I’m always bemoaning how high-maintenance my hair has become since I stopped wearing it in its natural state—curly—and became an obsessive-compulsive flat-iron user. It’s at the point where my locks have the hair equivalent of hot flashes, going limp at the mere sight of any object heated to 300 degrees. My hair is tired, and so am I.
“Can’t I just jump out of the shower, and be ready to go?” is a question I’ve often asked myself, but haven’t dared to try in years. And by the looks of the spring fashion runways, I’m not alone. Low-maintenance, glistening, saturated strands were everywhere, replacing blowouts and a-bit-too-perfect boho waves.
However, it’s one thing to slick down your roots so they’re glued to your scalp when you’re an Amazonian goddess walking the runways of BCBG… and a whole different story when you’re shopping for peanut butter with your toddler in tow. Nonetheless, if ever there was a hair trend I was desperate to make my own—especially with my summer-long battle against humidity about to start—this was it. Added bonus: it could mean an extra 20 minutes of sleep each morning!
Since I recognized that one wrong move could turn this minimalist mane moment into a nightmare in which I starred as a woman who hadn’t washed her hair in weeks, I turned to Fekkai super-stylist Fabrice Gili for some advice. (He’s coiffed aforementioned glamazons like Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell). “This look is totally wearable in real life,” he assures me. “You just have to make sure you have the right outfit. For a style like this, you need to wear something with more of a downtown cool feel.” And though it’s a very flat and shiny look, he advised that I steer clear of excess oil—not too much, not too little, just right. And just enough to avoid even the slightest hint of frizz, the wet-look’s greatest nemesis.
Make no mistake about it, I was scared.
I started off what would have been an ordinary Tuesday by working a good bit of Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Smoothing Cream through my freshly washed hair, then twisting the ends—I used my blow dryer only on my bangs. Though Gili suggested I defuse my strands, I let them air dry to make the look even simpler, then used Fekkai Salon Technician Highlight Care Illuminating Cream on the top of my head and bangs for extra shine.
I have to admit, it looked pretty edgy and chic—until my two-year-old said, “Mommy take a shower.” I couldn’t tell if he meant that mommy just took a shower, or that mommy was in desperate need of one. I opted to believe the former.
“Did you just go to the gym?” asked my girlfriend over lunch, despite the fact that I was wearing the coolest, most downtown outfit I own. No, I replied haughtily. This is the look this season. “Here in the suburbs of Virginia?” she asked. Point taken.
But when I saw a friend who has subscriptions to Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar (and actually reads them), she couldn’t stop gushing. “I don’t look like a greaser?” I asked her. “No! It looks so cool and deconstructed.” Maybe this is a style that’s best appreciated by people who can use words like “deconstructed” in a sentence.
Maybe my hair is just too long to rock it down (it’s 5 inches past my shoulders), or maybe it’s that a full, flat head of uber-shiny strands comes with a lot of 'ifs'—it would look good if it was hot outside (as opposed to 55 degrees) and wet hair seemed logical (as opposed to insane); if I’m going somewhere where women religiously pore over fashion magazine; if I wear just the right amount of makeup to prove that this was deliberate (and not a result of sleeping through my alarm or having no electricity), but not so much that it looks ridiculous with this hair; and most definitely, if life doesn’t require going into the office, because—trust me—your boss would not be happy with this. All of that thinking and planning was proving to be as exhausting as straightening my hair in the first place.
Then, my fabulous friend suggested that I try sweeping my strands back into a messy bun. Voila—I loved it! The unkempt dewiness makes the bun sexier. I might've just found my new go-to style for the whole summer (perfectly effortless on the beach, modern with sundresses).
And suddenly, just like that, I’m no longer conjuring up images of that scene in Coming to America where their hair leaves a wet spot on the couch. And I actually do feel like a cool downtown chick. Ok...maybe a little.
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