Forget bobs and crops…women are loving their long post-pandemic hair

RUNNING her fingers through her long, strawberry blonde locks, Abbey Warrallo can hardly believe how different her hair feels compared with her old dry, brittle, blonde bob.

But there’s no secret regime or ­miracle treatment behind Abbey’s glossy mane.

She’s just one of the thousands of women who have left their hair alone during the pandemic — and for the first time in her life she has fallen in love with long hair.

Abbey, 26, says: “My hair has never actually been the length it is now because I’ve never had the patience to grow it. I always caved in and got it cut.

“Lockdown meant I had no choice, and it’s been the best and only good thing to come out of it.

“Before, it was dry and brittle. I have really fallen for my natural hair, which sounds funny because who wouldn’t like their own hair?”

Abbey is not alone. Celebrities including Emma Stone, Taylor Swift and Jacqueline Jossa have emerged from lockdown with mermaid waves, as the long hair boom has become an accidental side-effect of the pandemic.

Nick Willis, Master Stylist and Colourist at Charles Worthington salon, says, “Many customers are now just getting trims. Being able to grow our hair during lockdown has made people precious over their long locks and they don’t want to cut them off.”

Research by hairdressing insurance provider Protectivity found that 60 per cent of women polled had avoided DIY cuts in order to let their hair grow, while 35 per cent were washing it less.

‘I FEEL MORE ATTRACTIVE’

Abbey, a senior account executive from Oxford, says: “I used to go to the salon nearly every month for a cut and colour, budgeting £250 out of my monthly paycheck.

“Spending on my hair was always non-negotiable for me, but the last year of missed appointments will have saved me around £3,000.

“Out of boredom and always wanting a change, I’ve coloured my hair since the age of 12. I’ve even dyed it orange. But because of lockdown, I’ve had no choice but to leave it alone and as a result I love the length and I’m super-excited to try new ’dos.

“When my mum saw me on FaceTime, she went, ‘Wow!” She couldn’t believe how healthy and different my hair looked.

"She has always preferred my hair short, but even she approves of my new natural tresses. I think she’s just glad not to see me with a new hair colour each month!

“Just a few months ago I had broken, bleached hair that was dry from overusing hair tools. It now feels soft, looks shiny and has saved me a small fortune.”

And trailing tresses are not only for the young — look at Davina McCall, Carol Vorderman, Demi Moore and Nicole Kidman.

Lockdown gave 55-year-old estate agent Nicki Swain the push she needed to change a 30-year habit — her once cropped hair is now down to her shoulders.

“I had no other choice but to grow it,” says Nicki. “I always thought a pixie cut suited me, so I have stuck with that style for years.

“I would get my hair cut once every three to four months, spending £50 if I just needed a trim or £130 if I needed a cut and colour. Embracing my natural hair has saved me so much money.

“The last time I went to the salon was December 2019 and now my hair is the longest it’s ever been.”

The mother of one, from Idle, West Yorks, even started cutting her fringe herself to ensure her new longer tresses would suit her face.

She says: “My son, who is 25 and due to get married this year, said to me, ‘I’m glad you’ve grown your hair, Mum, it looks much better.’

“I’ve been getting a lot more attention from men too — just the other day the manager of the car garage asked me on a date.

“I am a confident person anyway, but my new hair has made me feel even more attractive. My friends and family keep complimenting me, saying it makes me look younger.”

Demi Palmer thought it was impossible to grow her hair past her shoulders, but over the past 15 months she has extended her locks by a whopping four inches.

“I was convinced I’d never have long ‘fairytale hair’ as mine has never grown past my shoulders,” says the law student and part-time care assistant from Birmingham.

“My parents are Jamaican-Irish so my natural hair is thick and curly, but also prone to breakage.

“My hair appointments would cost me £30 and I would go every two to three months.

‘BLEACHING SINCE 14’

"On average, I spent over £120 on hair trims plus another £150 a year on expensive sulphated shampoos and conditioners, hoping they would make my hair grow.

"My friends recommended hair oils to encourage my hair to grow but between studying, working and socialising I didn’t have time.” Lockdowns gave Demi the opportunity to get her hair into a healthier state.

She says: “When the salons shut, I was determined to achieve longer locks and as I wasn’t going out, I no longer needed to straighten my hair constantly.

"I watched YouTube videos and ditched sulphate, silicone and paraban products in favour of organic shampoos and conditioners.

“I started using a wide-tooth comb to prevent breakage and found cheap oils online, such as coconut, castor and shea butter.

“I then put my oiled hair in a scarf and kept it wrapped up for five days — this was much easier to do as I was not seeing anyone.

“This really nourished my hair and helped it to grow. By June I started to see results — my hair was thicker, healthier and longer.

“My family noticed the growth and by October my hair had grown two inches.

“At the start of the pandemic I measured my hair and it was 13in curly and 19in when straightened. Now my hair is 17in curly and 23in straight.

"My new arsenal of products is £10 cheaper than the selection I was using before, so I’m also saving around £300 a year.”

Mum-of-one Amy Nickell first braved the pixie cut in the noughties and hadn’t looked back since — until lockdown hit.

The broadcaster, from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, now has tresses reaching her shoulders and has pocketed £1,500 as a result.

The mane commandments

THOU SHALT HAVE REGULAR SNIPS

Regular trims are important to cut off dead split ends. For dyed, heat-styled hair book every six-eight weeks, for air-dried hair 10 to 12.

THOU SHALT RAKE HAIR

Longer hair is more prone to tangles so it’s important to comb carefully. A wide-tooth comb provides less friction, allowing you to detangle without causing breakage. Always start from the bottom and work your way up.

THOU SHALT NOT SCRAPE

That high ponytail may give you a slight facelift but it puts pressure on your roots by pulling your strands back into a tight band, leading to breakage.

THOU SHALT WASH LESS

Natural oils are essential for improving overall hair health and too much washing can strip these away. Train hair by gradually washing less. Start with every third day and then once a week – wash with conditioner in between to tide you over.

THOU SHALL TRY TREATMENTS

Long hair often requires more heat styling. As a result, locks can look dryer and split more quickly. Massage roots with warm oil once a week. Try The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Rosehip Oil (£9, beautybay.com).

THOU SHALL NOT FORGET THE SCALP

Your roots are just as important as your ends. Exfoliating the scalp stimulates blood flow and unclogs pores, which encourages growth. Try Drunk Elephant’s Happy Scalp Scrub (£24, Boots).

“Everyone knows and remembers me as the ‘one with the short hair’,” says Amy.

“I’ve had a short pixie cut since sixth form. I loved how it looked on me and the fact it made me memorable. I would visit the salon at least once a month for a cut and all-over colour — it was time-consuming and expensive.

“The bill was usually around £120 and I would sit there for hours.

“When lockdown came around and salons closed, I had no other choice but to grow it. I didn’t want to risk a DIY trim. The-inbetween stage of growing didn’t look great but being in lockdown, no one saw it.

“By summer last year, I could tie up my hair in a ponytail for the first time since school. It made life so much easier on the days I did not fancy styling it.

“Suddenly it was down to my shoulders and I realised a softer and longer style actually suited me.


“One friend texted recently saying she’d spent lockdown baking banana bread and ‘watching Amy grow her hair’ — it became a novelty. I’ve been bleaching it since age 14, so to finally embrace my natural colour — and find out what it is — has done my hair health the world of good.

“I’ve also saved because I no longer need to buy the special shampoo to stop the brassiness.

“While I always thought a pixie cut suited me best, I love my longer tresses even more. I won’t be going back to my old, short style.”

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