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Monday, December 13th, 2010 03:47 pm

So I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do about my hair, and I'm finding it hugely stressful. I've accepted that my hair is pretty curly (and the extent to which it zig-zags rather than curling is significant, but doesn't look any different to a casual observer and probably doesn't make much difference in either how it should be treated or what styles will have what effect), and that I can like it that way. I've learned ways of caring for it that it seems to like and that are less stressful to my hands and arms than how I used to care for it. That's all great.

I've also come to the conclusion that I really do need to cut it significantly shorter, even though thinking about that is stressful and I don't know what I'm going to want to do with it and I'm worried I'm going to hate it and all that fun stuff. The way it currently is is interfering with my life too much. It's still enough work to care for that it adds stress and frustration to my morning routine. If I do braid it, that reintroduces the pain I've eliminated. If I don't, it's constantly getting in my way when I try to do useful things around the house or do exercises to improve my health, and so is just generally interfering with my life. And I frankly don't enjoy the sensation of a warm fuzzy blanket of hair down my back when I, for instance, lean back on the sofa. Especially in Florida where it's frequently very warm.

So I'm thinking at a minimum I want to cut it back to about shoulder length. I don't have a lot of experience with shorter lengths of hair, having hated them and rushed through them to grow things out to where I could put my hair up, and not done much with styling during that time.

I think it's ok if it falls across my face occasionally and I have to brush it out of the way with my hand (I hope that's ok), but I suspect if that's going to be a factor I'll need some way, even if just pins/barettes, to get it out of my face for a while if it's frustrating me.

It's not ok if for some reason it makes me not want to lie on my back to do exercises. Ditto if it makes doing any physical task involving an object below 3' frustrating to deal with. I don't know if cutting it back to shoulder length will suffice for this; advice from people with experience of shoulder/chin/mouth length hair would be really welcome here.

I frankly don't think I'm interested in a style with a lot of upward growth above my head (e.g. what's frequently referred to as a "Jew-Fro"). I don't think I want a lot of horizontal dimension either (particularly in the "behind me" dimension). I'm concerned that these sorts of things might be the inevitable result of the sorts of styles I'm thinking of, but I think there's hope here if I take care of it right?

I want something which feels "fun".

I think from what I've looked at so far that I'm finding styles which cover at least some of the forehead look better than those which don't. I think the more general thought is that flat on top/body on the sides looks wrong to me.

I clearly still don't actually know what I want here. Maybe something shorter than what I think I want is actually where I want to be. And I'm not kidding about the stress here, and I'm finding myself frequently tempted to just buzz it off, except I'm pretty sure that won't make me happy.

Advice on styles or classes of styles or lengths or the like, and especially lived experience of such and how that might relate to my concerns highly appreciated.

[Preemptively, I do not want any discussion here on things to do with no-longer-attached hair after cutting. Any comments on that topic will be immediately frozen and the commenter banned and possibly untrusted/defriended until I stop being angry at them. I'm not kidding around here. I don't care how much I love you.]

Monday, December 13th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I had a long reply all written up, but then inadvertently navigated away and lost it. Drat.

Second try:

I'm so sorry to hear that this is stressing you out, though I understand 100% why it would be.

I think I discerned three (major) questions that are bothering you about the possibility of shoulder-length hair:

1. Will you be able to keep it off your face?
2. Will it interfere with lying down?
3. Will it expand undesirably in either horizontal or vertical dimentions?

Assuming these are a fair summary of at least some of your current concerns, here are my own perspectives on these questions:

1. If you're concerned about being able to keep parts of your hair off your face, this should be totally do-able with any hair longer than about eyebrow length. I use bobby pins, and they work great, but with shorter bangs I haven't had much luck (even with headbands).

2. When I had shoulder-length hair (more than a decade ago), I found that it was unpleasant to lie flat on my back when wearing a pony tail. This problem didn't arise with pig-tails or with my hair down, and it was greatly alleviated by putting my hair in a low pony tail (at the base of my skull) -- though a low pony tail requires slightly longer hair. I now get around this problem by having incredibly short hair on the back of my head.

3. Shoulder-length curly hair can have a triangular/pyramidal appearance when it's not cut with layers, and the solution to this is to cut it with layers (in my experience). I have radically less experience with vertical poof, though I would imagine that hair would be less likely to expand up if it were a bit longer (so it would weigh itself down).

I hope some of this might be helpful, I'm happy to discuss further or just to listen to frustrated indecision on your part.
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on styles or cuts or such as I mostly have no idea what to do with my own hair (seriously, hair down to my ass and I only know three things to do with it) and we have about as different types of hair as possible.

I can offer tons of sympathy to you about the stress, though. When I started thinking about getting my hair 'trimmed' for the first time after I'd grown it out, I used to have nightmares about someone sneaking up behind me and cutting my braid off, or the hairstylist taking off a foot too much, or having the scissors slip and ending back up with the dreaded bowl cut. I was literally shaking the first time I cut my own hair and it took me quite a while to get used to the new length, not that anyone other than me really noticed it had been cut. Serious anxiety and stress even though I really wanted to do it and it really needed to be done. I'm used to it now and cut it once a year or so. For me the first time was the worst.