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View Full Version : Bad Hair Habit! (Hair twirling)



Reptilia
September 9th, 2008, 12:07 PM
I have a horrible habit I've had for YEARS, I twist and twirl my hair. I'll take about a 1 inche section, twist it up, undo it, twist it up, twirl it up between my fingers, comb and sometimes rip through knots, and end up with a ton of breakage.

It's a bit of a nervous habit I guess. I often don't even realize I'm doing it. Or sometimes I just WANT to because I like the feeling of my hair between my fingers.

I've had friends, family, and coworkers try and help by letting me know when I do it, but they all eventually give up because no matter how many times they catch me and stop me, I keep doing it later.

I even used to keep an elastic band on my wrist, and would snap it on myself if I caught myself!

Even if I wear it up, I'll pull a piece out to play with.

Has anyone else ever had this issue? Or anyone with tips on breaking the habit?

jivete
September 9th, 2008, 12:51 PM
I'm a hair twirler. I try to put it up to ignore it. It's a hard habit to break, especially when bored (like driving, sitting at a computer, etc). I guess that's not very helpful, but know you're not alone.

JessTheMess
September 9th, 2008, 12:51 PM
LOL I do this whenever I have my hair down, I even catch myself picking at my updo to find some loose strands to play with. Unfortunately I have no clue how to stop myself from doing it. The snapping a hairband on the wrist idea sounds good though :)

Reptilia
September 9th, 2008, 12:53 PM
Well, at least I'm not the only one! haha :p

I think I may just have to try putting it up in a bun for a few weeks until I get used to not touching it, lol.

Periwinkle
September 9th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Putting it up is good. Another thing you can do is to put something on your finger that you'll notice when you twirl. I used to be a chronic hair-behind-the-ears-tucker (I'm talking every ten seconds or so!), and I cut down by wearing a plaster on my finger that I'd feel when I went to tuck.

Reptilia
September 9th, 2008, 01:08 PM
Hmm I'll have to try that!

I'm thinking of carrying something with me I can fumble with when I get bored/nervous instead of using my hair. Maybe even just some silly putty.

embee
September 9th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Maybe you can to find some yarn or string and make a tassel to play with? Perhaps a Koosh ball would do? It's a habit and you can make a substitute habit. Try various different yarns, see what is satisfactory. Fuzzy, smooth, thick, thin, longer, shorter. Or you could buy a rabbit skin and cut it into little patches and play with them until you wear them out?

CopperHead
September 9th, 2008, 04:28 PM
You could make a strand of worry beads to fiddle with. Just go to a craft store and buy some inexpensive beads, ones that feel good to the touch, and string them together into a sort of short necklace. Nothing too fancy, but you can keep them close by to 'worry" with when your hands are idle. Many parts of the world use these beads to stay calm. :)

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worry_beads

lind01
September 9th, 2008, 04:45 PM
I do this too and can't stop myself! It's awful. It's always with my left hand too- never the right.
You know how they say that if you want to access the right hemisphere of the brain, do an activity with your left hand? I have seriously come up with the theory that while I'm using the right hemisphere of my brain, my left hand automatically wants to do some movement. :rolleyes: And it's twist my hair.
It's completely subconscious.

Kirin
September 9th, 2008, 09:13 PM
Put me on the list, and I too also with the left hand only! I tend to do it when i am working or concentrating on a thought provoking activity.

Slug Yoga
September 9th, 2008, 09:47 PM
I do this too and can't stop myself! It's awful. It's always with my left hand too- never the right.
You know how they say that if you want to access the right hemisphere of the brain, do an activity with your left hand? I have seriously come up with the theory that while I'm using the right hemisphere of my brain, my left hand automatically wants to do some movement. :rolleyes: And it's twist my hair.
It's completely subconscious.

That had never occurred to me! Interesting.

Of course most people are right-handed though, maybe using the dominant hand would become more inconvenient or noticeable?

walkinglady
September 9th, 2008, 10:23 PM
I used to do this as a child. My mother tried everything to help me break the habit. Finally, she had my hair cut into a pixie. I was devastated! It was to short to twirl so after awhile the habit did break. I would never cut to pixie again so if the twirling starts I will join the LHC Twirl Club and try the string of beads that CopperHead suggested! :cheese:

walkinglady
September 9th, 2008, 10:24 PM
Oh, a couple last thoughts. How about if you twirl your finger but not in your hair? In the air next to your leg or something? Maybe twirl your finger around a piece of silk or satin; like a hair tie, belt, or scarf.

winter_star
September 10th, 2008, 06:18 AM
Oh, I'm a hair twirler too. I get so frustrated and I just can't stop touching it and I have to put it up! Some great great tips for preventing it. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who does this.

