When is hair too long?

Back view of a woman with long straight hair
Q: I'm a woman with shoulder-length hair, and I want it much longer. I know it takes a few months to get there. But, how can I tell when my hair is too long for my own good? What are the signs that say a woman's hair is getting too long?
A: This is a really good question. In my hair salon, I often see clients who want long hair and think they can just let it grow without getting it cut now and then. Many women also don't realize when their hair has become too long. Sometimes, it looks worse than when it was a bit shorter. I'm happy to list a few things that show when hair has gotten too long. It's up to you to decide if one or more of these things apply to your own hair.
1. Split ends
One of the biggest signs that your hair is too long and needs a haircut is when you see split ends. Split ends happen when the outer layer of your hair gets damaged, and it splits into two or more strands. This not only makes your hair look messy but also isn't good for its health. If you see split ends in your hair, it means it's time for a trim. Getting a haircut every 8-12 weeks can stop split ends from going further up the hair shaft and keeps the hair healthy and looking good.
2. Difficulties in styling
Long hair can be pretty and versatile, but when it gets tough to style, it might be a hint to get a haircut. Very long hair can get heavy and hard to manage, making it tricky to get the style you want. The weight of your hair can pull it down. If your usual way of styling takes more time than before, or if you start avoiding certain hairstyles because your hair is a hassle, it could be a sign that it's time to cut it.
3. Lack of volume
Long hair can sometimes lead to a lack of volume, especially at the roots. It can lose its natural volume and bounce due to the weight pulling it down. If you see your hair looking flat, limp, and lifeless, it might be because the length is weighing it down. Getting a haircut to remove some length can bring back volume and movement, making your hair look healthier and livelier.
4. Change in texture
Having long hair makes it more likely to be affected by the environment and exposure to things that can change its feel. If you see your hair becoming drier, frizzier, or not as smooth, it might mean it's time for a trim. Getting regular trims helps keep your hair healthy by cutting off damaged and split ends, making it softer, smoother, and easier to manage.
Woman with very long hair, seen from the back
5. Loss of elasticity
Hair that's in good shape should be able to stretch and go back to its normal state without breaking. But when hair gets too long, it might lose this ability, becoming more prone to breakage and damage. If your hair isn't as bouncy and flexible as it used to be, getting a haircut can bring back its liveliness.
6. Uneven or lopsided ends
If you haven't had a haircut in a while and your hair has grown too long, the ends can start to look uneven or lopsided. This can mess up the balance and overall look of your hairstyle. If you see that the ends of your hair don't look even or well-shaped anymore, it's a sign that you should book a haircut to get things back in balance and make your hair look neat and well-put-together.
7. Shedding
Losing some hair is normal, but if you're finding a lot more hair on your brush, pillow, or in the shower, it might be a problem. This could mean your hair is too long. Long hair tends to break and fall out more, so reducing the length can help stop this and keep your hair healthy and strong.
8. Dry ends
When hair is long, the ends can get dry and brittle. The natural oils from your scalp, which keep your hair moisturized, struggle to reach the tips of long hair. This makes the ends lose moisture and become more vulnerable to damage.
9. Tangles
If your hair is really long, it's more likely to get tangled. If you're always dealing with knots and tangles, it means your hair might be too long. Untangling your hair a lot can lead to it breaking and getting damaged, putting unnecessary stress on your strands. Getting a haircut to remove some length can help prevent a lot of tangling, making it easier for you to take care of your hair.
So, that was it. A bunch of things that could suggest your hair is getting too long. But don't let this discourage you. They probably won't all apply to you. However, it's essential to understand that once your hair reaches a certain length, it might be too long and cause more worries than joy.
See also:
10 reasons to let your hair grow long
The long hair trap