Hair Discussion Post: Natural or Styled Hair, Which is Less Maintenance (in your experience)?

The vital topics continue! If you have more thoughts on curly hair, jump to the previous post. But when we talk style, this is the place to be.

Once I was big enough and loud enough to assert myself, I insisted on growing my hair long (so, by about age 5). My Mom was against this because a) she thought I looked really cute with my short straight white blond hair, and b) it was way more work to take care of a little girl with long hair versus short hair. She went along with the hair growing, but I still had to go to the salon and see our nice haircut lady every 6 weeks or so, because my mother deeply believed in the importance of a salon cut.

This continued off and on through college, I went to a fancy salon by college once and got a really good layered cut that chopped off like 6 inches and looked amazing without me needing to do anything. But I hated that, because the long hair got tangled if I left it down, and the layers made it hard to neatly put up, so I grew it out and went back to my usual twisted up hair at my neck look.

I did actually get a for real short hair cut the year I graduated college as part of my “I’m an adult now” efforts. It was basically the same cut my Mom liked on me when I was 4, and it still looked super cute with my round face. But I had to keep going to different salons to keep getting it trimmed and it was never the same each time, and the salons kept saying I needed to use gel and this and that to give it “body”. So I gave up and grew it out with no style at all, like it is now, straight as it grows and a straight 2 inches off the bottom twice a year.

So, my experience, I would far FAR rather spend half an hour every morning brushing and braiding and neatly putting it away like it should be and forgetting about it, and then another half hour every third night washing it, than every few months finding another salon and making awkward conversation with people and remembering which direction to brush the part and washing it every night. Long hair with no styling, FAR EASIER! Although I am also aware that my face looked better the few times I had styled hair.

(I should say, I also believe that long hair can/should be washed less. Somehow it doesn’t seem to show the lack of washing as much as when I had short hair, and for sure the washing makes it frizzier and dryer at the end. But the styled hair just got weird and clumpy if I skipped a wash)

What’s your feeling?

Have you also had both styled hair and natural?

Which was less effort for you?

Which looked better on you?

Do we all understand that this casual don’t do anything just rolled out of bed look is a styled hair cut:

Priyanka Chopra | InStyle

And this is just how her hair grows:

Happy Birthday Rekha: 15 Rare Pictures of Bollywood's Timeless Beauty -  Photogallery

11 thoughts on “Hair Discussion Post: Natural or Styled Hair, Which is Less Maintenance (in your experience)?

  1. I started cutting my own hair when I lived alone abroad at age 23. It was LIBERATING to be free of the salon, and to realize my own mother was wrong, YOU CAN cut your own hair. I’ve gotten professional cuts since, often heading to walk in hairdressers when I visit my parents. But I’ve cut it myself more often. Once I had my husband buzz it off, he likes short hair. But I haven’t actually cut it since my husband buzzed it two years ago? Or was it three? It would look better with a hair cut, but longish hair in a pony tail is SO EASY! I’m sure styled looks better, but I don’t care, and you don’t have to wash long hair as often as short hair. When coronavirus ends and I get a job because I’m sick of being a stay-at-home mom, I imagine I’ll return the the salon. But the thought isn’t appealing. I cut my children’s and my husband’s hair, not always well. I have a friend, with beautiful thick wavy hair (mine is thin and blah), and for her cutting her hair is painful. Once, when we were working together I cut my ponytail off right in front of her for the shock value. Having worthless hair does make the cutting easier.

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    • YES! THANK YOU! Styled hair is no doubt easier to maintain if the alternative is some kind of elaborate hair spray and complex brushing and curlers sort of thing like my Grandmother used to do. But if the alternative is just throwing your hair in a ponytail, so much more work!!!!!

      I hadn’t thought of the worthless/worthful debate. To me, all hair is precious and beautiful. But on the other hand, may personal hair is definitely more precious and beautiful and thus I am terrified to get it cut.

      On Mon, Sep 7, 2020 at 5:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. During my adolescence, I would cycle between long and basically unstyled hair, sometimes with bangs, and some kind of short style. So I was either blow-drying for speed or blow-drying to get it into shape. Both kind of okay, but neither looked really great with my face. For the past ten years or so, I have settled on a really short cut where I only have to run my fingers through it once with a little paste and it dries on its own. And the best part: During Corona times I realized the result is almost as good if I just cut it myself with a machine than if I go to a salon. So right now, I am living the best if both worlds.

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    • I have a couple of friends who do really short cuts, razor trimmed up the sides and then a casual kind of bangy thing at the face. It’s shockingly attractive on them and seems so easy and comfy and casual, but I know my hair and face could never make it work.

      On Tue, Sep 8, 2020 at 5:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. My hair looks a lot like the picture. I used to spend a lot of time styling and using a blow dryer and flat iron every day. I was young and cared too much about it being perfect. Over time I started to embrace my curly/wavy hair. Now I have a simple routine to wear it naturally- At night I wear it in a twisted bun – it only takes a few seconds. Then in the morning I brush it before I shower. I only wash it every other day, but I make sure to rise it daily to reset the curls. Afterwards, when it is 75% dry, I put some leave in conditioner in it. I will sometimes use a comb to detangle but I don’t brush it again for the rest of the day. If I do it becomes frizzy. The waves set naturally if I just leave them alone.

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    • Brushing before a shower is amazing! I have done it by accident a few times and it always surprises me with how much easier it makes life. I need to do it on purpose more.

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  4. Long straight hair like yours is to die for Margaret, you can simply brush it and put it in a simple ponytail and it looks great or French braid it for a more elaborate look.

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  5. I’m vain about my hair because it’s red and it’s always been the feature that most defined me. As I’ve gotten older, a lot of time consuming clothes shopping and other stuff I did to look good fell to the wayside, but I still put time and effort into my hair. The salon cut is down to three or four times a year now, but I always go to this one salon I’ve been faithful to for more than a decade now. I cycle between phases of wearing it around chin length (the shortest I can pull off) and growing it down to about mid back. When it’s longer, I let it air dry more, especially on the weekends and in the summer when it’s humid here and there’s no point in drying it straight because it will curl anyway. When it’s short, I always blow dry because it looks funky otherwise. I have some curl but not enough to go full curly style (except in NY/NJ in July), drying straight is pretty fast and easy (about 10 minutes) and I know it will hold for a day or two.

    When I was very little I had short curls and got called Annie a lot. Going into middle school, I wanted it to be curlier and got a goofy poodle perm. In high school I reacted against that by going long and natural and never getting it cut to the point that the ends looked like dry straw. Adulthood was a gradual process of learning to work with the texture and slowly accepting that blow drying is the only way to make it look polished.

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    • That is the perm I wanted! I wanted a curly perm. And my Mom wouldn’t let me get it because she was a MONSTER. And then I grew out of wanting it. Since my hair has no natural curl at all, it probably would have been a very bad idea.

      On Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 5:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Came out of childhood very much on the Never Again side of perms, so I can’t say your mom was wrong. Though I’ve also committed to letting my kids make all the mistakes they want with their hair. As Genevieve said, it grows out so it’s really the lowest stakes kind of experiment.

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        • Very wise. All of my friends went through periods of dying and shaving their hair, which gave them immense joy, and had no effect on their ability to get good grades and be generally good kids.

          On Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 11:22 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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