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Hair: Messy Curls, or, How Not to Style Your Hair

August 23, 2008

So, I mentioned that I planned to try a “messy hair” technique I saw in Allure. Apparently I actually saw it in Glamour, but no matter. The hair in question looked sort of like my hair if I get all sweaty and take a nap and then wake up and look in a mirror, only actually attractive. So I thought, This is something I can do, right?

Uh, wrong. I think I was misled by the directions, which (paraphrased) were something like: Apply texturizing spray to hair and fluff with fingers and a blow dryer. Wrap big sections around a curling iron and mess up a little bit. Yay! Pretty hair!

See, it looks really simple, only a few sentences’ worth of work, but I think it assumes a knowledge of hair techniques and products that I don’t really have. I once bought some Tresemme Thermal Creations Curl Activator, and curls are texture, right, so I assume I can use that. (And I don’t know why, but WordPress won’t let me include the word “Activator” in the link, and yes it is driving me nuts.) In fact, the instructions for the product on the Tresemme page resemble the tips in Glamour, only with more detail. So I think, Awesome, I have managed to demonstrate some level of product knowledge! And the ladies over at Makeup Alley think the Curl Activator is good stuff. I can definitely do this.

So I sit down with my hair dryer (permanently borrowed from a friend, because I forgot to give it back, and she bought a new one, which really isn’t surprising since I borrowed it in 2001) and curling iron (given to me by my mother-in-law because she didn’t need it anymore, looks like something from the early ’90s) and my bottle of product and my hair and lots of enthusiasm. I spray some Curl Activator on my hair, and it feels… sticky. Sorta reminded me of what my hair felt like in high school when I thought I knew how to use hairspray. I hit it with the blow dryer, and scrunch my hair up with my hands, but it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything. But I forge on, and get the curling iron heated up, and then realize that I am really uncoordinated and that kind of sucks when you have a hot metal stick near your face. I tried to get big sections of hair, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get them under the clippy part of the iron, because frankly working on the side of your head and looking in a mirror is confusing. Eventually I untangled myself and got something that looked right, and I held the curling iron there for… like… 30 seconds. That’s another thing, how long are you supposed to leave the hair on the curling iron? I have no idea.

Anyway, what happened was I had about 2″ worth of curl at the bottom of my mid-back length hair, and it just kind of sat there, all floopy. I tried another section with the same result, and then I said screw it and gave up and cleaned the bedroom instead.

So, I think these are the things that held me back:

  • Old or inappropriate equipment – maybe I’m supposed to have one of those directional vent thingies on my hair dryer, and I suspect that the instructions assume a curling iron with a bigger diameter.
  • No idea how much product to use – what does “liberal amount” mean, anyway?
  • Aversion to stickiness – I probably didn’t put enough product in because ew sticky ew ew on my HAIR.
  • Lack of coordination – I really hope that using a dryer and curling iron or whatever while looking in a mirror gets easier with practice, because woo, boy. Yeah.
  • General cluelessness – I seriously need to start at square one with the hairstyling thing, and find some more detailed directions, or get a stylist to show me or something. And now I notice “step by step video instructions” on the Tresemme site. Too bad I didn’t see that before; I’ll have to check it out and see if it’s helpful or if it’s like the Allure how-to videos where they show you some professional applying eyeliner for 2 seconds and say things like “hold the pencil steady and draw a line” – no shit, really?

I have to admit I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t really work at all. Then again, my hair is so long I think I definitely need a bigger curling iron. Or some hot rollers, I bet that would work too. I don’t have the money to spend on new hair hardware right now, though (see earlier Sephora purchase), so I think I’ll do better trying to find simpler hairstyles. Also? The one I tried to do today? Would look absolutely ridiculous with jeans and a hoodie. So maybe it was for the best.

That reminds me: Coming soon, thoughts on jewelry when you wear slob-clothes.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. sheryls permalink
    September 3, 2008 12:37 am

    …i have no comments on the messy curls, or how to obtain them. I will, however, mention that sometimes equipment is freakin everything.

    i used to swear that all my fingers turned to THUMBS when i touched my hair. the wet ponytail is a look i’ve PERFECTED. i still cheat and use it, because i’m lazy (or more because i stay up till 12:30am on worknights farming whelps, reading blogs and stalking old friends on the interwebs. hi.) but this year i bought something that changed my life – a $150 flat iron. an FHI ceramic flat iron that owns me. and a bottle of chi iron guard. srsly, this is all i need for perfectly straight hair. oh sure, it takes me a good hour from wet to straight (thick hair like ugh) and most days i skip it for the wet ponytail. but hooboy is there a huge difference from the $12 conair flatiron i had before 😛

    …i’d like to be more eloquent and post some comparative pictures but i’m too freakin tired >...< emoticon. THERE. i said it.

    …ok g’night.

  2. sheryls permalink
    September 3, 2008 12:37 am

    …geez, wordpress thought my emoticons were html 😀 sorreh!

  3. jolie permalink
    September 3, 2008 10:14 am

    i’m retarded when it comes to styling my hair or doing my makeup or, well, most things remotely girly, so i can relate. and like sheryls mentions, i found the flat iron to be my only saving grace. however, a $20 flat iron works just fine for me, and i hated the chi spray stuff i had (ew sticky hair indeed!), so i don’t use anything at all. i blow my hair mostly dry (i also have crazy thick hair and just don’t have the patience to straighten it from wet), straighten it, and go.

    however, i’m generally much too lazy and/or sleepy and/or late to do this most mornings, so i still do the wet ponytail almost every day. everyone always comments, though, when i just leave my hair dry naturally and let it get all wavy, but i typically get pissed at it long before that happens and pull it back.

  4. September 3, 2008 10:40 am

    I’d like to try the flat iron but to curl my hair (seriously, video on youtube, looks like even I could handle it). It’s flat enough on its own… pin straight, baby fine, and way too long. Getting a good haircut is going on the List of Things to Do Once I Have Money.

  5. sheryls permalink
    September 3, 2008 11:39 am

    i’m with jolie – i get pissed with my wavy hair down way before the day is out. i just feel wrong with it down and natural-dried.

    i’m supposed to have my hair cut/dyed next week but i might not have the money. we’ll see 😛 it may inspire me to not put it up so much.

    that being said, it’s WAY HOT right now so up & wet all day is kind of nice, i dont sweat to death.

    ALSO re: your deodorant stuff. have you tried degree for women (the “little black dress approved” one)? secret/dove/etc all fail me, but that one works.

    also degree has a “prescription strength” one that makes my pits feel like someone has a dyson permanently attached to them. it’s really nice, but not tanktop friendly, as it will leave some dustings. great for fall/winter.

    also…. i dont have another also. PEACE.

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