View Full Version : Ambivalent about achieving hair length goal

September 1st, 2010, 06:52 AM
Hello, all! Haven't been here for a couple of years; probably no one remembers me anyway. But here's my tale in a nutshell: in 2002 I had my hair cut off short and spiked on top. Loved it and kept it short for several years, but always felt like a long-haired person in disguise. Grew it out starting in 2003 (when I found these forums, bless you all!) and finally have it where I wanted it: classic length. For me, 42 inches.

The problem? In 2005-2006 I was sick for a long time, and during that time, my hair went from medium-thick to thin, thin, thin. The ends of my two braids aren't more than a quarter inch wide, and they're not even that tapered, maybe an inch at the top. I stopped getting compliments on my hair a couple of years ago, when it reached tailbone. Now people just say, "wow, it sure is long," rather than telling me how pretty it is like they used to.

It makes me feel disappointed every time I braid it up and I can see how much I've lost. Probably close to half of my volume, while I was ill. And seeing how thin it is just makes me remember those two years I spent on disability, crying in the shower every day when I saw how much hair had washed out. Handfuls, every single day.

What I am thinking of doing is starting over: going very short again, and keeping it virgin while it's growing, and -- with any luck -- have it grow in thicker this time, since I've stopped losing so much of it! My son claims he'll disown me if I cut it, and that even though it's thin, it's still pretty. My husband says the same thing (except the disowning part), but that he'll like it no matter what I do to it. God bless him. Those two are the only ones who have given me compliments for the last couple of years, except for one from a friend who helpfully pointed out how easy my updos must be, because my hair's so thin it stays up easily (which it does, but I didn't need to be reminded of!).

My hair is now longer than it has ever been, but I like it less than I did when it was shorter. And although I'd like to cut it all off and start fresh now that I'm healthy again, I'm worried about regretting "the chop" because it will take years for it to grow back. I'd been thinking of trying to sell it on hairforsale.com , but now I'm not even sure it's worth anything.

So I'm looking for opinions.

September 1st, 2010, 07:05 AM
I'm so sorry you've been ill and your hair has suffered. At 42" your hair is maybe a bit past the end of tailbone length? Why not cut up to hip or slightly below and see how it feels? Often a few inches can make such a huge difference in how thick hair feels. I hear ya on the skinny braid thing. It's so disheartening to see after all the time and effort put in to grow to such a long length. Why do you see it as an all or nothing thing? I don't see any need to do one drastic cut to pixie length. Start off slow with a few inches and then wait and see how that feels. You can cut off a bit more if you wish in a few weeks or months. You can keep doing that until you are more satisfied. Hair is always a work in progress. Yes lopping it all off in to a pixie will take care of the thin braid issue but it's going to take years to grow back. You said when you had short hair before you felt like a long haired person in disguise. Is that something you really want to do again? And BTW welcome back. I do remember you.

September 1st, 2010, 07:12 AM
I agree with Carolyn. Also, even if you do decide to chop most of it off, you might want to go for an all one length shoulder- or chin-length bob rather than pixie, to avoid having to deal with the layers. See the super-short thread for an idea of what you're getting into before you do anything drastic. You can then maintain that length for a little bit until it thickens up.

Jean Stuart
September 1st, 2010, 07:15 AM
I agrree, Less drastic is the way to go. Also a question is the hair you lost growing back? If so the small cuts can help it catch up.

September 1st, 2010, 07:28 AM
Hi, and welcome back! I can completely understand how your thin hair is a terrible reminder, but I'm not sure if cutting it all off is the answer. You may want to read some threads and blogs by fellow LHC member Emichiee. She went through a similar thing and slowly trimmed her hair bit by bit and regained thickness. Perhaps her journey can inspire you.

This is her blog. Perhaps scroll down to Friday, april 23, 2010?

September 1st, 2010, 08:04 AM
It's awful to lose thickness, as I know from my own past experience. I'm sorry that you went through a health ordeal and that you lost so much hair. :blossom:

However, I honestly worry that going from classic length to short might depress you even more than you're feeling now about your hair.

Why don't you just go back to tailbone or so, and maintain for a while as your hair thickens back up?

If you're still unhappy after a couple of months or so, then you can always cut it shorter, maybe gradually to hip, or waist or even BSL, but I don't think cutting it short is the only answer.

