The Great Hair Debate

As I was looking through some old photos this week with the idea of organizing them (and tagging everyone’s faces in iPhoto – addictive!), I came across photos of one of the three times in my life where I have gone crazy and cut my hair short.

The first time, I was in sixth grade and had seen this amazing makeover in Seventeen or other such publication where the girl had this super cute bob that was just the color of my hair. I wanted it. At that time, I had hair down to my waist, which my mother trimmed for me regularly, but when I saw that, I begged for my first professional hair cut. I cried after it. A lot.

The second time was around freshman year, and I don’t remember why or how I did it, but I know that it does not look good looking back – especially with a center part!

The last time was in 2008, when I got bored with my longish hair (about 6 inches or more past my shoulders) and went to chop it off up to my ears. I liked it OK, but never loved it, and whenever my hair got wet (which strangely, happened a lot in England :-)), it turned into a frizz ball. I also felt like it took even more prep work, and thought I was sinking extra time into it with more careful blow drying and straightening.

So now, in 2013, I am back to the same hair I have had off and on since I grew out the first short hair cut after sixth grade. I’ve finally found a hairdresser who can cut my bangs so you don’t notice that I have not one, but two cowlicks in front, and who taught me how to style my hair curly. But I’m still not happy.

You see, I have wavy hair that just borders on curly, and if I leave it to dry naturally, it is a HOT MESS. And I fight it every day.

If I shower, wash my hair, blow dry it with a round brush and straighten it (which is what I do 97% of the time), it takes me an entire hour to get ready. Which is crazy. And most of it is fighting my hair.

I haven’t thought my hair looks that great for a while now. The layers make the longest layer look thin and grown out. Even after meticulously straightening my hair and using hair spray, my hair develops weird kinks (not to mention one piece in the back that literally WILL NOT STRAIGHTEN) throughout the day, and doesn’t look like I want it to.

I like my hair curly well enough, and it’s a lot less work (mousse and then 5 minutes or less with the diffuser), but for some reason it seems like a short cut and I feel guilty about wearing it curly. I usually only do it when there are three weather conditions happening simultaneously: it’s warm out (because I have to let it mostly air dry), it’s not that windy (because that makes it frizzy), and it’s raining (because straightening would be futile). I also have to pin my bangs back, because little short curls on just one side looks weird. And I think I look better with bangs, so this also makes this feel like it’s not the solution.

I pretty much refuse to put my hair in a ponytail, because when I look in the mirror, I imagine that the people I pass in the street will think, “Wow, she must have slept through the alarm and had to get ready in 5 seconds! Look at all those flyaways!” But when I see others with ponytails, I think, “That looks so cute. Why aren’t my ponytails cute?”

One time, I thought it would be fun to make a messy bun. I see them on other women and think they look really great. I did it to myself and thought I looked like I had invited my six-year-old cousin to come play beauty shop. I didn’t let myself leave the house like that.

So I tell myself that I still have long hair because it looks better on me (and it definitely does – I’ve confirmed with many others), and because I want options on how to style it. But I never take those options.

I think many women spend most of their life wishing for hair they don’t have. Those with curly want straight, those with straight want curly (which is why perms were invented!), and those with in between, like me, just want hair that will decide on something.

So I have a haircut coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks. And I’m trying to decide what to say to her. I have no idea how to get my prep time down (and that is a must), learn to style it different ways so I’m not bored and don’t look crazy, and generally learn to embrace my hair. Any lessons learned from your own hair struggles are welcome.

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One thought on “The Great Hair Debate

  1. I think you’re right, managing our hair is a struggle for a lot of women. My hair has always been a pain. I wear it long now just because it’s easier. I have this weird wave in it just below my neck, so if I wear it short I have to straighten it, which is annoying. Plus my hair only looked good short when one particular stylist cut it and she’s not cutting hair anymore. I never really learned how to ‘do’ hair because I was such a tomboy. I can do a sock bun now, and I’m proud to say I learned how to use hot rollers last week and I’m trying to learn to French braid too, for Lilly’s sake. Hopefully it will translate into me doing my own hair.

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