For a very long time I have been objectively bad at doing my hair. I’ve tried sporting my fine-yet-also-crunchy locks long (ish) and short, and firstly, let’s scupper the idea that short hair is “easier." It’s mostly not!
Also, don’t let a new mother get a mum bob. The hormones and the desire to exert some control over her life will make her want to do it, and speaking from painful experience, you won’t have the time or energy or appropriate heat styling tools (let alone enough hands or brain width to use them) to replicate what the hairdresser did.
But just as you will come out of that newborn fug, so too will come an inkling that maybe you could start doing your hair again. Or if, like me, you’ve mostly been wearing your hair in a ponytail the last few years, there might come a time when you’ll feel you want to make a change. That your life, or at least your hair, could be different.
This is dangerous territory of course. As Coco Chanel once said, a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. But it can also make you end up with the (see shag in image below) Instagram-famous haircut which, according to who you speak to, suits almost nobody.
Because perhaps, in these impatient times, the least sexy thing you can hear is that it might take time to get better hair. But it's worth it. Stronger, healthier hair is less likely to lead you down the path of a regrettable fringe, a rash “chop it all off” moment or a ponytail every darn day.
Jon Pulitano, co-owner and creative director of Sydney's Headcase Hair salon says the most important thing you can do for your hair is to improve its condition ("it's the biggest thing").
In addition to regular haircuts, Pulitano recommends restorative treatments such as Goldwell Kerasilk's Intensive Smoothing Mask, which has keratin for helping to smooth unruly and tricky hair. Another good strengthening one is the Olaplex Number 3. treatment which helps to rebuild the proteins in your hair strands.
Pulitano also recommends products that detoxify the scalp (we all forget about the scalp when it comes to hair care, he says) which can build-up with things like dry shampoo and general living. Christophe Robin has a really nice scrub with sea salt which works as primer before a conditioning mask.
But mostly, you need to be honest about working with what you have. For Pulitano, who favours what he calls "lived-in" haircuts, this means working with the texture of a client's hair.
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Lauren was my second shag model last night at my class at @staghairparlor ❤️Her hair was so cool already but I wanted to frame her eyes and cheekbones more and being the length up for a big lift. Super easy wash and wear. A total pleasure. Styled with organic sea salt spray and Palo Santo finishing treatment by @rahuabeauty #edosalon #shaghaircut #lahairstylist #bayareahairstylist #organichaircare @thisislaurenrocket
"I work with natural texture a lot more ...[that way] you can shape your hair and I'll teach you how to wear it with the least amount of effort rather than needing a blow dry and a tong... it's about working with what the hair does on its own naturally and enhancing it if you can," he says.
Shape, says Politano is key here too and here's where a good hair cut plays into how well you treat your hair at home. The better condition your hair is in, the better shape it will hold and then ... it becomes easier to do yourself at home.
Sydney-born, LA-based stylist David Keough who was in Sydney this week to launch John Frieda's new Go Blonder Lemon Miracle Mask says the change in the seasons is a good time to start getting serious about bootcamping your hair.
Keough suggests easing off the curling irons and flat irons in cooler weather, made easier because with less humidity there’s less frizz. He also suggests thinking about making a “kinder” change in your colour. For a bottle blonde like myself, this might mean swapping out highlights for a semi-permanent colour.
“A semi-permanent colour helps to seal cuticles down, giving a boost of hydration and shine and is overall gentler on the hair as it contains a lower level of peroxide. Also, it’s generally on-trend to go a couple of shades ‘darker’ for the cooler months. Doing both of these and generally giving your hair a rest will help re-build elasticity and restore shine,” says Keough.
All of which, coupled with a strong sense of self and a best friend who will tell you the truth, and the whole truth about your Instagram hair cut, will help you become someone who is, maybe even objectively, good at hair.
WHAT TO BUY THIS THURSDAY
Your weekly recommendation for a late-night shopping trip ...
Between pregnancy, breastfeeding, lack of sleep and an obsession with finding the perfect shade of creamy blonde I was absolutely not born with my hair has taken a beating in recent years. Oribe's new Power Drops, in particular the Damage Repair Booster, are good for weakened hair like mine. It contains linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid and biotin, a water soluble form of vitamin B, which has helped make my hair feel stronger and softer. It's a very concentrated serum so you just need to mix a few drops into your shampoo or conditioner. $86 and available at David Jones and adorebeauty.com.au
Skin Deep, our weekly beauty column, is not sponsored. All product recommendations are genuine endorsements.