Natural. Effortless. Chic. These three elements can easily describe a French woman’s overall style, including her hairstyle. Our French cousins may wear their hair in a twist or leave it flowing freely across their shoulders. But no matter how a French woman styles her hair for the day, her hair remains polished and never overdone.
Take a look at your hair today? Would you consider it natural, effortless, and chic? If not, maybe it’s time for a new style.
That’s what I did, more than 10 years ago. Back then, I had very long hair, past the middle of my back. Although attractive to men, this hair was hard to manage, made my head feel heavy, and left me with more bad hair days, than good. As I entered graduate school, I gave great thought to how my hair looked and how my hair represented me. Because I was teaching in grad school, I wanted a hairstyle that made me look more professional and not one that made me look like I belonged on a Key West beach with spring breakers. A big wake-up call came when I came across my high school pictures and noticed that I still had the same hairstyle that I did in high school. Then and there, I made my date with destiny, or at least a date with a pair of scissors.
Although I put my decision off for several weeks, getting “the cut” for the first time was liberating – although I’m sure I shed a tear when that big chunk of hair hit the salon floor. Deciding to cut my long hair was one of the best beauty/style decisions I’ve made. I was free from heavy hair and now had a new shoulder-length style, a new look, a new image to help me start my new career.
Many years have past and my hair follies continue. Although I’m still under 40, my career is such where I need to remain stylish and professional. In the last 3 years alone, I’ve had many haircuts and a half a dozen new styles, including color changes. These style or color changes have not been drastic, more like gradual changes to find the right hairstyle for me for this point in my life. My hair is now above my shoulders with a much nicer cut and style for my features. What used to take 45-60 minutes to style my hair now takes 15-20. I receive regular compliments on my hair from both men and women and love it.
Does your hair need a wake-up call?
If you’re not sure, here are a 10 subtle (and not so subtle) hints that say it’s time for a new ‘do.
- It takes more than 30 minutes to tame your ‘do. If you are spending more than a half hour to blow dry and style your hair, you are putting in too much effort. Along the same lines, if you use a significant amount of product in your hair to keep it “in place”, to others it will likely appear stiff and overdone. Too much time + too much product = desperate need of a new hairstyle.
- Your hairstyle dates you. If you go to a high school reunion and an old friend says “you haven’t changed a bit”, she’s probably referring to the mop on your head. Look at a picture of yourself from 5 years ago. Do you have the same style hair as you do now? If you answered ‘yes’ there is no doubt that it is time for a change.
- You live one never-ending Bad Hair Day. If it seems that your hair never looks the way you want, causing you to put it up in a clip or hide it under a hat, then it’s probably time for a new style.
- Only your mother knows your true hair color. I’m all about changing your hair color. It can change a look and your mood in an instant. But too much coloring can leave your hair looking processed and unnatural. Although highlights are fun and can add new texture to layers, they are often hard to grow out. Consider an all over semi-permanent color or glaze a few shades off from your normal color, to give your hair a rich, deep look and feel.
- Your hair color clashes with your skin tone. As a general rule, if you have pale white skin, coloring your hair jet black is not a good idea, unless of course you are a Geisha or a drag queen. When choosing a hair color, keep in mind your skin tone to make sure your new color does not clash it. On the other hand, you also don’t want your hair and skin tone to blend too well, or you’ll run the risk of looking washed out.
- Your cut and style don’t fit your lifestyle. Your clothes, your career, and your life have evolved. Your hair hasn’t. Think about your clothes – if you have a great wardrobe full of classic and trendy styles, why ruin the look with frumpy hair? Think about your lifestyle – if your life is fast-paced with an always hectic schedule, why make it more stressful with a high-maintenance hairstyle? Think about your career – if your new job requires you to put your best face, and tresses, forward, this may be a great time to update your hairstyle to a more professional look. Now, think about your new hairstyle….and smile.
- Your hair retreats to its “old self” after 30 minutes. Even with high humidty, a good cut can take you through most of the day looking presentable. Hair that goes from curly to flat or flat to frizzy in 0 to 30 minutes is just begging for a new style.
- Hair compliments are few and far between. What woman doesn’t love a compliment? But, if you find that people only compliment your clothes or shoes and avoid looking in the general direction of your head, they’re sending you a subtle message.
- Your stylist asks if you want “the usual”. A saloon where everyone knows your name is good. A salon where everyone knows your standard haircut is bad. Likewise, if your stylist never offers suggestions on a new hairstyle or disregards your suggestions, it’s time for a new stylist.
- You’re envious of other women with great hair. Have you ever followed a woman around a store to get a better look at her hairstyle? Ok, maybe that’s borderline stalking, but if you do admire a woman’s hair, ask her where she has it done. Keep in mind, her hairstyle may not look the same on you, but if she has a great cut/style, chances are whoever is cutting her hair can give you an equally good cut and style that’s perfect for you.
I know how difficult it is to try a new hairstyle, especially when you’ve become so comfortable with the one you have. But a new hairstyle can do wonders for your face, your wardrobe, and your confidence. Still not ready to make the cut? Start small by taking a few inches off or adding a few layers, then go from there. And, whether you have curls or stick straight hair, work with a stylist to find the right cut and style for you, preferably one that is natural, effortless, and chic. Then, don’t be surprised if another woman asks you for the name of your stylist.