I’ve said it before, my friends, I’m a bit obsessed with my hair. I’ve been like this as long as I can remember. Partly because my hair is so very hard to control, always going its own wavy way, frequently frizzy, with crazy curlicues in places where it should go straight, and undulating whoop-dee-doos where it should lie flat. And partly because I’m a fussbudget. In fact the Google definition of “fussbudget” is followed by the example: “[S]he’s such a fussbudget, [s]he gets upset if one hair is out of place.” Yep. That would be me. It’s stressful to be a fussbudget, needing to control every hair, yet having hair with a mind of its own.

Early on in life, I realized that I would never have sleek, shiny locks à la Peggy Lipton in Mod Squad. Remember Mod Squad? I adored Peggy Lipton. My older sister Carolyn had long, sleek, blonde locks like Peggy. Sigh. I was always jealous.

This is me in grade four… missing tooth and all. I’ve been fighting that twirl of bang in the front my whole life. In fact, I wrote a post some time ago about my lifelong hair battles. Check out the sparkly barrette borrowed from my older sister, and no doubt used to control a hair bump on that side. This was pre-blow-dryer-flattening-iron era. I’m sure Mum washed my hair the night before, and might even have resorted to rollers to control the curl a bit. But when my hair dries, and then I sleep on it, despite a vigorous brushing, there’s no budging whatever bumps and whorls have arisen overnight. Still, doesn’t look like my hair is bothering me much in this shot. I look pretty pleased with myself. Must have been my dress. Gosh, I loved that dress.

With the help of good blow dryers, flattening irons, and smoothing, de-frizzing products I’m now able to control my hair pretty well. I even had a sleek bob for a few years in my forties. And lately I’ve been loving my asymmetrical, shiny, straight bangs courtesy of my hair magician buddy Carmen. Until last week that is.

Last week I went to a different hair dresser. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not abandoned Carmen. But I was just returning from our two week road trip, and Carmen was on vacation, so I booked in with her friend, Elizabeth, at the salon where they worked together before Carmen went out on her own. I’ve known Elizabeth for years, chatted to her about her kids and our respective knitting projects, and really, really like her. Plus she cuts Carmen’s hair, so that was recommendation enough. But… she’s not Carmen.

I showed Elizabeth the picture that I had of the cut I was aiming for… the same one that I had showed Carmen a year or so ago. And explained how we were morphing my colour, referred to resistant bits, highlights, low lights yadda, yadda, yadda. And from the look on her face, I knew it was way too much information. I stopped and put the picture away, and just said, “Well, you get the idea. Just do what you do. I trust you.”

And so she did.

Let’s pause for a few minutes here to admire these lovely short, short cuts. Remember this image of Mia Farrow? I’ve always loved her with this short pixie cut. Much nicer than the rather limp, curly bob she’s affected for the past few years.

And the lovely, messy cropped hair of French actress Audrey Tatou. Those French women, they’ve definitely mastered the art of effortlessly chic insouciance. I’ll bet they don’t stress that this or that bit of bang won’t lie flat.

And this undone pixie cut on British fashion model Stella Tennant. Short over the ears, just how I like it. A bit longer on top and probably swept back with her fingers. I love her easy, unfussy style. Stella always looks confidently casual. Of course she is the granddaughter of the youngest Mitford sister. Confidence is in her genes, I guess.

Now, hold those pictures in your mind and let’s get back to me in Elizabeth’s chair last Friday. Elizabeth is a great stylist. But, as I said, she’s not Carmen. So she did her thing, like I told her. And she admonished me as she wielded scissors, blow dryer, and styling products… “I don’t know why you don’t work with the texture of your hair, Sue. Instead of against it.” And when she was finished, I liked what she had done with my hair. But wow… it was short. My long sleek bang was gone. The top was waving, and scrunched, with a few pixie-ish wisps around my face. Hmmmm.
I liked it. Really, I did. But…. after so many years of striving for straight and sleek, could I give up the battle in favour of co-operation with my waves and whorls?
I don’t have a picture of my hair after Elizabeth did it. But this is me on Monday morning as I headed out to an early appointment. “Day One of the Transition,” you might say. I did my best to let the curl have some say. I scrunched. But I had to resort to the blow dryer when frizz began to overtake the front. It looks… okay… I guess.
Hmmmm. Day One… Not Entirely Successful.

