching a photo of a (processed, extended, hours-spent-in-the-chair) celebrity hair style that is wildly inappropriate for her hairtype.
And the stylist works magic.

But the hair can't take all that magic.

Then, AW goes home and slaps harsh levels of cleansers on daily. Applies heat. Treats her hair like a sweatshirt from Goodwill meant for painting.
Returns in four to six weeks to get a slightly different cut, that eats whatever growth she had.

Add color, curling or straightening, extensions/weaves.... It's amazing her hair doesn't decamp for kinder pastures.

BlueMajorelle
December 26th, 2013, 11:03 AM
I once had a hairdresser who was layer-happy. I asked for only slight 1in layers, and when she was done I had some hair that was a good 3in shorter than the rest of my hair. But most of mine have been understanding when I tell them I'm growing it out.

Naiadryade
December 26th, 2013, 11:12 AM
I think in many casess, you're right. And truepeacenik just described a very common scenario. But I've also experienced, and heard of others experiencing, a "false terminal" around APL or BSL even when they're not going to a hairdresser.


Hairdressers do love to cut hair (with some exceptions, there are some good ones on this forum) for all the reasons listed above. Familiarity, it's bread and butter to them to give you a high maintenance hairstyle that keeps you coming back, they are used to the 'look' of stylish hair, which is never very long. However, I think a lot of people think their hair won't grow past APL for other reasons. Often, it won't. for many, many people, flat ironing, chemical processes etc. keep their hair somewhere around that length because the damage really starts to show on ends longer than that, which need to be cut off to look decent, or actually just BREAK off. Heck, for a lot of hair types, good old mechanical damage will do that, from just the normal sulphate shampoo (often everyday) rubadubdub on top of the head in hot water, plastic ball bristle brush routine that people are taught as 'hair care'.
(bolding mine)


I actually have a growth problem and I was wondering if your theory could explain it, but there's one problem - I NEVER go to hairdressers! If at all, I cut my hair on my own, and I do so pretty seldom, since I do want it to grow as much as it can. But it just doesn't :(

Selene, I think chen bao jun hit the nail on the head for what you might be experiencing. And what I experienced. Except not only did I not use chemical processes, I didn't even use sulfate shampoo. For me, it was purely mechanical damage and hydral fatigue that stalled my hair at BSL for over a year. I was WO, and that meant SCRUBBING my hair under running water for like 20 minutes to wash it. Plus ripping through the tangles daily with a ball-tipped paddle brush. Only ever wearing my hair up if it was just too hot. Sleeping with loose hair on a cotton pillowcase. Oils for hair and S&D were totally foreign concepts. My hair just isn't that strong! So it stayed at BSL. And even at that, when I joined LHC I cut 3 inches when arguably I should have cut 6 to get rid of the damage. Better hair care has me at waist now, finally microtrimming off that 3+ inches that wanted to be taken back then.

melesine
December 26th, 2013, 11:17 AM
My experience is that in general they are cut happy, regardless of length. BSL and longer they want to cut layers, shorter lengths they want "styles".

Anje
December 26th, 2013, 12:07 PM
My personal observation from a few years on these forums is that there are a number of people who complain that their hair simply stops growing, even with minimal trimming, somewhere between APL and BSL, more so than most other lengths.

My weird explanation? Chairs.


When I sit down and lean back in a tall-backed chair, I'm usually in contact with a chair until somewhere around my shoulder blades. Smaller chairs tend to hit between APL and BSL, depending largely on height. If a person is in the habit of wearing their hair loose or ponytailed and is not in the habit of pulling it over the shoulder whenever they sit down, at these lengths the hair gets squashed and rubbed between the back and the chair.

A great place to observe this in action is college lecture pits. So many girls with hair that begins to split right at the point where it's rubbing on the chair back as they lean back against it, it's astonishing!

Naiadryade
December 26th, 2013, 12:34 PM
Yes! Anje is totally right. I meant to mention that in my post but forgot. The other BIG thing I changed that helped me grow past BSL was to pull my hair in front of my shoulders when sitting--which, ironically, only really became easy when I got to around MBL since the shorter hair wasn't weighed down in front of me and had a tendency to slip back. That and just being careful about not letting my hair rub on things in general!

velorutionista
December 26th, 2013, 12:41 PM
omg..chairs! that had never even occurred to me (as I sit here with my hair between me and my desk chair as I type! eep! over the shoulder it goes, stat!

catasa
December 26th, 2013, 12:45 PM
From my own personal experience I cannot agree with this, but I have understood from this forum that many stylists seem to be too "cut happy" (which is why I have become really scared to change stylist...). But the one I go to and have gone to for many years just trims when I ask her to, she checks with me how much is OK to take off and actually only takes off what we have agreed on, and she is currently helping me to eliminate previous (minor) layers. So there are good stylists out there! :)

stachelbeere
December 26th, 2013, 12:58 PM
Flor - in my case it's true. Except that instead of APL it was shoulder/chin. The last time I saw a hairdresser was in early 2010 and I think I want to keep it that way for now; I'm self-sufficient with my own scissors.
Oh and I'd like to add that maybe it's a phenomenon with fine-haired people exclusively?

