Haircuts and freedom.
I gave myself a lockdown haircut the other day. I’ve not been to a hairdresser for a few years now and have instead let my curls grow, embracing the wildness instead of straightening them into submission. I feel like I’ve come home, and now I really love my crazy hair, even though I can go through a tub of conditioner at lightning speed. Having spent the last decade dyeing my hair (blonde highlights were the gateway drug of choice, leading on to a few bleach blonde years, then black, brown, back to slightly ginger, blonde again, then pink, blue, purple, orange, red….) I finally settled back into my natural ginger and a few years ago I decided to grow out my natural colour and enjoy it before I start going grey.
I’ve snipped a bit off the ends over the years, but really have been left with a sort of DIY-terrible-ombre as the bleach blonde ends got further and further down. Dry, straw-like, and frizzing all over the place, I finally decided it was time for them to go. Armed with a youtube tutorial and some craft scissors, I chopped a good 4 inches off the bottom, getting rid of all the last vestiges of blond and leaving my hair entirely natural for the first time in over a decade.
I wasn’t prepared for the freedom I felt.
My blonde was a throwback to my days in retail, where I played a part, lived in an image I’d created that wasn’t me at all. Expensive highlights were part of that. Letting go of that last reminder of those days was a huge thing for me, even though I didn’t consciously know that it would feel like that. I wasn’t expecting it at all. One snip – and that last bit of my previous life fell to the floor. I tousled my hair, straightened up, and looked at myself in the mirror. I felt new. It was only a few inches of hair but in that few inches were so many memories, emotions. It was so cathartic to cut them all off, and finally come home to myself.
My hair looked darker, without any blonde left at the end. My curls were already sorting themselves into ringlets at the ends, free from the split ends and dryness. I attempted some vague layers, involving a lot of guesswork and crossed fingers, but it turned out okay for a home hairdo, even after it had dried.
I looked at the locks of hair in the bin and felt relief. I’d read online previously about a haircut as a process of letting go, of release – but never thought much of it, even less that I’d feel the same, without even meaning to. I’ve been catching myself in reflections as I pass by mirrors and although I look quite similar, I feel so different. I feel like I’m back, somehow.