This is Day Three, below. I’m off appliance shopping with Hubby. Wearing my new Twiggy jacket, as you can see. I managed better with my new de-frizz product, mixing it with my styling wax as Elizabeth suggested. I’m trying to let the top go its own way, mostly. I’m trying to scrunch and not stress about what happens when I scrunch. Gad… the habits of a lifetime are hard to break.

Day Three of the Transition
I still haven’t been able to replicate what Elizabeth did. I mean this looks like I just rolled out of bed, to me. Well, except for the clothes and make-up. But then again, I tell myself, isn’t that what I’m looking for? Eventually, I resist more fussing and bolt before I’m late meeting Hubby.
This last shot is later the same day, after three hours of appliance shopping. It was windy and my hair was pretty messy. But… no brushes allowed, folks. If you have curly hair, you’ll understand. Brushing it will only take away the curl and replace it with frizz. So, I freshen up my lipstick and try pushing my hair forward with my fingers. Huh. I kind of like this.
A bit better… maybe.

And so the week progressed. Last night I went to dinner with a friend. My efforts to achieve balance between blow-drying and leaving alone were not so successful. I tend to grab the dryer and start wielding my round brush so automatically, that it’s hard, now, to decide when and where to intercede, and when and where to let nature do what it does. So I wasn’t altogether happy with my efforts last night. The whole thing came out rather too puffy and undulating, sort of eighties big hair meets Elvis quiff.

Sigh. So, that’s my hairy week, people. I started with a long straight bang in need of a trim, and ended up after six days trying not to look like Elvis. Hair today, gone tomorrow. I’m in transition. Like some sort of helicopter mom, I’m struggling to let my hair chart its own course, to make its own mistakes. And I’m striving not to interfere too much, not to try to control every little bump and kink. You know, that’s hard for a fussbudget like me.

So my hair is a work in progress… as am I. I mean, aren’t we all works in progress all of our lives?

Before I wrap this up, I should say that Hubby loves my new hair. But let’s be brutally honest here… he really doesn’t get a vote. I’ve decided to give myself another week. And then I may resort to blow-drying and flattening iron again. We’ll see.

Who knew easy, un-done, insouciance could be so danged hard?

How about you folks? Any hair stories you’d like to share with the rest of us? Do tell.


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From the archives


Out and About in Downtown Ottawa

This is a non-travel travel post, my friends. I'm going to walk around downtown Ottawa and go for tea at the Château Laurier. Want to come?

Are You a Hat Person?

I'm a hat person. So why then do I rarely wear hats? Especially winter hats. Well, it's all about the hair. Or was until recently.

Our Fictional Afternoon Tea Party

We've been to a fictional afternoon tea party, today. We've shared good food and drink, great conversation, and lots of laughter. Just what we all needed.

71 thoughts on “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”

  1. I'm a fussbudget too but I love your new 'do. Give it more time to get used to. It's not going to look the same every day which is probably the reason it's frustrating you. But IMO, it suits you and looks modern. That's my vote – if it counts.

    1. Ah, thanks. I tend to get lost in thought when I do my hair and make-up…not used to paying attention. So the different thing every day is frustrating, you're right. Thanks for "voting":)

    1. Thanks, Frances. We'll see how I make out not interfering with what it does. Like letting my grade nine class chart their own activity… but less noisy:)

  2. I love your hair! I had long hair all my life. It was wavy, but I managed to get it fairly straight – and being a child of the 60s, that was very important. When I finally gave up coloring and straightening around 55, and let my hair go completely grey, shock, my hair is very curly. The older I get, the curlier it gets. I call it the kracken. I can put in a head band, or put it in a pony tail, but it does whatever it pleases, and very frequently frizzes up into a brillo pad. I have tried desperately to accept this, and accept the "Oh I wish I had curly hair" comments, but, frankly I would give anything to have hair like yours. I adore short pixie cuts. Your hair is adorable!

