How to rock super-long hair

Kim K, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Vanessa Hudgens – as a backlash to the buzz cut, the list of celebs rocking super-long hair just keeps on growing (as does the length of their locks). Fancy yourself as a bit of a modern day Rapunzel? Whether you plan to ‘grow’ it alone or have some help from extensions, here are some pointers on nailing the look from long hair styling expert, Patrick Wilson…

“More hair means more product usage and also more drying time”
– Patrick Wilson

The skinny on styling

Play it cool with super-long hair – “I am devoted to my ghd tools, which are set at 185°C,” Patrick explains. “This is the perfect temperature for creating any hair look. I never use anything higher than this as it will burn the hair, causing irreversible brittleness and breakage (this goes for both natural hair and extensions)!”

Timing is EVERYTHING – “When curling natural hair, aim to leave the hair curled around the barrel of the tong for six to eight seconds. With extensions, leave it a little longer – 10-12 is the sweet spot. This is because extensions are thicker and denser, and so it takes longer for the heat to penetrate.”

Always use protection – “Everyone should apply protective products when using heated tools to help minimise damage,” says Patrick, “but with super-long hair you’ve got to think about the history and age of your lengths. By the time they reach past your shoulders, your strands – natural or extended – will have been subjected to plenty of styling punishment, so it’s vital you take care of them from root to tip.”

Need to know info

Looking this good ain’t cheap! – “Especially when it comes to extensions, be prepared for the added cost of super-long hair upkeep,” warns Patrick. “More hair means more product usage and also more drying time. Some of my particularly long haired clients visit the salon at least once a week for a professional blow-dry as it could take up to two hours for them to do it themselves.”

Skip to the end(s) – “When detangling, start at the ends and work upwards. Most knots form from the middle of the hair shaft downwards, so don’t go right in at the root or you’ll be putting extra strain on your strands and extension bonds.”

Don’t sleep on it – “Before bed, braid your hair into a loose plait,” Patrick adds. “If the hair is left out, it could easily tangle as you move in your sleep and friction mixed with sweat can cause matting at the nape of the neck.”

The best tools for the job

Start right – “Always use a silicon and paraben-free shampoo and conditioner. This will prevent long lengths from being weighed down by product build up.”

Treat yo’self – “Use a hair oil through the mid-lengths and ends to restore gloss and lock in moisture. My preferred product is L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil,” says Patrick.

Enjoy a brush with greatness – “Buy some good quality brushes. My personal favourites are Mason & Pearson and YS Park dressing brushes. They’re the best for detangling and once you’ve used a brush like that, it’s hard to go back. If you invest in your kit, you’re investing in your look!”

Now stun with one of these styles:

“Waves are one of my most requested looks, and they look especially great on super-long hair,” Patrick explains. “It’s important to get a great shine and movement – the shinier the lengths and the more defined the waves, the more luxe the look.”

“Braids are very popular at the moment, as they’re a great summer and trans-seasonal style, are fuss-free and low maintenance. Handily, most braids work really well on long hair.” Swot up on the staple styles by browsing our braid glossary.

“We’re starting to see a bit of a ’90s revival with poker-straight hair,” he adds. “When your hair is super-long and super-straight it creates a startling visual impact, particularly if you nail that mirror-like shine.”

Patrick’s word of warning

“Remember, a lot of these looks have been popularised by celebrities with whole styling teams behind them. They can afford to change their entire look on a daily basis and often don’t wear a style beyond one night on a red carpet, so bear that in mind when searching for some IRL weekend inspiration on their Instagram accounts. It’s important to know that a lot of the styles might involve many wefts, a full weave, or even a lace front wig – a lot of preparation and time can go into that one selfie!”

Keep up with Patrick’s fashion month antics and regular drool-worthy hairinspo over on his Instagram.

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