It's all about the hair

| Posted by Lou | The time is9.30pm here in Invercargill NZ |

A reader emails -

Question: (feel free to blog the response)

Lou, how do you manage your hair? Mine is just getting to shoulder length and blowdrying it in the morning is already starting to grind my gears. I just saw a photo today on Twitter of a friend of mine (it was Steph! go check it out!) with UH MAY ZING looking newly cut short hair and am now feeling tempted to hack it all off again. What do you do with your hair? I wash mine every three days or so and that feels like a chore, having to brush it all out. Am I just lazy? Do you always wear it in the same style? Do you have fancy up-dos for going out? Please inspire me!
Yours, a regular reader and long time fan. (It's me, Bel.)

Thanks Reader.

(Might I say here: Steph's new hair does look UH MAY ZING.)

Well, I certainly have a lot of hair, and have engaged in a life-long struggle to get maximum results for minimum effort. Here is the full extent of my knowledge.

1. Washing

I wash my hair As Little As Possible (nowadays something like every 4 days, but I have gotten up to as much as every 6 days). I mean, who can be arsed? Plus my hair peaks on Day 3 and I don't want to lose that golden day to the drying effect that more frequent washing can have.

The key thing is to plan your hair styles around the hair washing cycle - namely, save your up-do for Day 4 when it's starting to get a bit minging and you need to hide it away, and if it works out fine, push it to - gasp - Day 5! This will give you better hair for the next cycle, guaranteed.

Here is an example of masking Old Hair that demonstrates the key principles - pulling it back off your face (taking emphasis away from hair quality, and keeping it from making your forehead feel gross), and maximising the fact that Old Hair generally sits quite nicely further down and thus the lengthy bits should be kept visible, such as by curling round your neck from a ponytail (if your hair is excessively long, like mine):

Maintaining a lengthy wash cycle does involve some planning ahead for me though - if the Big Thing is on Saturday, I make sure I am washing my hair Thursday or Friday, which means pushing or bringing forward the previous wash accordingly.

2. Brushing

I do not own a hair brush. I believe they are evil. If I brush my hair it ends up looking something like this:

This is not actually me, but it is scarily accurate

I believe many wavy- and curly-haired people feel the same.

I comb my hair after I have put conditioner in it. That is the only time anything is put through it. (This also makes sure conditioner is all through my hair, at which point I make myself wait several minutes, preferably with a shower cap on.)

This does mean that by Day 4 my hair is full of knots, so it does lessen the opportunity for romantic moments of having someone running their fingers through your hair. But oh, that's right, I'm single and no-one ever tries to so, um, yeah, not a problem for me.

3. Blow-drying

I was until recently Not A Friend of blow-drying. But my most recent haircut actually looked really good when blown dry, and as I was an unemployed bum for December and had a few Christmas parties I gave it a go and was really happy with the results.

I would not be able to do this on a workday morning though - it takes for-fucken-ever with my huge mop of long hair. But thankfully for me my hair looks better after it has been slept on (whether blown straight or straightened with straighteners), so it is something I could theoretically do at night. But it is still such a bugger for a lazy git like me I'm not sure I would do it all the time...

AND - and this is a bit BUT of an and - I found that it really dried my hair out. Like, disgustingly. I went and bought some heat protector spray to use in conjunction with it and it really hasn't helped. So I'm going to be saving the blow-drying for special occasions.

And it should be noted that my hair doesn't actually go straight - for example, this is a photo of me (drunk) on Day 3 of blown straight hair:

Versus a couple of days later on Day 2 of naturally dried hair:

The difference is purely that there's more frizz and a less controlled wave when not blown straight. Thus there isn't quite enough motivation to become a devotee of drying my hair to death and wasting so much time (that could otherwise be spent: sleeping, having a longer shower, watching tv... really important stuff like that).

4. Everyday Hair Management

So I've washed my hair very little, combed it not brushed it, let it naturally dry, and it's not Day 3 (aka The Golden Day). It's sort of biggish and a little bit frizzy and not really particularly Good Hair.

This is where we meet my new best friend - and you might be shocked that it has taken this long for me to meet my new best friend - the bobby-pin:

I fucken love these, and feel bad for not having previously appreciated them.

The best use is my Quick Fix (2 seconds and you're good) for all hair problems: I grab my front bits, tuck them round the back, and clip each side close enough togetherthat the ends of the bobby-pins cross. This keeps the clips in place for hours, pulls the annoying bits back to leave smoother beneath strands more visible, but isn't quite a half-up mini-pony-tail.

(For some reason I have a huge dislike of a half-up that uses a hair-tie - I'm happy to do it with clips (such as the ever-popular liquorice all-sorts clip Bel gave me), but just don't like hair being bunched on the back of your head in the way that a hair-tie does it.)

They're also useful for the serious business of Day 5, when you've really pushed your hair and don't know if you can get away with it and need a little extra oomph. This requires Bel's old fave back-combing (which for me is more back-fingering, with the bonus of sounding a bit saucy) to create a little bit of air to mask how disgustingly not-airy your hair is. I go for the back-finger twist clipped to the side with bobby-pin cross-over.

And that is literally the full extent of my Hair Thinking and Skillz.

For Really Special Occasions - like weddings - I will panic, try a couple of things, decide they're shit, and end up going for the Quick Fix.

5 thoughts on “It's all about the hair”

  1. Hi, it's me. Bel.

    Thanks for all your tips! Especially about how you pretty much just have one Quick FIx - I almost exclusively use these thingies to shove my hair up now.
    My hairbrush has recently broken (literally in half) and I think this is a sign! I'm also going to persevere with less frequent washing. So many people are advocates of this.

    Can I ask one more question? Are you ever tempted to consider the chop??

  2. Can I also suggest something? Kerastase shampoo and conditioner. I used to get frizzy hair and I didn't even blow-dry back then! My hairdresser got me on to Kerastase (the green one) and I have had no problems since, even when I dry and straighten it. I also wash my hair religiously every 2 days. Sounds like you also need a new hairbrush! Maybe invest in one that helps straighten hair, quickens the drying time and has "ions" in it (whatever that means).
    Best of luck!

  3. My hairdresser has made attempts to straighten my hair and it just looks... kind of... weird on me. I feel like I am wearing a wig. A weird one. (Proof can be supplied by way of photographic evidence.)

    I've had Redken products recommended - it does seem that shelling out a bit more for the fancy-smance stuff makes a difference...

  4. Hey guys,
    I'm going to go the other way and stick with Lou's wash less theory, and I've found (as I don't brush my hair) that makes a load of difference.

    Also agree with Lou in that 'golden hair day' is day 3. Must be in the curls.

    Speaking of hair, Bels yours always looks gorgeous and Lou yours is ROCKIN' right now. I dig the red, and am also very jealous because until my hair turns white (as I have been assured it eventually will), I can't dye it red.

    Anyway, ahem. Yeah. Throw away the brush Reader Belsy.