A hair story of sisterhood and solidarity.

IMG_8264Last Friday started out like any other day. I dreaded rolling out of bed. Since I gave up coffee a month ago and it has been so cold outside, getting out of bed has been like pulling teeth.

Once up, the rush and mayhem ensued of my husband and I getting our kids ready for school and trying to dress myself for work in something other than my usual pajama like lounge attire. I was swept up like a pile of hair on a windy day.

I managed to fix myself a cup of green tea on my way out the door. No breakfast, not because I wasn’t hungry. Because on the list of family needs on a Friday morning, mine got caught up in the windy hair pile and blew to the side. ‘ Why do I do this to myself?’ I thought.

Driving to work, I felt sorry for myself for not eating breakfast. Then, I felt resentful that my husband didn’t notice that I hadn’t eaten, Then, I shamed myself for feeling sorry for myself and silently apologized to my husband for being unfair and not speaking my mind. I tried to pry my mind out of the long tight braid of guilt for feeling self pity, shame for feeling guilt, and pity for feeling shame. There are bigger things than this.

I wonder what my work day will bring? My days at Vain are always different. I work with a dynamic and talented crew of people that I love. I have a clients from all over the map…..Strong, opinionated thinkers who are picky about their hair, quiet people who don’t know what they want, loud people who want what they can’t have. Just people, generally, with hang-ups like the rest of us.

I love doing hair, and I appreciate the client/stylist relationship and how it exults me out of the well-worn grooves of my own psyche and offers me a peak into the personal lives of others, a unique bond that is protected by secrecy and understanding. I hold their secrets, and the secrets of their hair. Sometimes their hair tells me secrets that they don’t even know. And I keep that bond between hair and I. Sometimes the bond is simply between my hands and their hair. Unspoken and unexplored by the brain and heart. Just simply tactile.

I hurriedly greeted my first client of the day with an “It’s nice to meet you” and a warm smile. My go-to welcome to new clients. There is nothing like a handshake and a smile with good eye contact to win em over.

Her eyes looked back at me saying “We have already met.”

I realize that I had cut her hair before. Granted, it was a long time ago. But come on. I’m an idiot. Shame started creeping back in but was intercepted by a sweep of self-preservation…..Skills I have developed from years of doing hair……Phrases like ‘Leave your bags at the door’ and ‘put on your gameface’ flashed through my head. I took a breath and breathed out slowly and silently ‘Be present.’ Okay. here I am. I find my footing.

“Oh yes! Hello. It has been a while” I said, noting the entourage of people she seemed to have along with her. A baseball-cap clad sister, an older man, a second young woman, and a tiny and good-looking baby. “welcome back” I said and I led her to my chair. As we walked back to my station, her sister followed behind.

The story I am about to tell pulled me back out of the little world that exists inside my head and into the world in front of me, where sisterhood and courage and solidarity and humility and letting-go-of-shit exists.

She sat down in my chair and with a touch of nonchalance and a smile, told me her story. As I worked my hands through her hair, recollections of her first haircut came flooding back. I didn’t remember the exact haircut itself, but the important events of her life that she had told me were as clear as day. She had been pregnant with her first child and had an cool and sordid conception story. She was a smart and savvy project manager in the tech world, she had a sister who had had an aggressive cancer and had permanently lost most of her hair with radiation treatments. Her sister and I exchanged a quick smile and introduction.

She brought me up to speed. Baby was born, healthy and sweet. She was about to start back at work. She had found a nanny that she really liked. She was here today to cut off all her hair to give to her sister. Her sister would have a wig-cap made with it to fill in the top of her head with her sisters beautiful silky hair that was essentially the same texture as her own hair, that now grew only on the sides and back of her head.

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She was essentially radiating absolute resolve and excitement about going short for the first time in her life. And she was generously sharing an important and personal part of herself with her sister, who was visibly ecstatic to receive it. After years of baseball caps and wigs that never quite felt like her own, she was IMG_8243ready to adopt her sisters hair.

The vibe of these sisters was infectious. I felt absolute honor to be able to be a tiny part of this process.

We discussed a course of action. She had to take 18 inches off, and her hair was 20 inches long. We agreed that a pixie was her best bet to start with, and we discussed the grow out process and her excitement to go ShamPHree.

We would put her hair in many ponytails all over her head, and cut them off at the base, leaving 2 inches of her hair still on her head. IMG_8244IMG_8247Her tails would be neat and easy to transport and keep together for the wig-maker (guy on the east side, former wig maker for the Viennese opera?! hopefully more on this guy later!)

IMG_8248She would be left with a somewhat ragged looking hack-job. We would then create the perfect pixie cut for her fine hair and face shape.

 

 

 

 

 

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All of the above happened while her sister and father stood by, excitedly snapping photos and giggling. Her sister playfully tucked a couple tales into her hat to try on her new hair. It looked fabulous.

IMG_8252 IMG_8253I’m not sure what I loved more about this experience…..The strength and bravery of the giver of the hair, or the giddy excitement of receiver. I could see that I was bearing witness to a very intimate and unforgettable family event. God I love my job.