Molster
September 10th, 2008, 07:51 AM
I'm not a hair-twirler, but recognise that some people do it without realising, and I guess there's a huge variety of reasons why (concentrating, comfort, insecurity, childhood habit, etc. etc.)

For me personally, and I know I'm not alone, it's a real bug-bear. Perhaps bear in mind that;

1 - It's very damaging to your hair.
2 - Some people around (friends/boss/colleagues/customers) you will find it hugely irritating/unprofessional and want to smack you. :mad: :slap:

I have 2 mid/longhaired friends who I love to bits but are subconscious hair twirlers - their incessant twirling and fiddling just drives me nutty. Not to mention the urge to S&D all the split ends they have on the sections of repeatedly-twirled hair! When the conversation turns to hair, I have found it really hard to stop myself from repeatedly saying, "well if you do want it to grow, leave it ALONE and stop moaning about breakage!!!" when I know it's such a hard habit to break, and I've already gently mentioned that it might be why their hair 'doesn't grow'.

Perhaps I should just let 'em get on with it and not let it bug me, I guess. :twisted: :silly:

Reptilia
September 10th, 2008, 08:28 AM
Put me on the list, and I too also with the left hand only! I tend to do it when i am working or concentrating on a thought provoking activity.


Strange, mine is the same!

jivete
September 10th, 2008, 08:32 AM
It is the desire to stroke something, but I think it needs to be next to the head. If not my hair, I will fiddle with my left earring. My ears are stretched so I can slide the plugs in and out. While not as satisfying, it does keep me from fiddling with my hair. I think the beads would help, but I'd need them attached somewhere around my ear because I will stroke any hair falls, whether yarn or not I have attached to my head with great pleasure.

I also only do the left side. I'm not sure about the right brain, since I rarely use that side:D, but I think it's because I'm right handed and that hand is usually busy.

I'm sure it's an annoying habit to everyone around and no doubt damaging, so I'm doing my best to stop.

Reptilia
September 10th, 2008, 08:39 AM
I was actually asked by a coworker at one of my previous jobs to stop doing it, lol. Even then, couldn't stop!

I think a part of it is just liking the feel of it. I'll even run my hair across my lips or something (I don't chew on my hair, lol).

TambourineDream
September 10th, 2008, 08:55 AM
My sister has trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) and she just CAN'T stop fiddling with her hair!! It's always subconscious, like when reading, watching TV, or stress-related, so very hard to break! she's tried so many things to stop, and the only real fail-safe seems to be wearing a hat/covering her hair so that when the fingers go to find hair, it's all safely covered up. Of course this doesn't work so well if you're not so much a hat person.

Covering fingers with sellotape/plasters also had some positive results, but the elastic band on the wrist routine did nothing for her and people telling her to stop just made her feel embarrassed about something that is out of our conscious control.
Good luck breaking the habit!

forestwitch
September 21st, 2008, 08:36 PM
I'm a hair tucker too!! The plaster idea is wonderful I am going to try it immediatly. It's such a bad habit, I hate it, especially now, I buzzed my hair off for my aunt and I still try to tuck it behind my ears even though it's not there!! I look like a fool so I really hope your idea works. As for advice to break the habit I've tried lots of things, the hair band on the wrist seemed to work a little, but if you're stubborn like me it's hard to stop. I think I read somewhere that if you don't do it for 8 days straight you've broken the habit. Wish I could find the article about habits, it was really interesting.

Dolly
September 21st, 2008, 08:57 PM
I think a part of it is just liking the feel of it. I'll even run my hair across my lips or something (I don't chew on my hair, lol).

I do it because of that too.....I just enjoy feeling my hair.....I run mine across my lips too, or my cheek......

rapunzhell13
September 21st, 2008, 11:52 PM
I do this too. I traded in biting my nails for twirling my hair. :rolleyes:

Mrs. K
September 22nd, 2008, 02:28 PM
I do this too. I traded in biting my nails for twirling my hair. :rolleyes:

I mostly pet my hair, but I twirl it some also. I used to pick the skin around my thumbs :disgust: (since high school). Since I've been petting my hair, I have been able to cut way down on the skin picking. Over the years, I was not able to come up with a way to quit picking at my thumbs.

I think for me it is a need to feel something smooth, or maybe to make something smooth. With my thumbs, I would feel a little hang nail or something and pick it off to try to make it smoother (though mostly a subconsious effort). Now I feel my hair and pet it until all the hairs are lined up and it feels smoother.

