Thursday, April 28, 2016

How to Grow Long Elvish Hair

I am no expert with cosmetics, but I do have a reputation for long, thick hair.  Here are some tips for anyone aspiring to grow out their elvish locks.

First, I should acknowledge that I can't take much of the credit for the hair I was born with.  I think the Scottish blood in me is to blame for my thick, unruly, curly, red hair.  But there are lots of ways you can help your hair to be how you like it.  With that in mind, don't try and force your hair to do things it resists--chances are it probably looks best how it was intended to look.

The most important step is to take care of your hair.  This is something I have not been good at historically, but I've made concrete steps to change.  When I was little, I hated, and I mean absolutely hated getting my hair combed.  It was the worst part of my day, and I used to scream and kick whenever my mom would attempt to take a brush to my mass of curls.  I specifically remember one instance when I was about six years old when a brush was actually caught in my hair and it would not come out.  I have had to cut more ponytails out of my hair than I would care to mention.

Subsequently, I mostly just pushed my hair into a ponytail or braid so I didn't have to deal it.  Or else, if I had to comb it, I would be very rough with it in order to get the snarls out.  After years and years of that, I realized that rough treatment probably had something to do with the split ends that gradually accumulated and made the bottom of my hair that much more frizzy.

I've now changed my ways.  In order to prevent split ends, I get a hair cut every eight to twelve weeks.  At first I was reluctant to implement this strategy because I thought my hair would be too short if I kept getting it cut.  But if you cut it very often, you will find that only a couple centimeters will need to come off each time.  In the long run, you're hair will be longer (was that redundant?)--as opposed to having to cut off the inches and inches of split ends you've accrued over time.

My other objection to frequent hair cuts was the cost.  However, if you invest in a pair of quality shears (blunt ones will give you more split ends) you can give yourself a haircut in your own home.  I don't have any layers or bangs, so I don't know how to handle those, but if you just have a regular haircut, just cut straight across.

After routine hair cuts, the next step is to properly clean your hair.  I have very dry hair, and my neighbor who is a hair dresser, says that people with dry hair should not shampoo every day, or, in many cases, even every other day.  I had been in the routine of shampooing and conditioning my hair every single day, so this was a big change.  But for dry hair, continuously shampooing will strip the hair of its oils and only add to the frizzles.  I play tennis every day in the fall, so washing my hair during those times is a must.  On a normal day, if my hair is not subjected to sweat and I keep it up and out of the way of things that could potentially dirty it, I wash it probably three times a week--the full treatment, and not just a rinse.

That brings me to my recommended hair care products for growing long hair:

I use Not Your Mother's Way to Grow: Long and Strong Shampoo and Conditioner.  This can help your hair grow faster and prevent damage.  When handling your wet hair, (this is another mistake I have made) be extra careful with it.  Use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush so you don't damage it.  If you can possibly avoid it, don't use a hair dryer and let your hair dry naturally instead.  The heat is not good for your hair, so it is also best to stay away from straightening and curling irons.  Because my hair is dry, I also use Clairol Leave in Balm which is safe on color hair and helps provide moisture for your hair.  

You can change things in your diet to help not only your hair, but your skin and nails as well.  Drinking plenty of water and eating lots of foods with Vitamin C, such as oranges, can help give your hair a glossy look as well as keep it protected from damage.

So that is how I cut and clean my hair, but what about styling?

If you're looking to be extra careful with your hair, try and keep it in an up-do, particularly when it is windy.  However, I understand if you want to wear it down--and you certainly can.  I would recommend wearing a headband to keep it relatively in place, or even better, a half-ponytail.  These are particularly elvish and my favorite way to wear my hair.  

I would recommend the fishtail braid and double braids if you're looking for extra special do's.  
For the former, split your hair into two sections.  Take a small strand from the far side of one of the sections and pull it into the opposite section.  Do the same but inversely, starting with one strand from the other section and pulling it to meet the opposite section.  Incorporate it into that section.  Continue this process until you have reached the end of your hair, and secure.

Concerning the latter, braid three equal sections of your hair.  Secure them each and then braid those sections together.

If you follow these simple steps (keeping your hair healthy and clean and styling it properly) you are sure to achieve beautiful locks even Luthien the Fair would envy.  Good luck and let me know how it goes!


  1. Ah, yes. Same here. Thick, curly hair I did NOT want to care for when I was little but am finally learning to treat correctly now. In fact, because my name is Meredith, people always say I remind them of Merida.

    Anyways, this is helpful! I'll have to check out that conditioner brand. Also, I need to try the fishtail braid.

    So you finished War and Peace? What did you think? Would you recommend it? And what do you think of Les Mis so far? What part are you at?

    (Excuse all my questions. :D)

    1. Not a problem at all--I love talking about books!

      I saved some of my favorite quotes from War and Peace:

      "The only thing we can know is that we don't know anything. And that is the summit of human wisdom." -War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 375

      "'I don't like those modern churches...God is the same everywhere. Our parish priest is an excellent man and he puts on a nice service, it's all very dignified, and his deacon's just the same. What's holy about giving concerts in the choir? I don't like it. It's too much like entertainment.'" -War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 628

      "'They're not after me! They can't be after me! Why? They can't want to kill me! Me. Everybody loves me!' He (Rostov) remembered all the love he had had from his mother, from his family and his friends, and the idea of the enemy wanting to kill him seemed absurd. 'But they might want to!'" -War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 200

