Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hair she is!

Warning: cringe-worthy narcissism and self-critique ahead! I loaded these photos a few days ago, but have been debating whether to feature my smiling face so many times, and have been close to pushing the "delete" button on the whole post. I especially cringe to think of one of my colleagues or students coming across such a post and wondering why, why, why would I be plastering my face across cyber-space.

Why? Well, let's admit it -- our hair is an important frame for our faces and an expression of our identity (I think we curly-heads feel that especially, somehow) and petty or superficial as they may be, my concerns about mine demand and deserve some space in any honest representation of my daily life, which this blog purports to be.

So, here goes. Going through our travel pictures from last month, I kept being dismayed at my appearance -- not in all photos, but many showed my hair being a bit limp and a bit too tight to my head for my liking, plus I was impatient at still not having any of the promised length at the chin -- I've had the style for at least six months now, and although Ronei was supposedly working with me at growing the sides out, I think she kept cleaning up too much. Besides which, as fast as curly hair grows, it can equally quickly tighten itself up into shortness -- the length was revealed when the hair was wet or straightened, but dry and curly there was not enough to soften my aging chin.
I think the problems were probably exacerbated by the different shampoo and water in London and Paris -- I didn't bother packing my Aveda shampoo and conditioner, making do with some T&G products we picked up at Boots (rather than exceed my carry-on allowance, doncha know!). At any rate, without volume, the part was not flattering, and/or I wasn't styling it correctly. And I was starting to wonder if Pater might not have been right: maybe the darker colour with the bright (ish) red highlights was less flattering to my skin tone.

Looking over the top three photos (and the very top one is taken in front of the same garden at the Musée du Quai Branly that foregrounded the Eiffel Tower in the last post), you can see what I mean about all these issues.

So two weeks ago, I told Ronei that I wanted to go light again, and she put in all kinds of great highlights for me. I also begged her not to snip a millimeter more than required on the sides, and she happily obliged.

And coincidentally, because I'd run out of my usual product (Tigi Curls Rock), I dipped into a reserve tube of Aveda Be Curly which I usually find lacks the hold I'd like. I mentioned this to Ronei (whose salon is all Aveda), and she pointed out that it's not meant to hold, but to be used in tandem with a "holding" product. The Be Curly's job is to make the curl behave better, which I admitted it did -- plus I love the way it erases the crunch I get with the Curls Rock. And you know how great Aveda smells, right?

Anyway, I started using it regularly in combination with whatever holding gel -- I've combined it with Curls Rock, with Aveda SapMoss, and when those are all used up, I have an Aveda Brilliant product Ronei recommended. And I'm getting curls I love AND they stay in place reasonably well without frizz. Besides which, I've been getting all kinds of compliments about the colour, so I thought I'd show you -- Honestly, I'm not fishing here, but I did think it worth sharing something about that process of trying out different cuts, colours, and products as well as trusting your stylist. And maybe even something about knowing when to do what you want with your hair rather than what your mate prefers -- but also being able to admit when he just might be right;-)
Here it is just-barely-dry in the morning -- all I do after washing/wetting it is put the product in, comb it into shape (with a pick which is all I ever use -- you do not want to over-do the "contact" with curly hair!), let it dry on its own (even in winter I do this), and then pick some volume into it later in the day.
So there you go -- excuse the narcissism, but hey, what are blog girlfriends for if not to share hair stories . . .

(Oh, and guess what? -- my daughter and NOLA arrive today -- we are going to have such fun, the first time my granddaughter has been to our island.)


  1. Excellent!!! I love the lighter color; it really brightens up your face. The length looks perfect too.

  2. love it. perfect on you and what a smile.

  3. Big yes to the lighter- but thought the 'before' looked good, too- a rich, deep colour. (But lighter is more summery.) Also darker hair colours can build up even with a skilled colourist, and you end up subtly darker each time till one day it's "WHAT?"

    This style is so "you"- it has movement and shows off the curls. (The chin business, ma, is the surgeon's look out, not the hairdressers, as my own blog photos illustrate.) The immutable rule of travel is that on the road your hair will look 50% worse than at home (unless you have an entourage).

    Have you tried mixing Be Curly with Confixor, Aveda's "hold" product? I did that b/f you intro'd me to Curls Rock. CR is powerful,makes hair look shorter b/c has so much hold and pulls up the curl.

