At a certain point I was struck with frustration when I realized that this method is good but it doesn't allow me full freedom and control to design the hair specifically as I want. That's when I came to realize I can work with many smaller groups of hairs instead and control them by splines. I started up by creating 1 spline which acts like the profile of the hair's shape and cloned it twice to 3 different elements that will control the hair. I've added hairs and pretty much used similar parameters as before. Shaping the hair to specific shapes was easy this way. I've clone the hair pieces many times to smaller and larger parts and re-adjusted every piece until I was happy with how it turned out.
For extra touches, I added a few more groups for random single hairs to give it a little more of a "natural messy" feel.
Rendering and Compositing:
The image was basically done with the hit of the render button but rendering many different passes allowed me some more fine tuning which was necessary mostly for high res details. I’ve rendered many different passes and used masks in photoshop to determine where and how much each pass is used. A few pointers about some of them –
Specular - I've rendered this pass by turning off all the color maps and setting the diffuse to black (yep, using the built in pass rendering doesn't seam to like working with the SSS materials) I used this pass to control the level of highlights at different parts of the image. (Fig.31 -32)