Is It Ever Really “Just Hair”?

You know how when you go to the hairdresser, you have this image in your head of the new hairstyle you want, of the new woman you’re going to be when you leave the salon. Right? Especially when you’re in need of change, and just feel like you need to do something quite drastic, but can’t actually think of anything else than, well, changing your hair!

The other day I had an hour to spare because I had dropped off my glasses to get them updated to a new correction. One hour. Not wanting to browse in a bookshop, not feeling like having a coffee (it would have been the 4th one that day so, no-no), not feeling like anything really. Except, maybe, a spontaneous haircut. I walked up to a salon I’d been before ages ago. Googled them in front of the door to check if I needed to book an appointment which obviously was completely unnecessary because, I was in front of the door. Do you do that sometimes? I certainly do when I’m not feeling my best.

I had this idea of a “Baby in Dirty Dancing vibe” you know? You don’t? She has curly hair. I do to. That’s about all we have in common, but it’s enough.

Anyway, I went in, someone was on the phone telling a client they had no spot available that day so I thought, “well, that’s that, spontaneous doesn’t work for me.” Then, I spoke to one of the hairdressers and almost apologized for asking if maybe they might have some free time now, like in, now. The guy was super nice and told me, of course, have a sit. I freaked out. Inside my head. But still, I FREAKED OUT. A minute before I was smoking a cigarette outside the salon, a minute later, I was having my hair washed.

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Obviously, there was a massaging chair, which I just do not like. Let’s be real, It’s NOT a massage. It’s like an annoying moving chair in my opinion. They asked me if I wanted coffee, I wondered, and quickly enough, remembered I was already way too caffeinated at that point. Then the “what do you want then Darling? Fancy a big change?” question popped up. Did I mention I was freaking out?

I had this idea of a “Baby in Dirty Dancing vibe” you know? You don’t? She has curly hair. I do to. That’s about all we have in common, but it’s enough. I also had this vision of Charlotte Rampling’s long layered hair with a grown out fringe. Usually when I go to the hairdresser, I bring pictures which really helps, if you don’t do that already, you should give it a try, it’s life changing. But I did not this time because, it doesn’t really go with trying to be spontaneous I guess.

I had envisioned this new version of myself, with layered but not thinned out hair, a long romantic sort of fringe, a newborn confidence and potentially a new inner strength.

There I am, in the chair, telling the lovely hairdresser that I want to let my hair grow, that I’m letting my curls be but I’d like some structure instead of a long grown out bob, and that a long fringe would look nice, right?

During the process, I’m thinking, “It’s fine. Hair grows. Oh that looks more like a proper fringe… Fine. I’ll have a fringe. It’s not like I can’t put my hair up. Is he still cutting my hair? Don’t look at the floor. Oh I don’t have to, I have hair all over my white jeans. Good. I have no hair left. Fine.” How dramatic!

I had envisioned this new version of myself, with layered but not thinned out hair, a long romantic sort of fringe, a newborn confidence and potentially a new inner strength, all that revealed by the best haircut of all times. I guess in a way, I wanted to walk out and be someone else which is not an easy thing to admit. However, I believe it’s fine to acknowledge it. Don’t we all, sometimes? I feel the need to mention that this is a rhetorical question.

 

 

Fast forward an hour. I walked out with the curliest hair ever and a straight fringe which is not the best look (see the photo, I manage it better myself these days, but not there yet!), tiny little hair all over my face and the immediate feeling of needing to pull my hair back. Got my glasses back and a compliment on the haircut which was lovely. Came back home and felt like I’d been in an actual roller coaster. Started to text my friends, and did not really get the answers I wanted because I was simply not able to formulate the terrible question. Was this a mistake?

Now, I’m not Baby, nor Charlotte Rampling, but even if it’s not exactly the style I had in mind, I feel pretty good about it. It’ll grow out and look better I hope. I do find myself having to sort of straighten the fringe because it’s quite short… Doesn’t this description makes it seem like it looks horrendous? Ha. Though honestly, I like it!

The moral of the story is : I’m not someone else. I’m not necessarily a better version of myself. I have freshly cut hair though. I am a tiny bit more spontaneous that a few days ago. I can now say, “I had a fringe once, it was not necessary per se”. Actually you know what? I am a better version of myself because I tried something new.

You might think, “OMG, what is she on about, it’s just hair!”

But, is it really?

The only shampoo I always come back to

You may know I’ve decided to stop straightening my hair in January, so I know have to deal with curly hair, which is way more high maintenance that I thought. I’m also trying to use nice sulfate free shampoos and shower gels, not that easy to find actually. For shower gels actually, the ones I’m really happy about are by Weleda, a gorgeous organic and natural brand, check them out if you’re looking for a gentle shower gel, they’re really good!

So I’ve been experimenting with a few different things, and to be honest I don’t have any cult product to tell you about because none of the stuff I’ve been trying out is good enough in my opinion. Except for this Christophe Robin Antioxidant Cleansing Milk with 4 oils and blueberry that I’ve been using for literally years.

