An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Hair blogging

Due to the fact that I go to the gym most days, my kids always see my hair pulled back into a ponytail. They are also very used to seeing me in my gym clothes and on the rare occasion that I get dressed up they react exactly as if a pink unicorn has come alive and is pooping Skittles. One day last week I put on a pair of jeans and a plain white shirt that was not a workout shirt and after doing an almost cartoonish double take Leta said, “What HAPPENED to you?”

What a valid question. If the 17-year-old valedictorian Heather could see into her future she’d be all, “Are you seriously still wearing your yoga pants? It’s four o’clock in the afternoon.”

After bopping that uptight kid on the head I’d say, “Yes, in fact, I am. I happen to like these yoga pants. They are comfortable. AND THEY BRING ME JOY, something you will not discover for another couple of years when you finally stop feeling sorry for yourself and discover Zoloft. Also, could you please pluck your damn eyebrows.”

Yesterday I was wearing my hair down when Leta got home from school and she immediately ran over to me to pet it.

“Mom, you hair is so long!” she said running her fingers through it. That gentle moment between us made me stop for a second to think about it, and I realized that my hair has not been this long since I had my early-twenties post-Mormon wait-a-minute-I-live-in-LA “realization.” I put that word in quotes because “revelation,” although a much more accurate description, is much too religious to describe the relative debauchery that ensued. I cut all my hair off, bleached it blonde and then proceeded to party like it was 1999. Because it was, in fact, 1999.

This is the longest my hair has been in 15 years. It’s taken a little over two years to go from pixie to just below the shoulders, and when people ask me how long I intend to grow it I don’t have an answer. I’ve gone through so many stages with my hair over the years and haven’t ever really liked the process of growing it out, but this time has been totally different. Maybe because it has been a physical manifestation of change, a mirror of what has unfolded in my personal life. It’s a symbol of this journey I’ve been on which sounds gross and stupid, but it’s true. My hair is long. I’ve come this far. I am, once again, in the midst of another albeit very different “realization.”


I cut my hair off a few months after Marlo was born because shorter hair had always been easier for me to maintain, especially with a newborn around. But I’ve changed my mind about that. The length that I’m sporting now is so comfortable and uncomplicated. My hair has so much less of an impact on my daily routine now, and that is such a welcome departure. I also have to get it cut and colored far less frequently which saves me so much time and money. Hello, I am Heather and this is a hair commercial for long hair. Watch as I whip it over my shoulder and play coy with the camera. Just don’t pay attention to the fact that I’m still wearing my yoga pants. Or pooping Skittles.

Another welcome side effect is that I now use far less product than I used to which seems counterintuitive. Oddly, more hair does not mean more shampoo and more conditioner and more aerosol hairspray. Hair this long stays in place far better than the hair I had when I started to grow it out. I also got a fantastic recommendation from a friend and recently discovered Moroccan Oil. Holy shit, do you guys know about this stuff? Yes, it’s expensive but the tiniest bit goes a long way. It has since replaced two other products that I use to style my hair, PLUS it has solved the Kids Screaming While I Brush The Burning Bush Out of Their Hair, PLUS it smells so glorious that I may have once or twice been caught with my nose pressed into my hair with my eyes closed daydreaming about Ryan Gosling on a camel.

I rub a tiny bit into my hair before I blow it dry and a tiny bit after I blow it dry. I also use it when I’m going to let my hair air-dry. I also use it to season eggs, polish the kitchen table and solve Leta’s math homework.

Anyway, enough about my hair. Tell me about yours.

  • RzDrms

    My hair looks like Monica’s in Barbados on “Friends”…in some of the last scenes before she gets it braided.

  • Melinda

    I’ve been gray since I was 16! Now I’m 29. And I’m single, and I have a cat.

  • I would totally attend a hair blogging conference. I had long, wavy hair my whole life, until I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 32. I’ve been bald twice since then. Now, I’m doing well and it’s in a cute pixie cut. And I get SO many more compliments on it short than I ever did when it was long. Go figure. I hope I get to keep it for a good long while.

