Monday, March 05, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.



"Is she or isn't she?" used to be the tag line for Harmony hairspray but today it's more likely to be asked of the Rapunzelesque tresses that are cascading down our  screens and High Streets from LA to Walthamstow.
Tressie kicked off the trend back in the 1970's -  I used to love poking her giant plastic omphalos to make her hair grow. Plastic dolls had it easy back in the seventies. Today our living, breathing plastic doll Jordan, the grand poobah for artifice, pays £6,000 every three months to maintain her extensions. No wonder the global industry is now valued at £2 billion per year, with almost all of the hair used to make extensions coming from China, South America and India where women are paid around $10 to sacrifice their crowning glory.

On the down side a tumbling tussling head of hair worthy of Lady Godiva, if not one's own, can bring about traction alopecia and penury. I've always been envious of Elle Macpherson's tumescent mane, but at times even her barnet resembles overgrown wisteria.

Chris Rock's documentary 'Good Hair', makes fascinating viewing, it examines the cultural anthropology of black women's reliance on weaves and extensions. It has kicked off a rebellion against the tyranny of bought hair and caustic hair relaxing chemicals with the actresses Thandie Newton and Viola Davis at the vanguard of going au natural.

Have you ever tried extensions? I had a fringe glued on 6 days  before my wedding. That went well. After an excruciating 48-hour jackhammer headache I picked off the glue bonds and chunks of my hair in a claustrophobic frenzy that ended with me panting on the floor and shouting: 'Freedom!' 







48 comments:

  1. I too have experimented with extensions of the hair variety! It wasn't until I had them that I realised how often men touched my head, because when they felt the little lumpy bits they all looked horrified. (Lobotomies!...they're so hard to hide...). I hated the upkeep involved with them. That Tressie's thighs have a bigger circumference than her waist!

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  2. Funny - last weekend I was at the hairdresser and started chatting with a woman who spends 90 minutes each sat, getting her extensions in, 3 hours when her hair needs colour... She sat there with the hair in her lap, combing it out like I comb out my Lhasa! I am sure they looked lovely in, I just don't have the time or inclinations. However, it was absolutely fascinating, albeit in a creepy way on my part...

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  3. Tabitha- hilarious about your experience. I have never had extensions, however a few friends of mine have. I always thought it looked too time consuming, painful and expensive, however while in the UK I was always told to go to Brixton for hair products. I love that place. The lengths that humans will go to for beauty is such an interesting topic. My last waxing appointment got me thinking about this... something I have been doing for 15 years might I add. Fifi x

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  4. I've been fascinated with having extensions but the upkeep would drive me crazy! My manicurist does extensions and does her own hair, it looks great. So does my hairstylist.

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  5. I am considering going the opposite direction and returning to my pixie cut. I have already had really long hair of my own many times in my life and it is enough of a bother. I really can't imagine the additional trouble of adding extensions.

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  6. I have been very curious about extensions (who doesn't want to flip a luxurious mane back and forth once in awhile) but I have heard too many stories of headaches, balding spots and gusts of wind 'blowing someones cover' to seriously think about investing!

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  7. I absolutely love your writing style. My best advice is Phyto hair Supplements and super potency biotin and pop in clip in extensions for the in between stages.

    But if you're going to do semi-perm extensions, do the fusion bonded extensions, most expensive but the least damaging.

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  8. so fashion hair! So does my hairstylist.The lengths that humans will go to for beauty is such an interesting topic. My last waxing appointment got me thinking about this... something I have been doing for 15 years might I add.
    thank you for sharing article! abercrombie outlet and I will continue noticing your blog!

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  9. Hilarious story- my friend and her husband got married. He didn't know she had hair extensions. Until their honeymoon night. His re-creation of his figuring it out was absolutely priceless!

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  10. I love long hair -- always have, always will.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  11. As I keep saying, Natural is best.

    Keep on trying, girls. :)

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  12. Whew, I'm relveied, I thought for a minute" oh my God, tell me Tabs didn't get it all cut off!" I have never tried hair extensions, because of the big wig collection, A have however had three wigs combined into one though, but that's another story!

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  13. I can only imagine. And I think I'd have a similar reaction if I ever tried breast implants, which would be an uglier outcome.

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  14. Oh goodness no. It hurts just reading about it.

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  15. As a "hair challenged" man (i.e., bald), I find the whole topic of academic amusement and interest. I look forward to watching the Chris Rock movie when it comes out on DVD. Thanks! RD

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  16. That is one thing I have never done to my big hair.....sounded very painful!

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  17. Good Hair was fantastic! I loved that documentary.
    As a mixed race girl, I've never really had 'good hair'. It's not white people hair, it's not black people hair, it's a weird, temperamental fine, and curly mix that after 30+ years, I think I'm finally on the verge of figuring out.
    And I'm going to make a terrible confession... I'm secretly jealous of all of the girls on the Only Way is Essex... I know they're extensions, but their hair is still glorious!

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    1. Sara: Don't be they will all be bald one day!

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  18. I have very bad hair and have to torture it with various hot appliances before it gets even remotely swooshy. That said, I think that I might be coming around to the pov that curly healthy might really be a better option than straight frazzled. At least I've got the option to be straight if I wanted to.....unlike in the 1970s when no-one really used conditioner, meant that I looked like a fire hazard.

    You ladies with straight swooshy hair, you have it MADE!

    Ali x

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    1. Alison: me too, I have to burn it straight and burn it curly, left to its own devices it's hideous.