They all left together, with smiles abound and a brown bag full of 18 inch ponytails. I continued my day with a heart full of bubbly effervescence and lightness in my step. It was so simple. I had just witnessed the good stuff that life is made of. The meaning of life. Love really is the answer.

And at the end of the day,  it’s only hair.

Please share this story if you know and love someone who has lost their hair. Thanks for being here!

xoxo, HTHG

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post! Dry Shampoo: Your new BFF

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 6.31.24 PMThis is a guest-post from Barb Quinn, long-time hairdresser and hair writer. You all know how I feel about dry shampoos and hair powders. I’m obsessed with them and consider them a staple of my ShamPHree beauty routine. This is how I use mine.

Here is Barb’s weigh-in on the subject.

Dry Shampoo: Your New BFF

Dry shampoo? How in the heck do you shampoo hair with no water? It may sound crazy, but the dry shampoo method is a “dirty” little secret that has been circulating underground for years.

Now that these products are going mainstream, more women are willing to step out of the shadows and admit they use them. Wait! Before you gather the mob and hold a shampoo-burning ceremony, I’m not saying ditch your shampoo for good. I’m simply suggesting the method as an alternative to daily hair washing.

Why Consider This Method?

If you’re resistant to the idea of using dry shampoo, you are not alone. A lot of people are grossed out by the thought of not lathering up every day. In reality, most people don’t need to wash their hair daily to keep it clean and fresh. If your hair is long or curly, the oil secreted by your scalp won’t travel down the shaft as fast, so you can go longer than a day or two without washing your hair.

Even if you find the dry shampoo method questionable, “Don’t knock it till you try it.” You never know. This method might become your new best friend. Here’s why.

  • It absorbs excess oil between washes.

  • The process saves you time and energy on busy days.

  • It can help preserve your hairstyle.

  • The no water approach helps save valuable resources.

  • It can add volume to your hair.

  • It reduces the dryness caused by frequent hair washing.

  • It quickly refreshes your hair when you don’t have access to water.

Dry Shampoo Products are Easy to Use

Dry shampoos come in either aerosol or powder form. However, many people prefer the aerosol sprays because they are easier to use than the powders. Simply part your hair into sections, spray the product near the roots and let it sit for five minutes. Brush your hair thoroughly to remove the residue. Natural bristle brushes are more flexible than nylon brushes, so they often work best for removing dry shampoo residue from the hair.

How often you wash your hair is completely up to you. However, as long as your hair isn’t greasy and smelly, no one is going to think you’re nasty because you choose to shampoo less often. In fact, once people find out how easy, efficient and beneficial dry shampoos are, they might join the no-poo revolution too.

3rd Day Bangs dry ShamPHree hair powder is now available in the HTHG shop!

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For more no-poo revolution, check out HTHG’s ShamPHree kit shop and get started on your shampoo-free hair journey.

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Guest author Barb Quinn has been a professional hairstylist for over 30 years and has established herself as a nationally recognized hair designer, educator, and freelance writer. Barb has been chosen by her peers to serve on the advisory panel of Cosmos C International the global hairstylist network and is the Men’s Hair Category Expert for Answers.com. Thousands of women each day follow Barb’s hairstyling wit and wisdom on her highly successful blogs Hairstyle-Blog.com and Visual-Makeover.com.

#bethefair interview…Blogger Stephanie Mason

Hi guys! I got a great email a couple months back from another OCF fair go-er named Stephanie who had found HTHG and was definitely vibing with the whole HTHG DIY hair and #bethefair concept.

She is a blogger and a designer who lives in a tiny home in the woods. Read about her life on her blog www.unpetitesquab.com. I couldn’t help but interview her as a part of last summers #bethefair interview series. She also submitted a fantastically festival-worthy hairstyle the I will also include in this post.

So today, you all get an intro to one cool woodsy creative #bethefair blogger chic, and a hairstyle to boot. Check it!

#bethefair interview, Stephanie Mason

double-dutch-braid01Hello there, I’m Stephanie. I blog over at Un Petit Squab[http://unpetitsquab.com], which is mostly a crafty type blog with ideas on how to live creatively with less stuff. I recently also started doing some hair related posts (inspired mostly by the HTHG herself) and I knew I wanted to do some tutorial action for Roxie over here. I’ve been a long time fan of her work here, and when I found out she’s also Oregon Country Fair Family, I knew we were kindered spirits and I had to reach out.

