Natural Hair Update, 10 Years On: Some Questionable Haircuts in My Quest for Lifestyle Friendly Hair
Welp. I may have made a bad decision. I may have decided to try and cut a few face framing layers into a haircut that was already too short and too heavy (yes, I did it myself, don't you dare judge), and now I've ended up with a heavy, wavy mullet mop that I can't do much with, because it has ideas of its own. My hair has done it's own research, and wants me to understand that chin length face framing layers are basically tyranny, and then it screams "freedom" and puffs-up defiantly.
Yeah, I may have done that, in my rush to rid myself of a blocky haircut that I felt kinda meh about. So now it's grow time. I will say though that the look on Prince Valiant's face perfectly matched my feelings when I realized I was looking at a summer of inconvenience while I grow my hair out over the next several months.
But I need to back up a bit here. I was looking at my Pinterest last week, and realized that the posts I have done about my transition to my natural hair are to date some of the most popular content I have done. Apparently there are a lot of you out there who are interested in taking the plunge, so I guess it's time for an update. It's actually beyond time for an update; it has officially been a decade, yes you heard right, a decade since I made the decision to stop coloring my hair and see what my real hair looked like underneath. I'll spare you the recap of the entire process, but you can find links to that in the related posts links at the bottom of this post.
Fast forward to a year ago, I stopped using silicone products and stopped straightening my wavy hair (which never really worked all that well anyway if I'm honest), and started following the Curly Girl Method. I sort of felt like I was starting from scratch, finding products that work to fight frizz and create definition on very thick, fine, low porosity salt and pepper hair. I've gone from having two or three hair products in my bathroom to about 600, but now, not quite a year later I'm starting to get a handle on what to use when and why. Here's what I looked like when I was ironing-out my hair. This was done in a salon, I could never get it this smooth myself.
While there is definitely something to be said for grey hair looking its best when sleek and shiny (and I agree, it does), I realize now that I have to make what I am now referring to as hair lifestyle choices. If any hair or beauty regimen takes longer than five or ten minutes, I'm not gonna do it. I'm just not. If it requires that I can't get wet, or put on a helmet, or go out in the wind, or anything other than just exist in the world, I'm just not gonna do it. And don't even get me started on working out. All these curly girls on the internet saying "to preserve your hair just put it in a loose ponytail or bun on top of your head while you work out." WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!? What kind of workouts are they doing that a "loose bun" is gonna keep things in check!? If I bend over to lace my shoes with my hair like that it's over. One burpee and a clip goes flying and someone loses an eye. Seriously, who can do that!?
But I digress. So last year this was my first "curly haircut" on my natural hair. This was by far the best haircut I'd had in a long time, and still one of my favorite looks. I hadn't had bangs (fringe if you're British) in decades, and I love the bangs.
As much as I loved this haircut, and I do believe I will be going back to a version of this cut, the big downside was maintenance. My hair grows like an absolute weed, and within two weeks these bangs were driving me nuts, getting in my face, and already too long. And again, I'm not going to a salon every few weeks (or even every few months) to get a trim. So sadly as much as I love this, I realize I still need to achieve lifestyle hair.
When this cut got unmanageably long and I was sick of cutting my own bangs badly, I decided to go a bit shorter, just to hit the reset button a bit. I couldn't get in with the curly guy, so I just went to a walk-in place, armed with photos of basically this haircut but shorter. I've been going to walk in places forever, since my hair is such a fast grower I'm sort of nonplussed if it doesn't turn out as expected.
And true to form, it did not turn out as expected. What I walked out of the salon with was an angled long wavy bob with bangs. Not the worst...I've had this ubiquitous haircut many times in my life, and always end up growing it out instantly because it's too heavy and mushroomy for my texture. Plus, if you google "haircuts for women over 50", you will be met with basically pages and pages of versions of this cut. Go ahead, try it...you'll see. Quite frankly, by the time I walked out of the salon, I was already sick of looking at myself.
By week two it was too heavy around my face and mushroomy, but I let it do its thing, trimming my own bangs (again, badly) for about two and a half months. At that point, it was just grazing my shoulders and I figured I could safely have a few face framing layers cut, to try and coax it back into a shag. So I tried it. YES, I did it myself. I know, stop it.
I did an okaaaaay job. Okay, no I didn't. I did a pretty terrible job, so I went to a walk in place to have someone even it out a touch. I warned the stylist that my hair is 2B-C wavy, so there is shrinkage to take into consideration. But I think the flattening effects of my motorcycle helmet on my locks gave her a false impression of what my natural texture really was (especially in the Florida humidity), and I walked out a voluminously mullety Prince Valiant, with some very short layers that are difficult to wrangle.
So. Here we are, and ladies and gentlemen, it's grow time! In all honesty, the warmer months of summertime are perfect for growing out your hair. I think perhaps a version of that lovely shag cut with some longer face framing bangs will be a bit more lifestyle friendly, and lucky for me, with my weedlike hair it's probably only four to six months away! But in the meantime. I'll be employing every method I can find to try and make Prince Valiant's hair work for me.
Sadly, there's no Great Cosmic Message here other you can't really go too far wrong staying true to what you know works for you. It's fun to experiment, but for me, every time that I do I'm always reminded why I tend to gravitate towards what I know works; It's a lifestyle choice. Incidentally, if like me, any of you have thick, fine wavy 2b-C hair, I'm putting some product links below of products that I have found work pretty well for me. Products are a very personal thing and much experimentation is required, but you never know, maybe one or more of these might work for you too!