In Discussions, Discussions, Life, Style

What do you do to your hair?

I never thought about hair as a statement of anything until I started listening to podcasts and reading about the politics of hair.

To me, hair was hair and sometimes you got it right and sometimes you tried new stuff that was not a good idea so you never did it again.

Then I started talking about it, and I had no idea there was so much attached to hair especially in heterosexual relationships of men commenting on your hair:

In general:

  • Long hair = pretty, sexy, feminine
  • Short hair = boyish, unnattractive, manly
  • Bald = OMG you are not even a woman (WTF is up with this reaction?)

This is not the reaction of ALL men of course, but in general I have observed the above although short hair looks very gamine on many women and looks fantastic on them. I’ve also heard that short hair “weeds out the weirdos and creeps” as well.

I asked my partner a long time ago when we started dating, what he would do (playfully) if I shaved my head.

He looked at me, gave my question a serious consideration, and said:

“You would still be the same person to me, and I’d love you no matter what your hair was.

It’s just hair.

And, you would probably feel more comfortable during summer and “free” without the heavy, hotness of your hair.

Why?

Do you want me to razor your head?”

……. to which I obviously said:

OMG NO. I WAS JUST ASKING.

I didn’t think much of it then, but when I started talking to other women who griped about their hair and so on, I realized that his reaction is in the minority.

Most guys, have a specific thing about hair on the women they love or are interested in. They want it to be long, short, but not too short, or wavy, or curly, or a certain colour.

REALLY?


I had no idea. I guess I just assumed my partner was the same as everyone else.

And let’s not even get started on the politics of black women being “allowed” to wear their hair naturally. What a load of crock.

There is SO MUCH stigma on both sides attached to having your hair straight, or leaving it natural, or shaving your head.

My friend told me she spends her Saturdays getting it braided, or weaved, and when someone comes near her hair, she turns into a ninja:

“DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING THE WEAVE”, she threatens

She can’t even go swimming unless her hair is in braids.

I had no idea.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER…

When I was younger I dreamed of long flowing locks like a Disney Princess. Ariel was obviously my favourite and I even snagged a fork to comb my hair like her when I was younger until my brother squealed on me and proclaimed it to be disgusting that I was even doing it.

Wait.

Let’s back up a bit because the story starts with me being a little baby before toddlerhood, physically YANKING OUT my locks until I had bald spots all over my head because I found it comforting to do that while sucking my two fingers.

Why? NO IDEA WHY.

Just the thought of what I did makes me cringe in pain but I do fairly recall it being something I remember doing as a kid — tug, suck on fingers, tug my hair some more. I was obviously a weirdo in the making.

Anyhow, my mother, horrified that her little baby girl was doing this to herself, had her hopes and dreams of a little doll dressed up in curls and ribbons dashed as my parents made the decision to cut my hair so short that I’d have nothing to grip on to tug out.

I basically look like a boy dressed in pink frilly clothing for most of my Baby/Toddler years.

As I aged and grew out of this strange, creepy hair tugging obsession of mine, my mom finally had her dreams realized and my hair grew down past my waist.

She put it up in curls, she curled it with curling irons for me for special occasions, I had ribbons all over the place — a dream.

Until one day…. she decided to give me permanent curls.

Yes. PERMANENT curls.

She took me to the hair dresser, I basically got an 80s perm (imagine this on a 7-year old if you will), and because we had no idea how to deal with curly hair and no one taught us, it turned into a disaster when I washed it — all frizzy, damaged, ugh. No conditioning, NADA. A mess.

I had an afro, of sorts, until my next hair visit when the horrified hairdresser told me that she had to cut as much as she could out because it was split to the root.

I tearfully agreed and my hair was cropped shorter than a boy’s cut.

Fast forward to finally getting the good sense to veto my mother’s well-meaning suggestions to “give it another go”, the perm, she meant, now that “we know how to care for it”, I refused to touch my hair for years. I cut it in simple, boring layers and let grow out.


