Hair Here; Hair There; Hair, Hair, Everywhere
July 30, 2016 9:06 PM   Subscribe

I have long, dark hair. I know that I will be responsible for a long trail of shed strands and hairballs, possibly for the rest of my life. Thus, I've developed various coping mechanisms: constant vigilance about certain areas of the bathroom, tying my hair up during food prep, &c. I'd like to know what habits you other longhairs keep in order to reduce your hair-trail in home/professional environments -- and on your clothes.

In what surprising places have you learned to look for/remove your hair?
How do you sneakily remove hairballs that form around you at work?
Do you have a daily hair-care routine that specifically addresses shedding?
Have you figured out the origin of that one loose hair brushing on your elbow?

You get the idea. Thank you for concealing your squeamishness.
posted by miniraptor to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I too have long hair and I just got this drain protector for the shower and its working great. Easy to clean and its not getting gross like other ones do.

One place I'm always surprised to find hair is in the armpits of my jackets and coats, so be sure to check there when you do the lint-roller on it.
posted by NoraCharles at 9:18 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

When my wife was pregnant two times I never had to clean the sink/shower drains out. But it wasn't even that, it was before that. I think it was the pregnancy vitamins she took before getting pregnant, and then also being pregnant. And breastfeeding time etc.

So I have a five year old and an 18 month kid.

My wife took those vitamins before and after the first kid every day, and she's just stopped recently. And really in just the last few months I've cottoned onto the idea where I have to clean out the drains again. Slow shower drain, slow sink drain. What? I'm not used to this. It's been like 6 years.

There is a gigantic hair monster in there.

I don't know what pre-pregnancy or pregnancy vitamins are made of, but it's definitely made of something that makes your hair not fall out.

For a woman at least
posted by sanka at 9:21 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The best tool I've found for clearing hair out of drains is a Zip It - what comes out of the shower drain looks like a drowned raccoon, but then the drain is great for at least a couple of months.
posted by antimony at 9:29 PM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

I use a paddle brush from Aveda several times a day. By brushing out all the loose hairs, I leave less of a trail through the house. My daughter keeps her hair in a tight braid and only takes it down for a good brush through once a day. We always brush before taking a shower so that we don't clog the drain. It is an actual rule in my house that everyone with long hair must brush before showering.

On a side note- when my son would misbehave, I would take away his phone and games for however long he needed to be punished. Cleaning the hair out of the drain was his get out of jail free card. I don't know how he did it but it was always a super gross job that he did well.

As far as the hairballs go, we don't seem to have a problem with them. But, we also don't wear synthetic fibers, which create a static cling zone. You may want to switch to wearing more natural fibers. The few times my girls have worn fleece pajamas (from their grandmother) they end up coated with hair.
posted by myselfasme at 9:33 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

During the months it is not literally freezing outdoors, I wrap my hair with a towel before I get out of the tub, then go outside to comb it and get rid of the loose strands. This definitely cuts down on the amount of hair I shed on the bathroom floor.

I still leave a lot of hair on the floor though.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:36 PM on July 30, 2016

Apparently I used to jam the lawnmower. People were surprised. Check your lawnmower blades as well as your vacuum!
posted by pearshaped at 9:41 PM on July 30, 2016

When I had long hair I used to comb it over the sink before washing it, in order to reduce shedding in the shower. Wiping hair off a sink is less gross than cleaning a drain cover.
posted by tavegyl at 9:43 PM on July 30, 2016

Best answer: A few years ago, I started using a boar bristle brush before showering, as well as to brush my hair a few times during the work day. It has reduced shedding by a huge amount for me. You don't need an expensive one, as long as it's very tight and uses natural boar bristles.

I have long blonde hair and like to wear black. When I go to the restroom at work, I always take off my shirt and remove any hairs in the armpits or on the back. Keeps those last few ones from being such an annoyance. I also use packing tape instead of lint rollers - much cheaper in the long run, and works better imho.
posted by gemmy at 9:50 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

sanka, it's not the vitamins, it's pregnancy hormones. They prevent a lot of the usual, normal shedding of hair throughout pregnancy up through a few months afterward (amount of months may vary). But once that hormone situation ends, a bunch of hair all falls out at once, yielding a drain that has no idea what just hit it. I just hit that phase right now and it is sooo groooss, compounded by the fact that my current baby is a hair puller par excellence.

I came in to say "armpits" and a bunch of people said it for me.
posted by town of cats at 9:55 PM on July 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

If I sleep on braided hair and then let it out without brushing (for the gorgeous waves, of course) I tend to comb it with my fingers throughout the day, especially when I'm spacing out. That's when I get the most sizeable hairballs.

