Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Upcoming Post-Updates, More "things I learned."

 It has been a long while since I posted! 

Trying to figure out what to do with a blog in an era of beautifully-produced and entertaining vlogs, YouTube channels and Instagram, and my own constant distractions.

I have been updating some posts and lists and will continue to do that - slowly. 

Much of what I've learned will be rolled into those existing-post-updates.  A recurring issue I encountered doing hair analysis was frustration. People get frustrated with their hair, sure. But it's more stressful when compounded with external pressure. I felt people being pulled in so many directions. Being pressured to spend money in a way that might not be sustainable, or use products that we don't like the feel of, spend more time than we want or reasonably can, to address criticism about their hair, to be somebody else's definition of beautiful or "right" or perfect. Even "beauty-positive" movements feel like they can trigger negative emotions. 

I have become a fan of "body neutrality" as a result. Anything (wellness-promoting) that puts some distance between physical appearance and our emotions is fine with me. 

It's a positive, affirming process to have a problem you'd like to solve, and once you work that out, you can build on that and move on with your business. It's entirely another thing when you're trying to adapt to strict sets of rules, and new problems result from that - leaving us feeling we have few options. Or if each time we have some success, it's minimized in our minds because perfection has not been achieved. It’s always a red flag when issues are framed in strict terms of “good vs. bad.” That’s not leaving enough room for practical compromise. 

We bring our whole selves into this hair-thing. Our problem-solving skills, our emotions, self-perception and confidence, our attitude towards beauty and status and all the good and bad things people have told us. We absorb a lot of attitudes that don't belong to us! A lot of information is out there already. So when we have a problem, or if we feel bad about our hair, we look for others who have solved it already. Smart! 

Never forget - hair is extremely variable. Our expectations are variable. Our water supply is variable. Our climates differ. Our budgets and lifestyle are unique to us. Our reaction to marketing, especially when we're feeling vulnerable is variable.

We all enjoy marketing in one form or another. A nice-looking bottle, clever names for products, feel-good or clever advertising, educational material, a signature fragrance, attachment to a salon or social media influencer or celebrity, something that makes us feel good about a brand or a method. My hope is that people can see the marketing and not forget that it's there to trigger your emotions and sway your choices. 


When you feel strongly compelled to use a product or a brand or technique, when your emotions are intensely triggered - that’s a warning to proceed mindfully. It’s great if you can take from any method (product, brand) what works and discard what doesn’t. Lots of people do that. The problem is when we try to use an "all-in" mindset for haircare that isn't suited to us.  If we double-down on a method or product and try harder when something isn't working without backing up to see where (or why) things went wrong, we're not making progress. Going "all-in" can be a great strategy, but with something as “arts and crafts-y” as hair, it won’t go easily unless you can do it with a good dose of emotional detachment, or you have a good coach (hairstylist, etc.) 


I also felt there is a great deal of pressure to make hair care into a holistic, self-defining or self-love metaphor. Part of your personal "brand?" And if we disavow ourselves from the “bad old ways” and adopt new ones, we’ll all have hair that we love, easy peasy! We fall into this thinking so easily, in so many areas of life "I need to change everything I'm doing because something isn't right." A complete overhaul seems more likely to produce results than targeted repairs in our daily lives.


But like with car repairs, targeted repairs usually make more sense. 


Communication is a big part of the problem with hair-care - we do not have shared words for so many of the things we're trying to describe. So everybody has to figure out how to turn their perceptions into words - words which somebody else might misinterpret. 


Bless you if you've read this far! My main points are these:

  • Don't make perfection a goal, pick one thing you like (that can be achieved reliably) and capitalize on that. Build out from there.
  • Respect your budget and your lifestyle. Shamelessly. 
  • Consistently good results are often more satisfying goal than occasional spectacular results. 
  • Change only one thing at a time when possible! "Change" includes haircuts! It can take a few washes to understand the effect of any change.
  • Never ignore red flags: new scalp/skin, ear, neck, upper back irritation or itching, break-outs, rashes, peeling, hair shedding/loss, new tangling or breakage, change in "manageability". All those things are communication. Please, listen. Skin irritation can lead to fragile hair and hair loss. Changes in tangling or breakage can indicate a problem-product you may need to avoid.
  • Always modify things (products, techniques, methods) to suit your needs. Nobody knows you better than you.
  • Have a backup plan. New problems? Go back to whatever tried-and-true things you used in the past. Hit "reset." Problem-solve from there.
  • TRUST YOURSELF. First and foremost. If somebody - anybody (your friends, your family, your hairstylist, media, marketing) pressures you to do or buy something that doesn't feel right, remember who is in charge. You're in charge. 


I'll be back next week with a pre-shampoo treatment idea for hair that is tricky to do pre-shampoo treatments to. :)



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