Hair may seem simple enough. It’s just a mass of dead cells, congregating on and around your head ready for you to style (or not) at will. However, hair is a lot more than that. It’s a functional part of your body, and can serve to express your personality, portray an image, and for some, provide a sense of security. My hair has changed many times throughout the years, and I have changed with it. However, yesterday, I (spontaneously) underwent the most transformative hair experience of my life.
From the time I was four up until the time I was around 9 or 10, my hair style really didn’t change all too much. I could usually be seen sporting a chin to shoulder length blunt cut, sometimes with bangs and sometimes without. I was pretty secure with myself and my hair from a young age, so I didn’t see the need to change anything about my appearance.
When I was in grade 5, I came upon the idea of donating hair to make wigs for cancer. I thought that this would be a great initiative to participate in, so I spent a year growing my hair out until it was long enough to cut and be donated in grade 6. I went back to sporting a shoulder length cut with bangs until about grade 10 where I decided I wanted to grow out my hair and bangs. While this was under the guise of looking older, subconsciously, it aided with my desire to blend in and try and hide myself from people. High school, especially grade 10 onwards, represented a rough patch in my life, my self-esteem and confidence were at an all time low, and I was in general, just super confused and displayed a copious amount of teen angst, making my large shroud of thick, dark hair that went down to the middle of my back perfectly fitting my personality. In grade 12, I got highlights over the summer and cut my hair slightly shorter, however by March I became tired of them and proceeded to grow my hair out again and dye it a much darker colour.
My large curtain of hair stuck with me until December of 2014, when I decided to once again, donate my hair as part of a Movember initiative we had conducted in our residence. After 8 inches had been cut, I came out sporting a shoulder length cut once again. A lot of people thought it was very gutsy of me to make such a change to my look but my reasoning was simple- hair grows back.
And grow back it did, for up until yesterday, my hair had long surpassed my collarbone and a haircut was in order. For a long time, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of cut or style I wanted. I knew that I had grown tired of my same old style and wanted to do something drastically different. However “drastically different” doesn’t isolate a particular kind of style, so I just resolved to asking the stylist to do whatever he thought would look best. It wasn’t until a couple hours before I got my haircut did I start google searching different kinds of haircuts that would suit my incredibly round face. Everywhere I looked, I saw people hailing short hair cuts as being best suited for round faces, and the seed was planted.
When I arrived at the salon, my stylist came over to talk to me about what kind of haircut I wanted. I asked him if I would be able to go super-short. “I wouldn’t advise it” he said. “The shorter your hair is, the bigger it’s going to get”. He then explained to me that he was thinking about more of a lob (long bob). Even thought that was a pretty low-risk option, I told him that my hair had always been around that length and I was tired of it and wanted to do something different. He started to warm up to the idea of me going shorter, saying “I can make you look beautiful when you’re here, but I want to make sure you don’t go home, wash out your hair, and then think to yourself ‘What have I done’?” He asked me how good I was at taking care of my hair and I said I was open to putting in time and effort to make my hair look good. After looking through some hair magazines, we finally agreed on a short style that he would modify slightly so I wouldn’t “look like a boy”.
After getting my hair washed, I sat in the chair, feeling oddly zen for someone who was committing to lose most of their hair. Right away, he grabbed a good 6 inch chunk of my hair and snipped it off in two seconds. After that part was done, I knew there was no going back. 1 hour later my hair had been completely transformed. The weirdest part of the experience was most definitely having an electric razor used to cut my hair. Never in my life did I think I would get to experience that.
It’s been less than 24 hours since I’ve had my short hair but I already feel like I different person. It’s been pretty liberating to not have my hair be a heavy, tangled mess that is weighing me down all the time and it will definitely be a lot easier to take care of. But it has also made me feel different mentally. No longer do I have any hair to hide behind and while that may seem scary to some, it’s actually made me feel more secure as a person. When I was looking through a magazine trying to decide on a haircut that I liked, I stumbled across a guide to preparing for a short haircut in one of the sections where it talked about mentally preparing yourself, picking out a style in advance, etc, etc. I had to laugh because I literally did none of those things, and had decided to go super short a couple hours before my haircut took place. However, one of the tips in the guide said that rocking short hair is all about confidence. Now considering I’ve never been the most confident, secure person, this definitely threw me for a loop. However, as the magazine said, it takes a lot of confidence to wear your hair extremely short, so it’s almost like this feeling of confidence is something that the style radiates. And I figure, if my haircut can give me an air of confidence, why not run with it?
Having short hair is definitely a drastic change in my life, but at the end of the day I’m so glad I made the cut. I’ve had no regrets since I got it done (and hopefully I won’t eat my words in the long run) and I’m exciting to have fun doing my short hair. Hair is very deeply rooted in a lot of people’s psychology as a kind of security blanket, and for a lot of people this means that they will never change their hairstyle. Now while short hair may not be everyone’s cup of tea (though I would definitely recommend it as I think so many people have the potential to pull it off) a brand new hairstyle is something that can make you feel like a different person. Whether it is a new colour, length, or style, do yourself a favour and invite a change in your hairstyle for once! It definitely helps you to feel great and can even give you a new outlook on life. And if it goes badly, well then thank god for hats. The best thing about changing up your hairstyle is that it’s semi-permanent- sure if you screw up it will suck, but only for a short period of time, after which you can grow it out and then get it done properly next time.
Will I keep my hair short from now on? I honestly don’t know. I have to see how this whole episode plays out and if short hair is still something I’m feeling in 6 months, or even a year down the road. But I know for know, I will focus on enjoying my hair and the feeling that a change in my lifestyle has brought.