TL;DR: touch hair = fall out hair = hairballs

Also, clean out your drains.
posted by meemzi at 10:24 PM on July 30, 2016

My long hair decimates vacuum brush rollers by layer on until the bristles stop doing their job. I like using a seam ripper to efficiently cut through the hair-wrapped roller, much better than scissors.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:56 PM on July 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

You HAVE to clean out your vacuum rollers (assuming you have a vacuum or areas to be vacuumed.) Flip it upside down every single time you vacuum and pull out the hairs that wrap around the roller. A small set of scissors or a seam ripper works well for this. If you don't do it every time you'll easily regret it as it just gets tangled tighter and tighter (ask how I know.)

Also, if you have carpet tiles anywhere - or super low pile carpet - especially at work or something - it's like velcro for hair. My coworker had long hair and our office dog KEPT finding hairballs until I finally went to where her chair was and the floor was matted down with long hairs just dug into the fibers of the carpet tile. Super gross. I checked under my desk and sure enough there was hair there too - it just blends into that camouflage office carpet.

Also since I worked with a bunch of women there was no sneakily removing hairballs. We just found them and tossed them in the trash - sometimes going "Oh my gosh look how much hair I just found on myself" to each other. Just casually grab it and toss it in the trash.

With laundry I found that washing my underwear in a mesh bag lessened the chances of hair tangling itself around the skinny parts of underwear or bras. Check your strings of drawstring pants or sweatshirts as it likes to tangle around those too.

I generally found that the hair on the elbow is often lower down on your body or farther onto your back than you ever think it could be - or hanging off the bottom of your boob. (Also I always found the "there's a hair tickling my cleavage and I can't find it" a worse problem.)

Check under your pillow, directly next to your bed, and between the wall/headboard and bed. Also check the floor next to anywhere you spend time (couch, chair, office) because after absentmindedly picking off hairs you'll find a pile of it nearby. The worst for me was by the couch and next to the bed between the bed and nightstand.

Also getting the vacuum attachment to get between the carpet and wall/baseboard is where lots of hair likes to hide and get tucked down. (Again, assuming you have carpet.)

Clean your drains regularly. Most of them are pretty easy to pop out.

+ 1 for brushing your hair over the counter or sink to catch all the hairs and toss them out before taking a shower. On a TMI note - check your buttcrack when you shower because I've forgotten before only to randomly find a hair when changing or something. Ew.

All of these reasons remind me how glad I am that I no longer have long hair. Most of it is nearly buzzed. Yeah. I don't miss it.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:58 PM on July 30, 2016

I've sometimes taken to brushing hair immediately before showering.

Also: brushing hair before dressing while standing in the shower/bathtub.

When the hair needs to stay in place, I've had luck with braiding it in a kind of "feed in" style on both sides, starting near the front and going toward the back (just discovered it's called "double french braids"). I think it might be possible to gather the ends of the braids and make it look semi-professional, and it really holds the hair.
posted by amtho at 11:15 PM on July 30, 2016

Super gross but the most surprising place I find my long hairs is my dog's butt. He loves to eat stray hairs and then when he poops, he'll end up with a hair stuck where one end is still in his butt and the other end is in the poop on the sidewalk. I'll notice that he's scooting around, very disconcerted and yes, with poop bag in hand as a glove, I have to pull the hair out of his butt. We both hate it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:36 PM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also, babies can get them wrapped around fingers or worse, causing significant distress.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:40 PM on July 30, 2016

Best answer: It doesn't work well for me because I have a giant head and also thrash around while sleeping, but generally getting a satin sleep cap (or tying your hair up in a silk/satin scarf while you sleep) will both protect your hair from breakage and contain any shedding while you sleep. If you have a giant head and/or a sleep thrasher like me, try putting your hair in a "pineapple" (a ponytail on the very top of your head) while you sleep; it looks utterly ridiculous but also helps contain hair and for me was more comfortable than a braid down the back of my head.
posted by TwoStride at 11:46 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just found out that a bunch of my hairs ended up in a hidey-hole in my dryer with some excess lint. It actually ruined the rollers that help my dryer tumble. It may be worth it to have someone open yours up every few years to clean it out so this doesn't happen to you.
posted by Night_owl at 12:45 AM on July 31, 2016

Once a year the casters on my office chair stop rolling. Yeah. I have to dig in there with a pocket knife and cut out all of the hair.
posted by kimberussell at 5:41 AM on July 31, 2016

I get grossed out when women find stray hairs on themselves, pick them off and drop them on the floor in public places. Yuck. In restaurants it's particularly icky. So always find a trash can or resist pulling it off and dropping it until you're outside.

