This week, I’ve been rocking Miss Breck hair. Which is particularly impressive when you consider that I live in a place where 80% humidity is normal. If you knew me years ago or only recently, you’d definitely be scratching your head in wonder. I have some great physical traits, and I say that as a 40-year-old woman who fights her inner critic but has come to terms with the reality of her appearance. But I was not born with great hair. One of my room mates when I was part of the Walt Disney World College Program had a head of hair that inspired awe and envy. She still has that hair, and every time I see a photo of her I still double take and think, “Not Fair”. But I have discovered cheats and tricks. The best cheat ever is Hair Extensions, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I wear them. My general attitude about beauty regimens, procedures, etc. is that if you can afford it and you’ve researched it and thought it through you should do whatever you want to. But my personal policy is that if I can’t be honest about what I’m doing, then some part of me thinks it’s wrong and I shouldn’t do it. I sort of think that’s a good policy in life. If I don’t want my husband or my best friend or family to know, then part of me is ashamed. And the whole point is to feel proud.
extensions circa 2010
Hair Extensions make me feel like a new person. I got my first head of “fake hair” (as Bookworm charmingly told her Kindergarten classmates) when we first moved to Hong Kong. I didn’t even realize hair extensions were a thing that real people did until I moved there. I really thought they were something strange and mysterious that happened in Hollywood. But now that I’ve worn them, I can spot them…and let me assure you, they are much more common than you might think. When I first wore them, I was trying on a new look. I had previously made the ill-advised and misguided choice to chop off all my hair and have what I thought would be an edgy, European bob. I also dyed it dark chocolatey brown. It wasn’t a great look on me. And it wasn’t edgy. It was a mom bob. And it left me feeling frumpy and blah. In my two years in Hong Kong, I grew out that unfortunate hairstyle with the help of extensions and when I took them out, it was hard for most people to tell.
the unfortunate bob, circa 2009
I’ve thought about getting them in the years since-in fact I once got a really inexpensive (and once-again misguided) set of extensions at a salon in Bangkok…they looked like fried Barbie doll hair. My real hair grows long and it’s straight-but it’s fine and in humidity it just lays flat. So, my signature hairstyle in Bangkok has been the side-bun. I can do it in about 60 seconds and it does not even require a mirror. But it’s boring. And I really missed having lush Miss Breck hair. So, when we went to Hong Kong I booked an appointment with my old (GENIUS!) hairstylist. She fixed me right up. I didn’t add much length-but I swear I have twice as much hair, and it is wavy and lush. I am so grateful to the girl that grew this hair for me. Truly-she is one lucky gal.
the side-bun (and my beautiful friend Sol-who I am missing!)
What I have found most entertaining since my return to Bangkok is that most people have commented on the color of my hair (it is rather blonde…The Bean actually called it Barbie Blonde-but I’m cool with that)-only one has asked why it looks like there is more of it. I’m not ashamed of it. I think it’s awesome. I want to swing it around and use it like a prop. Bookworm asked me which part was “mine” last night, and I answered, “all of it”. After all, I paid for it.
The Barbie Hair
Seriously, though, the point of this post was really that sometimes-it just takes a little change to make you feel a little more “bouncy”. And I’m thrilled to tell you that getting hair extensions has put a little bounce in my step (and I’m actually not kidding-these locks actually have their own spring action)!
If you aren’t up for the commitment (and in a hot climate I will tell you, it’s not something to dismiss) of extensions-or the time needed in the chair (it took me nearly 5 hours)…there are a few other cheats I’ve used. Jessica Simpson has a line of amazing velcro extensions and fake ponytails. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use. I’ve got one of the ponytails and I plan to keep it for when I don’t have 5 pounds of extra hair attached to my head. Dry shampoo is an absolute lifesaver for us with straight, limp hair. And I know you’ve read it and dismissed it because of the “ew” factor..but seriously-you have to stop washing your hair every day if you want it to look like what you see in the magazines. Every model and everybody on TV either has hair extensions or dirty hair or both. That’s a hard thing to consider in this humidity but I got an awesome tip from my baby brother’s girlfriend (another fabulous hairstylist)-blow dry the roots without washing. Or if you truly can’t stand it-just rinse it out. Leave-in conditioner will take care of the ends and dry shampoo will add some thickness and absorb any oil.
My other cheat is pinterest. There are really great tutorials for everything. That is where I discovered the tutorial for what became my signature side-bun 3 years ago. Find one that is easy and flattering and make it your own. I learned that it’s difficult to get all of this hair into the side-bun-it’s way heavier than my own hair…but man, when I do, I look like Princess Elsa-one of Bookworm’s classmates even told me so. And I will tell you, there is no greater compliment from the grade-school universe.
So, until they grow out or fall out or I can’t stand it-if you see me you don’t need to wonder. It’s all real, it’s all mine-I just didn’t grow it on my own head. And if you don’t get it or don’t like it, that’s okay by me. I hope you find a cheat that makes you feel as fabulous as mine does.