British actress KEIRA KNIGHTLEY suffered a hair nightmare when constant styling for a quick succession of roles damaged her locks beyond repair.

The 20-year-old star had to opt for a close-cropped style when her hair started falling out in horrifying handfuls, but she is desperate to have flowing long hair once again.

She recalls, "When I was working on Pride And Prejudice, I had to go over to have my hair looked at for another role. I'd been really busy filming, so my agent filled them in that my hair had been peroxided and was generally very weak.

"I was in the make-up chair at 4am. I was so tired I actually fell asleep, and two hours later I woke up to see all these perming curlers fastened to my head. My hair felt totally hideous, like the most brittle straw.

"By the time it I had got home and saw my mum, the whole of my fringe just dropped off into my lap. They then needed to do a colour-test on my hair. They took one strand and the whole hair just shrivelled up and disappeared.

"It needed completely cutting off. What I really want now is long hair."