The hair gods haven’t always been kind to me.
When I was a kid, I had superfine, stringy blonde strands that looked thin and straggly moments after brushing it. I heard someone say it looked like ‘licked coconut’ and that’s totally the perfect description. What I really wanted was Blake Lively hair—that perfect, thick, slightly tousled golden blonde—that I could style into fun ponytails, braids and curls.
I’d pretend I had long, shiny hair by putting the neck of my nightgown around my head and letting it hang down my back. I’d walk around my bedroom, flicking it off my neck like I was Cher. Yeah, weird, I know, but that’s how badly I wished my head had anything other than what was growing out of it.
When I was about 9 my grandmother grabbed a hunk of my hair (“hunk” is a generous term—wisp is probably more accurate) and told my mother it looked like a rat’s nest and they should do something about it immediately.
They went to the grocery store and came back with an Ogilvy home perm, the first of many, many (many, many, many) perms. It was disaster. My mom sucked at rolling the perm rods around my strands so it was tight in some places; and the rods had come loose in others so the effect was more Finger In Socket than finger waves.
Fortunately, she realized it wasn’t her thing and my next perm was done in a salon.
It was better…but it was still a perm.
This continued until college when a friend of mine was like, “Honey, we have to do something about this hair.” He went to the beauty supply store, bought a hair-straightening kit and combed out 12 years of curls.
By this point my hair was still fine but I seemed to have a ton of it and it was so long that it fell below my bra strap. But it looked a little gnarly so he dragged me to a salon to have it cut just below my chin.
I loved it and that was probably the last time I had long hair.
Over the years I’ve kept it in some form of a bob, never much longer than a few inches above my shoulders.
I’ve worn a short, asymmetrical bob—almost boy short in the back and longer in the front—for nearly 4 years (see the photo in my sidebar), and now I’m ready to grow it out.
The problem is, I have no idea how to do that. I know I have to get regular trims to help it grow, but beyond that, I’m kind of hopeless. I’m horrible at doing girly things with my hair—I don’t know how to use accessories to mask the awkwardness that my hair is going through. I can use a straightening iron, but I have zero skill at using a curling iron—instead of soft waves I end up looking like Annie. I have no skill with barrettes or elastics, either. I see women make these gorgeous updos with nothing more than a handful of bobby pins but my attempts make me look like this:
I’ve rapidly reached that point I’ve been at so many times before when I get so freaking irritated that I make an appointment to cut it off again. To keep me on track, I set up a board on Pinterest called “Pretty Hair” (I know—totally original title), full of hair-spiration to keep me on track. Most of the looks are pretty similar to each other, and frankly, they’re just longer variations of what I’ve been doing for years. The good news is, if I can be patient, I only need to grow my hair a couple of inches to get there.
These are the only products I’ve been able to use with any degree of success. The Elle bobby pins are great because they match my hair color, hiding my deranged styling attempts. The headbands, coupled with the Goody clips have gotten me through yoga classes. Instead of shoving my hair behind my ears over and over again, the headband stays put and keeps me from running to the front desk for a pair of scissors after class. The elastics are great, too, although my hair isn’t really long enough for a legitimate pony, but I’m doing a lot of wishful growing, so maybe soon…
Any advice for growing out short hair? Otherwise, the next post may be about how I cut my hair off again.