September 1st, 2010, 08:09 AM
I don't think cutting short is the only answer, either. If my hair were to thin drastically, I might cut back to APL, which would feel very short to me now. But no shorter.

Try going back in increments, as suggested above. Maybe back to tailbone or hip, see how it looks and feels.

September 1st, 2010, 08:20 AM
I think it sounds as if you have some valid reasons for trimming.

Unless you're thinking of going very short to get rid of color, or just want to enjoy the lightness for awhile, it would seem much easier to start your growth journey anew with a length that you could still tie back or manage some sort of "starter" updo.

going gray
September 1st, 2010, 08:25 AM
Sorry to hear you were ill. Welcome back! I agree with the ladies, don't do a drastic crop. It just makes good sense to take off some of your length in stages & perhaps that will make you happier with your volume. (Different reaon, but wish I had listened to my own advice)

Good luck with your hair!

September 1st, 2010, 08:32 AM
It is perfectly understandable that you may have liked your hair better when it was short than the way it is now, but take a good look at what you have. Was there any damage to your hair, or was there just loss? If your hair is healthy, there is no need to chop it all off.
I agree with the lady above me, a few inches make a big difference. And you are obviously afraid of regretting a dramatic change, I can only advise you to take baby steps, trim 1cm at a time and get a picture taken. That way you can keep trimming if you think it needs to, and stop in time before regretting.
Just try to love and work with what you have. Once you figure out what looks and feels good and what doesn't, you'll know better if a cut is worth it or not.
Plus, there are lots of tutorials for long thin hair. This girl makes some amazing buns.

September 1st, 2010, 09:12 AM
Marjolein, thank you so much for the blog link. How encouraging! Yes, her photo immediately after-loss is pretty much what mine looks like. And I'm kind of short, so for me 42" is reaching tops of the thighs.

Spidermom, bear with me 'cause I haven't been here for a couple of years. What is APL?

One more reason I had for wanting to go the very short route is that I'd like to try water-only. With short hair, oiliness just looks like you have product in it, mousse or gel or whatnot. With tailbone-and-below, it just looks oily. I tried it for almost two months, and it never did equalize. It just looked bad. And felt even worse!

But I like the idea of going shorter incrementally, and of ending up with it long enough to still do stuff with. Yes, it is damaged on the bottom, oh, say 8 inches or so. I could get all 8 inches cut off and have it waist-length again and eliminate most of the damage. Or I could get it cut back up to BSL, which is still plenty long enough for buns and braids but which would feel very short to me now! :)

You've given me some ideas and options, which I appreciate. Keep 'em coming.

Going for my 2-inch trim right now. Maybe it'll cheer me up! :)

September 1st, 2010, 09:19 AM
APL = armpit length.

September 1st, 2010, 09:39 AM
I have gone through the same thing; illness, shed over half my hair and then chopped it to above shoulder (my hair was tailbone before). The only difference is - I'm not healthy now. I know how hard it is - I'm sorry. :grouphug:

I have to tell you though - I regretted the chop. Yes, my hair looked thicker. Yes, I got compliments on it. Now even though my hair is still very thin - I'm growing it anyways! I think that if you are a longhair at heart, you're not going to be happy with it short.

Now my situation is different from yours in that you are now healthy and could grow it back thicker. In that case, I must agree with some of the other posters and advise an incremental cut. Maybe to tailbone or waist. It's much easier to grow back out that way! If I had mine to do over, I would have cut to BSL or APL. That's a good length and you can still get it up off your neck! (That drove me insane when it was short). Good luck on whatever you decide. :flower:

January 30th, 2011, 11:39 AM
Well, I did a 2" trim and felt a little better.

For about a day.

At the end of September, I went on a 3-month trip around the US, and had to stop eating my all-natural diet because it was just too difficult when traveling... and started to lose lots of hair again.

By the time I got home, right before Christmas, my hair was so thin that you could see right through the length most of the way down--I had to stop wearing pale colored shirts when I wore my hair down! Also, a couple of times I had to use hotel-brand shampoo and conditioner, and my hair simply never recovered. It started to tangle and break no matter what I did to it. I went back onto my natural-foods diet as soon as we got home, but my body was already so ill that the hair loss just didn't stop.

So on 31 December, I did it--I went for the big chop. I got it cut chin-length, with layers to add more volume. Believe it or not, I wasn't even sad. Seeing that long, skinny rat's tail of a braid get cut off was, simply put, a relief.