      "'What's happening?...I think I'm falling...My legs are going,' he thought, collapsing on his back. He opened his eyes, hoping to see how the fight between the French soldiers and our gunner ended. Was the gunner killed or not? Did they get the cannons or were they saved? But he saw none of that. Above him was nothing, nothing but the sky--the lofty sky, not a clear sky, but still infinitely lofty, with grey clouds creeping gently across. 'It's so quiet, peaceful and solemn, not like me rushing about,' thought Prince Andrey, 'Not like us, all that yelling and scrapping, not like that Frenchman and our gunner pulling on that cleaning-rod, with heir scared and bitter faces, those clouds are different, creeping across that lofty, infinite sky. How can it be that I've never seen that lofty sky before? Oh, how happy I am to have found it at last. Yes! It's all vanity, it's all an illusion, everything except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing--that's all there is. But there isn't even that. There's nothing but stillness and peace. Thank God for that!'" -War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 299

      "'Yes, it's love...(his thoughts were lucidity itself), but not the kind of love that loves for a reason, a purpose, a cause, but the kind of love I felt for the first time when I was on my death bed and I saw my enemy and loved him. I experienced the feeling of love that is the essence of the soul, love that seeks no object. I can feel it now, that blessed feeling. To love your neighbor and love your enemy. To love everything, to love God in all His manifestations. You can love someone dear to you with human love, but it takes divine love to love your enemy. That's why I felt such joy when I knew I loved that man. I wonder what happened to him. Is he still alive?...When you love with human love, you can turn from love to hatred, but divine love cannot change. Nothing, not even death, nothing can destroy it. It is the essence of the soul. How many people I have hated in the course of my life! And there is nobody I loved and hated more than her.'...For the first time he caught an image of her in his soul. And he could understand all her feelings, suffering, shame, and remorse. For the first time he could sense the full cruelty of his rejection of her, the break between them. 'If I could only see her one last time...just once, to look into her eyes and say...'" -War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 1011

    2. (part 2)

      Overall, I really recommend this book. Actually, if you like Les Miserables, you may like this too; I was reading in the forward to Les Miserables that Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, really liked Les Miserables.

      There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but my copy had a handy little index at the back. Sometimes I didn't bother to check it, so some details are a bit foggy in my mind, but I think I have a pretty good handle on the story. Prepare for multiple outbreaks of war, lots of tragic Russian history, and a big dose of romance and love affairs.

      There were often long philosophical digressions, and while I love philosophy, sometimes I kind of zoned out because Tolstoy has a way of giving TONS of analagoies and examples, even when the concept he is explaining is very simple. Beware of the digressions!

      Here are some of the main conflicts throughout the story. There may be mild spoilers ahead, but I'll try to keep them at a minimum.

      -of course the war between Russia (Napoleon advancing east) and France, and brief periods of peace between
      -the war between one of the main characters, Pierre, and religion, and him trying to make peace with the decision between the two
      -the war Natasha, another main character, goes through when she is forced to choose between two suitors and the peace she wrestles to find in married life
      -the war between Marya and her father (MAJOR SPOILER) which is eventually solved peacefully on her father's death bed (END SPOILER)

      I suppose it's called War and Peace because in times of War and Peace, the true nature of humanity comes out. There are lots of smaller stories which look at the human condition and analyze it.

      I probably should have read Les Miserables first so I could go from the French Revolution and then to Napolen's war with Russia, but I guess I'll have to go backwards :)

      I am about seven pages into the forward of Les Miserables because I just picked the book up from the library last night. So far it's pretty good though ;)

      Sorry for my super long response, but what can I say? I've been reading Tolstoy for the past couple weeks! It HAD to be long :)

    3. Haha, good! Wow, those quotes are beautiful, but they seem pretty philosophical, too(not that that's a bad thing, but I'll prepare for lots of philosophy!).

      Yeah, those two books kind of go together. I kind of figured I HAD to read War and Peace after finishing Les Mis. ;)

      Grrr, after Les Mis and Moby Dick I'm a little fed up with digressions, but I'm sure the rest of the story will be worth it. And, seeing that you're starting Les Mis, I'll repeat your own warning, "Beware the digressions!" They are excruciating. (I'm sorry, that's not very helpful is it? ;) )

      Huh, no wonder there's shared Les Mis and War and Peace fans. The historical background of a war(involving Napoleon), a clash between two main characters, a romantic dilemma, and an interesting relationship between a child and his father/grandfather are all present in Les Mis.

      Well, enjoy Les Misérables!! I'll probably bombard you with a whole new collection of questions once I see you've finished. :D

    4. Great! I'd love to talk about it once I've finished. I just watched the movie for the first time (the Anne Hathaway/Hugh Jackman one) Friday night and I have all the songs stuck in my head! I immediately got the sheet music and played the songs on my violin for probably a total of four hours. So catchy!

  2. I didn't realize you are a redhead. Most of my family is composed of redheads. Not me obviously though. :)

    1. Cool! My hair used to be a bright red color, but over time it has slowly turned more and more blond. Strawberry blond hair is nice, but I do miss my bright hair sometimes :(

  3. I used to have hair all the way down to the top of my hips. It's very straight, dark, and thick. I was quite proud of it, especially being a fan of LOTR. I hated having it cut, even for those necessary monthly trims. However, it eventually got too heavy and started giving me headaches. So, desperate for a change, I finally did the unthinkable and cut it just above my shoulders. I actually liked it like that, but having tasted freedom for a time, I'm growing it back down to the bottom of my shoulder blades. :)

    1. That sounds beautiful! You're so lucky to have dark hair--all the good characters in Middle-earth have dark hair; Luthien, Aragorn, Fingon, Fingolfin...

    2. Well, don't forget Maedhros with his beautiful red hair! That's got to count for something... ^_^

    3. True! Maedhros is one of my favorites :D