My hair isn't all that long, but it's brown and I shed a lot so I hate seeing it all over the white bathroom tiles. In between cleanings, I have one of those giant lint rollers for floors and will scoot that around to pick it up.
posted by cecic at 6:08 AM on July 31, 2016

You probably already know that a certain percentage of your hair is ready to fall out in any given day. If you don't intentionally get those loosened hairs away from your head, they're going to fall out later -- either during normal activities or when you shampoo. I like to encourage my hair to fall out while I'm in the shower, which has a drain screen. That way, there's less escaping at other times during the day. Most of it falls away during conditioning and rinsing, because conditioner makes it slippery. If you'd like to try a very slippery conditioner, I like John Frieda Smooth Start or Dream Curls...even though I don't have curls.

So I brush before washing, shampoo rather vigorously, comb my fingers through while conditioning, and brush after washing. I also brush from time to time during the day, someplace where I have privacy to inspect my clothes and pick off fallen strands.
posted by wryly at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2016

protect your hair from breakage

I won't start a derail by going into specific brands and techniques but I would look into ways to help prevent the hair breakage and falling out to start with. After trail and error I have found a shampoo that almost eliminates stray hairs, even on my regular old pillowcases. For the record I have dark, very wavy hair past my shoulders. I never, ever brush it, I just run a comb through after it's been conditioned. Half the time I wear it down and half the time I wear it up in a French twisty-y thing with a cheap clip.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:19 AM on July 31, 2016

I always shed. I've become someone who just always wears her hair up. And otherwise, my routine is to:
- Brush my hair before washing it, and after conditioner has been applied.
- Brush my hair over a sink. Makes it easy to bunch it all together, roll it into a ball, and toss.
- Use a boar bristle brush. It picks up a lot of the hair, rather than letting it fall to the ground, holds it.
- Wear my hair in a pineapple ponytail, or a cap, when I sleep
- Use a lint roller to pick up hair during laundry
- have a swiffer in the bathroom, and run it quickly over the floor
- Unscrewing my bathroom pipes and cleaning out hair once every 6 months. It is gross, but better than smell developing
posted by troytroy at 12:22 PM on July 31, 2016

No one else sticks their loose hairs to the shower wall? It's one more hurdle between hair and drain (even with a cover enough of those suckers were getting through to slow things down), and I just swirl them off with a bit of toilet paper after I get out of the shower.
posted by yeahlikethat at 6:42 PM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Great answers, everyone. No I is TMI!

Room 641-A, what shampoo do you use?

To add my experience to the list: occasionally at work I would be talking to someone at my (bright white) desk, and then glance over toward my keyboard and find a big hair just sitting there...which my coworker could not have avoided seeing for several minutes. (I work with almost entirely short-haired dudes.)

What finally prompted this question was: I wore a skirt to work for the first time recently. At some point during the day I ran my hands under my legs to straighten it out...when a giant hairball from the seat appeared between my fingers. Did anyone else notice the hairball gathering on my chair for weeks? In what other places was my hair conspiring to congregate?

Anyway, thanks a lot for the tips. I'll try out your suggestions before I move in with more shorthair roommates next month. :)
posted by miniraptor at 6:54 PM on July 31, 2016

When sharing a hotel room w/ a friend, or using a friend's guest bathroom to shower, I use a tissue to clean up the shower grate so it doesn't look like someone just bathed a wookie in there.

One of my more oddball habits: If I'm cooking up a bunch of dinner/potluck stuff for other folks I'll put my hair up in a ponytail and wear a bandanna. If figure if public food preparers are required to cover their heads for food safety/hygiene reasons, then I can do the same thing and it'll help.
posted by NikitaNikita at 7:53 PM on July 31, 2016

As others have said (a) drain guard on the shower (easy to clean, avoids nasty blockages), (b) seam ripper for regular vacuum cleaner maintenance, (c) daily brushing which tends to get rid of the majority of loose hairs, and (d) lint roller check before you leave the house.

Oh, and marry a man with thick wavy hair the same color as yours so he has equal responsibility for the required regular vacuuming / swiffering...
posted by finding.perdita at 3:07 AM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Room 641-A, what shampoo do you use?

I use Wen. I'm post-menopausal and I can say my hair has never looked better and for the first time in my life I love my hair. I buy it from QVC whenever they have deals. You should know that there is a class-action lawsuit against Wen from women claiming it made their hair fall out, but it it a class of only 200 women with no actual proof that Wen is the cause of their hair loss.

Before Wen I tried Carol's Daughter Monoi shampoo and conditioner and it also did an unbelievable job of nearly eliminating breakage but it left my hair really dry. If the lawsuit scares you away I would try this. Both are based on using sulfite-free conditioners instead of harsh detergents which are also part of the no-poo and Curly Girl methods.

Sephora has other, similar brands and I believe you can return stuff if it doesn't work out.

Seriously, I barely shed anymore!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:28 AM on August 1, 2016

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