Monday, 10 May 2010

Hair, hair, hair . . !


Hair is my obsession. Even pre-mission, hair was the one thing for me. It is something that you adorn 24hours a day, 7 days a week (unless of course, you have the clips in. Even then some of us have worn them more or less 24/7!)
Are you sitting comfortably?! Then I will begin . . .
I was born with some hair with nothing particularly distinguishable about it. Just normal baby hair. Not too fair but nor dark and glossy. As average as my birth weight was at 7lb something, my hair was just as unremarkable.Within a few months, I seemed to lose most of my hair.

Only to find it again as toddlerhood doomed. Again, the colour was nothing striking. I was no white blond angelic type nor a little 'oh so grown up lady-like' raven head. My hair fell in the mishmash of inbetween. The only thing really certain is that it was a lot fairer then the root growth I incur now.
In fact as the school years passed, my hair did get darker and darker closer to the natural colour of the present day.
I hated getting my hair cut but twice a term, Mum insisted and yes, there was a certain resemblance to a pudding bowl. Of course, there were a few tantrums. Although funnily enough, the evenings when my Mum and Dad sat me on a kitchen chair branding a pair of kitchen scissors to cut my fringe form some of my fonder childhood memories. I guess, it was cool that MY Mum and Dad could cut hair. Even if it was only a fringe (MY fringe, at that) and anyway at least, I knew Mum and Dad would snip gently at the fringe (Mum was always scared Dad would have my eye out) as opposed to our hairdresser who would lope off all the length. Huh, my obsession with long hair, and lots of it, had already begun.
I hated wearing my hair up, it only made my hair look shorter and besides only the tomboys and naughty girls wore their hair back. I was a goody two-shoes all the way and took my role as older sister very seriously. Whether my role model was somebody from the What Katy Did Next books or the Babysitters Club to Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia, one thing was certain and that was that she would have long hair and she would always wear it down.
(Courtesy of Google Image Search)
Then I hit the later years of childhood and as a very keen majorette, I had to wear my hair up. I hated it! That is, until the girls in the year above stated that it would make my hair grow faster and of course, Mum agreed.
So for a while I would get a new scrunchy everytime I went in to town and try and put my hair up this way and that. If it was going to grow faster up, then up it would go and I would just have to do my utmost to try and make it look nice. I remember Mum getting me a Hair magazine every week and picking and choosing the styles that I liked. There was even a little pink style file to keep my favourites in. My favourite part of the magazine was not the bit about cuts and the odd colour article (in the 1980′s/early90′s, it was still quite rare to talk about coluring your hair) but the bit about styles you could do yourself at home.
For weeks, I wore a Top Ponytail everyday which basically consisted of turning your hair upside down, giving your head a shake and then securing your hair with scrunchy in to top ponytail before standing up straight again. It inevitably slipped down within about three minutes of The Locomotion! The Top Ponytail only gave way when I was lucky enough to be given some crimpers from Mum. They took about 30 minutes to warm up and a hour to cool. Mum thought that they would burn the house down but I loved them. There were little plates to crimp and also some to wave. I don't think that I ever used the wave ones. I can't remember why I stopped crimping. I think I used to beg to do it before school or something and in the end, Mum had to hide them.
(Courtesy of Google Image Search)
They say everything goes full circle. They also say the eighties are back. Well after seeing this picture of Fearne's gorgeous hair, rest assured, I will be asking my mother as to the whereabouts of those crimpers!
Anyway evantually, the secondary school years arrived. By now my hair was a very dark brown but not a glossy black. Mum still insisted on me having regular haircuts but I was allowed to say that I was growing my hair and just the ends to be snipped. My hair grew so far to between my shoulder and breastbone and then it seemed to hit a sticky point and would grow no further.
Evantually Mum relented (and so she should have, after all these years I still wanted long hair, every Mum by now should be caving) and cuts were up to me. Therefore, I would try not to have my hair cut thinking that it would grow but it didn't it just hung there, the ends getting scragglier and scragglier as the days passed. At the time, it was 'cool' to use a clip and hold your hair back in a pleat at the back of your head so I did this to hide my ends. Occasionally I would be daring and have a bun instead. In the end since it was so scraggly without been pulled back (and was therefore pulled back all the time), it just made sense to have it cut again so I did in to a bob which looked fresh and stylish and caught the attention of the 'cool set' at school for about two weeks before it started looking just as bad as before and so I started growing it again.
Up until the university years, this process repeated itself two or three times. Grow so long and then lop off. Grow so long and then lop off. All the time, my hair was getting fluffier and fluffier and this was not helped by the straightening phenomenum. It would take me ages to straighten my hair with the old steam straighteners. I remember literally putting a hour and a half aside every day to fry my hair. No wonder the frizz and fluff was suddenly unruly.
