Newsflash. I have officially become my mother. I don’t mean how I look (do I?!) but how she kept herself looking good, her and her friends’ beauty habits, their daily and weekly “maintenance” but without the Cross-Your-Heart Bra and the chocolate Exlax (children of the 70’s will know what I’m talking about) before the weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. One of the things my mum and lots of women like her did was to have their hair done at the salon on a weekly basis.
Fortunately, we are no longer slave to these routines, right? We are modern and free of beauty burdens. Actually I wonder if the only thing that’s really changed is products themselves. Last time I looked a load of people were going on about waist-cinchers and of course there’s the dreaded Spanx and even worse for the top half.
Anyway, now that I am officially long-haired, I have more work to do! Keeping it clean and styled is almost a full-time job and I already have one of those, one which feels like a job and half in terms of time than one, so sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it myself. My solution, in recent times, has been to take measures never before imagined: I go to a salon to have my hair washed and blown out. The guilt! The decadence! The time-saving! It’s so SHAMPOO.
I have never had long hair before. It was never something that I aspired to. When I was little, I found having lots of hair so hot in the summer that I begged to have my hair cut short, and so began a lifetime of funky cuts. As a teenager the struggle was with very curly hair in a humid climate…shorter worked better, otherwise I was a mass of ringlets in the shape of a triangle. Fortunately it was the time of Bananarama and all things hair, so my crazy big hair was acceptable. Head scarves were my friends. Also living in Britain had something to do with the culture of interesting hair – we were meant to be stylish and edgy and cool and long hair was never a requirement of beauty, and not very popular, thank goodness.
The angled and layered haircuts continued for most of my life, I even had a pixie (brunette) and a try at a strangely layered Sally Hershberger when I went back to blonde, until one day it occurred to me that I had never had long hair. By then I was in North America where the fun and different hairstyles were few and far between and the pressure for long hair seemed real…I don’t know, but I did begin to wonder what having long silky hair would be like. I decided to pull a “Madonna”and grow long hair in old(er) age!
Several years later, I think I have reached that goal. My hair is long. It gets caught in handbag straps, I can feel it on my back at the gym, it annoys me when it obscures my vision but the reason I know it is properly long hair is because my hairdresser friends tell me so. They also tell me they like it a lot, in fact strangers tell me me I have good hair, and it’s “grown” on me too, so it’ll be around for a while “longer” I think. Pardon all the puns, I couldn’t help myself.
Caring for long hair is definitely a chore. Nobody tells you that. And the decision to pay someone else to take care of the hair wasn’t even a conscious one, it just happened. I had a big party to go to, and asked my fantastic hairdresser at the time if he would give me a “do” which turned out to be a lovely 60’s inspired big blowout. And so it began. When I realised that I could get my hair done by someone else in an hour, while having a coffee and catching up on British Vogue, it no longer seemed worth spending two doing it myself.
Where I now live, there are lots of places to go for a shampoo/blow dry. Warren Beatty sadly no longer makes house calls. When I first started doing this, I found the brilliant Dave who was in Vancouver at Heartbreaker salon, having left his own place in Dalston to follow his girlfriend to Canada. Dave and his New Zealand lady married and moved to NZ to start their family, and the hunt for someone who could wield a good dryer and an enormous round brush started again (my hair is still very curly and although I can do long, I can’t do curly and long, unless it’s on a beach. I would like like an enormous poodle. Or Brian May. Another reference for old people).
Thankfully I have found someone really good at an Aveda salon just minutes from my house. Saving both time and petrol cos Heartbreaker was a good 25 minutes drive.
Apparently I am not the only one who needs a weekly appointment. North America is full of long-hair ladies. Blokes too, but I have yet to see one at a salon, as they favour the yoga topknot at the moment. I found this article on the growth of this part of the beauty business….
….and if this is happening recently in Canada then you know it’s been going on everywhere else for ages (sorry Canada, but you are a little behind the times). So I will continue to go somewhere to get clean and styled hair, and enjoy it for the historical and cultural context, and as a luxury for me; an hour where I don’t have to really do anything. As long as the pocket book allows.
Did you know that the pre-Spanx generations knew how to keep it all tucked in? My mum’s generation had the Twenty-Four Hour Girdle. Imagine that. Twenty-four hours with Spanx and you’d be asphyxiated.