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The Care and Feeding of Long Hair

Healthy, beautiful long hair offers so many rewards! Getting there isn't difficult, but it requires a partnership between you and your stylist.

Step One - Handle with Care!
The number one obstacle to growing healthy long hair is damage - and most of it is self inflicted. Hair should always be handled gently - especially when wet. Detangle with your fingers, then a wide tooth comb. Avoid metal barrettes and rough elastics - plastic clips and hair sticks are just as versatile and much healthier. If you heat-style, try to reduce the heat, and use leave-in protectors before applying the heat. A little extra time and care will really pay off.

Step Two -Get the Right Help
To successfully grow and maintain long hair, you need a stylist who shares your goal. Many women have had unhappy encounters with a "scissor-happy" stylist who imposes her own will. But other more subtle stylist behaviors can sabotage your desire for long hair. Take the time and effort to find a stylist who respects your wishes and will work with you. Insist on a consultation before having any services performed - this is an excellent time to assess the stylist. Does he listen to you? Have a plan to help
you grow and maintain long hair? Does he seem interested in your needs - or is he patronizing, anxious to impose his vision?

When you feel comfortable to proceed with a trim, observe how he treats your hair. Look for gentleness and respect - not a hurried, rough approach. Ask to look at the back of the hair together - and be sure you
agree on precisely how much should be trimmed. If you can see that you really do need some length trimmed, and are comfortable with it, then accept the short-term loss for the long-term gain.

Your stylist should not use damaging cutting techniques, such as slide-cutting or razoring. These approaches damage the hair's cuticle beyond repair and won't allow you to grow it long and healthy.

Step Three - Products Matter
Long hair has special needs - it's older and more porous. Your shampoo should be gentle, but not overloaded with conditioners that prevent proper cleansing. Alternate conditioning with moisturizers and deep protein treatments. A Cream Rinse should be used after every shampoo - it's not the same as a conditioner! It will gently detangle your hair and smooth the cuticle without building up.

You will need to experiment with styling products to find the right ones for your special needs. Look for those that accomplish your goals without building up or drying you out.

Step Four - A Healthy You
Hair always reflects your overall health - so pay attention to your nutrition and exercise. Give your scalp a boost by brushing dry hair daily starting at the roots. Use a natural boar bristle brush, with a wooden base. This will stimulate the roots of the hair and massage the muscles of the scalp.


Step Five - Learn to Enjoy It!
Long hair offers many different looks. It is truly much more versatile than short hair! Ask your stylist for a lesson on quick changes using clips and hair sticks. There are many books and videos to help you learn
basic or advanced braiding. When you learn to easily handle your length, you'll find you enjoy it so much more.

Author: Lance Melin & Jody Nisula
Article Source: http://www.salonweb.com/features/hairarticle_021405.htm



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