Speaking of Fair, the tutorial I’m writing for you today is my absolute favorite go-to hair style for summer festivals. It keeps your hair up off your neck in summer heat, it’s great for keeping hair looking pretty even if it’s pretty greasy/dirty after a few days of camping out, and once you’ve practiced it once or twice you can do it by feel without having to look in a mirror. Of course, you don’t need to reserve it for summer time. It looks great any time of year. All you need are a few pins and something to part your hair with.

double-dutch-braid03Double dutch braids are a great way to approximate the look of crown braids if you have short hair (even shorter than my hair is at this point: as long as it’s around chin length you can yank it into braided submission) while still being very easy to do. I like to part my hair on one side for these and then tease the smaller braid out a bit so it looks bigger, but I’ve also had success parting my hair right down the middle. I love this style because as long as you’re confident in your dutch braiding skills, it’s really easy and very quick.double-dutch-braids-tutorial

Steps:
1. Part your hair, either on one side or down the middle, all the way to the back. Throw one side up in a pony tail or pin it out of the way. You should also pin any bangs/fringe out of the way that you don’t want accidentally braided into your hair.
2. Dutch braid one side, making sure your braid follows the side of your head down.
3. Take the other half out of the pony tail and braid it too.
4. Cross the ends in the back.
5. If you have longer hair you can do any sort of fancy bun situation you want here, if you have shorter hair like me just pin it kind of messy like so it stays in place.
6. Adjust your braids, smoothing and fattening them out so they look nice.

And now, her interview questions…..

1. What do you call yourself?

I’m really really bad at upholding nicknames, but I’ve been known to be called Stef Honey and “The Butter Churn” (which is an inside joke amongst my sisters.)

2. If you could manifest your destiny, what would your life look like in 3 years?

I would be successfully making a full time income as a designer and have my own pretty, organized, and tidy studio.

3. Where do you go to get inspired to create?

I pretty much live in the woods, and I’m very inspired by nature so thankfully just stepping outside everyday gives me a lot of creative juice.

4. Where do you get free?

Road trips and back-packing trips.

5. What is your go-to DIY project this year?

I am primarily a knitter, and this year I have this project going in which I’m designing a hundred patterns[http://100babysweaterpatterns.com] for baby sweaters as a challenge for myself. So pretty much at any given moment this year there’s an 87% chance I’m knitting or crocheting a little sweater.

6. What are your top 3 beauty products?

Ehehe… I use very few beauty products and I’m really not all that attached to any given brand of anything. I really like Punky Colors hair dye, after having some massive disappointments with other brands (though clearly I’m still kind of laxed about how well my hair color comes out). Dr Bronner’s (does that count as a beauty product?) is my go-to soap for the most part. And any cheap black eyeliner & mascara will do me pretty well.

7. Zombie apocalypse, you can take 5 things with you. What do you bring?

I always joke with my partner that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I would just accept the fate of becoming a zombie rather than try to deal with all of the stress of running away from zombies and trying to survive and all that. Though to answer the question: I would probably take to the woods with my dogs, a good knife, a book on mushrooms, 100 feet of rope, and a big bundle of wool. (I always fashion the knitting needles out of branches later.)

8. What is your hair MO or philosophy?

It will always grow back.

9. What women in history do you most admire?

Jeanne De Clisson and pretty much any other lady pirate, all of the first wave feminist activists, Artemisia Gentileschi… The woman who has probably had the most profound and direct influence on my life, though, is Debbie Stoller (of BUST & Stitch N’ Bitch fame.)

Sounds good to me, Stephanie. See you at the fair, 2014.

xoxo, HTHG

And the Offbeat Home ShamPHree kit winner is……..

7U6A9660Hi babes! happy day of love:)

Today I am excited to announce the winner of the Offbeat home giveaway……..Avila Swhali, a fed-up with shampoo, fine-haired babe from Ontario Canada!

She will be receiving a Deluxe ShamPHree kit in the mail soon.

I want to thank all of you who entered and showed some ShamPHree interest…….I REALLY wish I could mail you each a ShamPHree package, guys. Really. Because I want you to try it THAT bad.

Here is what I can do, though. For all my subscribers, from now until the 20th of February, enter coupon code Freeyourfriends for $5 off your ShamPHee kit order! You can all be winners!

This is a little pre-Spring special to help kick you all into the sunny months with a new hair outlook:)

Enjoy your ShamPHree hair!

xoxo, HTHG

Princess Charming Valentine’s Ponytail.

 Princess Charming Valentine’s Pony

heartsAfter coloring Nikki’s Kimchi hair the other day, we decided to bust out a quick tutorial of this charmingly easy ponytail hairstyle. It was literally 20 degrees out which is bust ass cold for Seattle. We shot it in 35 seconds flat, which just goes to show that this hairstyle is truly so easy to do.

To begin with, I prepped her damp hair with Arrojo Cream Whip, a fantastic conditioning prep treatment sent to HTHG by the kind peeps at Arrojo who were excited to share the new addition to their line. I rough dried Nikki’s hair, and she was soft and silky and ready to go.

I wanted to do a heart-y hairstyle for Valentine’s day, so here you go.

The Princess Charming Valentine’s Ponytail. The ponytail to celebrate love, any day.

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This little impromptu hairstyle seemed the perfect fit for a wee Valentines day special. It is a simple topsy-tail ‘do that resembles little hearts in the hair.

 

It can be done in medium to long hair, and you will need clear elastics. Begin with a side pony using a clear elastic.

 

Split the base of the pony and feed the tail through the top and pull it through. Put another elastic 2-3 inches below the first.

 

Split the small segment and feed the end up and through the center. Pull it through.

 

Take the outside edges of the segment and tug them apart a bit to widen it and give it that charming heart-like look.

So sweet and charming. Be in love with the world today.

xoxo, HTHG

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