Licentiate Column 04/04/13: The Power of Good Hair

Mine's the Date Bait. Pic via Bad Postcards Tumblr

Mine’s the Date Bait. Pic via Bad Postcards Tumblr

There are deep and meaningful personal epiphanies, and then there are epiphanies that only happen when you get a new haircut.

I never used to go to the hairdresser. In UCC, I would go to a now-closed hairdressing college off Patrick’s Street and avail of the twenty euro special, with resulted in fringed bobs of a different variety every six weeks ranging in quality and execution from Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction to Darina Allen in the early Nineties.

After college, I cut my own hair. The nail scissors was upgraded to fringe level and everyone was happy with my look, especially me. With the perfect, lens-free vision of hindsight, I can now see that I looked quite scruffy (this is putting it kindly). At least I wore that look with conviction – and a pair of thick-rimmed glasses that either distracted or grew attention to that week’s accidental asymmetric fringe monstrosity.

I hated going to the hairdressers. I hated getting layers – to me it looked like someone cutting a shelf into your head. I now realise that I was thinking that because I was just going to crap hairstylists who didn’t particularly care about whether my ‘do looked good or not. It took getting a well-considered haircut with actual layers to realise that all those bad hairdressers really were cutting elaborate shelving units into my gruaig.

There’s good and bad in every profession. Bad hairstylists won’t care about you if you don’t care about yourself, and at that time I could have been bald and only given a toss if it was cold outside and couldn’t find a woolly hat.

This all changed about a year ago when a very wise person had the brainwave of putting me in front of a camera, asking me to present a fashion video. On a whim (and because I knew my mother would be watching), I made an appointment at Sobe Brown, which I was assured was the very best in the city, and got a haircut that most assuredly did not cost twenty euro.

And I haven’t gone anywhere else since.

A good hairstylist will know exactly what you want no matter how badly you articulate and Aisling (I don’t mind divulging) knew what I wanted when I came in with about twenty pictures of Brigitte Bardot, saying ”I want something like this… but also not like this at all”.

There is a transformative power in a good haircut. Yesterday, while I was getting a trim that somehow changed my face, my best friend was getting the Big One. The pixie crop. I am happy to report that she looks like the perfect synthesis of Lena Dunham and Frankie from The Saturdays. She looks like a totally different person, but still just as beautiful as she was before all her hair was lopped off.

The best haircuts are the ones that make you look like you’ve had great hair forever – not like you’ve just had a haircut. The best haircuts make a person look like the best version of him or herself.

It’s something to consider investing in – because if you don’t invest in yourself, who will?

Licentiate Column 25/10/12: Better Remarkable Than Attractive

My new do – it’s the latest thing in Man Repelling, don’tcha know?

Working in the fashion industry has a few advantages, the most underrated of which is the ability (or expectation) to dress like a loon at the office without the negative judgement of others. It’s ok to be a bit weird. It may even be par for the course.

In fashion the opposite to good taste in clothes is not bad taste; it is MOR, sheeplike indifference. Dress like everyone else and your ability to work may be called into question – ironic, when you consider that the opposite is true in many other industries.

In school, I was that person who had different coloured hair every month. I’ve been blue, purple, pink – one golden autumn I was (due to a bleaching mishap) blonde, brown, pink and ginger all at the same time. The only colours I haven’t yet gone are green and grey, and since grey is inevitable at some stage, I’ve decided to give green a proper go after years of natural, if slightly mousy, brown.

By the time this column goes to print, I will have petrol green streaks in my hair. It sounds horrific. Just typing that I shudder a tiny bit, half out of anticipation and half out of fear. On telling my mother about my incipient She-Hulk hair plans, her response was, “But aren’t you concerned about being attractive?”

That question stuck with me. I wrote it on a Post It and stuck it to my computer. Am I worried about being conventionally attractive? No, I really am not. I am more concerned about being remarkable, about being smart, about bringing in a balanced budget.

I’m not looking for a boyfriend. I have no obligations to be anyone but myself. Having green streaks will not deplete my already very low charisma and mystery levels. If anything, I am concerned about being ugly. Ugly is remarkable. I would rather be remarkable over attractive any day.

I have a noticeably large nose. It has been broken several times and is home to more than a few lumps. I like it. It gives my side profile a bit of a witchy appearance, but it is what it is – I might as well embrace the oddness. Serge Gainsbourg, owner of a sizable conk himself, once said that ‘ugliness is in a way superior to beauty because it lasts’. Looks fade, what is considered beautiful often changes and looking weird is, at the very least, consistent.

We should all embrace who we are. Facially speaking, flaws should be accentuated just as much as the better attributes. What working in fashion has taught me is that, if you carry anything with confidence (yep, even warts) and make it look deliberate, you will be all the better for it. This advice may be coming from a woman with a big hooter and green hair, but her common-sense is as finely-tuned as the next person’s.