  • Erica Rose

    I usually rock a pixie. Super easy, and I’ve got a perfect face shape for it. But, every few years I miss a ponytail, so I grow it out. I’m at a weird length, about 2ish inches above my shoulders. Lots of half-assed ponytails w/ a headband to hold the wonky pieces. My hair is oddly textured, and quite frizzy, so I think I’m gonna try that Moroccan Oil stuff. PS: I think your hair is gorgeous and a perfect length for you. It looks so soft!

  • Megan Dunbar

    I’ve had all sorts of hair over the years. Mostly mid back to waist length. Natural blonde to red, black, bleached (which turned it orange) then white blonde and then BRIGHT purple. This led to short purple hair, then dark purple, then several different shades of red (by now it had grown back to waist length). I cut it shoulder length and died it bright orange, then dark purple again. When I had my first child I decided it was all too hard so I had it lightened to an icky blonde that I stuck with for a couple of years until I bleached it again and dyed it bright blue. The blue was quite fabulous and it lasted for almost two years until I shaved it all off for charity last year (raising nearly $3K for the Brain Foundation here in Australia) and now it is 2 inches long and natural blonde again. The time frame for this was ages 17-41.

  • I use clippers I bought at WalMart on my hair, because every time I went to get it cut, hairdressers asked me if I would like to have it “feminized”, which just felt insulting, because, no, I did NOT want it feminized. I guess I could have gone to an open-minded barber, but I’m also cheap. So, clippers. My husband’s favourite part is where I ask him to trim my neck hair.

  • Chris

    Down past the middle of my back… edging closer to waist length. Grey covered with henna to a burgundy/brownish red. Grows out way too fast… new roots showing every month. But I’ve decided I’m going to be that lady with the wildly inappropriate long hair… as the great-great grandma I am now and for even longer. It’s actually easier to take care of. Once a year trims. Moroccan oil in the shampoo and conditioner. Brush it twice a day (or more if it’s windy…) Braid it, twist it, or pull it back with clips or barrettes or a cloth headband or just let it hang… curl it when I feel like it …. maybe 2-3 months apart. Hardly use the hair dryer… just let it dry itself. I’ve decided I like it. Some people think it’s a religious thing… it’s not. I do regret not wearing my new glasses or contacts more often though.

  • Crabs

    Dude here. Hair is currently in the neighborhood of 12-14 inches, and it took me two years to grow it out from last time I shaved my head. Hair care regimen includes post-wash application of a few drops of jojoba oil (infused with a little bit of rosemary and peppermint essential oils). Given the incessant humidity here in FL, the jojoba helps cut fly-aways to a minimum, and gives hair a nice sheen by the end of the day. Non-wash days, I tie my hair up to keep it dry in shower. Jojoba works similarly to your Moroccan Oil, but at a fraction of the cost, so definitely worth trying. The principal ingredient, argan oil, is available on its lonesome as well.

    The hair will all be going in late May, early June when I donate it for cancer wigs. I’d grow it out again, if it wasn’t for that middle period, where it’s too short to tie back, but long enough to require copious amounts of hair gel and spray. Sweet Jesus, the bottles I went through.

    As for shampoo/conditioner- I use Nature’s Gate, as it’s crunchy granola organic, and add some jojoba to both bottles, and again a few drops of the peppermint and rosemary essential oils. Both oils are good for hair, though rosemary can very gradually darken hair, so blondes ought to substitute lemon oil instead, and lavender works well too. Whole Foods has the BIG pump bottles, which helps stretch out the $25 bucks for shampoo/conditioner.

    I would do some homemade hot oil treatments when it was at that intermediate length, in the hopes of stimulating growth. Mostly mixing up some jojoba and sweet almond oils, a few drops of those aforementioned essential oils, and very sparingly adding some castor oil.

