What It's Really Like To Chop Off Your Long Hair

Until a week ago, the biggest haircut I can ever remember getting was around six inches, and that was an outlier. I’d always been cautious and stuck to nice, safe trims. However, five years ago, I decided to start growing out my medium/long-length hair to be able to eventually chop it off to donate. There was no timeframe in mind. I figured I’d grow it until I found the guts to lob it all off for charity.

Getting to that point took me longer than I expected. Having super-long hair had its perks (as well as its struggles, of course), so I came around to the idea of saying goodbye to it very, very gradually. Even though I got bored with my cut and frayed ends, going short was scary. It took four years before I even started seriously considering it, and only in the past few months did I start to realize that fear of missing my hair was holding me back more than an actual desire to keep my hair long. Luckily, the short hair trend hit hard and I found myself coveting celebrities’ bobs. Eventually my decision, which I expected to agonize over, just kind of made itself. I scheduled a same-day appointment and walked out of the salon with almost a foot-and-a-half of my hair gone.

I’m still figuring out whether I’m in the pro-short or pro-long camp, but here are 12 things I've learned that happen when you get a drastic haircut:

1. You have moments of buyers’ remorse

Hair grows back, of course, but when you part with several inches of it, it can feel pretty permanent. A major haircut is a major adjustment, and even if you like your new ’do, occasionally wishing for an undo option is normal.

2. Your hair feels weird

It’s so bizarre to run your fingers through your hair and have it run out before you expect it to. You have to wash and brush your hair a few times before adjusting to the new normal.

3. Your hair becomes a conversation starter

The first time you see anyone you know after the cut, they feel compelled to comment on it. You get lots of compliments in the early days, but when they begin with ambiguous exclamations, like “Oh, wow, you cut your hair!”, you sometimes wonder if they’re sincere or just feel obligated to say something nice about it.

4. You’re not sure if you look way older or way younger

Adjusting to your new look can be confusing. If you've always associated short hair with soccer moms and little kids, seeing it on yourself takes some getting used it.

5. Your hair looks clean longer

Without the extra length weighing it down, you find that you can go longer between shampoos before your hair looks too oily. Hello there, snooze button.

6. You suddenly use way less shampoo and conditioner

It can take a few washes to recalibrate how much shampoo and conditioner your shorter locks require. Between using less daily and having to wish your hair less frequently, you save money. Score!

7. You can get away with using just one towel

If you’re like me and can’t stand having wet hair down your back, drying off after a shower when you have long hair calls for two towels: one for your hair and one for your body. Going short means you can ditch one of them.

8. Your hair dries so much faster

Whether you air-dry or use a hair dryer, the drying process gets way quicker. The time that you save can be redirected to things you’d rather be doing (i.e. sleeping in longer before work).

9. Your hair no longer gets caught on everything

Gone are the days of having to untangle your hair from your seat belt, the strap of your purse, the chain of your necklace — basically anything that your hair could conceivably wrap itself around. It’s fantastic.

10. Your ID gets a double-take

When you get carded, whoever's checking your ID gives it a little extra scrutiny. You can’t really blame him or her — you obviously look different.

11. You can sweep and vacuum less

Getting a haircut doesn't change how many hairs you shed each day, but shorter hair makes less of a mess. Less cleaning is always a win.

12. You have to re-learn how to style your hair

Your go-to hairstyles suddenly won’t do you any good. It’s back to the drawing board (and by drawing board, I mean Pinterest) to find new ones.

Images: neonshot/Fotolia; Giphy (12)