Hair

What is hair, beauty-wise?  Is it beautiful on its own, or is it just another accessory?

I find that the predominant approach to hairstyles these days is the latter approach – that your hair exists solely to flatter your face.  This is especially true as you age, and the face softens.  You’re encouraged to cut your hair shorter, so as not to emphasize the effects of gravity.

The traditional approach was that hair was one of the signals of health – because hair grows so slowly, and its health is dependent on the woman who grew it, long shiny hair was a sign of beauty.   You find that long, loose hair is frequently something only unmarried women display in times past, because it was historically considered quite sexual.  (Men still consider long hair sexual and sexually attractive).

I think that moderns could learn a lesson from times past – certainly after a certain age, a straight sheet of hair isn’t flattering to most faces.  But they have not yet stolen all the hairpins from this planet… you can put it up!

(simple braided updo: This was labelled free for reuse on flickr – photo credit Maegan Tintari).

And then, having put your long hair up, you can have the best of both worlds – a lovely sheet of long hair to share with your husband, and something that frames your face and can be easily changed and rearranged for your daily life.

But, you say, my hair is fragile and will not grow long!   Then don’t try.  Every one of us has a terminal length – the longest length our hair will grow before it starts snapping.  That length can be slightly changed by good nutrition, avoiding harsh chemicals, perhaps ceasing to shampoo very often, brushing with care, etc.  – but it’s still there.  The reason it’s still there is because hair follicles eventually die and fall out.  How long between when they are born and when they die is how long your hair gets.  It is more important that your hair is well cared for, and looks good on *you* than that you grow it to your hips.

I presented the “grow it long and put it up” option because 1) that’s what I do and 2) it’s a different way to think about our hair.  But what you do with your hair must look good and work for *you* – don’t push it to do things it’s not suited for.  That’s when you damage it.  And damaged hair is never as pretty as the hair that you started out with.  Respect what you were given.

Hair coverings are a different chapter – some of us cover our lovely hair for modesty’s sake, and some of us cover our heads for Biblical reasons.  Next!

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