Friday, March 4, 2011

Hair (My "Success" Story)

[Update: Maroccan oil is a life-saver, I can't tell you how much it changed my life. I now simply couldn't live without it.]

We're living in an age of eclectic fashion and everything from pixies to super long tresses is in style. I love the fact that whatever previous fashion era you prefer or whatever your personal style, nowadays it's hard to err. You can sport your grandma's sunglasses and "plastic" A-line dresses from the 60s or you can dig out your 80s disco attire and be the most stylish girl (or guy) in town. Don't forget to throw in some more modern pieces to avoid the crazy retro effect, and success is guaranteed.

The same goes for hair. I can see (both on catwalks and streets -- which often equal in quality here in superstylish Geneva) cuts from the 20s to the 90s and even some very up-to-date styles, all worn with the greatest pride and ingenuity. And I think that's the key to today's fashion, ladies and gentlemen. Ingenuity.

So lately I've been busy embracing my own style, belle epoque glamour with some hard rock influences, and I've been having a hard time figuring out just what hairstyle to sport with all this eclectic awesomeness...

For the past 10 years I've been stuck in the all-too-well-known cycle of short hair/long hair. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the pain of waiting for recently (and impulsively) cut locks to grow out and the ennui that often comes over us girls when we discover that there's just so many things you can do with long hair...

Today's fashion, however, offers countless remedies. First of all, no style is out of fashion, so while you're in the process of waiting for your hair to go, there are many intermediary haircuts you can go for, without looking strained or ridiculous. Second, if you simply prefer one length over another, there's no pressure to change your style. I remember how out-of-date and looked down on short haired girls were in the 90s and how strange and unpolished a simple long haircut seemed around 2005. But this is over, ladies, now the floor is yours and your imagination can take wings on the cool winds of a new fashion era.

I've taken advantage of this encouraging atmosphere to go from this


to this.

It still took me around 8 years, much of which was spent at my hairdresser, having my hair cut shorter after a period of struggling to grow it. The problem was that once I set my locks on the path of "growing into a certain hairstyle", I started suffering of the awkwardness of it all. Once I reached a certain length, I would go and tell my hairdresser to cut the ends straight, so that in time I might get the 70s style ungroomed and wild ultralong look I was dreaming about... Well, it doesn't work that way, does it? I would have weird superstraight shoulder length hair for about a year -- a time too long to avoid seeing an awesome pic in some magazine and, to the dismay of my hairdresser, who would say I should only wait a couple more months to have gorgeous hair, going and having it cut hopelessly short.

I love short hair. If it wasn't for my husband, I'd be sporting a pixie or an inverted bob for sure. But he likes my hair long so very very much that it borders on insanity and were I to have it cut I doubt I could look him in the eye...

Besides, I love long hair too. I know it sounds crazy, but to me it's akin to loving hot soup and ice cream. Not impossible. (A word rarely used in my book...) So for around a year now I've been searching for the style I want once my hair is long (enough). And this time I survived the wait. I still find that very intriguing. And now that I've spent some time considering it,

here's how I grew my hair:

  • I didn't go for a straight cut once my hair was shoulder length. I was outgrowing a bob, so I had to opt for a "Rachel" first, and I have to admit I loved that famous old hairstyle quite a lot. I think it's one of the best options out there to grow out one's hair. It's very feminine and while it suits all face shapes and hair types, it's also very unique to its wearer. (I didn't look much like Jennifer Aniston, to be honest.)

  • When it was longer than that, I still kept the layered style, only a bit more on the softer side. I believe it was one of the reasons I didn't rush to have my hair cut. A layered haircut gives you much more options and is a lot more playful and interesting than pin straight locks.

  • I had it cut quite regularly. I think this is also key. Before I'd thought hair grew faster if you just let it. So not true. The actual speed doesn't change with having it cut but when your ends are broken it looks a lot shorter and can really take your determination away. I'd always thought I couldn't have a long cut because my thin hair couldn't support it... Turns out it was just my folly, thinking that "letting my hair grow" meant letting it break half way to the roots.

