Ask Amanda: The Five Stages of Haircuts

As many of you who know me IRL are already aware, last week I cut and dyed my hair.

Front page news, I know.

But seriously folks, after not having had a haircut in three years, and having never dyed my hair (other than with chalk colours or washable markers in high school), it was sort of a big deal for me – and I went through the corresponding stages of mental insanity before and after the big chop.

Just for fun this week, since I’m sure you’re inundated with “get in shape for 2018!” and “lose ten pounds in two weeks!” resolution-y stuff all over the internet, I’m going to take this week off writing about fitness and nutrition and fill you in on what it’s like to cut nearly 13 inches off your hair and bleach it to high heavens for the first time ever.

STAGE 1 (pre-cut; browsing on Instagram): EXCITEMENT & BADASSERY – who’s gonna stop me now?  I’m gonna cut my hair, b*tches.  I see all these celebs with cute, wavy lobs (translation: long bobs) and I bet I’ll look just as cute.  Cuter, maybe.  Ok maybe not as cute as Cara Delevigne, but somewhere between Khloe Kardashian and Julianne Hough levels of cuteness.  Yeah, I got this.  I’m gonna be the hair envy of every other blonde on the block.  I am such a baws.

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You are so beautiful, to me.  Can’t you see?

STAGE 2 (after making appointment): FEAR & LOATHINGwhy in the fresh hell did I make that appointment?  I should probably cancel it.  Yeah, I think I’m feeling sick anyway, my Chinese zodiac said something about not making major life changes this year so I’ll just bump this cut to 2019 to ensure double happiness.  My hair is fine the way it is, I can braid away the split ends and paint over the greys and no one will be the wiser.  Yep, all good.

STAGE 3 (at salon, after first snip): DISBELIEF & RAGEdid that psychopath just cut my hair with actual scissors?  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOLD-IT-UNDER AND SHOW ME THE POTENTIAL LENGTH BEFOREHAND THING?!?!?  Is that MY blonde-ass hair on the floor?  Is this real life?  Did someone authorise this act of brutality?  Show me this man’s aesthetician license.  SHOW IT TO ME RIGHT NOW SO HELP ME GOD.  I can probably get a work visa in Cambodia until this grows out, right?  BECAUSE I CANNOT BE SEEN IN PUBLIC WITH HUMANS FOR MINIMUM FIVE CALENDAR MONTHS.

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Like honestly it felt like he was balding me.

STAGE 4 (at salon, after colour is finished): CAREFUL ACCEPTANCEok, so the cut is whack, but I’m pretty sure I’m now a modern-day Marilyn Monroe with this ice blonde amazingness.  Is this colourist a magician?  Is it still going to look like this when I leave or will it wash out in the rain like my old Crayola-marker highlights?  You can’t see a single grey hair on my head because it’s so platinum.  Gwen Stefani, move aside.  I think I may be able to be seen outdoors now (albeit after somehow deflating this 1950s bouffant they styled me into toward something more like the “beachy waves” I actually asked for).

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Right colour; wrong era.

STAGE 5 (a week later, after a multitude of kind words and compliments from dear friends & clients): PEACE & JOY it’s just hair, Amanda, holy sh*t.  Get over yourself.  #firstworldproblems to the maximum degree.  It looks a thousand times healthier, more modern, and stylish than the brassy mop you used to carry around on that narrow head of yours, and it shows that you’re able to actually take a risk every once in a while.  Breathe.  Recover. Now grab your can of thickening spray, bust out that little round brush, and take that bangin’ new ‘do out on the town!

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The finished product.

And so we did.  Alls well that ends well – and #2018yearofthebadass is off to an epic start!

Do you plan to make any major changes in the coming year?  What and why?

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Long Hair Don’t Care

Hair.  It’s the bane of existence for many of us active ladies – and even those who don’t work up a sweat on a regular basis can relate to the utter pain of trying to maintain a decent-looking hairstyle for more than the 10 minutes immediately after you style it.

I see girls in the gym with long ponytails down their back and all I can think is: how are you not getting sweaty?  I head to Spin class with a cute, flippy ponytail and within 5 minutes it’s a wet, sticky rattail glued to my sweaty shoulders.

Same applies to braids.  I look at a nice, tight French braid and think – hey, I could do that! – and then when I try, my layers stick out all over the place, the braid unravels, and I am left with about a third of my hair in a low-lying elastic band and the rest in pieces flying around my (again, sweaty) face.

Don’t even start me on those stupid 1/2″ thick rubber headbands.  For whom do these function in their intended fashion?  I have a ridiculously small pinhead (think child-size) and the second I put one of these bad boys ONTO my head, it’s already looping off the crown of my head and hanging off the bun or ponytail secured behind it.  Epic accessory fail.

So those of you who know me “in real life” know that I have exactly ONE workable workout hairdo: the wet bun.

The wet bun is not just a topknot.  Oh no, my friends, the wet bun is cemented to my scalp through the miracle of hairspraying wet hair, twisting it into the highest bun possible (so it doesn’t interfere with me lying supine on a bench or floor), and hairspraying it again for a shellac of a hairstyle that will then stay in place until a) I take it down or b) nuclear holocaust.

The wet bun works.  But the wet bun is not glamorous.  It is not trendy.  It is functional, decent-looking, and that’s about it.

I have searched high and low for hairstyles that can accommodate both my need to look like a professional human in the gym (i.e. no messy buns, loose ponytails, or half-up styles) and my need to keep sweaty hair off my face and back.  This is no small feat.  A comprehensive internet search for alternatives has revealed the following:

The braided updo.  Sure, it looks nice, and sure, it’s trendy.  But for me to get all of my hair a) braided and b) pinned into this complicated milkmaid look would take about 1.5 hours and 150 bobby pins – and would still probably fall out due to the number of layers I have in my hair.  No thanks.

The braided pigtails.  A variation on the above, this version would definitely be quicker, but I’ve worn pigtails before – and while I think I look OK in them, I also think I look a bit childish, and maybe even a bit unintentionally sexy, which is probably not great for work.  Couple that with the fact that they flip around in front of and behind my shoulders and it would take about 1/2 mile of getting hit in the face by my own hair to rip the braids out and shove them back into the bun.

The sectioned ponytail.  Apparently this one has been all over the runways of late, popular for both its relative ease (make a ponytail, grab some more hair, make another one) and its functionality (it definitely looks like it stays put).  That said, I’m not sure I like the semi-futuristic look of it all, and again, I feel like it would take more time in the bathroom than it would be worth for the ugly-cute nature of the style.

The almost-too-fancy gym updo.  A lot of styles I found were some variation of a braid/bun/twist accented with a fancy clip or headband that seemed to me like too much work, cuteness, and frou-frou for an actual workout.  Maybe these women are trying to do the whole gym-to-lunch thing that I’ve never mastered or understood?  Maybe they have permanently blocked sebaceous glands that disallow sweat from gracing their gentle brows.  I like the idea of using accessories but again, given that the tiny rubber headbands don’t really work for my head, I am skeptical of other such products even trying to stay put.

My search for the perfect sweatproof style now moves on to YOU, dear readers:

How do you style your hair when you exercise?  Do you use any accessories that you love and can recommend?  Which styles would you like to try out in the gym?