Thursday, January 8, 2009

Short, Sharp, Shocked

I have curly hair. That is not a complaint, just a statement. I rather like my curly hair, actually. That's not true -- I love my curly hair. It seems like women are not supposed to say that, but I do. My hair has character and zest -- I have a curly-haired personality and my hair suits me. I've never wanted to straighten it because I like it for what it is, and also because my long narrow face benefits from the volume around it.

My hair reached its maximum length in my late 20's, when I was living in New York and too lazy/broke to get it cut regularly. There was a point at which it reached almost to my waist.

(Waaaaaaaaay too much hair.)

(Ditto. And not nearly enough product. Also, what on earth am I wearing????)

There was even a point when I lived in the city that I got braids:

Honestly, I loved this. It took forever, it hurt like hell getting them done, and taking them out was a nightmare that nearly cost me my best friend's love, but it looked soooooo cool. Trouble was, it wasn't cool -- I had it done in summer and there was probably more artificial hair in there than real and it was hot. Also, while my hair is curly and there's a lot of it, it's also quite fine, so it didn't hang onto the braids for very long -- they started sliding out after 3 or 4 weeks. I actually left one floating in a swimming pool in the Hamptons, if you can believe that. It was like a scene from a BiIl Murray movie.

So, yeah, I had quite the hair thing going on for a while, but a very common-sensical stylist persuaded me to cut it off when I turned 30. (That's not a magical expiration date for long hair, it's just when it happened for me.) She was absolutely right -- my hair was stalky and damaged, and when it's that long the weight of the hair keeps it from curling as nicely. So we took it off up to my shoulders, and for the past dozen years it's hovered between collarbone and jawbone.

(First trip to Paris. Even my hair was swoony with delight.)

(Must have been humid that day, but a good shape.)

(This was good, though prone to the dread triangle head.)

(The shortest so far. Really liked this.)

For the last couple of years, however, I've been thinking about really whacking it off. Again, not because I don't like it, but it was just a growing feeling I had: (::spooky hypnosis voice here::) cuuuuuuut yooooooouur haaaaaaaairrrrrr!! Also, especially since the weight loss, I've been on a serious quest for chic. I've been trying to streamline my look, to go for a more grown-up, French (I'll admit it) sleekness. And while my head full of sausage curls could be pretty, or romantic, or distinctive, or dramatic, they never really seemed chic. I was feeling that with this much curl, chic could only be achieved with short.

My stylist has actually backed me off it for a while now -- I'd go in & say, "Whack it all off!" and she'd talk me down. But Tuesday I went in & stood my ground and whack she did.

(Would you look at the circles under my eyes? You can tell it's cedar season. ::sniffle::)

I think I like it, but I'm not entirely sure. I'm worried about a certain wedge-y-ness around the bottom and near my ears. The hair there is short enough that it's not actually curling, it's just curving, and I'm worried it's a little matronly.

A couple dozen people who know me saw me yesterday post-haircut and only a few of them even mentioned it, which worries me a little. Not that I live for the approval of others, but it seems like it was a pretty dramatic change and I'm afraid that people don't have something nice to say and so they're not saying anything at all. I may want to get the sides thinned down a little to make it rounder & less wedge-y, but I'll have to give it a couple more days to be sure. My weird curly hair suffers from CHSS -- Curly Haircut Shock Syndrome. Do any other curly girls experience this? The way my hair looks immediately following a haircut is not necessarily the way it's going to actually look -- it's like it goes into shock for a couple of days after it gets cut, and I have to wait for it to sort of settle into its final form.

Anyhoodle, as Plumcake says, I'm wanting y'all's opinions. Don't worry about hurting my feelings. I don't think it's a BAD haircut, and my stylist is very cool about me calling up & asking for revisions. Also, my hair grows like Jack's beanstalk, so if I decide I don't like the short all I have to do is wait for a few months and that problem will solve itself.

So whaddya think about my new hair? I'm shooting for chic or (or charmingly gamine at the very least -- or am I too old to be gamine?) but I'm worried I've missed the mark. Let me know what you think!

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tellicherry said...

Curly hair is never boring, is it? My hair kind of spazzes after a haircut, too. You never know what hidden textures you'll find in the curls, plus I have yet to find a stylist who can style my curly hair as well as myself.

I think for a gamine look, you might need to take it all shorter and tighter and really close to the head. If you take up the back and sides it will look matronly. Otherwise, I think the longer jaw length is the most flattering.

Sian said...