    And an overlooked issue of hair care…cleaning the brush itself, to remove the accumulated oils and hair care products. Lightly dust with baking soda, then a light application of vinegar. After letting the bicarb/vinegar work a bit, leave brush(es) soaking in cup/pot of hot water for a few hours. Then, using a fresh toothbrush and a towel on the counter beneath, gently scrub the underside, and be a bit stunned at the gunk that comes off.

  • Crabs

    They look pretty similar in terms of scope/goals, but Wigs for Kids does have a Salon page, so you can find places that regularly participate in hair collection/donation.

  • LR

    I cannot remember the last time I had hair long enough to even reach my shoulder. I keep it short, in fact several inches above my shoulder. I’m known to get a hair cut whenever I’m not in a good mood or am generally feeling down and out on myself. Besides all this the biggest reason why I like to keep it short is because even when my hair reaches shoulder length it tends to be flat and having been blessed with a longish face you can imagine how that’d look – like i’m in a constant bad mood or permanently constipated. Also, I’m opposed to using product. I shampoo and condition and occasionally use a leave-in hair serum, not regularly. So, all this to say I really like short hair and much prefer it that way !

  • Laurie

    I chopped my hair to “boy length” as my kids call it (both boys). And I am now juuuuust able to put it into a ponytail. It’s the cutest little nub of a ponytail (think Olaf from “Frozen” when he sees the tiny carrot nose before Anna pushes it back through his head). My hair requires barrettes to hold it in place, and bit of spray to tame the fly-aways…but now it is ponytail length and I’m so happy! We’ve begun camping with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and two days without washing or drying or styling…well, it wasn’t working. Ponytail power!

  • PaintingChef

    The most magical thing I’ve discovered is not washing my hair. It is so very dry and I worked my way to only washing it twice a week. Also… I totally fell for the Alyssa Milano infomercial and bought that WEN haircare and guess what? It actually works. Worth. Every. Penny. Plus when you are washing your hair only twice a week, a bottle of shampoo lasts a million years. And yes. Moroccan Oil. And coconut oil (which I also mix with sea salt and use all over and it makes my skin soft like little baby angel bunnies). Also the Ojon Rare Blend Oil. And Oribe Dry Conditioner. Lovely.

    Your hair looks gorgeous!!

  • JenniferW2323

    I still call myself a blonde, but it’s much darker than when I was younger. Long layers. Straight. But I don’t do anything to it except wash it and use Argan oil. I suspect it’s a cheaper version of what you use, but it’s still great. Keeps it soft down to the ends (which can often feel like straw even after a cut).

  • McKay

    Before I chopped off all my hair I was a huge Moroccan oil fan as well. DIVINE smell. Now that my hair is so short oil is a bit much, but I do occasionally get it out just to smell it.

  • Gwen

    Love the Moroccan oil – changed my life! I have been growing out my hair for about a year and a half and it is longer than it has been since maybe high school. I discovered that when it is halfway down my back it is so much easier for me and my routine too! Never would have thought that would be the case, but I wash it less and it looks better for a longer time. 🙂

  • Heather

    I decided about a year ago that instead of a long, curly gorgeous mane of hair I actually had a long, stringy, mop of hair. I promptly cut it off myself (like a moron). Then when my hairdresser returned from maternity leave I went to her and we began a journey through hairstyles I assumed my chubby face couldn’t support but which actually looked killer. Now it’s asymmetrical and ear length-ish and actually curly instead of a mop. And my hairdresser is about to go on maternity leave soon, so I’m due for just shaving it off entirely (like a moron).

  • Manisha

    I used to have hair but because of heredity, I’ve lost most of it. I’m just now looking for a salon to get a proper haircut because it recently occurred to me that if I got it cut right, I might not look like the balding forty-two year old that I am.

  • Maggie Emberlin

    “I’ve come THIS far.” Yes to this. Perfect and simple, and so powerful. Thank you.

  • Dana B.

    Why thank you! I do fancy myself a bit of a comedienne.

  • Kate

    I have three years and a goldfish on ya! 😉 I just figured I wouldn’t see grays until I was late thirties. Thanks for the genes, MOM!