  3. I think your hair is fabulous – it gives you a new, fresh, youthful look. It must be much easier than blowing it all the time.


  4. I really , really like it Sue . It is very flattering & the tousled style makes you seem insouciant, even if you don't feel it . Like casual clothes compared to formal . The benefit of curly hair is body . My hair is much straighter than yours & lacks body . I aim for the more youthful tousled look & , strangely enough , it works better if I'm not going anywhere special . If I try hard to achieve it – no .
    Wendy in York

    1. Ha Ha . By the way I hear gingham is in for summer – hope you kept that frock

  5. I love you new style too Sue. It really suits you…looks great! If I could get my hair to look that good without blow drying or straighteners I'd be thrilled! Plus hubby likes it! 🙂
    Have a good weekend.I'm down in Devon with my daughter …niece and her daughters ..lovely "girls" weekend by the sea!

  6. My hair is straight and very fine. I would love to have your haircut! And I think it looks amazing on you. But I also know that no matter how much others may like it, if you don't like it yourself, it just doesn't matter.

    I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow at a new place. I've been agonizing all week …

    1. That's it exactly, Bridget. I have to be comfortable with it. I'm getting there. I think. Good luck with your new stylist. Oh…I've dreaded many a time sitting in a new chair. Hope it goes well.

  7. I know, I know….Growing up in the Peggy Lipton, Twiggy, pre-blowdryer, flat iron era really defined someone our age, who has wavy hair and in my case,a not so flat chest. My mom would use spoolies (anyone remember them?)to set my hair for church, in high school I used 4 large orange juice cans to straighten my locks (rain or heat blew it within an hour) and I was once convinced to getting a perm in the early 90's (drugs and drinking were not involved). So, like you, I have a regime of products and tools that work for me, with an overnight bag large enough to hold it all. I've done years of homework, trial and error – mostly the error of sitting in "the chair" and white knuckling it as a new stylist would chirp "stop fussing, work with your hair". Something about age and wisdom has given me a voice to say, no thanks to their "help", this is how I like it. And please, don't bother to blow dry, it only adds to the humilation." I've fallen in that hole enough to know that if I allow someone to work their magic on me, I walk out looking like the bride of Frankenstein (my own self deprecating view). If I can't get my stylist, I wait. Geez, I don't want to dread getting my hair trimmed as if it were a trip to the dentist! When I read your posts, I hear a woman who already knows who she is and is brave enough to reveal it to all. Your hair does look lovely, but if you are spending even a minute thinking about it instead of enjoying whatever moment your in, then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks…does it. By the way, I love your lipstick…let's talk about that!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment. I'm chuckling over the orange juice cans…my sister did that. We also used scotch tape to hold our bangs straight. And then in high school I even ironed my hair….well, parts of it. And the white knuckling….been there. Every new stylist I meet thinks I should let my hair go curly and dye it red.
      Lipstick is Bobbi Brown. Love her stuff.

  8. I love your new do! It is cute and sassy! But, I agree with others…there is nothing anyone can say to us…it is between us and the hair. I still love long, dark locks…though many have told me to go short and gray. It has to feel good to you. You look great though!

  9. I love it! You may consider going even shorter on top to control that wave; sounds drastic, but I have the same hair woes you describe – curly and wavy and bumpy in all the wrong places. But I wear it super short and the less I fuss the better. I found dyeing it platinum recently (to the shock of many!) has actually changed the texture and made it smoother and easier to work with. I still have mornings where I just feel like shaving my head will be the perfect solution, but in the meantime a funky short cut is loads of fun and freeing. I'm sure you'll grow to love your new look and wouldn't be surprised if your "new" hairdresser takes you even shorter next time. Go for it!

    1. I think either shorter or longer on top will help, you're right. But I'm going back to my "old" stylist, when she gets back from vacation. She's awesome.

