Hair (and a rant ensues)...

posted on: Monday, 25 November 2013

Can I just talk about hair?! As in hairstyles? I am obsessed! So the story of my hair goes like this: throughout my teens and early twenties I tried everything. Perms (I had many; a disaster), swinging between redhead and blonde, fringe/no fringe. I changed and sadly damaged my hair so much that it did once start to break off at the root after too many chemicals and I had to treat it with hot oil every time I washed it, just to get it to lie flat. Naturally, it's brunette, generally normal, fine hair, it used to be stick straight but after children now has a slight curl. So as a result of the abuse I put it through I became rather conservative and had - are you ready for this - the same hairdresser for fifteen years! Whaaa? I know - I am beyond loyal. I loved my hairdresser, she was/is a good friend, but eventually she decided to follow another calling and is retraining to become a midwife! So I am now out on my own after a decade and a half of hairstyling trust.

Olivia she fretting because she misses her long hair?!
You know that feeling when you get a fabulous new haircut and it looks fresh and new and when you run your hands through it, it's healthy and blunt cut and just feels amazing? Happy-making? I want that. I want a restyle. I have had the same hair for so long or variations of a very limited theme.

But here is the issue - in Pinterest pictures of hair styles I covet; the beautiful hair sits atop the face of a model. YES! This is why their hair looks so stunning. I fall over myself pining pictures of 'choppy' bobs and 'mid-length' wonders; I am seduced by the faces, the whole package, not just the hair. It strikes me this is a wider issue to do with how we are in normal life (let's put everyone in the 'normal' bracket; as far as I know I don't have a celebrity/off-duty model readership). I walk around noting that most women's hair looks...dare I say...pretty average. Very few (lucky) women have naturally 'good' hair which is thick (but not too thick), luxuriant (not frizzy), healthy (no split ends), richly hued (not grey or with roots). It's the modern elixir of life - along of course with a positive body image, but don't get me started on that!

I noticed as I sat in the hair salon recently, with sweaty palms, getting my first new cut and colour, there were a lot of women around me gesticulating about wanting this or that - showing pictures from their phones. Using a language not applied anywhere else in life, about hair. 'It's too heavy'; 'Let's take the weight out' when referring to the scourge of the layer. What is it with layers?! I am so cross as I now have more layers in my hair than I wanted and the result: limp, thin hair. Hairdressers - why the layers?! What is it with this mystical 'weight' in hair that needs removing, like some sort of affliction?! Drives me nuts. The number of times I have grown out over-zealous layers in my life...

Then there is the colour. Now I am going grey - it pains me to write that - I have many contemporaries who are not and I wonder at the injustice of getting my first grey hair at 30. I have been dying my hair for a decade and for the record: there is no way I am going to go properly grey. My Danish Grandmother was in her nineties and still had brunette hair. This is my role model. So there you are - I will be locked into the hair dying extravaganza forever. I may as well take out a second mortgage! And here is my theory on colouring: only one in five colouring appointments turn out right. Some too dark, some too light, some went to far, some not far enough. This is an enigma to me. Why the variation?

So - I am frustrated. I now have mid length hair - it is completely 'meh'. I see these short funky bob cuts. I want that. I want cool, easy hair. I get up at 6.30am every morning; I don't have time for styling. But I also absolutely lust for lovely, long hair. Like Olivia P. Arrgghh and then I go back to my original point, which is: Olivia could shave her head and still look amazing. It's because she is model beautiful.

I live in fear of 'housewife' hair - that is hair which just hangs. Un-styled. Un-stylish. It's a minefield ;-)

So please - what to do? What is recommended for mere mortals? I need a hairstyle that works, and that I love and that I don't look in the mirror and immediately want to pull it into a pony tail. Cut or grow??'s OK; it grows back...


  1. I SO agree with you about colouring appointments....each time it's slightly different, even when the same colours are being applied month after month, WTH??!! I am 75% happy with my colour (which I have done every 4 weeks now, eek, it used to be every 6 wks....appt, tomorrow!) but I figure it's more right than wrong so I stick with the summer it goes blonder with the sun, then I spend the winter growing it out.

    My current hairdresser is great at colouring my hair, not so good at cutting it....but I hate the thought of leaving her & starting all over again!! It's madness.

    I can imagine you would suit miid-length hair, after all the thinking & deliberating what a shame that you don't like it....arrgh!!

    Layers &'s a nightmare & a minefield, why is it so difficult to get right? I still have no idea.

    I've never had a style that I really really loved....the perfect hairstyle - as opposed to perfect hair - has been on my to do list forever....sigh.

