It's gonna get sappy up in here.
Since my mom moved to Los Angeles a month after me, I go to her place for dinner about once a week. This can be delicious and wonderful about 85 percent of the time. The other 15 percent of the time, though, it can be kind of awful (but also equally delicious.)
“Can I give you some constructive criticism?” she asks during one dinner, waving her hand in a circular motion over my face from across the kitchen table.
“You know you should’ve said no,” my older sister says when I re-enact the conversation later in Chicago at Thanksgiving.
And I knew I should’ve. But I’m also trying to take what she -- and everyone else for that matter -- says less gravely. So I nod a little and say, “SURE.”
“Your hair is just not working for you,” she says. I sigh, lightly. “I had that hair cut and I have that face shape and I didn’t like it on me.”
“Yeah, Mom, you already told me this,” I say. I reach down and pet one of my dog siblings, which is ALWAYS 100 percent awesome.
“And I was showing pictures of you with your longer hair to guys at my work,” she says. “Everyone thinks you look prettier with longer hair.”
(Stop here: ‘Cause yes, this is creepy and weird -- in her defense, though, she works in a young, creative environment. Still, F those dudes! It was also probably ONE guy, as my mom tends to exaggerate, so F you, guy!)
I nodded, and brushed it off in the moment. And then I told the story to every single person who says my hair is adorable, AS THIS, MOTHER, IS BULLSHIT.
Deep breath! Anyway. My hair gains compliments from randoms constantly, might’ve made me two new L.A. girlfriends last night, and makes me extremely happy. Even though I was working towards Suki Waterhouse sex hair, I may now even keep my blunt shape because I am a spiteful, and quite obviously sensitive, brat.
I’ll work on getting less defensive next year.
If you dig my ‘do, AS YOU SHOULD -- or don’t, and keep your long boring hair or whatever -- here’s exactly how I got it:
1. WHAT I ASKED FOR AT THE SALON
I told her I wanted a blunt, long bob, and, “LOOK AT THESE PICTURES? DO YOU SEE THESE PICTURES, YES?” She reassured me that yes, she understood. I told her I wanted to keep my bangs long and rounded.
I went to the Hive in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood because I am trendy -- and ‘cause I could take a bus there when I didn’t have a car.
2. SHAMPOOING AND CONDITIONING
My hair is normally SUPER thick and tends to get dry. I get highlights (GASP), which of course makes my hair even drier and prone to frizz.
I love, love, love and would do weird things to the personified version of Rehab Shampoo plus American Cream Conditioner, both from Lush Cosmetics. The combo has made my hair so healthy and shiny and wonderful and never crunchy like hay. (AH, I shudder thinking about the noise of damaged hair.)
3. DRYING AND MOISTURIZING
Immediately after showering, I wrap my head in a towel, even though it sucks for your hair, woops. It’s a ritual though, so.
Post very-hot shower lotioning, which is also a ritual, I’ll unwrap my hair, put a little less than a quarter-size amount of Renewing Moroccan Oil by Organix ($6.79, drugstore.com) in my palm, heat up the product by rubbing my hands together, and rake it through my hair with my fingers, starting at the middle of the hair shaft. I don’t put any on my bangs.
I’ll brush my hair out how I’d normally style it, with my bangs down, and try to wait as long as possible to let my hair air-dry before knowing that my bangs will look jacked if I don’t blow dry them RIGHT NOW.
Keeping my bangs in-tact and brushed down, I’ll grab my two bling-y clips from NYC’s Chinatown and three baby clips from Goody, and clip my hair into four sections: the two babies on the crown of my head, on opposing sides of my part, a bigger guy for the middle section, and another big guy for the bottom.
For each section, I twist the wet hair and secure with these wonderful little things:
I’ll dry my bangs exactly how I described here when I said I wouldn’t keep my bangs, HAHA -- they are such a pain in the ass sometimes, but I do adore them -- then I grab my last baby clip, pin my bangs out of my face, straight back towards the center of the head like a lil’ pompadour. And then I’ll do my makeup.
After my face is on (heave), I’ll blow-dry each section of my hair using a paddle brush, with the air concentrator pointed at a downward angle, starting with the bottom section. This method prevents frizz, so go forth!
4. CURLING AND STRAIGHTENING
Once my hair is dried and voluminous and I look like a ‘50s robot housewife, I’ll re-pin my hair into those aforementioned sections, and start curling the bottom layer.
I use Hot Tools 1-inch curling iron ($34, soap.com), which is what my stylist BFF in Chicago suggested I get. I scoffed at her and was like, “Less than $60 for a curling iron? Poo-poo!” But she was right. It rules.
The actual curling technique is KEY here, people: You’ll want to clamp 1-inch sections of your hair, but leave out at least an inch of the hair at the bottom. I attempted to demonstrate below and almost burnt my scalp:
I switch directions of each “curl” at random -- with some curled away from the face, and some towards -- as to prevent that pageant-y look. I also comb my fingers through each section once it’s done to make the curls look even more imperfect.
Once I get to the top, I start curling using ¼ inch sections of hair. I might back-tease the crown, and re-curl those strands for more volume. When I’m done curling like crazy I’ll rake my fingers through my hair, and shake it out. (I’ve been likened to Ally Sheedy in "Breakfast Club" a trillion times, so I might as well embrace it. Except for the dandruff part. Ew.)
Using a fine-tooth comb and a 1-inch straightening iron -- I like Chi ($99.95, ulta.com) and have had one for ten years so DO NOT SUGGEST ANYTHING OTHERWISE TO ME EVER; OK I’LL TRY SOMETHING ELSE IF YOU SEND IT TO ME -- I then quickly straighten out my bangs to make them less poufy. Because again, they’re full of cowlicks and junk and my hair is huge.
And that’s how you get hair that my mom totally hates!
I could use some hairspray. But I ran out, so I just do touch-ups with my trusted tools, don’t wash my hair ever, and use my favorite dry shampoo under my bangs when they start looking matted to my forehead.
Tell me about a time someone criticized your hair hardcore and it made you love it even more. Did I tell you guys I used to have a black and green mohawk that made my dad almost cry? That was fun.
Follow me on Twitter: @caitlinthornton