On Not Getting Bored With My Long Hair: Braids and Blowouts

For as long as I’ve lived, I’ve never, ever been able to produce an adequate French braid on myself or anyone else.  Standard braids are easy enough, and I’ve been able to turn out a single standard one on myself with fair results.  However, anything beyond this has been literally impossible.  I’ve practiced on my own hair and on others dozens of times, and I always end up feeling like I need three hands.  And of course, braids are so the thing these days that I’m all the more envious of those that can turn out those delicate little plaits just across the top of the head, or those gorgeous, messy fishtail looks a’la Blake Lively .

blake-lively-cabelo-lateral-hair-side-fishtail-braid

So anyhow, last night I found myself in a, um, creative mood, and I happened to have a friend over at that moment with lots and lots of beautiful red hair.  I broke out my curling rod and got to waving her hair into medium-sized ringlets with beachy texture, but apparently I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, because I suddenly found myself grabbing pieces of her hair on both sides of her hair and almost haphazardly weaving them in and out of each other.  I know with French braids you’re supposed to grab a new strand to weave into the braid as you continue it, but I honestly had very little grid for what I was doing.  There was nearly no method.  I kept pulling out and weaving in new pieces, but sometimes I’d use the same strands over again.  I’d created two fishtail-like braids on each side of Stephanie’s head, and then I got to work trying to weave together everything into one.  The end result was something I never thought I’d be able to do without instruction:

braid1

Not terribly shabby, eh??  I love how it seemed to take on a magical Elsa quality with almost no effort!  I couldn’t believe it.  It actually looked like a braid.

braid2

I’ll work on neatening it later, but for now I’d love to keep practicing this on nearly anyone I can get my hands on.  I like the messier, more pulled apart look so I’m not too worried about attaining perfection.  I used Oribe’s Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray for extra texture, but Stephanie’s hair really didn’t need it that much.  I need almost no excuse to use it, though.  That stuff is the best, and it smells amazing.  I sometimes skip perfume when wearing it.

Finding some ways to mix up my own look lately has been a real necessity for me, because I’ve been dealing with a slight itch to chop it all off after finally growing it out to the length that I’ve wanted for years.  If I can start reaping the benefits of long hair with things like fishtail braids, I figure that’ll keep me from making the idiot move of getting rid of all my hard work in one moment of insanity and dissatisfaction.  In addition to adding things like braids and long, unkempt ponytails to my repertoire, I’ve been going for all kinds of texture when I wear it down: straight and smooth, round-brushed with volume, or waved and matted.

styles

I’ve made so little use of hairbrushes in the past few years, but the look on the left was a result of using a boar-bristled flat brush to smooth out and lengthen the bottom layers, and a ceramic round brush for volume and bend on the top layers.  My own blowout lasted a good four days, and a bit of dry shampoo on the crown added some extra mileage.  I covered my hair in Frederic Fekkai’s Coiff Controle Ironless Straightening Balm, and that stuff gives hair such good stretch and elasticity; I’ve long touted it as the best straightening product I’ve ever used.

The look on the right is my most frequent style.  I wrap random sections around a one-and-a-quarter inch iron (without using the clamp, ever) and I leave the ends free, sometimes finishing things off by straightening them just a bit.  I tend to spray a look like this all over with the Apres Beach, or these days I’ll use Bumble and Bumble’s CitySwept Finish for extra “chunk”, as Kristen Stewart calls it.  And of course, mussing it up as much as you can with your own hands before stepping out the door is a must.

Once I manage to get my own hair into some sort of dignified French braid, I’ll have to do a post on it.  But for now, a braid on a friend and a really good blowout on myself is about all we can ask for.  xo, MR

 

Advertisements

Oh now THIS is the kind of thing I LIVE for!!

Oh how thoroughly disappointing the SAG Awards were tonight.  The Golden Globes had been somewhat of a bore for me as well, and so I’d truly been looking forward to tonight’s red carpet with the hopes that someone … anyone … would put on a dress to make my jaw drop.  But alas, my jaw remains fully closed and in fact a little clenched in frustration.  Nights like this kill me.  I mean, yes, it’s great to look all boring kinds of sexy in a column dress so everyone can see that you can work your curves and blah blah blah, but let me tell you- I will continue to throw this at you until someone tops it.  When you, as a celebrity, have access to literally every great designer’s atelier on this planet and each one of those designers would give their right leg to dress you, thou shalt NOT waste my time with another monochromatic mermaid gown on the red carpet.  Grow a pair and actually take advantage of the fashion that’s at your over-privileged, perfectly manicured fingertips.  I mean seriously!  Do I have to rely on mah boo Marion for EVERYTHING?!

And so we’re moving on from this discussion to something else that’s fascinated me lately.  Oh, and how!  So, I purchased the latest issue of Self magazine for the purpose of motivating myself into a more regular gym routine.  I’d initially inserted about a million jokes here when first writing this, but I have to admit this is a completely true desire, void of any irony.  No, I’m not looking to Instagram pictures of my Fergie abs while I frolick around in a bikini at Stagecoach.  But I am looking to take seriously the idea that man cannot live on Cheetos alone, and if one does, a price must be paid in copious amounts of running and veggie consumption.