When I started my first job…

I only finally got it cut when I got my first job and decided to have it cropped to just below my shoulders. WHAT A RELIEF.

I discovered how short of a time it would take to shampoo and condition my hair, now that basically 20” was chopped off (and donated to the Locks of Love (for cancer victims) as virgin hair, untreated, I dyed & beautifully thick) and it was marvellous. I had so much free time!!!!

I let it grow out again and on and off, would let it get long, then donate the lot to Locks of Love again.

It wasn’t until I had Baby Bun that I went through the stage ALL new mothers go through — the desire to crop your hair and start anew as a new mother, so it were.

I again, let it grow out and gave it to Locks of Love. I however, had cropped it SO SHORT to give the maximum amount, that I looked like a mushroom head for the next 6 painful months as it grew out.

Finally, I realized two things:

1. My hair is best just below the shoulder. Any longer and I get irritated then go too far with the scissors then regret it.

2. I like simple haircuts that have near ZERO maintenance and I am too lazy to do anything to it in the morning, so let’s not even bother.

Then the ultimate: I learned how to DIY cut my own hair and this second time around (I just did it last week!!!) I went a little shorter on the second cut to give me layers and movement, and my hair looks AWESOME.

Literally. Like model professionally cut hair.

Look how good it sometimes looks in the morning — this is my actual hair & head shown below on Instagram @saverspender:

I have had so many compliments on how good my hair looks from random strangers telling me, to people I’ve eavesdropped on, calling my hair amazingly bouncy and beautiful, followed by a half jealous snort of .. “lucky bitch”, to Sephora associates coming up and asking me how I get my hair to do that.

No idea, I tell them. I don’t dye it, blow dry it aside from air dry it in my Aquis towel and then let it be, and I don’t curl or touch it AT ALL. Oh and Biosil. Look into it.

These days, I let my hair do what it wants to do and if it sucks at the curl one day and goes the wrong way, I just put it up in a bun or a ponytail and call it a day.

Cost to care per year now?

About $200. The price of shampoos & conditioners.

I am super lucky and I know it. Trust me. I have zero experience with stigma or negative reactions to my hair (these days anyway) and on my end, it has ALWAYS been positive for the most part, once I stopped letting my mother use my hair like an experiment.

What do you do to your hair? I’d love to hear your experiences with hair.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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14 Comments

  1. S
    Shawn

    I have cut my own thick, wavy hair for years. I use shampoo without laurel sulfates, wash it only probably 3x/week, & only condition it once a month. I only air dry my hair but I do run a straightener through it almost everyday just in cowlick problem areas. Sometimes I wear it totally wavy. I use some air dry volume sprays & a bamboo filter. I often get lots of compliments so I feel pretty fortunate. I ask most grateful that I have thick hair.

    I definitely agree. I don’t get why men are so weird about long hair. Maybe we should blame Playboy & the porn industry?? Short hair can be so flattering, often more flattering!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      And easy to wash. I can see how little it would take.

      Reply
  2. t
    tonia

    Boy, this post brings up a lot of issues for me. I am biracial, half white, half black, my mom being the white part of the equation. As such, when I was little, she had no idea what to do with a head full of thick unruly- I’m gonna say it because I have it and I can- kinky curly hair. So- once a month, shampoo (no such thing as conditioner other than balsam- worthless on my hair) and I would sit on the floor between her legs and puke on newspaper screaming the whole time. As soon as I was old enough, 7, she took me to a salon (a white beauty salon who also did not know anything about ethnic hair) and proceeded to relax it and cut it into a DOROTHY HAMiL. Which looked good for about 5 seconds until it rained or was foggy or I sweated or whatever. My dad almost had a stroke. Because now I couldn’t even wear a braid or ponytail. Fast forward several years, products are getting better and I’m still relaxing my hair, its still breaking off and won’t grow past my shoulders. At the tender age of about 40, I said EFF it and just quit. Quit the relaxers, curling irons, straightening combs, etc. etc. And now I have a head of healthy kinky curly hair that I can literally wash and go. Hallelujah! Except I work in a very conservative environment so I am still constrained. Most days I do the ponytail thing or the bun thing but I most definitely can’t go wild and free (not considered professional in my line of work). My whole life i HATED my hair. I am so glad now to turn on the TV and see women and girls that look like ME!!! and its just fine.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      h my goodness… I’m shuddering for you. I really am. Why do we want to ruin what is part of our natural beauty?