    I cycle b/t 3 weights (John Frieda Frizz Ease, the Aveda mix and CR) depending on humidity and how grown-out my cut is.

    Sorry for long post, can go on and on re hair. I so enjoyed the generous burst of photos, made me wish we could meet again.

  4. I do like the lighter color - it's more "up" somehow. Although I would have said the other looked good too. I've been thinking of getting some light highlights recently so maybe I'm biased :)

  5. You know, this doesn't strike me so much as narcissism as it does an analytical mind at work. I can easily imagine the same detailed critique applied to fiction or student papers or fashion--and, in your case, I often do see it manifest with regard to literature when I read your Materfamilias Reads blog. If anything, I admire your ability to put this out in cyberspace and be so egalitarian in your application of your analytical tendencies; in my own case, I tend to find a certain amount of anonymity safer, but that "safer" doesn't necessarily mean my circumspection is more or less admirable, or even more or less vain. In fact, I rather suspect it might be more narcissistic...! So brava, Mater. Brava!

  6. ... I you use surls rock and blow dry, it isn't crunchy.

  7. I am so envious of your lovely curls!

  8. I couldn't hope for a better bunch of Blogger GFs to talk hair with!
    Pseu, Rachel: Thanks!
    Duchesse: Thanks for the technical deets -- only us curly-heads, I think, can get this obsession with products (see girlcook's comment below!) Also thanks for interpreting my hair-flashing abundance of photos as "generous" -- generous of you!
    Jillian: And UP is what I need given what miracles gravity is otherwise performing ;-)
    Puttermeister: Thank you for this analysis -- now I don't have to be defensive (or, rather, when I am, I'll have a lovely, logical defense ready to offer.)
    Girlcook: Yes, but then I'd have to become much more adept with the dryer, and the diffuser, and what would I do with all my many thumbs?
    Gina: Yes, well if only you knew how we curly-heads have wished for straight (and paid for it occasionally as well!)

  9. It is so bizarre that we covet what we cannot have. Both my eldest two have poker straight hair and I mean hair to cry for, and they would love curly hair. They spend HOURS curling, primping, and spraying for a whole 30 mins of curl before the weight drags it down.
    Leyla and i have a bush, neither curly, wavy or straight. I guess if I could I would have it properly conditioned and coloured,, sadly that, in these lean times is beyond my purse and more crucially time.
    I have spent hours toying with different ways of dealing with what could only be usefully utilised as tumbleweed from a western. but I always revert to the ubiquitous ponytail.
    Your hair is lovely and I can speak from acquired knowledge. I do prefer it lighter, I think darker hair ages us. If you think about it, it is said that black although flattering to our figure is less forgiving to our faces. I guess lighter in a subtle way is the way to go.

  10. If I lived by your house I would just come over and hug you! You've been on my mind ever since your "shadows" posting...I was feeling the very same that day and you just put my thoughts into words. Now, the hair!! It looks very modern and the color enhances your blue eyes so well.
    What a gift, to find this group of bloggers who are at the same stage of life as I am, same concerns and joys.

  11. Loving your hair - very feminine and fresh, not overdone!

  12. Alison: When it comes to hair, it's very much "the grass is greener" . . . I do like my curls, but sometimes I wish for poker-straight hair. -- I think you're right about the dark hair -- it's especially harsh against fair skin, which mine is, and in the summer sun it was just too much. I'm feeling much better with lighter.
    Imogen: Thanks! I've actually been feeling I should give my stylist a call just to tell her how much I'm enjoying cut, colour, and style right now.
    Deb: Thanks -- hugs are always welcome. And yes, isn't it great to find a community as close as the keyboard.

  13. Love the lighter color, it seems light and cheery, although I thought the other color was fine and loved the first picture. Travel hair always seems problematic.

  14. Mardel: Thanks -- I like the other colour for months as well -- I think it's probably the summer sun that made it seem tooooo whatever. Always nice to change up, though, right?

  15. Just love the lighter colour on you! And I think you're getting the extra length around the jaw which looks fabulous.

  16. Thanks, Tiffany -- and yes, that's exactly the extra length I'm wanting!

  17. Looks like you got it sorted out. I think you should take your cues from your daughters' hair too--

  18. My girls are definitely an influence, Karen.

  19. Hey mom,
    I was just cruising you blog and found this post. I love your hair in the second to last/last photo. You look so pretty in that colour/style!
    love ya


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