Monday, 19 September 2011

Cut the crap; I just want to wash and go!

Hair. We all have it – some more than others, and not necessarily on our heads, but there’s no escaping it. Never mind shoes; hair is the first thing we notice about other people. And first impressions do count, which makes the fact that hair often has a mind of its own more than a little bit of an obstacle when it comes to making oneself presentable to the outside world.

I’m one of those people who have to wash their hair every day (anything less than squeaky clean locks triggers post traumatic flashbacks to my greasy teenage years). So for me it is essential to have hair that is easy to style – as in wash and go easy.

As someone who is also afflicted with wavy tresses that like nothing more than to do exactly what I don’t want them to do, I have quite specific requirements when I visit my hairdresser. There’s always a sense of relief when I find one who seems to understand my basic hair needs and one of trauma when I move away from my favourite salon, or, worse still, my trusted stylist leaves without a trace.

I get incredibly nervous when I find myself in the position of having to find a new hairdresser. I have been scarred in the past. It’s about 10 years since that fateful day. I should have bolted as soon as I laid eyes on the girl who was about to be let loose on my tresses. She had just had her own peroxide locks tended to by a colleague. As I gave her strict instructions about the dos and don’ts of cutting my hair, she nodded along whilst admiring her own mane in the mirror.

The result?

“I thought I’d go for the Victoria Beckham look.”

It seemed to have passed my hairdresser by that, as a curvaceous 5’11’’ blonde, my resemblance to Posh was decidedly absent. Even more disturbing was the unfortunate fact that at the time Mrs Beckham was sporting a rather feathery bob. Needless to say, my unruly kinks had their own take on this cut. It became clear the next morning that, without the aid of a hairdryer, a plethora of hair styling products and a spare set of hands, my hair was less Posh, more Scary.

There have been other mishaps. When I was a student there was the perm which was supposed to be short and cute. Think Drew Barrymore circa 1999. My hairdresser had other ideas and I turned out more Jennifer Gray circa 1985. Not good.

Today, after a lot of soul searching, my hair and I have reached a compromise with a funky bob and full fringe. It takes me a couple of minutes to keep curly curtains at bay and I occasionally spend an extra 30 seconds twisting my hair around my fingers to give it a bit of a lift, but other than that, it’s good to go.

It would appear that not everyone is willing to give up when it comes to the struggle against what we have up top. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people who like to give their bonce a little bit more care and attention than myself, but I have my limits when it comes to accepting other people’s vanity. And that is people who are constantly titivating their hair to make sure every strand is perfectly in place. And I’ll tell you something else. It isn’t just women.

The Metrosexual man has got a lot of catching up to do. We ladies have learnt that coiffure preservation can be done discreetly. Hair can be held in place with clips and spray and doesn’t necessarily need constant care and attention. Sadly some men have yet to grasp this concept. I recently was walking along the Southbank when I noticed a young man walking towards me, his head on one side. Being a curious type, I wondered if he was okay – had he had some kind of stroke or injured his neck? Or just pondering the meaning of life? Then I realised that his unusual posture was in aid of his hair. You see, his fringe was carefully swept to one side, and he was using gravity to keep it in place as he walked along. Seriously.

He isn’t the only one. I watched the first episode of the new season of X Factor. Those of you who saw it may remember a young man who had several women’s names tattooed on his bottom – and the same swept-across style. Again, windy weather took over his tresses as he was interviewed by the lovely Dermot. His determination to keep every single hair in place was rather amusing – and almost heroic. I half expected him to lick his palm and stick his fringe to his forehead with some good old fashioned spit.

The concept of working with your hair, not against it, had clearly not reached him yet. My point? Respect your hair for the individual that it is. Go with the flow. Fighting against it will only end in tears – or make you look like a berk as you try to keep it under control on national telly.

As for any hairdressers reading this, not all of us have the time or the inclination to spend hours tweaking our tresses to try and look like someone we aren’t. We just want to look half-presentable when we leave the house in the morning. And, although it might not seem like it sometimes, I think it is what our hair wants too. Read more by Shelly.