University. Here, straightening continued and I knew any hope of length beyond my sticky point was a waste of time so a new obsession began. Colours and highlights. It began with just a few lighter streaks to flatter my face then half a head to look sunkissed and so on. Then they got lighter and lighter until evantually I looked like I had straw on my head. My student loan was sucked up as colour appointments (and the obligatory cut) was down from 12 week intervals to about every three weeks. Occasionally I would take a couple of courses of Silica or hair supplements such as Perfectil to try and gain length and all the time, I was having my hair cut and changing my style and layers every month. Huh? This was a time when I was also obsessed with Tigi Bed Head particularly the pink shine spray and the Dumb Blonde shampoo. How I love the fruity, fragrance of those products. These products certainly did feel like they were helping my very poorly hair. Sometimes even now I still yearn for the smoothing cream. It is always there on my wishlist somewhere!
Evantually I just couldn't afford to keep colouring as much and once I left university, hair temporaily fell down my priority list. I had bills and real life to deal with. Appointments and Bedhead had to be banished. It may sound as if I neglected my hair but in actual fact, I would say that this was probably a time when I had one of my better hair regimes. I ignored it and became less paranoid about my hair. I started noticing and only dealing with hair matters that really were occuring and not just a figment of my hair obsessed mind. My hair was allowed to relax and be itself for a bit. I was no longer trying to mould it beyond the realms of possibility.
Naturally, I became a sure brunette again. No extra colour added. Instead I would use the occasional shine product or rinse my hair with egg/beer. Amazingly even though I was still straightening, I did start to gain a little length but not enough. All of the gorgeous celebrities whose looks I aspired to had amazingly, mega, long, glossy locks and of course, we were all told that they were extensions. Extensions were still expensive and high, high maintenance. They did not belong to my world so I think in my mind, I was just beginning to settle for the hair I had. It looked alright in a ponytail. Sometimes I would even braid or twist the sides and then pull it in to my new bestie, the ponytail, just to add a bit more excitement.
And then, it all turned around. One Sunday, I travelled up to London to a beauty fair with my sister who was into acrylics etc at a time. There were all these little beauty stands with make up, teeth whitening info, tanning booths, travel trollies and then there was this huge crowd around one stand. The Shear Beauty stand selling American Dream Clip In extensions. You could make an appointment, have your colours chosen and the clips ins applied (all in front of a large audience) for the bargain price of around £40. I couldn't believe it and dismissed it at first. Too good to be true. Then I saw some of the people who had them applied, heard whispers and buzzes around the fair, 'Look at her lovely hair, she's been to the Shear Beauty stand' etc. In the end, a chance to encounter such pretty long hair proved too much to resist and I managed to book one of the last appointments of the day. Tobacco seemed to suit my natural hair, 18 inches. Two full rows were applied and then two half rows. The clips felt a little bit tight but I felt like a pop star. I slept in them that night, scared that if I took them out then I would not be able to get them in again. I walked to work the next day. Tall and proud. It was a Monday but I felt as if I was on holiday. I kept looking down at the hair skirting my ribs and I felt so pretty, like a princess and of course, they felt so silky.
Evantually I did take them out but I reapplied them every time that I washed my hair and still slept with them inbetween. From then on, I was not seen without my clips in. I wore them for about year and half plus. I pretty much always wore the same colour and always American Dream. The number of rows sometimes varied but there were always some clip ins in my hair. I even parachuted out of a plane from about 16000 feet in Sydney with them and they all made it to the bottom intact and clips pretty much still concealed.
I did go for sewn in extensions in the end. I wasn't disappointed with clips in but I felt that even though I was happy with the quality of my clip in products that there was still a stigma attached to clip ins. They seemed to be percieved closer to wigs then sewn in extensions were. Also my hair needed a good style and it is hard to give your hair style with clip ins. With my less precise application, rows were probably sitting in a different place with every application which would affect my overall look. However, a hairdresser could sew in extensions and then give the hair a cut. This style should last more or less the same as a normal hair cut.
This is actually a previous set of extensions when I went shorter but I missed the extra couple of inches so have gone a little longer again now.
I have had sewn in extensions now for more then 18 months. Occasionally in combination with a couple of added clip ins. Yes, I know and I admit it, hair obsessed! 
With both types of extensions, there are some pros and cons which I will hopefully discuss in an extension post very soon but without a doubt, I can not really imagine not having long hair now. Long hair is me! When I catch sight of my hair swishing around that is when I feel most like me and reassured about my appearence. I love long hair. I always knew I would and if the only way that I can have it is through extensions then it is needles and clips all the way!
Edit: Here is my current slightly longer style. Hopefully I'm one step closer to a happily ever after with my hair!
Now that is my hair story. I'd love to know yours. Feel free to do a post (don't forget to leave me a link to your post) or comment here. Also, any suggestions or thoughts about posts (past, present and future) are always welcome.
Until next time!


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