The first time I chopped off my ponytails, I was 4 years old. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking it was a good idea to cut off my long blonde “pigtails”… And so I did. Without a thought… Snip snip (with those super dull child scissors, mind you!)
Of course our family picture was scheduled a few days later… (sorry Mom!)
I came out to breakfast with a winter hat on to hide what I had done. My brother and sister couldn’t stop laughing. By the look on my face in the pic, I didn’t think it was very funny.
It took me another 36 years before I’d cut off my ponytails again…
The second time I chopped off my ponytail, I had just turned 40 and I somehow got it in my head I wanted to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. My hair had been long for years (like 20 years) and although people always complimented my hair, I was just bored. I needed to change it up. And so I did.
After that, I kept it short for a few months, then medium length for a few years … but little by little it started to get long again.
To me, hair is a little of a habit. It feels easier / more low maintenance when it’s the way it’s always been. But change is so good for the mind, body and spirit! More than that, the “yoga off the mat” experience of letting go (as you chop off a ponytail , it’s downright exilterating!
In the summer of 2017, I posted on Instagram that my ponytail was covering up my logo and I was ready to whop off 4 – 5″. One of my friends commented on my post and invited me to continue growing it to donate with her (in honor of her mom) the following spring.
I thought, sure – that sounds fun. I was turning 50 that year and figured it was time to switch it up again. Plus, the fact that my hair goes to a good cause… even better!
BTW, YES You Can Donate Color-Treated Hair…
There is a misconception that you can’t donate color-treated or grey hair. You absolutely CAN donate color treated hair (just not bleached hair). An organization called Children With Hair Loss takes color-treated hair and donates it at no expense to children who are unable to grow their own hair due to cancer treatments, alopecia, burns or other medical-related conditions. Check out CWHL.org
ONE MORE TIME…
Now, in 2021 and donating ONE MORE TIME (this time with my 10 year old grand niece who is also donating her long braid). Yes we’re cutting off our ponytails together! You can follow along on my Instagram for hair donation transformation day FUN!
I have mixed feelings this time (OK, honestly, I have mixed feelings a lot of the time lately …between Covid and Perimenopause, emotions are constantly in flux). Can you relate?
The reality is, since I’m 52 now I likely won’t be growing my hair this long ever again, which feels weird to say and a little sad to think about. Talk about letting go!
It reminds me of a line in one of my favorite poems, Desiderata… “Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the thngs of youth.”
In the scheme of things, it’s just hair but still it’s a part of our identity, and like all things, it should change and evolve as we age. Embracing change is good. So cutting off my ponytail is extra symbolic this time.
Plus, I’m hoping to hand the baton to my grand niece who will maybe be inspired to do a few more hair donations in the coming years. That would be fun!
OK! Now, on to the tips for growing your own superfood hair (whether to donate, or to keep just for you 🙂
By the way, I call it “superfood hair” because, as an autoimmune warrior and a health coach, I’m all about nutrient-dense superfoods … There is a connection between the foods we eat and growing long, healthy hair (not to mention our overall health and wellness). I also highly suggest using organic products and incorporating simple hair-care habits… that’s the magical combo for Superfood Hair!
HOW I GREW LONG, HEALTHY SUPERFOOD HAIR…
Like our health, our hair quality and texture has a lot to do with genetics. My hair is naturally straight and dark blonde / mousy brown with lots of thin strands. My hair is so straight in fact, that in the 80’s when big hair was all the rage, I’d have to get it permed twice (back-to-back) in order for it to hold the curl (true story). And then, I’d put Sun-In on my permed waves to lighten it. Ah, the 80’s… Definitely not “donation worthy” superfood hair.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SUPERFOODS & SELF CARE…
I often say, a “side effect of eating superfoods and practicing self-care is that you’ll increase energy, lose weight, boost your immunity and feel great! But evidently another “side effect” is that your hair, skin and nails will all benefit as well! AND, on top of that, eating locally-grown superfoods and using organic products is also great for our planets health as well! Triple WIN!
Here are 6 tips for growing Superfood hair:
- Go as natural as possible. Avoid bleaching, harsh products, blow drying and curling frequently.
- Use organic hair products like Maple Organics and Aveda Products
- Eat more Superfoods and less junk food. More fruits, veggies and clean proteins. Less cookies and soda!
- Try Essential Oils scalp massage like rosemary and peppermint. I made an easy inexpensive conditioner with Coconut Oil and doTerra Essential Oils 🙂
- Use non-toxic skin care products on your face and body as well as your hair!
- Practice Patience. Get regular trims. Enjoy the process and all the different lengths along the way.
- Learn to braid. French braid or a ponytail braid keeps long hair controlled and less tangled.
- Don’t grow your hair longer than necessary. Once you have 8 – 10″, schedule the cut, be brave and DO IT! The sooner you donate, the healthier your hair will be.
- I didn’t use any special hair growth products but there are many serums and supplements that can help!
- Avoid restrictive dieting or over exercising. It can slow hair growth as well as signs of aging in skin. Exercise in moderation and eat a healthy diet with clean proteins and lots of fruits, veg & hydration.
Here are my top 10 Superfoods to eat for healthy hair:
- Lemon water: hydration is key for every system in your body, so if you want healthy hair, skip the soda and drink more water.
- Super Berry Smoothie: blend up your favorite berries along with coconut water and a scoop of Green Superfood Antioxidant blend
- Green Smoothie: blend a handful of spinach, a frozen banana and some almond milk with Sunwarrior Vanilla protein powder.
- Matcha Latte with MCT oil: Coffee is dehydrating. A Matcha Latte is packed with antioxidants. Add Collagen + MCT oil for healthy fats.
- Grass Fed Meats and Wild Caught Salmon for clean proteins
- Pastured Chicken or Duck Eggs (find them at your local Farmer’s Market)
- Chocolate, banana + almond butter smoothie: frozen banana, coconut milk, 1 T of almond butter + a scoop of raw cacoa powder
- Superfood Salad with spinach, mixed greens, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, hemp hearts + olive oil, lemon and Himalayan salt
- Gluten Free oatmeal with nuts, seeds and this Warrior Vitality Blend
- Chia Seed Pudding with pomegranet seeds
YOGA OFF THE MAT & NON ATTACHMENT
I’ll be honest, the growing is fun but once my cut date is set, I get cold feet and very attached to my long, braided ponytail. It takes years go grow it that long so it’s definitely a commitment. But I keep reminding myself, it’s JUST HAIR… it’ll grow back! Change is hard, but it’s also good. And, thinking of at a child receiving their replacement real hair wig warms my heart.
Besides, chopping off your hair is definitely a “yoga off the mat” practice in non-attachment. It’s human nature to get attached to people and things… cars, houses, jewelry, friends, family, animals, clothes and yes hair. But it’s also really healthy and liberating to detach and let stuff go.
So while we’re in the groove of letting go…
- Clean out our house, closets and garage and donate to Purple Heart, Good Will or sell on an app like Poshmark, Let it Go or Facebook Marketplace.
- Let go of habits that no longer serves you and your highest good. Replace it with something healthier.
- Clean out toxic foods and products from our pantry, bathrooms and make up bags.
- Practice self-care and self-love (a spring hair makeover is uplifting, especially when your hair is going to uplift someone else)
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