  • I started washing it every second day. I have thin hair that can give in to even very small pressure. If I pull too tight or use too many products, its weight becomes too much for the roots and, though new hairs immediately replace their fallen comrades, I end up with frizzy and incredibly thin tresses. So I don't let it feel any strain and wash it often.

  • But I use products that don't damage my hair either and contain lots of nourishing ingredients. I love anything with Shae Butter as it helps smooth my hair and this is the only thing that I've found also reduces breakage. I would use a mask from time to time and I always use a thermo-protective product when I blowdry my hair.

  • Yes, I blowdry my hair. I never straighten it, as it's fairly straight by nature and I fear the damage that might do, but I find that if I blowdry it (not harshly just to give it a slight curve) I get bored of my long hair a lot less easily. Airdried hair looks flat and uninteresting on me and that's very far from what I like to wear. It also looks more polished blowdried and if you do it properly it can also prevent breakage. (As you brush and heat-smooth the hairs and any damage towards the ends.)

  • I've colored it. I don't know why I don't like my natural hair color. It's a dark ash blond but I always find that it's neither here nor there, if you know what I mean. It's not brownish enough to be called brown and not golden enough to be blond. It has a little red in it in direct sunlight but it's not red either. It's just ashy. Which is perfect if you, like me, like dramatic makeup. With my now red hair I have to tone it down a little to look polished, but with my original color I could wear any makeup look. But I still didn't like it that much. I actually color my hair using a Henné shampoo, which lasts around 4-6 weeks. I love henna products because even the non colored ones contain the nourishing elements of the plant extract. It's no myth that henna gives you shiny supersoft hair, I can vouch for it. If I ever stop using the colored one, I will still keep applying the neutral version of the mask, because I love its effect on my hair!

  • I've found a place for my long hair "in my wardrobe". Straight long hair looks a little out of place with my 20s style dresses but if I just consider it the very element to give them a modern touch, it becomes a tool to express my originality. I would let it down and have it perfectly styled (see above), and add a fancy pin or some beautiful vintage style earrings. After all, I'm not going for a fancy dress look but something modern and eclectic! And it fits my Kate Moss days (I love to dress her style when I'm off work) perfectly.

The most important thing for me is to justify my hairstyle. If I feel that I'm doing it only to please others or be fashionable, I become bored with it very fast. However, if I consider it a means to have fun and express my personality, then I'll be happy to wait till it grows to my ankles. Not that it's really waiting. It's fun.


  1. wooow, azt hiszem még soha nem olvastam ilyen hosszú leírást hajnövesztésről :D
    Az én koncepcióm kb ennyi: növesztem, növesztem, időnként vágatok belőle, majd levágatom rövidre, és megbánom, majd újra megnövesztem és örülök neki...majd kezdődik elölről =)
    Amúgy az egyik kedvenc színem a te eredeti hajszíned. Kár, hogy nem vagy vele kibékülve teljesen. Pont a nem egészen szőke és nem egészen barnaság a szép benne.

  2. úgy látszik, ha hosszabb a hajam, hosszabban is írok róla... :D Szerintem életem első 20 évének ez volt az egyik központi project-je, hogy éppen meddig növesszem vagy meddig vágassam... Idegesített, hogy sose lett olyan hosszú, mint eredetileg akartam, mert 1szerűen _nem bírtam_ kivárni. :)Na, ennek vége. :)

    A hajszín meg biztos olyan, hogy mindenki másmilyet akar. Ismerek tejfölszőke lányokat, akik feketére festik, vöröseket, akik barnára... a határozott hajszínben az a jó például, hogy nem nagyon kell vele semmit csinálni, magától frizura. :) A se-nem-szőke-se-nem-barna hajammal meg foglalkozni kell... persze van, amikor meg ahhoz van kedvem :D még jó, h a henna kimosható! :D