I’m quite low maintenance nowadays because I simply wash my hair, sometimes put a cream to coat the curls and make my hair a bit more defined/bouncy and that’s it. It’s been quite warm the last few weeks, so I tend to air dry my hair. In the winter however, I blow dry my hair with a diffuser. My goal is either to look like Andie MacDowell in the old days, meaning, when she embraced her natural curls, or to look like a freshly washed golden retriever with soft curls…

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This gorgeous shampoo is paraben, silicone, SLS and colorant free which makes it extremely gentle therefore my scalp does not get irritated. It is aimed at dry or highlighted hair and I can definitely feel how it sort of hydrates and conditions the hair without leaving it feeling heavy or greasy at all. It also has a very interesting creamy texture, kind of like a cleansing cream you’d use on your face, which I’m not mad about because it makes the whole “washing my hair” routine, that I usually hate, more luxurious and somehow enjoyable! Christophe Robin is a very well know french hairdresser who launched his brand back in 1999 only using the finest ingredients and truly thinking about how to make women feel better in their own…hair. He’s really inspiring and though his brand is quite expensive, I believe the price to be legitimate because of the quality of the formulas. The packaging’s not bad either you know… Which is always an added bonus.

It takes me a long time to use it up as well so it’s worth it! I’ve tried a few other products from the brand that I liked, but this shampoo definitely is something that I won’t stop using any time soon because I truly believe it’s changed my hair in the best possible way!

Do let me know if you know of any gentle shampoos, and even masks, my curly hair journey‘s just started…

Curly hair, letting go and a new identity in the making

I spent New Year’s Eve in London with my friends. It was after the Christmas madness, trying to see as many people in our respective families as we could. We arrived in London, knackered. But really happy. I always look forward to going back to what once felt like my town.

The first morning, I washed my hair and realized I had forgotten my oh so expensive, but oh so amazing, pocket Mason Pearson’s brush. I thought to myself “Am I really going to borrow a brush from my friend, that’s not going to work like my usual one and then plug my straighteners, but first blowdry my hair, just because I don’t feel confident enough to just let my hair be…?” I decided. Non. So I left my hair do their own thing. Which had not really happened in years. I guess I felt confortable enough to do it, to quit, cold turkey.

When I was 19, my mum kindly got me straighteners because I wanted to give this styling tool a try. Well, I tried, let me tell you.

So we left to have lunch in a pub in Chelsea. It was windy, my hair was wet, but for some reason I felt ok, almost nice actually. It might have had to do with the fact that my friends really encouraged me. Encourage me ? To do what you might think. Well, to me, letting my hair curl, be au naturel, is a new identity. Dry, my hair was actually really, really curly. It had not been this way in almost 10 years.

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When I was 19, my mum kindly got me straighteners because I wanted to give this styling tool a try. Well, I tried, let me tell you. The minute I straightened my first piece of hair, I knew I wanted to look like this forever. It was a new me. The closest I could be to kinda have hair like the actresses, singers, stars I’d grew up watching on TV, or seing in magazines. It made me feel more sophisticated, put together. Also, even though it’s actually harder to control straightened hair over curls, I felt like I was in total control. Paradoxically because I had to hide from the rain, (and it rains a lot where I live), hide from humidity, sleep with my hair tied up sometimes, not to mess up with the shape, and bring my straighteners anytime I’d go away somewhere for more than one night. But I felt good.

At least for the first few years. But as I was getting older, I felt guilty in a way to pretend I had this shinny, soft, frizz-free hair. Don’t get me wrong, I wear makeup and I love it, but I could go out without it. I don’t feel trapped when I put makeup on : it actually makes me deeply happy. It’s like being a kid again. I’m playing with colors, textures, looks. It’s refreshing and lovely.

But straightening my hair was not fun. It would take ages, and damage my hair quite badly. And again, the weather or a forgotten tool would make me feel shitty about myself.

Going out without doing anything to my hair was simply not something I was able to consider. That’s when it started to be an issue. Therefore, I had in mind I would stop that nonsense one day. Weirdly enough… I would always find myself excuses not to. But, when in London…

Back to now. When my hair was dry in London, in the Pub, my friends all noticed a difference, and one of them even said, “you look great and it looks like you’ve put some efforts into this look because of how nice the curls are”. This warmed my heart. And not only because it was very kind of my dear friend to say so. But because, it made me think that I looked pulled together, and sophisticated. See ? Why would I want that anyway ? Isn’t natural good enough ?

As you may be able to see on the pictures above, top left is when I used to straighten my hair. So, since that day, I haven’t blowdried my hair, or used a straightener. And I look more like the two other picures… When I came back from London, it was not that easy. I did not like it, thought I looked weird, different but not in a good way, not put together. But I pushed through these feelings, and I’m ok now.

It might appear frivolous but I would strongly say it is not. Hair can be such a big part of one’s identity. It’s funny how emotions, feelings, hopes can be attached to it.

With straight/put together hair I was armed to be strong, confident, and pretty. Needless to say I did not feel like that, but that’s how tricky it gets. If with pretty, controlled hair I did not feel amazing, how would it be with natural, curly, messy hair ? Who would want to know honestly ? I did not. Until a few weeks ago.

I don’t know why. It just happened. And I’m feeling brave in a way. Detached as well. Because curly hair just do what it wants to do really.

So I have to accept that and frankly ? It is so bloody liberating.

So it begins. I’ll take you on this journey with me ! Next up ? Products for curls !