But I stumbled upon something funny while perusing this latest issue of Self, and it did nothing short of fuel the fires of Mount Doom in my Fergie tummy.

photo (84)

Well, well, well, what have we here?!  The kind of article I live for- the kind that asks what guys really think of the stuff we do with our hair, face, and body, and how we should take such opinions into account when we get ready to bring our ugly selves out of our Hobbit holes and into daylight for presentation!  Excellent!

So, I guess the deal with these is that you’ve got some panel of highly qualified dudes (guys that know lots about the wiminfolks, cause they haz a Y-chromosome and eyeballz) that look at various celebrity photos and rate YEAH, BRAH! or NAH, BRAH! while throwing back a can of mildly-flavored pee Coors Light.  Totes fersh, breh.  And so above we have our first exhibit- Jessica Biel demonstrating nail color and ombre’d hair.  The verdict on nails?  Well Lord bless ’em, the lads say they don’t care!  Sweet relief for us!  “That’s something only girls notice”, dude-breh-number-one says.  Oh, but notice that dude-breh says those nails had BETTER NOT be chipped, lest we be perceived as someone who has a life doesn’t have time to keep her nails perfectly manicured!

And the verdict on ombre’d hair?  A resounding “Hell, no!” from dude-breh-number-two.  His reasoning?  “She looks like she didn’t make it to the salon for a year.”  Right.  Because like the dude-brehs always say, they definitely don’t want a girl who looks like she “tries too hard” or “wears makeup”, but we can’t be having a woman looking like she doesn’t try hard enough either.  MAKES SENSE.  I’m sorry Patrick Bateman, but it’s been hard trying to find that right balance between J. Lo and Jennifer Garner for you, or excuse me, that right balance between CAN’T and CAN’T for you.  If Jessica Biel’s hair looks “un-maintained” to you, look forward to seeing me looking nothing short of BEAT next season when I get mine re-ombre’d.  Consider it my gift to you.

photo (92)

Let’s see, the next victims- Blake Lively with her fishtail braid, short-haired girls, the how-much-makeup question, and a few others.  Of course, that braid is a no from the dude-brehs because “it probably took three hours”.  No, you dum-dum.  It took three minutes because the thing’s probably a bloody extension.  And even if it isn’t (considering Blake is known to have Rapunzel hair), bear this in mind the next time your girlfriend has nice, blown-out, shiny hair that’s left down and casual with soft, “effortless” waves- that probably took three hours.

Oh and take note- NO SHORT HAIR.  DUDE-BREH WILL NOT APPROACH YOU AND OFFER YOU A JAGER BOMB FROM HIS ED HARDY-ADORNED SELF IF YOU’VE GOT THE SHORT HAIRS.  But we are told, quite graciously, “If you look like Halle Berry, then you can go short”.  Oh thanks man!  I mean, I know that Halle spends literally thousands of dollars to maintain her looks each year alone and that if any of us did that you’d immediately judge us for being “too high maintenance”, but it’s a free pass for Halle and all her look-alikes!  Oh wait, there are no Halle look-alikes?  And even Halle doesn’t look like Halle without her Revlon to make her Photo-Ready?  Woops.

photo (90)

Here are a few more.  We’re given the green light for glossy lips because  apparently they say “a girl wants to make out”, and we’re given a thumbs-down on sleek hair with this astute observation- “Bet she’s wearing really uncomfortable shoes”.  But have hope!  Here’s what we’re finally left with as a conclusion:  We’re told in the Editor’s note on the right that “Confidence trumps all, and they want to sleep with you no matter what.  Like what you see in the mirror.”  Oh, I see, so back-track on this entire article because you know it’s the most misogynistic thing you may have ever published in your sorry magazine, but be SURE to validate us in the best, most helpful way possible- by reassuring us that every guy wants to sleep with us just because we’re … girls.

I can’t even begin to delve into the devastating moral and spiritual implications of this article, but I’ll attempt to be brief in my commentary.  Magazines like Self claim to celebrate you as you, and yet they’re fraught with quiet-yet-somehow-explicit suggestions on how to make yourself better, more desirable, more worthy of that celebration.  Some of these suggestions, as in ones pertaining to diet and health in general, are genuinely helpful and sometimes necessary in our lives.  Others, however, are backwards and hypocritical to a degree that has the potential to lay waste to anything helpful a publication may previously have done.  It is frustrating that this article was found in a magazine written for women, and by women, but features like this truly do a disservice to both sexes.  Women are once again subjected to depthless, crude evaluation that leaves them insecure and anxious, and they’re fed the lie that the ultimate compliment a guy could possibly pay you is wanting you physically.  Men, on the other hand, are portrayed as animalistic, thoughtless jackasses that could not care less about the content of one’s character because they’re solely interested in sex.  It’s a bloody shame, it is.

Here’s what I’ll leave you with- Try the weird hair-do.  Put on the red lipstick that may cause a couple guys to say you look like a clown (true story in my life).  Wear no makeup.  Wear too much makeup.  Make “mistakes”.  And extend the same grace to the dude-brehs when they wear too much Tim McGraw cologne, when they’ve got an awful case of the neck-beard, or when they think it’s cool to look like this.  We’ll all keep up with our same weird beauty and grooming habits, and I’ll keep blogging about all of it.  Do this for fun.  Do this because you like it.  And if it bothers you that I don’t like your sock-bun, just do it anyways.  You know you love that hairy donut on top of your head.  Don’t let me take that love from you.  xo, MR