  10. Like others I like your new, slightly messy, hairstyle on you and I wouldn't complain if mine looked like that. Mine is curly and have fought the curls for years but a few summers ago, when it was very hot and I couldn't be bothered, I let it go natural one day and had so many compliments I haven't gone back. The secret as always is getting a good haircut and that is quite the challenge with curly hair and it still needs maintenance as well to stay looking reasonable – note I say reasonable as to looking good!!!

  11. I think it looks wonderful. The colour is great and the wisps are perfect. Yes, just scrunch and go. I love a pixie with a twist.

  12. You look darling! I absolutely love your new style. It is a nice freshen-up for the summer (I'm in Arizona so we are preparing for summer now!). You might consider keeping this style through the summer and then evaluate.

    1. Thanks, Kim. That's a great idea, actually. The curl will be easier for camping trips and under my bike helmet etc. I can always grow my bangs out again and start straightening them again.

    1. Thanks, Sandra. I do overthink things. I'm mostly serious…although I have been known to slightly exaggerate to make a better story:)

  13. I love your new hairstyle! You have company in the hair-obsessed department. I devote way too much mental space to whether to grow/cut my hair or whether to leave it gray or go back to coloring it again.

  14. I love your new do! I actually prefer the look before you brushed it forward. I can totally sympathize though. My hair is very similar to yours and it's been a lifelong struggle! I know exactly what you mean by an undulating whoop-dee-doo. When I lived in Japan, communicating with hair stylists was limited to basic words like "short" and "blow dry". I had no way to explain that I abhorred the whoop-dee-doo that delighted them so much! I would come away from each cut with an enormous wave on top that I would then do my best to tame.

    Elaine @ Following Augustine

    1. Thanks, Elaine. That must have been challenging. I guess with so many customers having thick straight hair, they were entranced with your curls!

  15. I love your new hair cut and style!!! Mine is stick straight and goes flat. It is not very flattering. I have to use gels, mouse, and volumizers to get even a smidgen of a style going. Then I load on the hair spray so it will stay in the style I have attempted to achieve hoping I won't get caught in a wind. I have been wearing the pixie cut for about 2 years and it is the best for my hair. It looks effortless but with my limp strands it takes a lot of work. Fortunately, it is fairly thick and I can go up to 3 days before washing and styling again. I have found the right products and hair styling tools makes a difference.

    1. Thanks, Dee Dee. You are right…products are very important. And hair that looks effortless usually requires effort. At least mine does. No effort means tangled frizz. Yuk.

  16. I've always wanted to have hair like yours! Isn't that Murphy's way? My hair horror stories have usually involved scalp jobs. But I also find them liberating. You look great. I wish I could wear short hair as well as you do.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I always wanted to wear a bob… and until the advent of flattening irons and super strength smoothing products I couldn't. Then I got really tire of the twenty minutes of blowdrying. Gad, wielding the blow dryer for that long sure uses upper arm muscles!

  17. Love your new look. I wish I had the guts to go that short. My hair is just below chin length and wavy, curly, flat, frizzy …. Love my stylist but I find that the cut is too short at first, just right (for about 2 days) and then too long. Some days I leave it be, some days I try to tame it. But its always an obsession. Someone in the comments suggested shaving it all off, at times that is very tempting.

    1. Thanks, Suzy. A former student of mine works in broadcasting and recently shaved her head for a charity function. Funnily enough she looks fabulous with a half inch of hair!

  18. I agree with the other commentors. Love the new look on you and if it were me I would stay with it. But I do not have all the hair hang-ups you seem to have. For me short with little fuss is what I like.