  • Jo D

    I’ve been embracing my curly curls in the last few years. I didn’t learn how to handle my hair until I was 20, when I finally asked a girl with gorgeous hair how she managed it. She loaned me a book on the Curly Girl Method, and I’ve never looked back. I can’t believe how many years of my life I spent brushing my hair into a fluff and then pulling it into a tight low ponytail or braids. I looked just as insecure as I felt. But now I like how they look and I rock them at hip length (more because I’m afraid of getting yet another horrible haircut from a straight-hair-dresser than because I want to grow my hair to my knees). I spread the gospel of the Curly Girl Method to every curly hair person and mom of curly haired children I meet.

  • Tammy

    I am in love with the Moroccan Oil as well….and I admit to using it as skin oil, hair product, cuticle oil and anything else I can think of! Sadly it is not capable of erasing the Crazy-Ass-Orange hair dye I put on my head last week. “Intense Copper” is code for CLOWN HEAD.

  • jasouza9

    Oh hair, I could talk about it forever. I’m pretty vain about my hair – just yesterday I got a compliment about how beautiful my wavy/curly medium length brown hair is in the elevator. Totally made my day. However, my 7 month old twin girls are making me question my decision to have longer hair with their constant pulling of it. Ponytails are much more common now. My hair is naturally wavy, but needs lots of coaxing to hold the curl and not be frizzy. And of course every product I find that works is immediately discontinued, so I am always trying out replacements. So the routine is – I put on a mix of a curl lotion and curl gel for defnition when it is damp, use a diffuser attachment and scrunch it when drying. Then a light gel and maybe some cream when dry to hold it. It is a bit much, but I only do it every other day! And I’ve been going grey for some time, so I use box hair color because yup, I’m vain and it looks better all brown than brown and grey.

  • KathyB

    My hair is in a shortish bob, again, after a period of about 18 years of short and stylish. I decided that I wanted to be able to wake up with happy hair. Works. Actually let it grow for a little more than a year with regular shaping.Now the question floating around in the back of my brain concerns hair color. Since I am older than dirt, there is a silver to dead rat ratio to try and figure out. Have always threatened to do the blue gray old lady hair (not quite ready to make good on that one though).

  • Marie

    I use Morroccan Oil too! It is the bomb! Have you tried their hairspray? it is not heavy at all and just lovely!


    –>I’m waiting on curly hair to come back in style so I can point and laugh at people’s perms while my naturally hair air dries every day. A recent game changer was switching to a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. There is no turning back now.

  • Laur

    So I haven’t actually cooked with it yet because I don’t know how to work around the coconut taste… do you just make dishes that “go” with coconut? Or do you get used to the taste and not even notice it anymore?

  • Frogs. They need to be lubed and misted now and then.

  • Sarah Wilson

    I’ve been growing a mohawk out for…nearly 3 years. It’s about as long as yours now. Before that it was super short for a little over a year, and dyed all sorts of colors – blue, purple, pink, orange, black…green. Hair is fun to play with.

  • Sarah Wilson

    I used 50% castor oil and 50% sunflower seed oil on my face. Still get a few pimples right before my period, but it’s no worse than when I was spending $$$ on face wash.

  • Julie Egan Wood

    I’m currently sporting one of the longest hair lengths I’ve ever had and I love it!! I just wish I could stop the stupid split ends! Your hair looks beautiful!!

    ps. My husband and I were recently in SLC and I was secretly hoping to ‘run’ into you! 😉 No luck though!

  • hannabanana

    Circle, circle, dot, dot – now you’ve got the cootie shot!
    Circle, circle, square, square – now you’ve got it everywhere!

    Thanks for triggering that memory for me!

  • Jo D

    what’s a blow out bar?

  • Jo D

    what’s a blow out?

  • I love your hair. I’ve never really had short hair. Now I love the ease of pulling it back. I only wash it twice a week too! shhhhhhhhh! I also use morrocon hair oil. I’m a flight nurse so I usually do something with it when I wash it then the first time I wear a helmet I have helmet head for the next 3 days. Ponies, side ponies (low, not like Nepolian Dynamite), braids – they all work. I now have to dye my hair at home, damn divorce!!