I like it, but am voting for side thinning when it comes out of shock. I also might like it that little bit longer slightly better, but I want to regroup after the side thinning and see what it looks like then.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a Win. Wouldn't thin it out either - it balances your face nicely! And I hear you about the curly haircut shock. Mine does that, too, though it's been short for so long it should know better...

Deja Pseu said...

I like it! I'll bet you come to love the ease of it as well as the look. If you decide to stick with it short, you might want to experiment with going even shorter in the back.

deb-ct said...

I understand your goal but, IMHO, the pic with the gold bead necklace is your best look---that style said chic and sleek to me- and showcased the shape of your face best!

Sian said...

Second the gold necklace haircut as my favourite of all those I've seen on you. I think tellicherry is probably right about how to get the gamine look, but it's a risk cutting hair that short (but then again, it does grow).

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, and bonus points for the Pink Floyd reference! :-D

materfamilias said...

My curly hair is never itself for two or three days after a cut/colour -- and it never curls as it should/can for my stylist so I often let her straighten it for me just for fun (and then, of course, it curls on its own as soon as I step into the rain).
Two cuts ago, I got mine chopped quite short as well -- I'm really happy with having it quite short in the back with length at the sides -- think of the inverted bob rather than an inverted mullet, please! I'm not sure if it's because I'm loving that so much on me that I can imagine it working well on you -- I do know that it's chic-er than any cut I've had before and very easy to manage (altho' I do have to see my stylist every 6 weeks, but I do that for colour anyway).
I think what I like about it is that there's enough length in the side curls and layers to give a hint of "wildness under restraint" and as much as I value chic and even while admitting my age, I like my hair to suggest that I'm not through yet, you know? I do wonder if that's what you're struggling -- you still need a way to let your inner wild curlyhead rock out, if very discreetly and chic-ly.
Sorry -- more wordy and maybe more narcissistic than I'd meant. I do like this cut on you, but it might need some refining before you're really showing through in it. Might just be a question of owning it once it's settled in.

Anonymous said...

I like it-my only comment about thinning the sides to lessen the "wedge" effect, is to be careful not to get things so round that you get into Q-Tip territory!!

jessie p. said...

Hi, just stumbled upon your blog and had to pipe in. I see your concern about the wedginess. Based on your great curls and shape face I was thinking you could really rock this look: (Pic of Yasmin Sewell from the Sartorialist). To me this look is elegant but still a bit edgy and so modern.

Anonymous said...

Spy A Hi there. Now for my comment I love the french Montreal women with their very curly chic cuts.That would be very tight to back giving a slope to sides. Which long piece is tucked behind ear often. and long wild top & front. It in a month or so will be like that at the front but back needs tighter cut. Then slick all back is a look they go with for a change . It is a bit average for the clothing you like & wear,sorry Go back a month and just crop back it would have been perfect as it is cute right now,and I don't think you want cute. Katie

Jo said...

I would, if I were you, take it tighter to the head and shorter, especially in the back. It's looking a little wedgy there. You might also want to piece up the bangs a bit, so they're not quite so straight.

As for cut-shock, I feel your pain. When I had my hair short, my hairdresser would have me come back in four or five days to trim up and refine the style. Curly hair is marvelous, but it takes some...patience.

Anonymous said...

`My hair is depressingly limp and straight so it is fascinating to read about hair with personality! I like the hairstyle where you are wearing a burgundy dress and gold beads. Your new hairstyle is a close second, though.

I'd thought your title was on homage to fellow Texas gal Michelle Shocked's first album-- I'd forgotten about Pink Floyd. Duh.
Thanks for the fun post--it's not often we get to sound off about somebody's hairstyle :)
Carolyn in Utah

hanne said...


she has hair like you-and I think this is really chic, funky and sexy :-) really think you would look nice in it aswell.

Anonymous said...

As someone with barely wavy hair, I have always been a bit jealous of people with wavy/curly tresses. I feel like there is a certain air to having a rebelious hair texture. My current life goal is to end up with hair that looks like this:

Although I'm not exaclty the biggest fan of Ms. Paltrow, but I think there is a sense of confidence and chicness in this hair cut (which I have also seen on Anne Hatheway, both fellow curly hair wanna-bes).

Either way, bravo for chopping it off. I don't have the guts to do that yet, but maybe some day. Le sigh.

Anonymous said...

Shoot me -- I think the short cut is matronly. I guess I have bad memories of older woman who cut their hair and have poodle perms. You look gorgeous no matter what, but I think the shoulder length curls look both chic and sexy.