To quit either habit, I need a substitute that is attached to me, not something that I carry around. I wouldn't think to get it out of my purse to "feel it", but if it is always with me, it will be available when the subconscious need arises. Sometimes, when my nails are polished, I feel my nails and their smoothness. I was thinking that if I could get some kind of a bracelet or long pendant that was pleasant to feel, that might be a good substitute. Hmmm, :hmm: I have one of those stones that you're supposed to rub with your thumb. Maybe I'll try to make it into some kind of jewelry.

I also feel mostly with my left hand. My hair actually feels better, I experience more pleasure feeling it, with my left hand, than with my right hand. Maybe the right side of the brain is the side that we feel this sort of thing with?

NeilTheFuzz
September 23rd, 2008, 10:52 AM
Hair twirling isn't too bad as long as you're not pulling on it. It is a hard habit to break though - it's almost certainly an impulsive nervous thing. My auntie had long hair, she didn't so much pull , but sort of rubbed hair at the base of her neck between her thumb and index finger. After years of doing so she now has two little bald patches roughlyy the size of a coin. :(

Neil

arylkin
September 23rd, 2008, 03:26 PM
Hair twirling isn't too bad as long as you're not pulling on it.

Neil

Well Neil, I'm going to comfort myself with your words... ;)

I too fiddle with the hair on my left side- smoothing it or winding it around or through my fingers or hand. I guess it's my one (or biggest) OCD thing- I actually had my hair up while I was reading this thread and had to take it down and fool with it... It's usually only when I'm not doing anything or online or watching tv/reading. I don't have any problem having it up and leaving it alone when I'm at work though.

starfire
September 23rd, 2008, 03:41 PM
I twirl too. With my left (right hand is usually busy writing or something). If my hair is up, I twirl my bangs. It's a fairly harmless habit, so I just let myself enjoy it :D

Yeesha
September 23rd, 2008, 04:12 PM
I do it too...

Have no idea how to stop it... :(

But I think, there are other bad habits, and that this one isn't thaaat bad...^^

CurlyNinja
September 23rd, 2008, 09:33 PM
I'm not a hair twirler, I'm a curl boinger.

Boing....boing...boing....you'd think it would get old, but it never does. :rolleyes:

Bronwyn Grace
September 23rd, 2008, 09:52 PM
I twirl my hair too! I think it's genetic, because my mom and both my aunts do it. O.O I put knots in mine purposely when I get really nervous. -.-;; I tried to cut down, but ended up picking at my cuticles and my nails... and got an infection. So I figure that it's better just to mess with my hair. LOL.

GlassEyes
September 24th, 2008, 06:23 AM
I twirl.

e-e It's such a bad habit, and it's annoying as hell to me and those around me, but the ******n things conform to my finger! D:

Andif I don't twirl them I bite my nails, and if I try not to do either, I fidget with stuff. I'm a twitcher.

gav616
September 24th, 2008, 06:40 AM
I'm a massive twirler, I like that feeling just as its going to drop out your index and middle finger, it's very therapeutic.

Chrissy
September 24th, 2008, 10:25 PM
Raises hand...twirler here. I've done it for years. We can't all be that weird since there are so many of us. I really don't think I will ever stop. I don't do it constantly but I do do it. I like playing with my hair.

Curlsgirl
September 26th, 2008, 01:41 PM
Hmm I'll have to try that!

I'm thinking of carrying something with me I can fumble with when I get bored/nervous instead of using my hair. Maybe even just some silly putty.I have tried that doesn't work for me :rolleyes:


I used to pick the skin around my thumbs :disgust: (since high school). Since I've been petting my hair, I have been able to cut way down on the skin picking. Over the years, I was not able to come up with a way to quit picking at my thumbs.

I think for me it is a need to feel something smooth, or maybe to make something smooth. With my thumbs, I would feel a little hang nail or something and pick it off to try to make it smoother (though mostly a subconsious effort). Now I feel my hair and pet it until all the hairs are lined up and it feels smoother.

To quit either habit, I need a substitute that is attached to me, not something that I carry around. I wouldn't think to get it out of my purse to "feel it", but if it is always with me, it will be available when the subconscious need arises. Sometimes, when my nails are polished, I feel my nails and their smoothness. I was thinking that if I could get some kind of a bracelet or long pendant that was pleasant to feel, that might be a good substitute. Hmmm, :hmm: I have one of those stones that you're supposed to rub with your thumb. Maybe I'll try to make it into some kind of jewelry.

