In Pursuit of My Fantasy Hair

For weeks the excitement ate me up inside. Ready to do more than have long hair for the heck of it, I let myself be carried away with anticipation - this curly pouf of fluffy goodness was about to get whipped into shape, and a sensually sweet one at that. I. could. not. wait. Cut day came and by the end of it all, my grand New Hair New Me dreams were living on a wing and a prayer. Had you seen me at 59th St. and Columbus Circle, you would have either pulled me into the nearest bar for some good, stiff drinks or let me the hell alone.

(before haircut)

Y'all know how I have raved about Hair Rules - the products that I use live up to their promises (the no-suds cleanser is so moisturizing that I almost forgot to condition my hair on more than one occasion); Anthony Dickey, a co-founder of the brand, has styled the hell out of some hair - celebrities and non-celebrities alike - I've seen the gorgeous results with my own eyes; and the salon specializes in "textured" hair, and if nothing, I've got plenty of texture all up in here. It was a no-brainer that my cut should be done at their salon. Dickey himself sheared me up and the resulting style looked good, though not great (the haircut inspiration photo I shared with Dickey is the first photo at the top of this post). My inner voice kept an interventionist dialogue going with the rest of my disappointed, then angry and frustrated self. My stated request was to keep my length while being given the shape illustrated in the inspiration photo that I dutifully brought along. I'm still wondering where our lines of communication crossed.

I was on a personal hair growth mission - testing my limits and figuring out how long I could let it grow (this challenge has been akin to figuring out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. Like the owl, it seems I will never know). I was coveting the luscious, glorious afro-extraordinaire of the model who appeared on my Body Shoppe discount card about six years ago. I could have been a contender!

I arrived at the salon a few minutes early for my 6:00pm appointment to find I was not on the schedule. RED ALERT. What is really going on? Now, journey with me; I don't want to be unfair. The appointment was made weeks beforehand and confirmed, but stuff happens, and I didn't want to judge harshly so I kept on keeping on. I get to the chair, and because curly styles are cut on straight hair, I am blown out. The benefits of this method are far from lost on me, especially after an experience with a Moroccan stylist who was truly gifted with shaping curly hair, but whose work looked like an Edward Scissorhands swagger-jack when blown out straight. I occasionally wear my hair straight, so it is important that a cut has some sense of symmetry.

(the diffusing process)

Dickey begins to cut and my worry grows as he takes his third pass with the shears. "This man is a celebrity stylist with a great reputation," I said to myself, "and I let him know clearly that I wanted to keep my length. It will be fine." I should have been all over it once he hit on the second pass, but once he began the third it was already too late. On my way to the sink for cleansing, conditioning and curly whip application, I caught a glimpse of my hair from the side and felt all verklempt. Sweet Jesus, it was so much shorter than I asked for. At this point I could only hold out and see how it translated into the curly look.

(final haircut)

After sitting under the dryer for about 15-20 minutes to let the curly whip dry a bit, I was diffused while lying down. The curl definition was serious business, people. I do not exaggerate when I say there was no frizz. He shook it out with his fingers to separate the curls and give it more volume and still no frizz. I kept pulling at the hair at my nape, asking if there was a way to elongate the curl back there (code for: What the eff??? Why is this so short?? Can I get some of it back? No? Wahhhhhhh!)

(three days after haircut)

Needless to say, I left the salon with conflicted feelings. My hair was cute but not what I asked for or imagined. If you've ever had a cut gone wrong, then you know what I mean. In an attempt at self-soothing, I told myself that my hair would look as good as Marsha Ambrosius' once given three months or so to grow out. I was alarmed by the lack of body, but Dickey assured me that it would fill out and by day three it had. Day three was a very good day. Redemption!

(what I hope my haircut will resemble in 3 months!)

In a nutshell: I highly recommend their products, but the jury is still out on styling. If you go, make sure you call ahead to re-confirm your appointment. Bring photos and not only stipulate the shape you would like, but also be explicit regarding length. My hair is MUCH shorter than I wanted it to be, though if the cut necessitated this length, I would have accepted that. Clear communication is necessary to avoid such situations. I thought that was understood, but clearly I was not. Dickey has a long and loyal roster of clients (I told you, I've seen some beautiful hair birthed by his hands) so I am at a loss as to what happened the night that I visited. I am chalking this near-debacle up to distraction and misunderstanding, and waiting three months for my happy ending.

