I don’t exactly know what happened during the summer of me leaving primary school and starting secondary school. But what I do know is that I made the some what questionable decision to have my hair cut so that I looked like a pre-pubescent boy. I.e the choppy and excessive layers, extra AF side parting and just above shoulder length look. Perfect time just before the school photo that would stick with me for the next however many years… But now if you look at me, 20 years old with bleached blonde hair you might wonder whether I am actually the same person. But over the years whether I have dyed it, cut it, had a fringe put in, regretted it, we all can agree what we do with our hair is some form of self expression and we have a bit of a relationship with it.
My hair hands up is my favourite feature and probably the one which I do take the most care in. Having naturally dark hair, I have always had that stereotypical dream of being a #blondebombshell. I have been fortunate enough to find myself in the financial position to be able to afford to get my hair to the point where I am very VERY blonde. I have spent a lot of time sat in the chair at the hairdressers. And a lot of effort in keeping it to its silver/white blonde look.
And I am not the only one because I read a post by Marie Claire saying that the average female will spend *tries not to faint* £47,000 on their hair in their lifetime. I can hear your mouths dropping as I type. YES THAT MUCH. Whether it is a cut and blow dry, full head of highlights, a box of dye from Boots, or your favourite hair mask. That amount of money could buy me a veryveryvery nice car.
I think if you asked everyone how or what they felt about their hair, then the answer would be different every time. From cultural expressions, serious stories because of ill health. Or liberating remarks about self confidence, we all have our own connection with what we feel about our hair. One thing that I relate to is having my hair as my comfort blanket. I care a lot about my hair, and the way it looks. I can use it as a distraction or a method of my identity. From having freshly washed and straightened hair, to throwing it in a messy bun until you can no longer hide the grease my hair is one of the things I give two ticks about.
But when I am having ‘a bad hair day’ (don’t deny you don’t get them we ALL do) then I feel so damn vulnerable. They don’t happen often but when they do I just get that horrible gutsy feeling that you don’t feel complete. During the summer I went through a period of hair loss. It wasn’t drastic but I just put it down to the heat, hormones and natural hair cycles. Apparently we can lose between 50-100 strands of hair a day (!!). I know my hair grows really quick but I know it doesn’t grow back that quickly. But I just got myself into that headspace where I was worried about my hair thinning as I have always had thick hair.
Thick hair is something that a lot of us desire to have. Looking at these magical Instagram models, with their thick, glossy, flowing locks. I get jealous of it too, especially when I scroll through my Pinterest hair board. But does this link to the concept of femininity and that we feel like we should look a certain way because of it? I am always finding myself applauding those women who will take the bold statement to reject all those femininity remarks. Those who don’t feel like they need long hair, or a certain colour hair to fit in with societal pressures. This challenges the status quo, shaping how the world sees you for you. Not what we believe should be the norm. I feel like I see this a lot because I go to a university/arts college that is highly accepting of certain pressures and differences.
However for some people, its all about learning to accept their hair and then having a relationship through that. From hair loss or liberation, sometimes no amount of money can change something. So then the best relationships can come through self-appreciation.
Our hair, a bit like any beauty product can suck us into their materialistic and advertorial world. We are told to buy this product because it will make your hair incredibly soft, or these straighteners because they will work the best. But how much do these have to cost? Like with makeup products, if we buy that £2 eye shadow will it work as good as the £40 eyeshadow? Are all the repeats of shampoos and conditioners, or hair dyes, just a way to suck you in and make money? Do boxes of dye for £8 work as well as spending £80 on highlights?
But if we, including myself, are stilling willing to pay extortionate amounts on ‘changing or fixing’ our hair then are we actually in a happy relationship with our hair. If we always are mesmerised with different styles on Pinterest, want something else to what we have, or simply look at our hair and feel ‘meh’ then how do we ever get that satisfaction. I don’t think we permanently can because duh… hair grows so you will always have to get it cut. I always am left feeling I am one treatment, or one dye away from having my dream hair. Then I am never happy with it until I get it done again. And endless circle that my bank account isn’t too happy with.
However, I never go out drinking. I never spend money in areas I don’t think is necessary. So when I feel like my hair is worth spending that much money on, I am happy to. My hair is my identity and I have a lot of emotion for my hair. Whether its me drastically changing it after a break up, rejecting or accepting social norms, or embracing our natural hair then we can all find our relationship on our own terms. And lets be honest, we all know the post break up snip too well…
Do you let your hair define you? Or you define your hair?
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