I also feel mostly with my left hand. My hair actually feels better, I experience more pleasure feeling it, with my left hand, than with my right hand. Maybe the right side of the brain is the side that we feel this sort of thing with?

I do that skin picking thing too. GRRRRRRRR talk about impossible to quit! My Dad did and does the same thing and I have not even been around him much so that really does make me wonder if it is somehow in the genes. Strange huh? I am not too bad about my hair except when it's braided I'm a tassle coddler. :o

eaglefeather71
September 26th, 2008, 02:05 PM
Now that my hair is growing out, I have found myself twirling. I also have gauges in my ears, and I play with those too. I don't think its weird, just annoying to others; and I'm not too concerned about others that may be annoyed by my little "idiosyncracies" I'm SURE I misspelled that one!

mandy wallhoara
August 28th, 2010, 09:56 PM
:heartbeat

Neat community here, my first post... got drawn in 'cause of g-ing "hair twirling habit"...... neat thread on it at hairpisodes blog Jan 2009.... a twirler herself.
A man, just hitting 50, I've been in the trades profession for the last 30 years where the standard length was above-collar.
Having always wished for the long-hair experience at least once in my life, I figure I'd better get on with it... got good genes.... full & thick with no trace of balding
or receding hairline. The longest it had been previously was late teens, maybe
6 inches at crown... and I twirled then. Now decades later, at 4 in. I noticed
fiddling, and at 6 in. full-fledged twirling again! dango mango....
Though I'm right-handed, I twirl predominately with the left mostly on left side, rear quad of head, and some in area of left front of ear.... depending on sitting
circumstances... like whether my elbow is propped on couchback, knee, or desk,
whether I'm deep-thinking, or light-weight surfing, reading, or conversing....
My wife of 25 years is just seeing my habit for the first time... thinks it's cute....
we'll see how long that lasts. I think I'm twirling in a more mature manner....
(not the same as just being an old twirler-- ha) that is, in my youth I knotted and
twisted so tight to my skull I often had to use combs to free (and tear) small knots, burrs, and tangles... now my knotting is less (obsessive?) or else my wrist wears out faster... I often detangle with my right... to "share" the burden...
twirling with the right hand is just not the same satisfaction-wise as the left, and,
oddly, the right's rotation is naturally clockwise, while the left's is always c-cw....
what's up with that?

So many theories, and so many degrees.... I don't remember how early mine
started, memory only goes back to early teens, but I know I wasn't a puller or
a yanker, or pain inducer. Just a frustrated hard knotter then, and now more of
a laid-back easy-out knotter, half-knotter, & not-knotter.... too much of a hassle
freeing a tightly bunched coil for the reset process.......
We'll see where it goes.... I'm intending to go to possibly 20 or 24 inches by
LHC standards.... or until I reach burnout, whichever comes first.....
Actually, lol, it should stay interesting for a good long time... (the-journey-not-the-
destination) going by all the great ideas and fun stuff in this community, other
hair-devoted websites, and my wife's bubbling idea-stew which has whiffs and
aromas hinting at blonding processes, (underway) highlights, color streaking,
occasion-fun, and, ahem, toys.... well, hair today..... when in Rome.... etc (I'm in
for it, don't let the name fool you)..... be curious to see what develops... tucking,
stroking, chewing.... I do remember lip-fiddling a lockrope or two.... and perhaps
a nibble here and there...

Right now I'm not seeing my little habit as a bad thing... only insofar as it some-
times serves as a procrastination device, but I'm really shocked to see the degree
into which some are seemingly locked (really, no pun intended). I have much
more reading and research to do on all this and related hair habits.... and now
that I'm involved in both a community and the growing process, I'll naturally
have to add to this thread.... and feedback here is great.... let's do some more...
Hail All Twirlers... or not as degree may dictate...

buzzlegum
August 28th, 2010, 10:16 PM
I've done this all my life. My mother even makes fun of me because of it. I JUST CAN'T STOP.

McFearless
August 29th, 2010, 01:34 AM
I do this too! Its terrible. I try to wear my hair up in a scarf to stop myself. It works

Chrissy
August 29th, 2010, 07:13 AM
I'm a twirler too and have been for years. I don't care that I do. I like it. I don't do it a lot just occasionally. I see that you said you rip through knots. Now that would cause damage. Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't think that twisting and or twirling your hair would cause damage.

