Jackie Toops and son, photo by Kathryn Bailey of LittleB Memories

Long hair can be romantic, feminine and breathtaking. With the right strategies, products and styles, you too can lengthen your locks this year.

Eva Creel and Kathryn Bailey are both military wives, photographers, and models, with enviably long tresses. Together, the three of us share our favorite tips and tricks for growing and maintaining beautiful long hair.

Eva Creel:

Model: Eva Creel, self portrait, Eva Creel photography

Hair Routine:

When possible, Eva prefers to go au natural. “I wash my hair once a week in the morning to let it dry naturally. If I use a hair dryer I don’t fully dry my hair with it. If I feel like adding more color to my hair, I use henna. It conditions so wonderfully that I use it once a year. There is also henna that won’t color your hair.”

Favorite product:

Eva understands the importance of fighting tangles with care. Struggling to pull through a comb or brush can break and damage hair, leading to split ends. “My hair tangles super easily, especially at the neck. My favorite hair product is a detangler called Cowboy Magic.”

Styling secret:

Eva avoids hot irons. “If I want curls, I sleep with curlers,” shares Eva. Other things she avoids? Elastic hair bands. “Most days I twist my hair into a loose bun or French twist and secure it with a claw clip.”


Eva trims her own hair to remove split ends, add shape and bounce. “I hang my head down and brush it all forward. I can’t reach the end so I pull up my hair as evenly as I can and then cut in a straight line. I just took off about 6 inches, but the length was not affected — it just gave me layers.”

Kathryn Bailey:

Models: Kathryn Bailey and son, photo by Eva Creel of Eva Creel Photography.

Why Long Hair?

“I feel like it suits my personality.” Kathryn loves the versatility of styles and that it’s easy to maintain. “Long hair is a style all its own. I can literally walk out the door and just let it air-dry and have a great hairdo all day.”

Styling secret:

Kathryn takes a few steps in the evening and awakes to gorgeous hair. “After I wash my hair at night, when it’s slightly damp, I’ll either put it in fabric rollers or braid it for lovely soft waves.” Kathryn suggests several little braids for greater volume or one to two large braids for a bigger, cascade effect. “I avoid using tools like hot irons or hot curlers because heat can do a lot of damage.”

Favorite product:

Kathryn loves the Goldwell Elumen High-Performance Haircolor brand. “It gives a wonderful deep color and shine, but it has no peroxide, ammonia, or phenylenediamines. It’s much more gentle than a regular dye, and the color is very natural.”

Advice to others:

“Commit! I cut my hair really short once (up past my chin), and it was so tempting in the two years it took to grow out, to get it cut again and have a fun new style.” Kathryn recommends treating hair with respect. “Avoid excessive haircuts. No heat, no styling products, no hot dyes. It’s a simple hair care routine and that’s what makes it so easy to maintain.”

Jackie Toops:

Model: Jackie Toops, photo by Kathryn Bailey of LittleB Memories

Why Long Hair?

“I’ve had it most of my life and it’s now part of my identity. I’m not sure whether it stemmed from my childhood love of mermaids, or from the time I had short hair and was mistaken for a little boy…ouch. I love the way long hair makes me look and feel, and it photographs beautifully.”

Hair routine:

“My hair is thick but naturally curly, so it’s pretty fragile. I wash it only once or twice a week, use a deep conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and avoid heat. Once my hair is damp, I either braid or twirl it into ponytail holders and let it air dry. It makes my waves more uniform and eliminates frizziness.”

Favorite products:

“My new favorite shampoo and conditioner is from the L’Oreal Total Repair 5 line. It’s incredibly moisturizing and my hair is instantly detangled, silky and shiny. After washing, I gently work through damp hair with the Wet Brush.”

Advice to others:

“A healthy you leads to healthy hair. I always ensure that I am well hydrated and that my diet includes vitamins, healthy oils and fats. Aside from that, I am gentle on my hair so it continues to grow without requiring frequent trims due to damage.”

As you see, with a little commitment, gentle care, and the right product or two, you too can grow out gorgeous hair this year. Some may say “it’s just hair” but others understand that beauty stems from confidence. If you adore and want long hair, this is your year. Happy growing!

Jackie Toops Head ShotA self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her onTwitter.



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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

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