Despite India.Arie’s proud proclamation that we are not our hair, it’s hard not to say that our hairstyles say a lot about us. Our hair is akin to the clothes we wear, the confidence we carry and the strut of our walk. Look some at our favorite celebs! Every time Rihanna has a new album in the works, her hairstyle changes. She refuses to be put in a box.
On the other hand, Beyoncé, another musical titan (perhaps even the Glinda to Ri Ri’s Elphaba) seems to harbor the belief that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While she’s proved capable of switching it up every now and then—cue her recent bold short cut, and the current bob she’s been rocking—her long, golden locks are undeniably a staple of her career and image.
“With most of my clients, it’s either something wild that happened in their lives or their hair gets to be too boring [that makes them want to switch up]. With your hair, you’re sort of branding yourself,” says Philadelphia hairstylist MyAsia Reid.”
Almost every girl wants to reinvent herself every now and again. I know; I have tried over a thousand times to do so. Maybe you’ve never been much of a risk-taker, but you’re ready to make a change, shed your skin and embrace a new you. If this sounds like your life story right now, follow these steps for attempting your own mini-makeover.
Step #1: Figure out what style inspires you
Most people are inspired when they see someone whose hair catches their eye. Find your inspiration in magazine tears, celeb sightings and everyday women, and work with your stylist to find the perfect combination.
Step #2: Take baby steps
It may be tempting, but going from zero to 60 in the blink of an eye can be too much too soon. It could also leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of control, rather than confident and in charge. Instead of doing color and a cut all at once, try one step at a time and gradually add more once you start to get comfortable.
Step #3: Be flexible
Another reason to have a good relationship with your hairstylist is so she can customize any look to give you a variation that suits you individually (and financially). Let’s be honest: just because it looks great on Meagan Good doesn’t mean it’ll look great on you. A look is meant to complement your face structure and skin tone, not emulate a celebrity.
We tend to think hairdressers are magicians who can look at a picture and replicate the exact style, but they can’t always decipher exactly what techniques, cuts and color the celebrity’s stylist used on them. And even if they could find the exact same dye, it doesn’t guarantee that it’ll look the same once it’s applied to your hair.
“Some clients will see a look and want the exact same look,” says Reid. “But once they see it on themselves, they’re unhappy with the final product. I can give you whatever you want, but you have to let me customize it.”
Step # 4: Adopt a committed hair care routine
There’s a noticeable difference between people who regularly make bold hair choices and those who are new to it: hair maintenance. An undercut may be easy for Rihanna to maintain with a personal hair stylist on call daily, but for us regular folk, hair maintenance is done mostly at home, by ourselves. So if you’re not the type that’s good with your hair, talk to your hair stylist, get on the blogs and forums to see what people are suggesting, and get tips from people who have a similar hairstyle.
Step #5: Just do it
The great thing about changing your hair impulsively rather than something like a hasty tattoo is that your hair will always return to its natural state (hopefully). But at the end of the day, taking that leap is a huge confidence booster.
“Clients are usually really happy with the change, and it opens up their mind to other changes in their lives. I see it boost their self-esteem because now, when they look in the mirror, they see someone different. They say ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could look like this.’ The way they walk, talk, and respond to things changes. So I say why not?”