Nell Diamond is the founder and CEO of Hill House Home and the first time I saw her hair I literally gasped. It leaves quite an impression; I’ll leave it at that. Read on to hear how she answered all my burning questions — and after that, for the hair-o-philes: read about Amelia’s hair, Erica’s hair, Shiona’s hair, Simone’s hair, Arabelle’s hair and Megan’s hair. I LOVE HAIR! Okay, without further ado, meet Nell and her crown of glory.

Tell me a hair-related memory…

I wrote my Senior Thesis in college about hair! All 109 pages of it. I was an English major, and I kept circling these descriptions of female hair in epic poems like “Paradise Lost” and “The Faerie Queen.” Female hair was always portrayed as this threatening, hypnotic, paradoxical life-force, and I saw it as a representation of how patriarchal society has always been petrified of unbridled feminine power.

If you look closely, references to the powerful, magical energy of unbound female hair are everywhere. The chaste, restrained, religious woman covers her hair, while the wild, crazy, sexual – and even murderous – woman lets it all hang out. Some of my favorite hairy women to investigate were Medusa, Ophelia, Milton’s Eve, Lilith, Rapunzel, Homer’s Mermaids and 1920s flappers. I have a very weird amount of knowledge about hair – and it really is full of secrets.

What’s your daily routine and how long does it take?

I love a night shower. I comb through the tangles in the shower and then again after getting out (you’d be surprised how many tangles I can get in 30 seconds), then I braid it wet in one or two long braids and fall asleep. When I wake up, it’s dry with a little wave and I’ll either re-do the braid or put it up in a pony. If I’m feeling festive I’ll leave it completely down. I’ve been very into ribbons lately so I’ll find a way to work one of those in most days.

How often do you wash your hair and when?

I used to wash it every day until – like seemingly everyone else – I read in some dark corner of the internet that I am killing my hair by doing so. Now I try to stretch to every other day or even every three days if I can.

What’s your hair approach in the shower?

I am a very religious, loyal devotee to the Garnier Fructis family. I’ve tried fancy conditioners and masks but nothing ever detangles as well as that delightful green bottle.

For shampoo, I use a prescription shampoo that my dermatologist prescribed. I used to use Head & Shoulders because I thought I had horrible dandruff but it turns out it was actually psoriasis!

How often do you get it cut?

Probably three times a year I’ll cut around four-ish inches off. My hair grows at a very alarming rate, especially since having a baby. Usually every two years I catch my reflection and have a panic attack that I look like a crazy person and cut like, a full foot off, but then it usually grows back that full amount after a few months. I’m very lucky.

Do you dye, highlight, treat it?

I’ve never dyed it! I had bright red hair until I was around seven or eight, and since then it’s gotten darker. In the summer it can get really red in the sun. I definitely will use any excuse to purchase a glitter hairspray can from Ricky’s, which I then apply liberally, but that’s as close to dying as I’ve gotten.

I used to use those Hot-Oil treatment packets all the time when I was younger, but mostly because I love the routine of heating them up in the shower. Now, probably once every few months if my hair feels dry, I’ll use an entire bottle of conditioner and just leave it in while I take a bath, then shower it out.

Have you gone through a bunch of hair phases?

Every few years I cut it to above my chest, but it’s so thick that it can look like a lampshade when it gets too short. Growing up my brothers used to tell me I looked like a Springer Spaniel dog with my hair in front of my face and so now as an adult I can’t quite get that image out of my head. Somehow when it’s longer I feel it’s less triangular and hangs better.

When do you hate your hair?

When I have a really crazy tangle that even my wet brush can’t handle. For some reason it feels claustrophobic and I get really panicky that the tangle will just exist forever and I’ll never live without it again. It’s not my most rational worry.

When do you love it?

I love my hair the most when it’s in a high pony. I like my pony VERY high – right above the crown of my head. It’s my pop star hair. Usually when I get a really good pony I like to whip it around for effect while dancing. I’m a real hoot to be around.

What’s the most tragic hair-related decision you ever made?

Bangs. It was a dark, dark year but I made it through.

Have you ever cut your hair yourself?

In third grade I was forced to remove my very chic rainbow hair wrap in order to abide by my school’s uniform policy and it was extremely unjust and I felt like my creativity was being stifled, so I cut out the entire strand of my hair as a protest. In hindsight, I didn’t really think through who that protest was hurting.

