My Long Hair Is Annoying Me, so I Asked Experts for Easy Styling Options

I spent years and years trying (desperately) to grow out my hair. I was popping hair gummies, chugging water, sticking to a strict salon trim schedule, using every product my stylists suggested—all to no avail. My parched, overly highlighted strands refused to grow beyond my armpits, and eventually, I just had to accept that as my hair truth. The long, luscious, back-grazing hair that I dreamed of just wasn't in my future. C'est la vie.

But then, this crazy thing happened. About a year or so ago, my hair started to grow at an alarming speed. My hairstylist, Cervando Maldonado, was in shock every time I'd come into his salon, and soon, friends, co-workers, and lots of people on IG were eagerly taking notice. Suddenly, people asked if I was wearing extensions, questioned how my hair was so long and healthy despite my bleaching habit, and quizzed me on my diet and supplement intake.


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Now, I can't say for sure what caused this rapid change, but I have a hunch it was due to a few different factors. For one, I ditched my hot tools and almost exclusively began air-drying my hair, I found an amazing colorist who always prioritizes the integrity of my hair, and I've adopted a balanced, plant-based diet that's rich in healthy fats, protein, and colorful fruits and veggies. I'm also diligent about using Olaplex at home every other week or so, and I only wash my hair two or three times a week. Again, I'm not sure if any of this has been the true cause of my hair growth (who knows, maybe it's just some kind of fluke or hormonal surge!) but nonetheless, I've barely been able to keep up with it.

Since I haven't been able to see Maldonado, my stylist, for months, my strands are the longest they've ever been. Part of me is thrilled, but another part of me has been getting annoyed (long hair can get very hot, sweaty, and tangly) and also bored with the ho-hum rotation of styles I typically rely on—ponytails, topknots, and half-up looks. 

To gain some newfound inspiration for my long hair, I asked a few of the top hairstylists in the business—Justine Marjan, Chris Appleton, and Cynthia Alvarez—for some help. Considering this expert crew regularly works with clients such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and the Kardashians, I couldn't have been in better, more long-hair-adept hands. Keep scrolling for the easy hairstyles for long hair and the exact procedures and products to execute each of them flawlessly. 

Idea #1: Long, Beachy Waves


(Image credit: @jastookes)

"This simple hairstyle is so easy to create and doesn't look like you spent all day fussing over your hair," shares Alvarez. "It also acts as a great 'base style' for lots of different looks until your next wash day."

How to do it: 

1. Prep by applying Ouai's Leave-In Conditioner ($26) and Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Cream ($7) to damp hair.

2. Once hair is dry, split your hair into two sections, and pull it all to the front.

3. Curl one-inch sections using GHD Curve 1" Classic Curl Iron ($199), leaving the ends straight. (This is a crucial step in making the waves look cool and not too primped.)

4. Flip your hair from side to side, applying a light veil of Kristin Ess Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray ($14) throughout the midshaft to the ends.

5. Break up texture with a wide-tooth comb, and finish with Amika's Un.Done Volume & Matte Texture Spray ($25). 

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Idea #2: The Super-High Ponytail


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both Appleton and Alvarez are fans of this easy hairstyle for long hair. As Alvarez notes, it's extremely versatile and fun (which, to be honest, we all need right now).

How to do it: 

1. Prep damp hair with a smoothing leave-in conditioner like Nexxus Humectress Conditioning Mist ($16).

2. Blow-dry your hair in the direction of the ponytail. (Alvarez says this allows for a neater finish and makes pulling your hair up much easier.)

3. Flat-iron your roots (if needed) using the Bio Ionic OnePass Straightening Iron ($199).

4. Part your hair in half from ear to ear. Then tie it up into a half-up ponytail using a Cricket Smoothing Brush ($9). 

5. To complete the ponytail, brush the rest of your hair up, and join it with your already-tied ponytail.

6. Prevent your ponytail from moving off-center as you secure it by using a Kitsch Bungee Elastic ($7). (According to Alvarez, the bungee secures your hair in place better than traditional hair ties.)

7. Cover the elastic with a small sliver of hair. Grab a half-inch section of hair from under the ponytail, and wrap it around the base until the bungee is completely covered. Use a hairpin to secure it and spritz with Got2B Glued Blasting Freeze Spray ($5) to keep everything locked in place.

