Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Karen Marie Shelton Long Hair Highlights + Care, Styling & Maintenance

If you have been following or my blog for any amount of time you may know I have been growing my hair since the late 1980s.  Part of the reason for the initial creation of in 1996-1997 was to document my various hair journeys (long hair growing, dealing with natural waves & curls, etc.,)

Of course eventually evolved to be much more with close to one million pages of current content consisting of articles, tips, columns, AskKaren, HairTalk, Hairstyles Gallery, Salon Directory, our 100% free Hairstyle HairWizard, The Dressing Room,, this Blog and much much more.

(Image of Karen Marie Shelton in the warehouse at - photo by Edan Kencayd - All Rights Reserved - June 22, 2009 - Hair by Rose Zuniga at LaCoupe Salon - Dallas, Texas).

One question I constantly receive is a request about my hair.  Is it still long?  Do I still have it highlighted?  What products do I use?  Do I take hair vitamins (Hairstyle HairWizard).  I am constantly asked what  tips and secrets can I share about growing and caring for long hair.

Today I was on Twitter, my current addiction ( and Tweeting about my trip to see my current hair color expert, Rose Zuniga, to have my hair highlighted.  I received a few responses asking me to post my hair after it was highlighted.

(Image of Karen Marie Shelton in the warehouse at - photo by Edan Kencayd - All Rights Reserved - June 22, 2009 - Hair by Rose Zuniga at LaCoupe Salon - Dallas, Texas).

Also, I wanted to update everyone on my hair which is still growing and hopefully will not stop.  I was once quoted as saying I hope my hair grows so long that they have to stuff it in my coffin someday when I die, except my will asks that I be cremated, but you get my point.

Karen's Long Hair Notes

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions I always receive about my long hair:

1.  I have been growing my hair nonstop since 1988. As of today, June 22, 2009, it is exactly 6" below my waist where it has tended to settle.  Trims and dustings (a type of very light trim) keep it at that length although someday I hope to grow it longer.

2.  My ends are "dusted" on a regular basis and also trim my own ends which in the long hair world is known as Search And Destroy (SAD).  I only use professional hairdressing scissors of the highest quality when I do my own SAD or dusting.

3.  Due to the fact my hair is naturally wavy with curls which nestle around the perimeter at the nape of my neck, my hair is naturally dry.

Therefore I only cleanse it (shampoo) every 7-10 days, unless there is a special reason I need to wash more often.

I wash my hair with diluted shampoo which I alternate between Hairstyle HairWizard, Hairstyle HairWizard, Hairstyle HairWizard and Twitter.  The shampoo I use depends on my mood, my hair's mood and the time of the year.  I buy all the products I use on my hair directly from Hairstyle HairWizard.

(Image of Karen Marie Shelton in the warehouse at with her famous Starbucks iced tea - photo by Edan Kencayd - All Rights Reserved - June 22, 2009 - Hair by Rose Zuniga at LaCoupe Salon - Dallas, Texas).

4.  When my hair is feeling dry or crunchy I will pre-treat it with Rene Furterer which is my own personal recipe created with 100% organic Jojoba oil and use as a pre-treat hot oil.  I apply it from my ear lobes down and leave in my hair for up to 12 hours before cleansing.

Note: I am addicted to JF Lazartique in between my water cleansings.  It works so well on my fringe area and at the top of my roots.  Not only does it instantly fluff up my hair, it makes it soft and the fragrance is so nice.  I get lots of compliments on my hair after I have sprayed the Rene Furterer on it.

5.  I wash my hair in lukewarm water but use a series of clean bottles (Evian bottles because they are plastic and won't break in the shower) pre-filled with water to douse my head to make sure it is very wet before applying my diluted shampoo formula (1/2 teaspoon of shampoo mixed with 1 quart of lukewarm water). 

6.  The shampoo which is shaken to form a suds is poured over my head starting with my roots and then drizzling down the length of my hair.  I use my fingertips to pat the foamy mix into the strands applying the most to my fringe area which tends to get oily and dirty compared to the rest of my hair.

7.  After rinsing out the shampoo completely, using my bottle system, I squeeze the excess moisture out and then apply a rinse-out conditioner.  I alternate between Twitter, Phyto, Rene Furterer and JF Lazartique brands.  The rinse-out I select depends on my mood, the time of year and the mood of my hair.  Also, I decide whether I am going to blow dry straight, wearing wavy/curly with a long finger diffuser or wet bun it for natural texture.

