Archive for the ‘cuts’n’coifs’ Category

To Long for Long, or Not to Long for Long?

I am beginning to have mixed feelings about my hair. As you will recall, when I first cut it, I intended to grow it out, again. That has not transpired. I just recently cut it short again, in a style reminiscent of (and in fact inspired by) Orlando Bloom’s hair in the movie Troy. I love it. It is delightfully androgynous, equal parts urban chic and boyish charm. But that is not the problem.

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Hair Wars: The Long and the Short of It

The problem is that I know longer know where I am headed. Shall I continue wearing my hair short, or shall I grow it out, again? I am quite adamant that my hair must be worn long for my wedding, a few years out, even if that means wearing wigs. It would almost be offensive, at a personal level, to do otherwise. I feel that in my gut and brain, alike. But curiously, that does not translate over to my decision-making for the everyday. Clearly, long hair is important to me in a ritual sense. But that, in itself, is not a reason to grow out my hair. I have several years, at least, until my wedding (ours is a very long-term engagement), and so it does not have a direct bearing on my decision.

My thoughts are further complicated by the knowledge that what I am comparing my cut hair to is not, itself, full length, but rather the length I had it when I graduated high school. Unfortunately, it has been three-and-a-half years, since then, and frankly I don’t remember that haircut very well, beyond a very vague memory of a favorable impression and that it still responded well to curlers. Lucky for me, cameras were invented before that time.

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Yup, I wore a sari to the Prom.

So between the two, I am coming upon a very difficult decision, in the near future. It is primarily an ideological one, which puts this strikingly at odds with my other attempts to master my fashion sense. But while I am uncomfortable with the notion of putting ideology before the impression I convey to others, I am more uncomfortable still with continuing to conceive of my “Self” in a way that I no adequately longer represent, externally (i.e., a shorthaired “longhair”). Who knows? Perhaps there is a happy medium.

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Before vs. After

It’s been a while, and I must apologise, despite my current lack of audience. These pictures were taken a week ago, on the day I cut my hair. I am not able to tend to it so carefully, as it dries, as the woman at the salon, so it tends to hang a little longer, now, with looser curls — which, seeing as I am only just now learning how to dry my hair for optimal curl, is not so very bad, in my opinion. I especially like it worn a little messy with clean, crisp clothes for contrast.

One unexpected bonus is that, unlike my earlier attempt at shoulder-length hair, this look has almost zero maintenance. I do not have brush my hair or anything. I just use a little curl activator, after showering, and scrunch it up, as it dries. My normally floofy hair is happy to remain within its curls. When I wake up in the morning, I merely play with the part to balance the volume on each side of my head. It is already ready to go!

But the best part of this new ‘do is (not surprisingly) the silhouette it creates. Everyone who sees me has been telling me how tall I look. My hair, as long as it was before, tended to dwarf my head, whereas these short curls open up my face and draw attention to the length of my neck because of the gap between the curve of my bob and the curve of my shoulders. And with all that weight off my shoulders (literally) my neck is even learning to to stand a little taller than before.

Post scriptum. I’ll be adding ‘before’ shots to this post, just as soon as I can scavenge them from the other camera.

Locks of Love

Locks of Love is not what most people think it is. No, it is not a scam, as many people are claiming on the internet. But it also is not what most people expect it to be.

First of all, Locks of Love is not an organization for child cancer patients. The organization exists for children sustain permanent hair loss. Some have lost hair through severe burns, trauma, accidents involving scalp loss. Most have an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata, which causes total permanent hair loss. The wigs created through Locks of Love are of extremely high quality and are fitted to each individual child’s scalp. These are so carefully crafted that a child with one of these wigs is able to do almost anything wearing it (swimming, for instance) that most wigs are not capable of. What this also means is that their audience is selective for a reason. They are only capable of making several hundred wigs a year. The rest of the hair they collect (that is, of the hair they collect that is chemically untarnished, of proper length, and suitable for wigs) is sold to other wig-making companies. Less than eighty per cent of the hair donated to Locks of Love is actually used by the organization. The profits they receive, however, help pay for overhead costs (wigs cost money, even when the hair is free), price reductions for needy families (Locks of Love sells their wigs, but they do so at a fraction of the market value), and creating grants for research on alopecia areata, their primary area of interest.

