Once upon a time, I had long, beautiful hair. It was a brief (and then-underappreciated) triumph—most of my life, I’ve loathed my hair, or at least mildly disliked it. It’s thick, coarse and wavy; holds curl like a mo’fo but will seldom stay straight and has never once shined. I spent my teens fighting it (and making it worse) with straighteners, and my early 20s trying to pep it up with all sorts of curl-enhancing mouses and gels. Then, one glorious year, I realized my hair looks best when I do absolutely nothing to it. Nothing. I do not blow dry it, style it or use any products and I only wash and condition it once a week.
When it was long, here was my whole hair routine:
• Get out of the shower.
• Scrunch it in my hands a bit as it dried.
If I needed to enhance the wave a little I could stick it in braids for a few hours. If it was sticking out at weird angles from my head, I could throw it in a ponytail or messy bun. You know that messy top bun look women’s magazines are always instructing about? Mine just did that. “Beach waves?” That, too.
So, for this amazing time period, I genuinely liked my hair. And then for some reason I cut it.
I’m a bit of a compulsive hair changer (Facebook profile pics and outfits throughout the day, too). I’m beauty moody. Low-maintenance, for the most part, but also a chameleon. I’ve had blond, red, brown, black, pink and turquoise hair. Last summer I decided I was over long hair, and cut it to about shoulder-length.
Then, on New Year’s day this year, I went for the full pixie cut. I’ve always wanted to see how I looked with short hair. I was reading a Town & Country article on pixie cuts. I was bored. And since I’ve always cut my hair myself, this was no exception.
By all accounts, it went well. I thought it looked good, people told me it looked good and I put on a lot of Twiggy & Audrey Hepburn inspired outfits … for a few weeks. Then it started growing out.
This is a process I’m committed to not interfering with, because here is what I learned about short haircuts on women with thick, wavy or curly hair: It is not easy. It’s actually really inconvenient. All the time-saving benefits of short hair that people preach do not apply to big-haired girls.
Do you know what is easy? Ponytails. Braids. Letting your hair hang down long and natural. But when my hair is short, it requires effort. Anything around the ears or nape of my neck curls up all Florence Henderson-like. Anything around the top of my head lays totally flat. Or it sticks up and out from my head in manners resembling: David Bowie, lead singers of 80s New Wave bands, Medusa. Combing or brushing only results in shrooming-out a la someone on “Melrose Place” (is there a remake? if so, I don’t mean that one) or a middle-aged suburban mom’s.
Short hair is not easy, at all, for me. And so I am growing it out—which of course only enhances the awkwardness and potential for crazy people hair (CPH, as my college friends like to abbreviate it) in the interim. Since January, I have bought an array of hair goods in an attempt to mitigate this effect—which I am about to share with you! If you, too, are in the midst of growing out short hair, it might behove you to invest in …