      I am VERY Happy to see more natural hair on TV and just in general. I think it is really stunning.

      Reply
  3. S
    Sandy

    I have good hair so I’m lucky lol It has a bit of a wave and a curl and is thick. I do not have a model’s face but I have model hair. However, I HATE going to the salon and when I read about you cutting your own hair, I pulled up Youtube and watched a few tutorials. Feeling brave, I gave it a go and ….. my hair has never looked so good! It looks great. Just one pony tail and a pair of sharp scissors and I have the hairstyle I always wanted but could never get at the salon. Crazy eh? Thanks very much for the DIY tip 😀

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You could have a model’s face in the right era. Have you noticed that the faces of what is “beautiful” has changed because of people wanting something different than from “conventional” beauty? Look at Coco Rocha, she has a bit of an underbite ? Over bite? with a hooked nose .. and is considered beautiful.

      Reply
  4. Cassie

    Oh man, I had some brutal hair cuts when I was younger. I also had it chemically straightened in my late teens. The first time went well, but the second time I went in a different girl did the regrowth. She coated all of my hair (it only needed the roots!), went for a smoke break while the chemical was in my hair (far longer than the original processing), and then didn’t neutralize the chemicals properly (I could smell the chemicals in the shower two weeks later). My hair was fried, and I’ve never tried doing that to it again. My hair isn’t thick, but I have a lot of it and the curls are stubborn. Cutting it short was an impulsive decision, but I’m glad I made it. It used to take me over an hour to blow dry and straighten my hair. Who has time for that?

    My hair care routine has slimmed down to bare bones since going short. I scrub my scalp with water in the shower every morning, towel it dry, and brush it into place. That’s it. Every week or two, if it’s starting to look a little oily, I’ll use some shampoo. It doesn’t need it very often though, since the daily water scrub does most of the work. Haircuts are more frequent, but it’s also solo time outside the home, so I’ll take it.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I hope you massage your scalp rather than scrub it, because I read it stresses the scalp and makes your hair fall out. I DID NOT KNOW THAT and now I massage my scalp gently.

      Reply
  5. Yet Another PF Blog

    I used to have long hair but now, whenever it grows past my shoulders, I chop it down to a short bob. I’ve never found a hair maintenance plan that works better (and requires less work) than: wash every other day, air dry before bed.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      This is me. I don’t bother with any chemicals or things. Can’t be bothered. It’s gonna do what it’s gonna do. Diana Ross one day, limp and oily the next (pony tail time!)

      Reply
  6. L
    Laura Dietrick

    Ive done short hair and long hair. My grandma wouldnt let me cut my hair EVER so I had hair down to my knees until I was in 3rd grade. I secretly went to the mall one day and had it all chopped off into a shoulder length bob. I usually keep it above my collar. A few months ago I shaved half of my head and did an asymmetrical cut. I really like it but Im thinking of shaving both sides next time I go and trying to upkeep it myself. Hair is hair and it does not define you as being female. I shampoo my hair with whatever I have in the shower and dont blow dry it or style it. I do feel like my new cut is more reflective of how I feel on the inside and is more “me” but I dont feel bound by it.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I like the look of shaved heads on women with longer bobs on top but can’t pull it off

      Reply
  7. Alexis

    Yep I definitely cut my hair as a new mom! Got sick of having baby almost eat my hair while nursing and having to always move my hair so it didn’t get puked on… just above the shoulders is my sweet spot!

    Reply

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