Let’s talk about one of the most overused buzzwords in the hair industry: volume. Women are burning and bruising their vaginas in spin classes and looking like complete fools Zumba-ing around to attain more slender frames. But when it comes to our hair, we’re all, “Nah, make that shit voloominussss. I want my head to take up more space!”
What is it about having big hair that has us backcombing our freshly conditioned and smoothed strands into knots? KNOTS, PEOPLE! Much like the wattled jacanas’ tendency toward filial cannibalism, it must come from an inherent, carnal desire to destroy the beautiful things that we create. Or not, whatever. The depth of these issues far exceeds my comprehension.
I think I’m getting off track, so here’s a list of people that we idolize with big hair:
1. Every actress or singer
2. Luanne Platter
3. Every model
4. Every foreign politician’s wife
My personal list is a bit more niche. It includes Miss Alex White, Foxxy Cleopatra, my boyfriend, Erykah Badu, Bob Ross, and the chick from Atomic TanLines.
Yep, I totally cream my five-for-$25’s for huge, curly, fluffy hair. Maybe it stems from my childhood in Dallas, where the mantra, “the bigger the hair, the smaller the hips,” rang true. (Little North Texan girls learn how to tease their hair right around the time they learn not to choke on solid food.)
But also, women with gigantic hair have this magic to them. No matter how demure and unassuming the rest of their appearance and demeanor may be, they draw people in like the exotic aroma of fresh (fresh?) schwarma from a food cart. I always knew I couldn’t have these things, but I’m attracted to them nonetheless.
That is, until I attained the unattainable...
**No, this isn’t a video of me eating a food cart gyro. I’m a beauty writer, not Guy Fieri. I eat them in a locked bathroom stall, standing huddled on the toilet.** Kérastase Oléo-Relax, $39. Aussie Aussome Volume Mousse, $4.49.
My natural hair is long (past-the-boobs long) and has a bit of wave to it, depending on the water hardness of the city I shower in (has anybody else noticed this phenomenon?) If you, too, suffer from lanky hair and lack of verticality, this method should help. I start with damp hair, massaging a few drops of protective serum into the ends. (I make this a habit any time I get out of the shower, a light oil will keep your ends healthy without weighing anything down.)
Then I work a huge dollop of mousse throughout my hair -- don’t just concentrate on the roots, you’ll need the hold allover. Next, use small strips of fabric or rolled squares of toilet tissue and make tiny rag curls all over the head.
Make sure your hair is damp-dry, not too wet, otherwise these tightly rolled sections will hold in the wetness. The sections should be suspiciously small -- a little wider than curling ribbon. In fact, you want your curls to somewhat resemble curled ribbon once you take them out after a few hours or, even better, overnight.
After untying each curl, be sure to separate as you go along. The separation is what creates the volume, y’all! Yes, this takes for. ev. er. "Sandlot" style, but if killer hair came easy then -- well, it doesn’t. Deal.
After completing these steps, you’ll have some good raw material to work with. Either flaunt this look in all of its oversized glory, or part it down the middle, adding some glitzy barrettes on either side. Go nutz. Stick some flowers in there, sprinkle on sparkly confetti, throw in a granola bar just in case being so fabulous makes you hungry later.
To undo the ‘do that’s been done, brush gently working from your tips to your roots with a natural bristle brush, like a Mason Pearson. (Mine is a mini, 'cause money is, in fact, an object.) Then shower, massage a little shampoo onto the scalp and gently squeeze through the length of your hair to remove the mousse. Deep condition until you’re forced to leave your dwelling. Voila! Your hair is boring and flat once more. Snooze.
So, what’d you think? I won’t lie, this is, like, the fourth time I’ve done this to my hair. My ends have pieced themselves together in the shape of a hand and are giving me a stiff middle finger at the moment, but the arduous process and inevitable deep conditioning are small prices to pay for such a glamorous coif.
I bounced around Austin Saturday night enjoying a bounty of slurred compliments from fellow bar-goers and gave a mean side eye to any flat-ironed haters or unsolicited petting. Huge hair only INCREASES personal space, you fools!
Get at me with pictures on Instagram (@annieokay) if you try this out for yourself, or if you beat me to the punch and already sport major volume. THREE DIMENSIONS, LADIES!