    I usually come home from working out or running and HAVE to get out of the block and tackle bra and switch to sweat pants. The kind from Victorias Secret with NO writing on the bum. Usually if I’m getting “dressed” I’m either going to a meeting or someone is spending money on me. But not for me, that’s slutty.

  • monica

    I have naturally curly hair that looks terrible au naturel. I made the mistake about 13 years ago upon graduating from college and entering the work force to cut it short in an attempt to look professional. HUGE mistake. I need that extra weight of longer hair to make it look decent. Any time I think about going shorter than shoulder length, I just look at one of those pics and remember “oh yeah, that does not work on me.”

    I’m in the midst of growing it out a bit and am loving how long it’s getting. It’s almost at bra strap length right now and like you mentioned, it requires less product, less effort and less upkeep. LOVE Moroccan oil! I can add a little for static (or for the delicious smell) throughout the day!

  • REK981

    I have coconut oil and it has no taste or smell so I am always so confused about people asking about the taste. I use it in place of olive oil and have not noticed any taste. Try it. Also, WORD on using it on my hair and skin. LOVE it!

  • REK981

    Long hair here. I chopped off a good 8-ish inches when my daugther was born almost 10 years ago and twice since then I cut it above my shoulders. But I hate my hair short. Also, no bangs. No bangs since I was a a pre-teen. I always get it to the middle of my back and then chop chop chop. No hair dye since high school 15 (gulp) years ago. I have some lovely silver/white hairs now. I like them. Anyway, about a year ago I decided I want to get my hair to my waist. So I am trying. I am about 4 inches away. Keep it trimmed. Looking at doing the baking soda instead of shampoo as my hair is very dry now. I haven’t used Morrocan oil yet but I do coconut oil regularly and have done olive oil too. I did finally learn to french braid too! That is always fun. Oh and my brown hair is naturally wavy and thick so I can curly or straight and it looks good. At least I think it does!

  • I’m so with you, Heather! I’ve sported short hair before but it also took me WAY more work than my shoulder length hair. Hubby is deployed for 9 months so my hair only escapes the hairband about once a month. But when it does – it’s glorious and effortless! P.S. My little boy thinks the pony tail is awesome and always asks for a “crocodile tail” for his hair.

    ~ Beth Anne

  • Oh how I love this! You’re a brave and awesome Mama! I relate so much to your story because my little boy uses a wheelchair. He just got his first one at 3 years old, and when we would first go out in public, I felt the same way – kind of self-conscious, feeling everyone’s eyes on us, not quite sure how to interact with everyone now that it was “out” that my son has a disability (before I would carry him or put him in the cart and people honestly had NO idea if they didn’t know him….) I felt the stares of pity and sadness, I felt the questions searing into us… but the awesome thing was – Holden owned it right from the get-go. He was so proud. He was smiling and spinning and calling out to everyone, “Look! I have a wheelchair!” Love that kid so much. Within a week I was owning it too. The stares of sadness quickly fade when they see Holden’s and my smile. The questions – well they’re still there but we share what we feel like sharing and wheel on past the rest. I hope Holden can always feel this confident about standing out and being different. You go, Mama! You’re teaching your son such a valuable lesson.

  • Tish

    Girl…I got this amazing cut that was supposed to do wonders for my fro, but he said my hair was already great and he couldn’t really do much…which didn’t help me because I wanted something different. I may do opposite of you and go shorter and shorter (Not as short cuz I’d just look like a chihuahua with a poof) but yeah…I want big hair and I can not lie!

  • canyonwren

    What?! Aloe? Like regular Aloe Vera gel? Why have we never heard of this? Going straight to the natural food store on the way home from work to try this. Is there a certain brand you use?

  • Rachel Sea

    Fruit of the Earth. It’s 100% aloe, no dyes or alcohol or anything, and it’s cheapest from Amazon, though I can sometimes find it at target.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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