(Image of Karen Marie Shelton in the warehouse at - photo by Edan Kencayd - All Rights Reserved - June 22, 2009 - Hair by Rose Zuniga at LaCoupe Salon - Dallas, Texas).

8.  I literally glop the conditioner on my hair from 2" below my roots to the ends.  I concentrate the most rinse-out at the ends or I might combine the rinse-out with a deep conditioner like those from Rene Furterer or Phyto.

9.  After allowing the conditioner to be on my hair for up to 20 mintues, I rinse it out with my lukewarm water bottles. 

10.  I finish with a cool/cold water rinse which is horrible in the winter but if I lean over at the knees I can get the cool/cold water on the majority of my hair without touching my skin.  Brrrrr.  Yes, this is controversial but I believe it works for me and so be it.

11.  After turning the water off in the shower I will gentle squeeze as much of the excess water out as possible.  I then towel blot being careful not to wrap my hair into a towel.  I use a very very soft towel without any visible snags.

12.  I always apply a leave-in conditioner from the Rene Furterer, Phyto or JF Lazartique.  Sometimes I will experiement with other leave-in conditioning products.  I also will apply a heat protectant ontop of the leave-in if I am going to blow dry or use the long finger diffuser.  On rare events I might use a tiny blob of mousse or styling glaze.

13.  When I air dry I detangle from the ends to the roots until the hair is smooth, I blow dry my fringe dry using my fingertips and then wrap my hair into a wet bun and let it air dry naturally.

14.  If I decide to blow dry it straight I will use either my Mason Pearson, Kent or Conair boar bristle round or paddle brush.  I separate my hair into sections and blow dry using either my Conair or Remington hair dryer.

15.  When I want to enhance the waves and curls I will attach my long finger diffuser to my blow dryer and work through the hair being careful to keep my fingers out of my damp strands.


I visit my fabulous Dallas based hair dresser who is a curly hair and a color expert every 3-4 months for full highlights.  Rose Zuniga has been an award winning hairdresser for over 20 years and makes my hair look amazing every time. Rose uses Matrix SoColor on my hair which she applies with a brush and then foils.

Rose is very careful not to every overlap highlights to avoid damage or oxidation issues. I love working with Rose because she is an expert, is always on time, makes it easy for me to get into see her with my crazy schedule and has never done anything but spectacular highlights.

I have also visited celebrity hairdresser Robert Hallowell for dusting and light haircutting (to remove dead ends).  Robert is always amazing and informed me (in May of 2009) that for the length of my hair it is very healthy and the color is excellent (kudos to Rose).

Other Long Hair Tips

The HairTopia hair vitamins were specifically created for me to take for my own hair.  I still take them to this date although I will alternate with special liquid vitamins once or twice a year.  I also take EFA tablets and have my scalp massaged 2x a month.  Whenever I either have my scalp massaged or do it myself I use the HairBoutique oils which were custom created for my hair by a expert aromatherapist.  All the oils I use are 100% organic.

Long Hair Styles

I alternate between wearing my hair down and up in a variety of buns, twists and avante garde configuations created with hair clips.  My favorite type of clip, which is hair friendly are the long and thin Concorde clips which hold my hair, which is fairly thick, securely in place.

Long Hair Secrets

Initially growing my hair took a lot of my time and focus.  Once I figured out how to grow long and healthy hair, the key is to maintaining it.  For example, I often sleep on a special pillow case that will not snag my hair and I often braid it or wrap it up before I go to sleep.

Having long hair, when maintained properly, becomes second nature.  At least it did for me.  While some people think that it takes me a lot of time to have my hair this long, in reality that is not the case.  I only wash my hair every 7-10 days which saves me a lot of time on a daily basis.  The Naturia dry shampoo is a godsend from that viewpoint.

Also, the key issue with my long hair is keeping the ends healthy since that is where the most damage can occur.  Even though living in Dallas I am a big convertible fan, I always wearing my hair under a cute cap when I am out with the top down in my car or in the wind.

Another key to having long hair is to understand it is a life choice and not everyone will appreciate it like you do.  I learned long ago that I wear my hair long for me and noone else.  And yes, I love it.  There is nothing like the feel of long silky hair cascading over your shoulders and down my back.

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