“Just a little trim off the ends!” is said with such fervor and frequency in hair salons across Argentina, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that someone had slipped in “Thou shalt have hair long enough to whip it back and forth” in among the Ten Commandments.
Imagine a nation where women young and old, no matter the time of year, nor international trends, all remain faithful to one hairstyle. But not in a communist regime sort of way, just in an extreme loyalty to luscious locks kind of way. Yes, fashions come and go, skinny jeans are replaced by flares which are replaced by skinny jeans faster than you can say “balayage.” But make no mistake, the long hair is here to stay. Season after season, it was always “thanks but no thanks” to any suggestion from stylists across the world, and in the streets of Buenos Aires long hair could always be spotted. It’s practically as Argentine as the Obelisco.
So far, so good. Argentine women like long hair. Got it. But when it comes to why, the jury is still out. Greater men have crumbled at such an lack of answers, but we, lovers of wisdom that we are, decided to turn to the experts. As such, the eponymous Loly, of Loly Hairstylist sheds light on one theory: “Argentine women are classic, they don’t feel comfortable taking big risks. I’d say 70% of my clients have stuck with their long hair for years and years.”
From this stems the perpetual fear of going to the hairdressers: who can you trust? How many interpretations of “just the ends please” are out there? How much of my identity will I walk out with, and how much will be left, to be swept away on the floor. In the worst of cases, this can lead to hitting rock bottom, as Loly elucidates: “There is nothing worse for a client with long hair than to come out feeling that their hair is too short, its as if their strength has been taken away from them!”
Well, fretful folk, you can rest assured you will be in safe hands with Loly. “I’m very respectful with the number of centimeters they let me cut!” Loly will never leave you with hair up to your ears when you asked for just a trim.
You see, sometimes, you gotta make things worse before they get better again. You gotta take the B line on the Subte all the way into Centro, only to connect with the D line that takes you North West again. And yes, you have to cut your mane to help it grow longer. Many stylists recommend cutting it every 3 months, to avoid damage and help it grow. If you let damaged hair row, you’ll have split ends on your hands, which will open and break and leave you with dull looking, unhealthy hair. So WRIP OFF THE BANDAID, SISTER.
Alongside a good trim every now and then, hands up who knows any other ways to maintain healthy, strong and fast-growing hair? Yes, you at the back, Carmen from The Beauty Saloon?
“Argentine women believe that their long hair is part of what makes them seductive. They are very attached to their hair, and like it to be sleek and tidy, without a speck of frizz.” In her Recoleta salon, Carmen’s team counts on the following for impeccable tresses. Capillary Botox sounds, frankly, terrifying, but one session will be enough to ensure 3 months of frizz free bliss. “We use it to get rid of frizz,” says Carmen, “It contains Hyaluronic acid and vitamins that help nourish the capillary fibers.” Creambaths and serums are also your friend, and Carmen’s lot have “lots of options depending on what the hair needs; hydrating, nourishing, reparation or shine.”
Coldplay once said “nobody said it was easy”, and Argentine women know they’re not in for an easy win with their long hair as haircare and management is tricky; more frequent washes, more frizz and more harmful heat when attempting to control it is the price one has to pay. But with long hair, a veritable fan of hairstyle ideas is opened up to us. What Argentines lack in adventurousness in haircuts, they make up for in being on top of the latest trends in haistyles. Informal, less structures styles should prevail this Winter, according to Miguel of Icut in Almagro, with the Argentine favorite “perfect hair, but that doesn’t seem has if it as just come from the salon” in mind.
For a bit more of a done up look, Miguel recommends cornrow-style plaits woven with colored thread to inject some color, or boxer braids as worn by women of color everywhere since forever, and recently made popular by everyone’s favorite cultural appropriator Kim Kardashian. This is a much more detailed, intricate and dramatic look, using hair pins. The Icut team are here for all of us looking to try a new hairstyle, to provide both the advice and the handiwork itself.
As we come to a close, Miguel sums up well the love affair, tormentous though it may be at times, between Argentine women and their beloved long hair: “For me, long hair is not a fashion. A fashion would be if someone wanted to try short hair. Fashions change, take turns and pass. Long hair in Argentina is part of the culture.”