HintOfMint
December 27th, 2013, 02:31 AM
The OP may be onto something there if the growth isn't being hamstrung by simply having too frequent trims.

A somewhat related observation: I think that growth beyond waist/hip/tailbone can be difficult because hairdressers can chop off more length than asked and still have hair be long. The perception is, "what's 2 or 3 inches to them? They have plenty to spare!" In fact, sometimes the person getting the haircut doesn't even notice (been there!) until it's been years and the hair just isn't getting longer.
I think this is what happened to me earlier this year. I probably got a two or three inch trim that took me well above BCL and possibly back to hip, and I thought I was maybe just shy of BCL still. I had no idea how much was actually cut off and I spent most of this year thinking, "why the hell am I still hovering around BCL???" Turns out I spent most of that time regrowing what had been cut off in June.

restless
December 27th, 2013, 05:23 AM
My personal observation from a few years on these forums is that there are a number of people who complain that their hair simply stops growing, even with minimal trimming, somewhere between APL and BSL, more so than most other lengths.

My weird explanation? Chairs.

This!

Whenever someone here writes about how their hair just wont grow past APL-BSL even though theyre not cutting it, chairs are the first thing that come to mind. Just think about how much time you spend sitting down and if youre hair is constantly being rubbed against your back and the chair the damage is inevitable.

chen bao jun
December 27th, 2013, 09:26 AM
Chair backs, handbag straps, seat belts--there's also clothes that rub hair off at shoulder, hairtoys that take hair off--some fine haired curlies can't even comb their hair, the comb acts like a razor and cuts.
Some lucky people can grow long hair keeping it down, but for many of us, keeping it up is the only way to go if we want to hit lengths past APL.
I love this forum for teaching me that. I thought my terminal was BSL for sure and now I am BSL bottom, at least an inch past where I ever was before.
I also have an entirely different hair texture than I thought. I have learned that 'frizzy' is not actually a hairtype, which was a real surprise.

Sharysa
December 27th, 2013, 08:32 PM
Yeah, "frizzy" is most frequently "hair that wasn't taken care of properly and ended up poofy." My hair ended up wavy (or at least wave-prone) after a year of taking care of it.

hanne jensen
December 28th, 2013, 03:14 AM
All my life I've never grown hair past APL. Then I joined LHC. My hair did grow, I just mangulated it to death through ignorance. After applying LHC principals my hair got to MBL. I chopped my ponytail off because my hair was matting at APL. Went to a stylist to get the mess evened out and explained to her that I want hair to my knees. She had to cut my hair back to collar length in the back but kept it APL in the front so I could put my hair up. The stylist told me that I should wear my hair up all the time to avoid abrasion. (Just like LHC). She also told me that I would need a small trim every once in a while. Not every X amount of weeks. She said when it's too hard to de-tangle and not before. I was lucky to find a stylist that supports long hair journeys. However, salons here in Denmark are desperate for clients because of the economy. They're starting to listen to customers to keep them.

If the LHC existed as a magazine in the 70's, I'd have hair to the floor now. (Yes, there was life before the internet)

Joly
December 28th, 2013, 04:10 AM
All my life I've never grown hair past APL. Then I joined LHC. My hair did grow, I just mangulated it to death through ignorance. After applying LHC principals my hair got to MBL. I chopped my ponytail off because my hair was matting at APL. Went to a stylist to get the mess evened out and explained to her that I want hair to my knees. She had to cut my hair back to collar length in the back but kept it APL in the front so I could put my hair up. The stylist told me that I should wear my hair up all the time to avoid abrasion. (Just like LHC). She also told me that I would need a small trim every once in a while. Not every X amount of weeks. She said when it's too hard to de-tangle and not before. I was lucky to find a stylist that supports long hair journeys. However, salons here in Denmark are desperate for clients because of the economy. They're starting to listen to customers to keep them.