    And "housewife hair"...heaven forbid ;)

  2. I don't think that I'm going to be any good at helping you with this one Lou ….. I have had the same hairstyle { long, straight, highlights } pretty much all of my life !!!! I have always liked my hair and do feel lucky that it's dead straight as I think that straight long hair never really dates. I can remember my husband saying once that, when I get old, at 27 !!, maybe I should cut it then !! I still haven't done it and I'm 62 now !! haha. I always ask my hairdresser if he thinks it's still OK to have it like this at my age and he always says that it's fine. It is a little shorter that it used to be but, still long.
    The only thing that I have discovered recently is Aveda highlights. I've been using Aveda shampoos and conditioners for 20 years and my hairdresser has started using their highlights and colours. They seem to be much softer, not damaging { as there isn't any bleach } and he thinks that you can't get better colours. He does pop a few bleach ones in but, I think that they are so much better for your hair. Finding a hairdresser that you like is very difficult so, I hope you find yours. I'm sure that your hair looks lovely but, to ourselves, our hair is very important so, I know how you feel { and, I know for sure that you will NEVER have ' housewife hair ' } ….. I always feel that I need a psychiatrist standing by when I have my hair cut !!!! { sorry …. that was a bit of a long comment !! } XXXX

  3. I'm so wish you on this! Luckily, my hairdresser gets the color right every single time, which is why I keep going to her. But it's so freakin' expensive! I've started alternating between salon coloring and doing it at home. The at-home color is as expected - which is, too dark and not as good - but there you have it. Going gray sucks. And I'm with you - I got my first grays at 30 too. Pfffft.

    On cut….I've been noticing your pins lately and loving all the fun sexy bobs, wishing desperately that I could pull it off. I tried letting my bangs (or fringe I suppose ;-) grow out in college, and my family made me promise never to do it again. Apparently my forehead is too big for it. I'm stuck with the bangs, and I hate them. But to your point, the hairstyle is more than just hair - it has to work with your face! And your lifestyle. I went a little shorter over the summer, and I immediately hated not being able to pull it up. Sigh…so I guess what I'm saying….no answers here. Good luck!

  4. OMG! Don't get me started. You can't imagine the gesticulating that goes on when I have my hair done in Spain. But funnily enough it always ends up much better than when I go to the best salon in the UK. Why is that?
    I get my color done by Aveda as a form of damage control and I have refused to pay for cuts when I have gone in with a specific picture and the hairdresser has become scissor happy and created the dreaded layers. With a picture you can have something tangible that you can then argue the case against.I think for a really good style you like and that will work for your hair texture and lifestyle, go to a good upmarket salon. If you are in London I would choose Daniel Galvin, Errol Brown or John Frieda. It may seem more expensive at the outset, but if they get the consultation process right, you will only need to go to your local for trims and touch-ups.You will also spend less on products to tame the mess the hairdresser has produced.
    Good luck Lou!

  5. Oh Lou, I simply cannot tell you how this post got to me. EVERYTHING you write, I have been there and then some. As a "young gal" my hair was long and well behaved and as I was on a pony most of the time, it stayed under a hat! Now I am almost permanently disappointed in my hair,! I too constantly scroll the Pinterest site for hairstyles. You are SO right Lou, they look great because the woman is gorgeous.......
    To cut or not to cut? Now that really is the killer question. Xxx

  6. I will be of no help to you. I wear a pixie cut and have for years. It is so easy!

  7. Close to 20 years with the same hairdresser here! I've got relatively thick hair with a decided wave in it (sadly not the auburn Pre-Raphaelite curls my great grandmother had!) which is a right pain when cut short - it then needs daily washing and styling. And since I'm a "get out of bed, brush it and get going with the day" person, styling just doesn't happen. The key (as we all know) is finding what works best for ourselves and getting a cutter who understands our hair. And that's the hard bit! Gianni knows I prefer my hair long (keeps my back warm, can be pinned up in hot weather and generally suits my hippy/romantic tendencies) and cuts it with some layers so that it has more bounce and shape (created by the curl having less weight in it that would otherwise pull it straight). Every so often we agree to tweak it - longer layers, a really long side fringe.... I take him fresh eggs from our chickens each time I visit and will be devastated when he finally puts his scissors away.

  8. Argh I feel your hair you possibly know from our tweets about THE HAIR! Two things - we always think someone else's hair looks amazing. Therefore yours is gorgeous. And Olivia P has the best hair to go with the best bod/wardrobe etc. These are the things that set her apart from us mere mortals yet I still love her style and covet her hair. It becomes more difficult as we get older. I think my hair has definitely "aged" recently and so has different needs. Still trying to figure out what they are! Good luck and never cut it too short - instant regret!! xxx

  9. Aveda, aveda, aveda. That's all I can say - Rachel

  10. With you all the way!! Would love to pull of a full and fluffy bob, but as my hair is dead straight and rather thin (though I have a lot, thankfully), it wouldn't look quite right without a daily, hour long styling session. I've tried, believe me, and failed. And that was pre kids and pre 'mummmyyyyy, I am hungryyyyy' breakfast calls.
    I am OK with my colour and have half head highlights done here and there. Always see the same guy at an Aveda Salon on Kings Road. The colour is so gentle, it doesn't harm my paper thin chick fluff. But re the layers - OMG THE LAYERS. Since when has taking away something ever ever ever added volume to anything??? My hairdresser is usually trustworthy, but the other day I discovered LAYERS at the back of my head. The cheek!! Will tell him off big time next week.

  11. Since I live in the Tropics I'm also frustrated with my hair. There are no educated hairdresser no good brand colour available..just black and redred. You can imagine howmy hair look now. I don't have many social events, hence I only wash my hair , let it dry naturally and when I go out I use a hat, turban or hairband. One word...I lost my vanity.