So, what if you want your hair to be used in wigs? Pantene Beautiful Lengths is one an excellent option. They produce wigs — this is normal wigs, mind you, the kind you can’t swim in — for children and adults who have gone through chemotherapy. Because they are less specialized, they are able to make several thousand wigs a year and thus use a great deal more of the hair they receive. Also, because these are not highly customized wigs, they do not charge chemo patients anything for the wigs they distribute. Moreover, if your hair is too short for Locks of Love’s ten-inch minimum length, you may be able to donate to Pantene. Their minimum length requirement is only eight inches. As with Locks of Love, there are conditions on the quality of the hair. This is the information provided on their website, for those that are interested.

  • Donated hair must be a minimum of 8 inches long (measure hair from just above the elastic band of the ponytail to the ends).
  • Wavy/curly hair texture is fine—you may straighten hair to measure.
  • Hair should be freshly washed and completely dry, without any styling products.
  • Hair may be colored with vegetable dyes, rinses and semi-permanent dyes. It cannot be bleached, permanently colored or chemically treated.
  • Hair may not be more than 5% grey
They also explain why these restrictions are so important, in the wig-making process:
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  • It takes at least six ponytails to make a Pantene Beautiful Lengths wig; in general, each ponytail comes from a different person and is a different color. Even though some hair colors may look similar, including gray hair, each is completely unique.
  • For a realistic-looking wig that has consistent color throughout, donated ponytails must be processed and then dyed to the same shade. It is critical for each ponytail to absorb dyes at the same rate in order to create wigs of consistent, natural-looking color.
  • Gray hair, as well as some chemically-treated or permanently-colored hair, does not absorb dye at the same rate as other types of hair. It is much harder to color and, once colored, fades more quickly.
  • Most permanently-colored hair, once it is processed and re-colored, is too fragile and breakable under the rigorous processing required during the production of a Pantene Beautiful Lengths wig.
But for those of you longhairs who have taken immaculate care of your hair, there may be a third option. Check out the Hair Trader and related websites to sell your tresses to wig-makers, directly. This last option is especially appealing, in today’s troubled economy. I have only done some very preliminary research, but I believe I may be able to get more than $800 for the hair I cut off. That would allow me to give to whatever charity I wanted and still have plenty left over for ‘stimulating the economy’ (to be fair, it would probably go to my wedding fund, but only because I haven’t bothered to get a driver’s license, yet).
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I’ll make sure to let you know how it goes! In the meantime, I think it is fair to warn you that my hair is cut and it looks amazing. Sky made me promise not to put it online until he saw it in person, but I should be posting ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots, complete with trophy shots of the (ca. 18 inches of) glorious tresses I’ll be selling! This is so exciting. I was entirely ready, and I’m coming out of this stronger than ever.

Bobble-head.

Tomorrow is a big day, for me. Tomorrow, I will be cutting my hair shorter than it has ever been cut, before. Currently, my hair falls to mid-buttocks. And I intend to cut it above the shoulder. Luckily, I have virgin hair, which means that I can proudly donate the remainder of my truncated tresses to Locks of Love.

This was a difficult decision, for me. The style I would like to have involves 17th-century sausage curls and a modern asymmetrical bang. The problem with that decision is that it is so spectacular a haircut that pulling it off would require serious makeup, every single day, to keep my eyes wide, bright, and otherwise commanding. As you can see, it is also necessary to keep a bona fide historical look from seeming . . . well, dated. . . .

But here I sit, at the one end of my makeover, with very little makeup, equipment, or experience. So, sorry, hair! Not gonna happen. Eventually, I’ll earn my right to keep you kempt. But in the mean time, I shall take on a more modern approach to curly hair — the latest realm of studied neglegée.

This is an awesome hairstyle to land a job in. It’s a beautiful bob, and my hair has the right sort of wavy texture to pull it off without much of a fuss. My hair is, of course, much thicker than that of the women pictured here (what with blondes tending to have higher hair density, my not putting harsh chemicals on my hair, and a strong splash of genetics, in my favor). The women pictured with bobs here are clearly much older than I am, but I think my round cheeks and open face will complement the style and keep it from looking ‘too old’ for me.

The pictures on the lower left corner of this inspiration board show how I want to wear my hair, as it is growing out. I like the movement of the hair about the face and the playful way it frames the face. Her name is Aly, apparently. My sister (the modern one) referred her to me, as she is one of very few celebrities whose face has similar features to mine. By using the updo, I can retain a level of continuity while I practice my makeup skills — at least until my hair is long enough for me to pull off the hairstyle I love above all others:

So long, sausage-locks! But then, I shall see you in a year or so, ma chère.