Life is full of transformative changes, and our hair has been used as an emblem for life change for thousands of years, and across all world cultures. This is powerful. Today, with access to chemistry and knowledge of color theory, we have so many options for transforming our hair and marking our paths of change. This story is for all the Mamas out there, and it is my offering for Mother’s Day, because I want to honor the transformations that we go through as mothers.
I want to start by summerizing the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly, because it is beautifully stunning.
A close lady friend recently pointed out to me when caterpillars become butterflies, they don’t evolve from one form directly into the next as a fetus becomes a baby. Nope. Catepillars enter their crysalis (Their preparatory pod of of transition ) and then they digest themselves and turn into catepillar soup. Then, somehow, the cells that are spared in digestion organize themselves to create all of the magnificent parts needed to grow a butterfly from scratch. What the fuck. Nature Wins Forever. I am just floored by this.
What a beautiful way to embody a transition in life. This fact about butterflies was the inspiration for my sister’s hair transformation.
how would you feel about me doing something wild with my hair?
My sister Brook asked her new boss this. She had just started a new job as a science babe in an HIV research lab, turned 35, had a baby, moved to a new city with her husband, defended her thesis, and tried out for lead singer in an all girl punk rock band. It was time to celebrate some major life transformations with new hair.
Her boss answered……
Regarding work, my philosophy is that appearances have nothing to do with what kind of scientist you are, so your appearance is your choice. On a personal level, I would love it if you did something wild with your hair – I think it is nice when people feel comfortable with personal expression. And on an ethical level, I think we should all find our own ways to encourage our colleagues and the world in general to be more tolerant, and not afraid of people who don’t look like them. Especially these days. So go for it! It will be fun to see what you and your sister come up with 🙂
This, we took as a green light.
We both new It was time for butterfly hair, to honor the recent transitions in her life and help her start anew. I spent a few days thinking about what to do with her hair (she gave me full artistic license to design, bless her.) Then, the day came to transform.
Please feel free to not read through the entire description of how her hair was done, it is quite technical, hairdresser talk and you may or may not be interested. You may also just look at the pictures if it suits you. If you want to learn how to do this hair, please read on:)
Brook’s Butterfly Hair
Here is what we did to create her cut and color……First, a major chop. I had been obsessing over the idea of shaggy bowl cuts, and decided that it would be the perfect hair move for Brook. She was game for anything. I basically did a center part on her dry hair, then pulled everything straight forwards to a stationary design line that ran parallel with the tip of her nose. In two chops with my shears, she had a rough bowl cut, and was ready to bleach.
I bleached her virgin hair with 30v developer and Olaplex.
Then, touched up that shaggy bowl cut, by working through her hair in diagonal sections, beginning at the hairline, pulling the hair forwards to that same original design line, and cleaning up the line. The haircut honestly barely needed any work.
If you want to DIY this haircut, do a center part, brush your hair all straight forwards, even hang your head forwards to make it easier. Gather all of the hair and brush it neatly into a ponytail that gathers at the tip of your nose. Pointcut that ponytail right off. Let the hair down and check out your gorgeous kitchen shag.
I began by mixing her colors. I knew I wanted the shades to match her eye color, so I took a picture of her eyeball, then saturated it a bit and used it as a guide for mixing. I also knew I wanted a pop of pink.
Then, I began by sectioning of a circle on the top of her head, which would fall down over the top of that shag, radially. I wrapped it into a tight bun and clipped it off, to keep it out of the way. Then, I carefully painted her roots with the deeper teal color.
Once I had applied the teal to her roots, I carefully applied it to the roots of her circle section, and then re-clipped it off.
Then, I applied the lighter teal to the rest of her hair, (excluding her circle section) and I also left out the ends of the hair around her face, wanting to incorporate some yellow into them.
Now, the fun part was coloring that top circle section, using the ColorPrint Technique!
I knew I wanted color to encircle her hair in a way that would really make her bowl cut pop, because when color is designed around a haircut, It takes the hair to a whole new level.
Here is what I did………..I made a half inch deep sub section, straight across the top circle section. I combed the hair from the subsection straight forwards, onto a piece of foil. Then, I taped it off, straight across above her ends, leaving about 2-3 inches of ends exposed. I made sure that the tape was securely sealed on top of the hair.
Then, with pink and a small art brush, I lined either side of the tape, creating 2 pink lines through the hair which would outline the resist image of the tape.
Then, I gently feathered the top pink line upwards, and the bottom pink line downwards, so that they would gently melt into the next colors.
With separate art brushes, I applied the lighter teal between the roots and the upper feathered pink, and I appllied the yellow to from the ends of the hair, feathering upwards to the pink. ( ends first, so as not to bleed too much pink downwards.)
Once this sub-section was colored, I made a second sub section behind the first, a half inch deep, and pulled it down and laid it directly on the first colored subsection. I repeated the steps, taping off the hair right over the first tape (layering tape/hair/tape/hair.) and then applying color in the same way. I knew that by bringing all the hair from this top circular section back to our original design line, and coloring it in the exact same manner all through the entire top section, we would end up with a circle around the head, when the hair falls naturally.
I worked my way through that entire top section, making half inch deep sub-sections, layering them, taping and coloring them one on top of the next. This, my dears, is hairdresser magic :).
Once all the color was applied, she sat for 20 minutes. Then I rinsed her with cool water, top section first, tape still on. I rinsed with medium water pressure, leaving the tape attached until all the excess color had been rinsed from the section. ( This helps keep the resist image clear and crisp!)
Once top section was rinsed, I rinsed everything all together, until the water ran clear and her hair felt clean of product.
Then, I rough dried her, and showed her herself in the mirror. There is just nothing like that moment of embodying the transformation. Butterfly wings sprouted from her back and she fluttered home, stopping to smell every flower along the way.
When she got home, her 2 year old son wouldn’t look at her, at first. Then, a little while later, he took her face in his hands and smiled and told her she was beautiful.
Happy Mothers Day!
As an extra token of my love today for mamas far and wide, head over to HTHG Instagram and enter our Free Your Hair Brush Giveaway.