Have you ever cried over it?

Oh, sure. I cry when I feel my bagel is not properly toasted so, yes, absolutely, my hair has been a cry trigger.

Hair is full of secrets. What’s one of yours?

I was an early adopter of the butterfly clip phase. Honestly, it was a great look and I’d like to bring it back if just one celebrity could do it first so I feel validated.

What does your hair dresser tell you to do that you ignore?

Layers! Very much not for me. My hair is heavy so it weighs down the curl, but when shorter pieces are cut I’m left basically looking like I’m wearing a curly hat on top of my long, straight hair. It’s very fundamentally not a good look.

What misconceptions do people have about your hair?

People think I’m fussy about my hair and assume I must have a crazy hair routine. Literally everything else about me is fussy except my hair.

Photos by Edith Young.

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  • notinlondon

    My god, her hair is glorious. I wish there were more pictures, I could look at her hair all day, but HOW does she do a high pony with all that? I have long thick hair, and after an hour of a pony it hurts so bad. Is this just me?

    • Hanna Lane

      On top of the pain it can bring, I have found that making a ponytail stay in place when you have long, thick hair is close to impossible. Would love to know her secret.

      • fortinbras

        Something I learned from my 10-year-old cousin (that is probably really obvious for everyone who is not me) is using multiple hair ties. My ponytail still droops, but it lasts much longer.

    • ladle

      You can do a bobby pin trick. Stick the bobby pin through your hair tie towards your scalp, and twist it kinda like when you pin a french twist and shove it in. Use a thick bobby pin though.

    • Kiks

      I really wanted a photo of the high ponytail…and a video of it whipping around!

    • Mariana

      You have to follow her IG! You can see more pictures of her glorious hair and by bonus pictures of her cute baby boy. And she very funny.

    • Angela

      I also have very heavy hair- and when it’s long I find that the higher up the pony is the less it hurts- like if it’s right on top of my head with the elastic tight around the pony but sort of loosely (but not too loosely) pulled back I can handle it- but at the back of my head no way, instant headache.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I was once taught to do your hair in halves: so do a high half pony, secure it, then bring the bottom half up and secure it again into a single pony. it holds better – i do this for the gym. does that make sense? (it also makes your pony look fancier)

    • Cecile Pham

      for sure. high ponies or buns for too long end up giving me a headache from how tight i have to pull it to keep it up and the weight. :/

  • Newly defined hair goals.

  • This makes me miss my crazy long hair! The tangles are real though… and the last straw for my princess hair was when I kept waking up with it wrapped around my neck like it was trying to kill me.

  • Adrianna

    Hair color envy

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Let’s here for us ladies with scalp psoriasis! Yeah! But the struggle against tangles is REAL. It’s the thing I hate most about washing my hair

  • I’m finally no longer ashamed to be team #fructisgarnier.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      NEVER be ashamed! They make several great and more affordable hair productes! I’m recently on their honey based shampoos and conditioners. Also love the honey mask.

  • gwendomouse

    What I’m most jealous of is the speed her hair grows at. She cuts of four inches, three times a year??!!! Four inches is about as much as my hair grows in a whole year.

  • Gene Day

    A good friend of mine used to have exactly the same style (her husband fantasizes about it still) and she dealt with it the same way, let it dry in a braid and hope for the best come morning. Now she has a super sexy and fierce short style that takes a million times more work but suits her features beautifully.

    • TinySoprano

      I too do the braid thing. With dry hair like mine though that can easily go a week between washes, I’ll agree that three foot long hair is the most low-maintenance style I’ve ever had (apart from the buzzcut, but that’s another story)

  • starryhye

    Am I the only old lady here to draw the Crystal Gayle comparison?? Bueller???

    • Tanya

      No! I’m old, too. 😉 But Crystal Gayle’s hair was never that thick. It was beautiful, though.

  • ask

    Her hair is beautiful, and also please where can I get those banana earrings !!

  • This chick is great.

  • Paige

    i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to read that thesis paper! yes all 190 pages of it!! is it published anywhere? i am obsessed with figuring out why people are so obsessed yet afraid of hair, especially hair that doesn’t fit into the cultured norm! I have a mane of curly hair and people approach it with terrified fascination (and many attempts to control it). heart eyes for days!