8. This next step is where you can have fun! Alvarez notes that the ponytail can be waved or straightened to your liking. "You can also flip the ends for a retro look and embellish with cute hair pins or headbands. The options are endless!" she says.

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Idea #3: Woven Milkmaid Braid


(Image credit: Getty Images)

"This is a summer staple hairstyle," says Alvarez. "It's so chic, plus it's heat-free! I especially love this style with a silk scarf woven in—it's not necessary, but it just makes the look a little more special."

How to do it: 

1. On dry hair, apply Redken Braid Aid Defining Lotion ($15) evenly throughout.

2. Draw a center part all the way to the nape of your neck, and divide the hair in half.

3. Line up the center of your scarf against the nape and drape each end on top of a section of hair.

4. Braid the scarf into the hair. Separate each chunk of hair into three pieces—two hair, one scarf—and braid the first side. Secure with an elastic and repeat on the other side until you have pigtail braids. Pull the two braids to the top of your head and tie the ends of the scarf in a knot.

5. Secure any loose ends of the scarf using hairpins, and tame any flyaways with Dove Extra Hold Hairspray ($6). 

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Idea #4: Glass Hair


(Image credit: @chrisappleton1)

"Glass hair is a staple of mine because it’s timeless, and if it’s done right, it can really elevate your look," explains Appleton. "Sleek and shiny hair has always been one of my favorite styles!"

How to do it: 

1. The first step in creating glass hair is to blow-dry the hair straight using Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray ($28) and the Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Vented Hairbrush ($16). 

2. Then, I like to flat-iron the hair as sleek and straight as possible, creating little to no volume. 

3. I finish off the look with Color Wow's Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray ($29). The sleek hair and lots of shine spray are what creates the "glass” effect. 

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Idea #5: Extra-Bouncy Curls


(Image credit: @chrisappleton1)

"Bouncy curls are another staple of mine," Appleton adds. "In my opinion, bouncy, elegant hair is so beautiful and is something that will never go out of style."

How to do it: 

1. The first thing you need to do when creating bouncy curls is to blow out the hair with lots of lift at the root. I like to use Color Wow’s Raise the Root Thicken + Lift Spray ($24) and Dream Coat for Curly Hair ($24) for maximum volume.

2. Next, I like to use a Hot Tools Marcel Curling Iron ($40) to curl the hair. I pin the curls in place and let them cool completely before removing the pins. (This helps to create that bounce and also prevents the curls from falling.)

3. I like to finish the look by brushing out the curls and adding a little bit of Color Wow’s Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray ($26) for hold.

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Idea #6: Half-Up Textured Ponytail


(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

"I love this look because it is easy to do. It’s the perfect way to keep your hair out of your face without feeling completely exposed, and a half-up look also pulls the face back giving a gentle lift to the eyes," Marjan explains. "It's flattering on everyone!"

How to do it:

1. Prep dry hair with Oribe's Superfine Hairspray ($42) and brush through.

2. Create a wavy texture in the hair by using the GHD Curve 1" Classic Curl Iron ($199) in alternate directions, twisting and spiraling the hair around the iron.

3. Spray a dry texture spray throughout the curls and break up texture with your hands.

4. Use a smoothing brush to gather hair half up, securing with an elastic.

5. Clean up the hairline with a strong-hold gel (like R+Co's Wall Street Strong Hold Gel, $28) on a toothbrush, and add a decorative hair accessory like a patent-leather scrunchie.

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Idea #7: Bombshell Waves


(Image credit: @justinemarjan)

"The classic babe wave! This gives instant volume, glamour, and sex appeal," Marjan tells me.

How to do it:

1. Prep dry hair with Tresemmé's Compressed Micro Mist Texture Hold Level 1 Flexible Hold Hairspray ($6) and brush through.

2. Taking one-inch pieces, wrap your hair vertically around the GHD Curve 1.25" Soft Curl Iron ($199), holding until the hair gets hot. (Make sure to alternate the direction you're wrapping the hair around the iron.) Then, release the strand and let cool before touching.

3. Spray a dry texture spray through roots and mid-lengths. Then, use a wide-tooth comb to break up the wave.

4. Finish with a strong-hold hair spray. 

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Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.