Hair is a funny thing. Through creative use of color, getting a daring cut, or sticking to a signature look, it becomes an extension of our personality, but for some reason, is always the first thing to go after a particularly bad breakup.
I chopped my hair short in high school and was constantly dyeing it red—probably as Brand New’s Deja Entendu album played on repeat in the background as I was in the throes of my emo phase—and have kept it long ever since. For over 10 years, it was my security blanket, and although the lob trend only continued to grow in the way our universe also expands, I swore I wouldn’t get one, of course until hairstylist Michael Sparks of Malibu’s Sparks and Cie Salon convinced me to make the change.
I could wax poetic for weeks about how this cut forever changed me. It was the same length I had during those formative Taking Back Sunday years, but the longer layers on top and absence of sweepy side bangs made the look much more cool and modern. Somehow, everything I wore looked that much cooler with my new haircut, though the fact that Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Selena Gomez were also working the same look certainly didn’t hurt. The element that changed the most, however, was my hairstyling routine.
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I’m far from the point of being a blow-dry-and-go kind of girl. Actually, I barely blow-dried it when it was long—I’d fall asleep with it wet, and when I woke up, I’d wind a curling iron around individual areas to create a lived-in sort of wave. I love the way that texture looks on a bob and would avidly stalk hairstylist Jen Atkin’s Instagram for ideas on how to recreate it, but for some reason, it didn’t completely work on me. My ends would flip out in a Jackie O fashion, and I mean, love Jackie O, but her hairstyle does not flatter me in the same way.
Now that my hair is shorter, I actually have to blow-dry it, or at the very least, cheat that sleek texture with a flat iron. Instead directing my curls outward as they’d do for me at DryBar, Michael recommended that I blow-dry my hair with the brush angled downward, and curl in the ends. My medium-barrel curling iron was swapped for a larger one to impart more of an undone effect. He advised me to still direct my curls away from my face, but leave the ends out to avoid that soccer mom flip. My coworker Kahlana also advised just flat-ironing over the ends in the case that they did happen to form a weird curl.
Of course, my lather-rinse-repeat cycle also changed drastically. I knew in my head that I would have to use roughly half of the amount that I used to, but it still took time for me to adjust once I actually got in the shower. Do about half, and the same goes for the styling products. I’ve had to incorporate more texturizing products into my routine, whereas in the past I barely used them becaus they made my hair crunchy or stiff. For some reason, I can’t hold a wave as well without it, and I finally get what people say about their hair feeling too clean.