I am going to go out on a limb here and say that all of us – women, at least, but perhaps men too – have some sort of underlying hair trauma. By that I mean that we all have some sort of issue with our hair: maybe we had the Dorothy Hamill look back in the day, maybe a bad perm, maybe an ingrained belief that we have uniquely bad hair and nothing can be done about it, maybe all of the above. Maybe that’s just me? But I don’t think so.
This past week I was having a conversation with my mother-in-law, who was a very nifty number back in the day, about aging, and how it can be hard to reconcile what you see in the mirror with what you think you look like, as you age. Some days it is startling, to see the marionette lines and forehead lines and other signs of aging. My mother-in-law said that when she looks at me – or anyone else she loves, for that matter – she doesn’t see how the years have changed our faces, she doesn’t see wrinkles or age, she only sees the same person she’s always known and loved. She just sees ME.
Isn’t that a beautiful testament to the power of love and friendship? If only we could all see ourselves as others do. It would be the best Instagram filter ever, to view our faces and bodies through the kind and loving eyes of a friend. What my mother-in-law said is true; when I look at my friends I see how beautiful they are, and I see none of the so-called flaws that they themselves see when they look in the mirror. We are, always, our own worst critics.
The conversation was sparked by her making an appointment to get a perm, and segued into the customary grass-is-always-greener discussion about hair. Isn’t it the truth that no one is happy with their hair? Curly girls straighten their hair, straight-haired girls curl theirs, girls with thick hair get it thinned out, girls with thin hair are volumizing like crazy. Me? I have fine, semi-wavy hair that has been processed within an inch of its life.
Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Hair Styling Tools Edition
Before we get started, I would like to point out that it has been over three months since I last had my hair cut, although I have coloured it myself since then. These photos were taken yesterday, which would be halfway through my hair colour cycle, so I think it’s a good indication of a typical hair day. I have noticed that since the Pandemic started, my hair has gone from above-the-shoulders to shoulder-length, and I will say that having longer hair again is wonderful for putting up in a bun; a bun is my go-to style at least 50% of the time, for days that I don’t wash my hair, or days that I’m teaching, or if I am going to be outside gardening, or if I’m going to be outside and there is inclement weather. I am going to keep growing it out for that reason alone.
But on days I do wash my hair, this is my regime, such as it is.
As you can see, pre-blow-drying, my hair is neither curly nor straight, it’s not thick but – according to my hair therapist – not thin either. I’m everywoman. After my shower I usually let it air dry for ten or fifteen minutes; I putter around the house, I make a smoothie, I contemplate my existence while listening to the boys talk about WWE.
I blow dry my hair upside down for added volume and this is what I look like. I feel pretty.
The light is terrible in this bathroom. That must be it. Anyway, I use the small comb to backcomb a little as my hair has a tendency to go limp, I spray the backcombed part with Pantene, and I admire my look.
After the backcomb extravaganza, I smooth things out, such as they are. It still looks weirdly voluminous, but just wait.
This is the Nellie Olsen stage of my hair. I use the curling iron to achieve the goal of looking like Laura’s nemesis, first spraying with Senscience. This part takes about five minutes.
I comb it out with the wide tooth comb, spray with Pantene, and leave the bad-lighting bathroom to put on lipgloss and jewelry, very important steps in the selfie process.
And that’s it! The whole process – from blow-drying to the final hairspray – takes about 15 minutes, give or take a minute or two. In contrast, putting my hair in a bun takes less than five, so my get-ready routine depends on the day.
Time to get on with my day. Have a great weekend, everyone. xo