  19. I really like your new do, it's very flattering and I also like it longer and straighter. However you feel looks best is the best style for you.
    I'm going to share my hair horror story. It was in 1997 (the year is relevant) and I was at a Women's Networking event and met a hairstylist who works out of her home, and she lived fairly close to me and I was in need of a trim as I was going on a business trip that week. So I booked an appointment for that Saturday afternoon. My hair was about shoulder length in those days with some layers, and I wanted it trimmed a bit in length. Well, I ended up with a Mullet!!! I was totally appalled and explained to her that wasn't at all what I wanted and it wasn't even fashionable (except Billy Ray Sillus sp? ha ha). She proceeded to show me a book on hairstyles (probably her training manual from the 1970's) and showed me a version of that look (it was a shag) and could not understand why I didn't like it. I paid and quickly left to go home and cry. With no hair salons open Sundays and Mondays, I went to my sister and asked her to cut all the long pieces off to about chin length and that made it look much better. It took about 2 months to grow into a decent hairstyle and about 6 months before I had the nerve to go to my regular stylist and confess what had happened. Lesson learned, I will never stray again LOL.

  20. Love this hairstyle and it's ideal for summer and holidays. How lucky you are to have two great stylists in your salon. An ideal opportunity to try something new with no problem returning to your original stylist. It's win win! Iris

  21. Wouldn't you know it — you have the style that I want, but I can't have because my hair is straight and coarse. I've been thinking of getting a short cut but I'm tired of the standard spikey style. So maybe I'll go for a perm and look like a wild Pacific Islander again. It's been awhile.

    1. I'm tired of short and spikey too. You still see that cut on so many hair sites and in magazines. I'm looking for something softer. I hear the "Wild Pacific Islander" look is about to make a come-back:)

  22. Oh, I know the struggle! I am a lifelong hair obsessed person! (Is there a support group for us?) I talk so much about my hair that my husband gets "that look" when I start. One night when I started up, he even said, "oh, OK, we're doing this again," :-/ ANYWAY, I like the new do, but also loved the long straight bang. I say you have to do whatever makes you not cringe when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror.

    1. There should be a hair-obsessor support group! You're right…I need to avoid the cringe. May take some time… or resorting to straight again.

  23. Oh my goodness, your idea of scrunching and mine are very different!!! When I scrunch, which I did for years, I get a tangled mess, frizz galore and what, back in my younger days was just fine, but now looks just AWFUL! Yours looks wonderful! I gave up short , short hair as I need to have more to work with…and have a wonderful guy who does a great cut. But now I will remember your story (and others here) and never, ever stray from his chair!

    1. Frizz.. me too. This morning I scrunched and ended up blow drying the ends to take away the frizz. The effort I went to might as well blow dry the whole darned thing!

  24. Nothing was as freeing as not fighting my curly hair. After years of straightening, blow drying, wrapping it around my head…taking 2 hrs to dry it under a bonnet hair dryer….you get my drift! I finally gave up at 48 (18 years ago)….and I've had more compliments since then than I ever had when I fought it….it never does look the same day to day…depends on how the curl chooses to act each day….let yourself go….it's very freeing!

    1. Oh those bonnet dryers..we had one when I was a kid. Rollers on top, scotch tape to hold the bangs down and sitting under that thing for a half hour. Freedom sound very good. But only as long as it looks okay. So far… not feeling the freedom, just the frustration.

  25. It's cute!
    I'm still learning about product and finding the right balance between Johnny Cash (shellacked helmet) and Albert Einstein (finger in electrical socket). I had long straight hair down to my butt for 46 years. Now it's a buzz cut with a #1 on the sides, and about 3" on the top. Talk about adjustment!

    1. Ah yes, the Einstein look.. one to avoid for sure! From long hair to a buzz cut… that is a big adjustment. Hope it's working out for you, Anne.

  26. I like your hair Susan – it looks great! You have some volume/height on the top which compensates for the shortness and it looks really lovely.

    I keep my hair very short and I've gone grey for almost 18 months now and I keep getting compliments on it…

    Have a great week


    1. Thanks, Veronica. I think I'll shut up about my hair on the blog for a while. Two post on going grey and one whining about my curls is enough for my readers for one season, I think:)

  27. Just found your blog, courtesy of Who What Wear. I like your style very much. I love the new cut. Mine looks the same no matter what I do – the variety of a "messy" style is appealing to me. I say go with it.

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