Now I feel like I've betrayed all you lovely people who advised me to keep it long! :( But honestly, I am so much happier with it now, I can't even tell you. I've started supplementing with high doses of iodine, and after a period of detox, the hair stopped falling out and looks to be quite healthy (what little is left!). I'm going to keep it this length or shorter for a while and see if I can get it to thicken up by at least 50% before I try growing it longer again.

I just have to remember to keep taking the iodine, and don't eat any processed foods. They always make me sick. I can eat meat, fruits, and vegetables--and that's all, or else I start the whole process all over again.

I thought I would have identity problems with it short again (long-haired person in disguise, remember?) :) but actually, this is the first time I've really felt like myself for quite a long time, because the last obvious symbol of my illness is gone now. So here's a pic of the new 'do, and please, no one scold me for getting it cut.


January 30th, 2011, 11:53 AM
Goodness, why on earth would we scold you?

You're happy and confident with it, that's the most important thing!

January 30th, 2011, 11:56 AM
Good for you! It's all about feeling better and being happy. I can see how getting rid of the thin hair--a reminder of your sickness--would make you feel better. Plus, the short cut looks good! Keep on eating good food. :grouphug:

January 30th, 2011, 12:04 PM
No disappointment here. What I think would be best for me is often not what is best for somebody else. I don't even know why I offer advice anymore.

January 30th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Looks beautiful!

January 30th, 2011, 12:14 PM
Good for you. The short cut looks really cute. Asking for advice is good because it gives you another perspective to consider before cutting. You asked, considered, and than did what was best for you. That's the most important thing.

January 30th, 2011, 12:14 PM
I didn't have a big shed-or haven't been sick- but my hair was looking so thin that I, too, recently cut to an above shoulder length cut with layers in front.
Like you, I really like it and have been getting compliments on how much thicker, healthier, ect it looks.(Kinda backhanded compliments makes me think-did it look THAT bad before?)Like you I'm also working on thickening up hair before I try to grow out long again,(My regime is Nioxin, vitamins and emu oil) as I too had the thin ends problem. I am still a longhair at heart. I think your new cut looks cute and it sounds like you're doing some good things to get started on a healthy hair regime.Glad you are feeling better! Good luck to you!

January 30th, 2011, 12:19 PM

Well I read the whole post and I have to say your haircut is quite nice. It must be a relief to be able to look in the mirror without a constant reminder.

I don't see that anyone is going to scold you, after all it's your hair ;). Out of curiosity are you planning to grow it back out or just keep it short?

January 30th, 2011, 12:39 PM
I'm definitely going to keep it short for a while--I'd say 6 mo. to a year, most likely--and give it a chance to thicken up again. Then I will probably try to grow it out long again. If it looks good to my eyes, then I'll keep growing it to see how long it can get... but I am no longer dead-set on getting it to classic length if it doesn't look good to me at that length. I'll be okay with stopping at BLS or waist as long as it's thick and healthy enough. But classic length really was not pretty or flattering when it got too thin, and actually made me feel worse about my hair than I did at shorter lengths!

Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support. As you may imagine, this was a huge decision, and I am grateful for all your input.

January 30th, 2011, 12:59 PM
That's a cute haircut! The most beautiful hair is the one you are happy with, regardless of length.

Good luck with your new hair, whether you decide to grow again or not.

January 30th, 2011, 01:54 PM
I think that you made a good decision. If your hair cut shorter makes you happy and more confident, then that is wonderful! :) Just think, you can always grow back if you choose too! ;)

January 31st, 2011, 07:46 PM
I did not see this thread in the fall, so

WELCOME BACK! I REMEMBER YOU! (I always thought your screen name was so pretty.) :flower:

Anyway, good for you for cutting to a length and style that you feel content with. Your hair looks soft, shiny, healthy and pretty. Enjoy the ease you are finding with your new hair cut.

In no way have you let any of us down. I agree completely that having long hair is not just about length; it's about having beautiful hair. Letting your hair thicken up is a very smart idea. After that, if you still want to grow long, you already have a good start since you did not go to a very short cut. But don't feel at all bad if you decide that you just plain like it short. It's all about you; it's about how you feel about yourself, and how you choose to express yourself.

I'm glad that your health is much better. :cheer: Stay well, be happy, and enjoy your hair at whatever length you like!