    • rachel

      Seconded! I wrote my senior thesis on the intersection between women, politics and fashion, but man now I kind of wish I had done it on hair.

    • Louisa
      • Elle Shoel

        I massively agree – this sounds SO interesting! Thanks so much for the link!! Do I need to fill out the request form on this link to access it? Do you know if there’ll be restrictions in me seeing it since I’m just a regular interested citizen haha?

  • last sentence is so me, long hair is not difficult to maintain. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, to bob or not to bob? Would I be the same person without my long long hair? Does it define myself? People see me as a very romantic girl because of my long hair, but I do not feel so romantic. Hair is a huge question for me rn!

  • Wow. Incredible. The few times I do get just a little too much taken off my length I tend to almost always want to grow it back immediately. Nell is so suited to hair at this length, I don’t think everyone can pull it off, but looks so cool. Can’t believe how fast her hair grows!

  • DarthVadersCats

    I love what you wrote your thesis on!! I used to keep my hair short because long hair felt too feminine on me (as a ‘tomboy’ I felt I was betraying myself) but recently I’ve truly felt what a power statement long hair can be, ‘unbridled feminine power’ it truly feels like.

  • She has gorgeous hair. Hair to look at and admire.
    Unfortunately, not much possible inspiration for us regular mortals: no hair tip could get us this gorgeous color and thickness, and this fast growth.

    I wash my hair every 4 to 5 days, use only sulfate-free shampoo, silicone-free conditioner, rub macadamia oil in it before washing it and leave-in expensive products after washing, don’t dye it and never use heat, I spend quite a lot of money and energy on my hair… yet when it reaches my collarbones it gets all brittle and full of split ends. Life’s unfair!

    Gifts of nature are one thing, inspiration that someone else can use is another 😉

  • Camila Restrepo

    Hair goals, for sure.
    I can totally relate to her hair because I have wavy, thick (even though it seems not be as thick as when I was 15-16…hormones?) and I was about to cut it off back in August/September and then all of a sudden all the ladies in my office started to compliment my hair. When I told them I was thinking of chopping it, they all gasp and started telling me “NOO”. Needless to say, I thought it over a couple of more times and realize that I actually really like my long hair and it’s a big part of my identity/look. Love my hair and can’t wait for it to reach Nell Diamond’s lenght (almost there). Also braiding is the way to go.

  • Pandora Sykes

    Her hair is fucking phenomenal but more to the post — I REALLY WANT A HILL HOUSE HOME DUVET COVER NOW

  • monica

    Team long hair ! I have to disagree with her about long hair and layers. I had the same issue until I went to a salon that specifically deals with wavy/ curly hair . I’ve grown my hair longer than hers at some points in my life since it also grows very quickly and I think long hair makes it look more alive and bouncier. See pics for evidence/shameless bragging

  • Beautiful hair, but her profile is beautiful! Very princess-locked-in-a-tower!

  • Lauren

    Okay first — Nellie Diamond is effing fabulous. Second, how tall do you have to be to rock hair like this? Does height matter?

    • Tanya

      Not at all. I am 4’10 and my hair is just past my waist. My hair is heavy and thick, much like Nellie’s, and just looks better very long and with my natural color and wave.

  • Hannah

    Her first answer just grabbed me so hard because I was an english major and read those pieces and DAMN that is some good literary commentary. I wish a professor or student brought that up in college. I would love to read that Senior Thesis.

  • Lucius O’Sullivan

    I spent this summer swanning along the Irish coast on my bike thinking I was charming all passersby with my luscious locks alla Nell only to be told by my mum and sisters that it was all blissful ignorance and I just looked grubby from behind so had a six inch chop..

  • JM

    Could you guys do a Hair Diaries post about fine, thin hair? Growing up, I always hated my limp natural hair and obsessed over trying to get it to look longer and thicker (to no avail). It’s been such a complicated relationship and insecurity of mine – I’ve come around to accepting it, but it’s so rare to see hair like mine covered in beauty media! Would love tip, tricks, routines and just seeing other confident, fine-haired ladies

  • Ali Kadamthodi

    Hey how are you?

  • Mandy

    Omg those bananas earrings!!! Where are they from?

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    My hair is as long, but not nearly as thick as her enviably healthy beautiful hair! I have to agree with her on layers, and “thinning” as several hairstyles have also suggested to me. And ditto to Garnier!