Images via How-To Hair Girl
When I was a kid, I had a DIY hair ruining experience that traumatised me.
My hair melted off, and it was my own fault for not reading the warning on the perm bottle. Over-processing happens to many of us at some point, but at only nine years old it left me feeling very self-conscious about the way I looked.
For the same reason a junkie might turn to Jesus, I turned to the enticing promises of beauty products to fix my down-and-out hair. I entered the Big Beauty marketplace as an up-and-coming insecure teenager with bad skin and hair and a will to be beautiful. It took me 20 years to look back and understand the origin of my unwavering belief in the words printed on plastic bottles.
By my late 20s I had two daughters and had slowly emerged from the fog of my younger years. I began questioning my own beliefs and reasoning, and I started to understand myself better. I saw my own “don’t tell me what to do” attitude morph from a child’s defiance to teenage stupidity and, finally, into a grown woman’s will to find her own identity, despite mainstream standards set by multi-billion dollar industries. This is the will my children will inherit.
As a hairdresser, I had been hearing about the 'no-poo' (i.e. no shampoo) method for years. No-poo-ing means using baking soda and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to cleanse and condition the hair. I had two thoughts: 1. Gross, for not shampooing your hair, and 2. Double gross, for using the word ‘poo’ associated with hair.
But there was something about it that I found intriguing. Everyone I encountered who used this method generally liked their hair, while the rest of us (myself included) complained and bitched about our hair, desperate for that hair product system that would magically turn us into supermodels.
I was controlled by my restless and constantly unsatisfied hair ... Over my 30 years, I have spent more money than I would like to admit on hair products.
My hair has gone through many changes. Cuts, colours, styles, fringes, not to mention texture changes due to hormones. After I had my first child, my curly, thick, dry hair straightened out, thinned out, and got oily. It was nature’s way of being an asshole while I nursed my colicky baby. Nice.
Still I remained a notorious hair product whore. I was controlled by my restless and constantly unsatisfied hair. I would find a product or product line that I liked, use it until it ceased to please me, and then move on to another. A new one would work for a while but at some point my hair would inevitably stop liking it, meaning it was time for a switch. I would be happy with my hair for a couple weeks, and then all of a sudden it would be lank, lifeless, and oily all over again. Over my 30 years, I have spent more money than I would like to admit on hair products.
One day, while watching Mad Men, I had one of those ‘duh!’ moments when I realised that a good ad makes you think that you need something. A necessity. Without even wanting it, it becomes absolutely necessary to have it. I had been naive enough to let myself get tricked into thinking that I needed to empty my pockets to buy my own beauty.