Disclosure: Products in this post were provided for consideration by the company. For more information, please see my disclosure.



Lyssa said...

I know it didn't turn out exactly as you wanted but I think it looks great! Even on day 1 the shape of the cut spoke volumes and on day 3 was just gorgeous with all that volume. The beautiful thing about a cut is that it always grows out wonderfully so you will have a big, curly 'do just in time for the spring! Enjoy!

January 22, 2011 at 9:40 AM
dentist upland said...

great photo!

January 23, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Zee said...

@Lyssa, thank you so much! I agree that the shape was great-it was on par with the shape in the photo I provided. The length is my issue. As much as I am looking forward to the spring, I could have had the "grown out" look now, if my request had been heeded. It all works out in the end though and hair does grow back :) All the best!

January 23, 2011 at 2:14 AM
Zee said...

@dentist upland-Many thanks!

January 23, 2011 at 2:15 AM
Anonymous said...

Nobie - I love the hair! You look so good.

January 23, 2011 at 7:45 PM
Meilyn said...

Wish my hair could do that! Fabulis!!!

January 24, 2011 at 10:42 AM
John Simon said...

I love Hair Rules!! Great write up

January 24, 2011 at 5:46 PM
JennySue said...

I think your day 3 looks sooo good. You have awesome hair.

January 25, 2011 at 6:43 AM
Zee said...

@Jo-thank you lady!

January 25, 2011 at 8:53 AM
Zee said...

@Meilyn-LOL, thank you!

January 25, 2011 at 9:07 AM
Zee said...

@John Simon-I love Hair Rules too! Just believe some communication wires crossed and led to a great haircut that is not exactly what I asked for. And glad you liked the piece. :)

January 25, 2011 at 9:11 AM
Zee said...

@JennySue- Many thanks! Day three was great, though the look is still somewhat elusive to achieve on a consistent basis. Still working on it!

January 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM
Anonymous said...

I've seen some beautiful hair birthed by Dickey, too -- yours! You look fantastic! Do not despair. While you didn’t leave looking like your inspiration photo, that might not have been such a bad thing. It is a little couture. Did you show him multiple pictures – like the Marsha pic? If you did, there is really no excuse for the miscommunication.
As a fellow curly-hair person, I admire your bravery. I have NEVER been able to leave a salon with a curl-do that resembled any parts of acceptable. In lieu of never returning to the salon, I have long since given up trying to get a professional, satisfactory curly coif. Generally, I pick a straight style that I like, get my hair cut to those specifications and then work with whatever curly style I can manage without the "help" of the professionals.
Congratulations on being such a brave little trooper. You really do look great. I can’t wait to see the 3-month transformation - sonie b.

January 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM
Zee said...

@Sonie B-Lol. Thank you maam. My hope for you is that you do find a stylist who is able to take your curly hair to a place that you find breathtakingly beautiful. It is totally possible. I overwhelmingly wear my hair curly and have gone to many different stylists over the years and have had some satisfactory and some fabulous results, so I have great confidence in my ability to not only get a solid cut that flatters my features, but to also get exactly what I've asked for or an explanation for why I cannot. And that pic is couture-which makes it exciting! But her hair's shape (which is extremely wearable) is what I wanted, though a longer version. Unfortunately, I did not have the Marsha Ambrosius photo with me at the time-it did not come to my attention until after the cut, but I would hope that the pic that I shared, along with the following discussion were enough! Thanks for the great feedback though. I love that you love it :). Once I have Day 3 results everyday, I'll love it too!

January 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Anonymous said...

I LOVE the hair and the look Zee! Communication is the key for haircuts and it is unfortunate he was not able to hear (and see) what you were asking. I will keep this experience in mind when I get my next haircut. Gracias!


February 1, 2011 at 4:23 PM
Zee said...

@Mai, thank you very much lady! I've definitely learned a good hard lesson on making certain that I am clear and understood clearly.

February 1, 2011 at 8:20 PM

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