If the LHC existed as a magazine in the 70's, I'd have hair to the floor now. (Yes, there was life before the internet)

If you don't mind me asking, where is this magic salon? My hair stylist (who I rarely ever see anymore) washes the length of my hair with shampoo, twice, before cutting it. I just cut my hair myself nowadays, but it'd be neat to know where to go for the Danish longhairs d:

Haybop
December 28th, 2013, 05:29 AM
I found a student hairdresser that I wanted to try out and explained to her that I wouldn't be regular for more than fringe cuts. She last cut my hair (into a style with a fringe) back in march) and has absolutely loved watching it grow from shoulder to below APL. I'm going in for a trim today and when I was talking to her to get booked in not only did she mention that she realised it would just be a 'dusting' trim but she also thought to ask if I'd like to wash it before the appointment so she didn't have to take any heat to it (as the owner would expect her to use a hot temp on hairdryer & is rather overbearing). I'm thinking that maybe we longhairs & wannabe longhairs (in my case) should get these hairdressers at the start of their journey in their careers so they start off with the experience ;) This lady is getting a late xmas pressie from me when I go in :)

Silverbrumby
December 28th, 2013, 06:11 AM
I actually have a growth problem and I was wondering if your theory could explain it, but there's one problem - I NEVER go to hairdressers! If at all, I cut my hair on my own, and I do so pretty seldom, since I do want it to grow as much as it can. But it just doesn't :(

This is my problem as well, I stall at BSL and thin around Apl even after two years on this board. I think I have a short terminal.

schweedie
December 28th, 2013, 06:39 AM
So Average Woman (AW), operates under piecemeal information. Likely she just wants to look good with a small amount of effort. She's clutching a photo of a (processed, extended, hours-spent-in-the-chair) celebrity hair style that is wildly inappropriate for her hairtype.
And the stylist works magic.

But the hair can't take all that magic.

Then, AW goes home and slaps harsh levels of cleansers on daily. Applies heat. Treats her hair like a sweatshirt from Goodwill meant for painting.
Returns in four to six weeks to get a slightly different cut, that eats whatever growth she had.

Add color, curling or straightening, extensions/weaves.... It's amazing her hair doesn't decamp for kinder pastures.
I think there's a lot of truth in this - I was that AW many years ago. I never attempted to grow my hair very long in those days, though, so I can't speak for whether or not my hair would've grown past APL/BSL in spite of that.


I found a student hairdresser that I wanted to try out and explained to her that I wouldn't be regular for more than fringe cuts. She last cut my hair (into a style with a fringe) back in march) and has absolutely loved watching it grow from shoulder to below APL.
It's wonderful when you find that hairdresser, isn't it? Mine's the same. She's watched my hair grow from shoulder to nearly tailbone over the years and loves it, calling it "Rapunzel hair" and marvelling at how it's managed to grow this much and remain in good condition, only ever trimming as much as I ask her to.

hanne jensen
December 28th, 2013, 12:13 PM
Joly, this stylist is in Slagelse. I was very lucky as I just walked in off the street. I didn't get a wash or blowfry, just my hair evened out. I was in and out in 15 mins and she only charged 75 kroner.

AngryVikingGirl
December 28th, 2013, 03:44 PM
The OP may be onto something there if the growth isn't being hamstrung by simply having too frequent trims.

A somewhat related observation: I think that growth beyond waist/hip/tailbone can be difficult because hairdressers can chop off more length than asked and still have hair be long. The perception is, "what's 2 or 3 inches to them? They have plenty to spare!" In fact, sometimes the person getting the haircut doesn't even notice (been there!) until it's been years and the hair just isn't getting longer.
I think this is what happened to me earlier this year. I probably got a two or three inch trim that took me well above BCL and possibly back to hip, and I thought I was maybe just shy of BCL still. I had no idea how much was actually cut off and I spent most of this year thinking, "why the hell am I still hovering around BCL???" Turns out I spent most of that time regrowing what had been cut off in June.

Aww yes! It took me six month to get suspicious that she had trimmed more and another six to realise it was even more. Grrrr...I could be at tailbone or something now...This is when I stop letting anyone near my hair with scissors.

shutterpillar
December 28th, 2013, 03:57 PM
It's been my experience that every single stylist I've been to has been more than happy to cut a large amount of my hair. Before I began growing out my hair, my normal routine would be to grow to around BSL then get it cut to shoulder length or above. Whenever I went to get it cut, I got lots of compliments on how beautiful my hair was while it was long, but every single time, the stylist always called over all the other stylists and said something along the lines of "look what I get to do!" then would point out my hair and tell them what I wanted done. I always asked for the short style and they normally did not cut off any more than I asked, but they always seemed so excited to cut it all off.

I think a lot of the "I can't grow past APL" phenomenon has much to do with heat, dye, and mechanical damage. I have friends whose hair literally snaps off in their fingers because they bleach, dye, and heat style it so much. I would imagine they are unable to grow it past a certain length or end up cutting it off because it's so damaged.
A lot of my friends have just never tried to grow it any longer than APL. They have apparently found a style around that length that they are happy with and have just never attempted to grow it any longer.