I think all that twirling has caused memory loss since I forgot I already posted to this thread a while back. Oh well..........back to twirling now. :)

XcaliburGirl
August 29th, 2010, 08:03 AM
I used to have a problem pulling out my left eyebrow hair while at work on the computer. It started out just stroking the eyebrow back to smooth out the curly hairs (I have rather thick eyebrows), but then I started pulling too hard and plucking the hairs. I don't know if it'd be considered trichotillomania, but it was not something I did on purpose.
I was able to stop by finding other things to fiddle with like a stress ball, silly putty, etc. Also, I switched to a non-computer job for a while (for another reason) so I think that helped break the habit.

I'm back on the computer all day and still occasionally catch myself messing with my eyebrow, so I consciously stop or get a little piece of paper to crumple.

baaaad_kitty
August 29th, 2010, 11:49 AM
OH! This is just like me LOL. I twirl my hair with my left hand and bring it over my left shoulder. I do like how the twirled hair looks in the mirror so I think that's why I keep doing it. My hair looks more curled like that. And it's probably another reason why I see splits and breaks

Coffeebug
August 29th, 2010, 01:20 PM
I twiddle my hair too - I thought that's why braids had tassles LOL

Actually when I was 19 I chopped all my hair off, and I STILL twiddled it, I just couldn't do it as discreetly!

mandy wallhoara
September 2nd, 2010, 04:17 PM
Hey crissy.... maybe you've got something there with the twirling/memory loss connection lol!
Yes, the knotting I did in my teens was damaging... I had a very repressed and restricted
childhood, so my memory doesn't go back much before early teens, but at 3 to 4 inches long
(maximum parental allowance), and being a stressed kid I knotted until they couldn't come
apart without excision... of course the damage didn't matter so much then.... I think we are all
more hair-aware ("hairware"?) now, and indeed today I only half-knot.... more emphasis on
the twirling, twisting, & finger-forking than going to a hard knot-- too much "reset" hassle...
Correct, as you said, very little damage with just that casual play... I may end up writing a
research paper on all this-- poll questions etc..... I am curious, for you, what is "occasionally"?
and under what circumstances does it prompt you to begin?

buzzlegum.... very cool avatar!!!! And no need to stop twirling..... unless it inhibits, detracts,
or does some destructive thing, it just makes you that much more individual and unique!

McFearless.... tell me about "terrible"...... I'm seeing, in my research, about half thinks it's
a problem, and about half doesn't....

boomygrrl
September 2nd, 2010, 04:32 PM
I twirl my hair at times but mostly boing my curls. I do it consciously and subconsciously. I personally don't care. It may annoy people at times, but no one has told me to stop. I've seen people look at the section of the hair that I'm twirling or boinging, but they don't say anything. Sometimes I stop when I notice them looking and sometimes I don't.
I'm left handed and tend to use my right hand to play with my hair. Rather than it being a right-brain activity...I think it has something to do with the non-dominant hand. Hey, the non-dominant hand wants to have fun!!!

Chrissy
September 2nd, 2010, 07:47 PM
Hey crissy.... maybe you've got something there with the twirling/memory loss connection lol!
Yes, the knotting I did in my teens was damaging... I had a very repressed and restricted
childhood, so my memory doesn't go back much before early teens, but at 3 to 4 inches long
(maximum parental allowance), and being a stressed kid I knotted until they couldn't come
apart without excision... of course the damage didn't matter so much then.... I think we are all
more hair-aware ("hairware"?) now, and indeed today I only half-knot.... more emphasis on
the twirling, twisting, & finger-forking than going to a hard knot-- too much "reset" hassle...
Correct, as you said, very little damage with just that casual play... I may end up writing a
research paper on all this-- poll questions etc..... I am curious, for you, what is "occasionally"?
and under what circumstances does it prompt you to begin?

buzzlegum.... very cool avatar!!!! And no need to stop twirling..... unless it inhibits, detracts,
or does some destructive thing, it just makes you that much more individual and unique!

McFearless.... tell me about "terrible"...... I'm seeing, in my research, about half thinks it's
a problem, and about half doesn't....


I do play with it more if I'm stressed but occasionally it's just because.

Ylesque
September 2nd, 2010, 10:33 PM
I know I've posted about it on LHC before (I hope not in this thread!), but I am a terrible twirler, finger-comber, and general hair-fidgeter.
I haven't noticed that I use one hand more than another, but then I usually don't even realize that I'm twirling. :oops:
If not my hair, I'm playing with edges of clothing, whatever jewelry I may be wearing, or even just interlacing and rearranging my hands. I'm not sure if it's stress-related or just general restlessness on my part, but I do love the feel of my hair when it's been smoothed :)