Hair (This Woman In Clothes)

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be responding to questions on the Women In Clothes survey.  For more on the book Women in Clothes, go here.  



hairMy hair is a problem.  It’s taken me almost 45 years to begin to figure out what to do with it, and I’m still not getting it right.

I have a lot of fine hair that’s curly in the front and wavy in the back.  It frizzes in humidity and falls limp and flat if I put just a smidge too much product in it.  If I don’t at least rinse and condition it in the morning, it’s usually a rat’s nest, but I’m also a lazy person who doesn’t necessarily want to shower before AND after Pilates class, so I often feel bad about myself as I stare at my frizz-headed reflection in the studio mirrors.

On a good day, my hair can be pretty – soft and ringletty – at least until I leave the house and encounter wind and/or precipitation, at which point, all bets are off.  On a bad day, it’s a fright.  I try to accept it for what it is, but that involves accepting that sometimes it just looks terrible.

When I was a child, my hair was long, and was usually in two braids or long ponytails.  I often shrieked while it was being brushed and braided, because it was knotty and difficult to smooth into bobbles. When I look at pictures now, I see that the braids/ponytails made my face, always a bit sad when at rest, look even droopier and sadder.  Nevertheless, I cried when my mother suggested, when I was eleven, that we bob my hair.  I eventually relented, and, although my new blunt cut didn’t look all that nice, my hair became a lot easier to manage for a while.

When I was fifteen, I cut my hair very short for the first time, and have done so periodically since.  When I’m slim and fit and my face is more heart-shaped than round, I think a pixie cut suits me, but when I put weight on, I like to have a bit more hair to balance me out.

I didn’t learn until well into adulthood that I shouldn’t be brushing my hair.  A hairdresser finally told me (why was she the first?) that I should comb it while it’s wet and then not break up the curls by fussing with them.  This has helped immeasurably, and I don’t even own a hairbrush any more.  I recently read, though, that I should still brush it at night before bed to stimulate the scalp and distribute the oils.  I might start doing this just to amuse my husband with the results.

I think my hair flatters me most when it’s long but pulled back, either in a knot at the nape of my neck or twisted and pinned just above it. However, this is easier to achieve some days than others; I’ve never mastered the balance of damp/dry, pins/freedom, product/natural that will make this work reliably and not result in a dandelion poof at the front or a weird cowlick on one side of the crown.  I am absolutely unwilling to screw around with straightening irons or other implements, so I keep fiddling with different combinations of product, accessories and, at the limit, blow-drying, in hopes of finding an idiot-proof style that takes no more than ten minutes.  I haven’t found it yet.

I didn’t start to go noticeably grey until I was around forty.  I was impatient for it, because my mother has really beautiful silver hair.  It came in in gorgeous streaks that looked like she’d had them done in a salon.  My grey hair is not having the same effect.  First off, my mother had dark hair.  Mine is a sparrowy light brown, so the grey just looks mousy, although I’m starting to notice it glimmering a bit now that there’s more.  I’m also getting allover grey hairs with no discernible pattern, which doesn’t do me any favours.  However, I’ve stubbornly stopped dyeing since the grey started arriving in earnest, and I’m enjoying the slight change in texture that I’m noticing.  I’m hopeful that, once I’m mostly grey, my hair will form cooperative ringlets or settle into nice waves.  One can always dream.


How do you feel about your hair? Please leave your own answers in the comments, or link to a response on your own blog.




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