Friday, October 31, 2014

The First Hair Cut after Hair Loss: The AFTER

When I was eight years old, my older sister took me up the street to our “hair dresser” (the older lady who cut hair out of her house), to get my bangs trimmed, at the request of our mother. I don’t remember much about my hair cut, but after the lady showed me the cut in the mirror, I remember smiling excitedly, and saying, “Oh, I love it!” My sister then paid for the trim, and we proceeded to the door. As I was leaving, I turned back and said appreciatively, “Thank you so much, Mrs. E!”, and then the moment she closed the front door, I burst into tears. I cried all the way home, my sister doing everything she could to make me feel better.  But it was the worst cut I’d ever had, and I was inconsolable. 

We’ve all been there – a bad haircut can feel like the end of the world.  Bangs that are too short, sides left too long – cuts that you immediately know aren’t good. There are also those “sleeper” haircuts – cuts that seem fine when you’re at the salon, and your hair stylist has worked her magic. But then you get home, and play with your hair for a few days, and realize not only can’t you recreate the style, your version of styling makes it looks like the worst bed head ever. 

I recall one of these haircuts taking place after I first moved to the D.C. area. My then-hair dresser thought I looked like Pat Benatar, and felt that I should have a haircut to go along with the face. Sure, it looked great after her primping. But once I got home and started playing with it in the days to follow, it looked like a bad mullet with spikes. Yikes! (BTW, I consider the Pat Benatar comparison a compliment. She still looks lovely today!)

So for those of you who’ve just had or are still recovering from a bad haircut, I feel for you. I’ve included a couple of articles here and here to help you through it.

Thankfully, my most recent haircut was nothing like any of the above. My new ‘do continues to work well for me. Washed and styled, towel dried and tousled, or even the day after washing – my hair cut is going to be just fine.

While I’m still enjoying the newness of it all, I plan to keep the following things in mind for AFTER this first hair cut:

One – I need to enjoy my new ‘do! 

Because this cut was emotionally transformative for me (bonus is that I think it brightens my face, too!), I plan to embrace my new cut, and readily accept the compliments. While my close friends (blog readers included in that group!) know that I’ve had hair fallout, a lot of people wouldn’t notice with my new cut. So instead of being quick to offer up disclaimers about how much hair loss I’ve had, now I’m just going enjoy the nice comments. I’ve started saying, “Thanks so much. I had a tough go of it over the past few months, but my hair dresser worked wonders”, and that seems to be working well. I even picked up a few new frocks to celebrate my new ‘do. With a good hair cut (and a new outlook on life), everything seems to fit better!

Two –I need to celebrate the positives of thin hair.

Okay. So while I may have a decent cut for the time being, my hair is still very thin, and it doesn’t take much of a breeze to blow the wispy sides up to reveal the short spikiness underneath. Nor do those short spiky strands have any interest in laying flat. So as happy as I am with my new ‘do, I want to focus on the good points of my current head of hair, rather than dwelling on the not-so-fun parts of growing out my hair. 

So what are the good points? 

Thin hair takes less time to dry. Like, a lot less. 
It looks much better in a hat, because the back and sides aren’t puffy. 
It lays flatter so that the angles of the cut fall the right way. 
I can use any size hair band to put it back because there’s not much there. 
And finally, it’s not as frizzy/unmanageable/untamed/bothersome as thick hair. 

Here’s an amusing list of top ten things people with thick hair have to deal with. See? It’s not always greener on the other side!

Three – I need to manage my expectations.

As mentioned. I love my cut. I wish it would stay this good forever. But I have to be honest with myself. The fallout may not be over, or it could always start up again. The spiky new hair sprouts may not grow in well, and I may be staring a serious case of helmet in the face this winter. Or the cut simply may not grow out well. But all of that is okay, as long as I remember that whatever happens, hair grows. There may be some transitional cuts in my future. In fact, I may need to go shorter as the spikes grow longer. Or I may not. Either way, I’m not throwing out those short hair magazines just yet. I’m going to take it one week at a time, and remember to be open to an ever-evolving head of hair.

No matter what happens from here, I can definitely say that I successfully made it through my First Hair Cut after Hair Loss. Now let me just find my Pat Benatar wig and microphone, and I’ll be all set for tonight!


Happy Halloween!


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