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  19. No matter what we have, the grass is always greener on the other side.
    And we all follow fashion like good little sheep. Well, not me anymore. I've discovered that I'm very happy and lucky to have what I've got, and life's way too short to be worried about gluing some old bollocks on your heed.

    I remember back at the start of the 70's, in my childhood corner of the UK, the most cultural diversity we got would be someone from Wales...Very exotic! It was a time when many British women tried afro style wigs, or permed their locks into tight squiggles that needed a fork thingamybob to tease them out with. But the 70's were all about being yourself, and not being afraid of being different. People today are becoming like high streets...the same lack of diversity, same shops, same style, same products, no matter where you go in the world: Same Mickey Mouse ears shaped plastic tits, ironed hair, expressionless botox face, and X-factor-look-at-me-I'm-a-celebrity-mentality.

    I embrace diversity, cultural differences, and individuality. Why would we all want to be the same? Bloody hell, I'm turning into an old hippie!
    Time to watch Hair.

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    1. Curator: yes, we always though of the Welsh as being dark, sultry and exotic! Oh I hate that straight ironed fake tan, blinded up with logos look with a passion

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  20. never had extensions but everyone I know does. in Oz they are $2000-ish!! Saw a horrible doco re how they source them from poor destitute girls in India -awful beyong words. x

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    1. Oh it would be like running a second car trying to keep up extensions.

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  21. I just watched the clip above and I absolutely have to see the whole documentary. I don't know whether I was more fascinated or shocked by this short clip but I have to say there might have been some accidentally coffee spilling involved when I saw what the chemical straightener does to a can.

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  22. No way would I sit and have that put in my head!! Noooooooooooooo! I've had relaxers done on my hair and the pain of that was enough. I don't think it's right that someone have to cut their hair to make money and a crap sum it is in most cases, so that others pay masses to the seller who pockets the money. I have mixed raced hair, so it's neither poofy or straight, but just curly and I like it. Sometimes I straighten it for a change, but I couldn't imagine spending that much on extensions, I think I could find something better to buy instead :) xx

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  23. I had a Tressie doll! I loved her. She was a gift from grandma who felt bad for me after I cut Barbie's hair so short and so poorly that I didn't want to play with her anymore.

    I've never had extensions and haven't wanted them. I do sometimes wish I had that full, bouncy, long hair. It's funny to know that not even those who have it actually have it, it's all extensions!

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    1. Oh I loved my Tressie doll, she wasn't popular like Barbie but she was my first doll.

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  24. No way! I think extensions are gross. I am growing my hair long again but mostly because my updo is better the longer my hair is. I bought these vitamins in France last summer: Forcapil, my hair is better since I started taking them. Easing up on the color helps too, I'm going to keep it to every 6 weeks rather than 4.
    I am very naive, I always think these actresses have such nice natural long hair, meanwhile it's all fake just like the boobs!

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    1. Me too, I was stunned when I found out that Elle had extensions, for years I had been trying to grow mine as "big" as hers.

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  25. My hair is just fine and frizzy. I have to straighten it then put the curls in if it is long, but I have learned to love it. I used to want Elle's hair, but when I learned it was fake I lost all interest. No way I could go through that.

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  26. I've always been suprised that Beyonce has a weave and a contract with a beauty supply company to promote hair color. I've seen pictures where her lace front wig is wrinkled in the front. Most celebrities of color have weaves. It's like photoshop for hair. You really should watch Good Hair it was so funny.

    When I have my hair colored I tell them to leave a little grey so that people can tell that it isn't a weave.

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  27. Most women I know suffer from hair dysmorphia to the same degree they do, the body version. It's all beautiful.
    We love you just the way you are. Mostly. And it never has to do with hair or that extra 5-10 pounds.

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  28. I have to confess that I have partaken. I have hair that is a bit of fluff on a good day, when I had extensions, they were a mix of synthetic and real hair, the effect was amazing. I did struggle with the ethics of the sourcing of the hair, but at my most rational I thought these kids are not going to go back to playing Nintendo and eating Big Macs if there is no market for their hair, what other awful 'market' need will the poor things have to fill, hopefully the hair market can protect them from that. The place that I went does most of the celebs, including the ones named here, Elle has extensions and hairpieces by the way to achieve her super size locks! They attach tiny amounts so that it doesn't damage your own hair, but the maintenance is a pain, I'm not sure I could keep it up full time.

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  29. No, I never even considered it, I have too much hair on my head and I had it long couple of times in my life and I didn't like it. And I did not realize it requires so much maintenance and it is so costly. The thought of some bumpy bits on my head freaks me out.
    When you look at some of the celebs you cannot help but wonder, with everything added-on, eyelashes, hair, lips, teeth and boobs, everything smooth and waxed, isn't it like admiring the look of plastic dolls?

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  30. Extensions so huge here in Montreal that I no longer think "nice hair" but "nice $2000 extensions".

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  31. It is so tempting, especially since every time I set foot in some glam hair haven, I'm told all about the latest extension trends and assured that "this one actually doesn't hurt you hair" - haha, I don't believe that any more than I believe eye lash growing concoctions are safe to use near my eyes. Luckily you have gorgeous long tresses--I don't see why you'd ever need it!

    xo mary jo

    p.s. I think you'll like the addition of the spa + manicure stations at the Bel Air--it's really nice! (run by la prarie same as the beverly hills hotel).

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  32. The trailer is hilarious!!! I had no idea how much work it is nor the caustic chemicals used to straighten the hair!

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    1. I tried a relaxer once in high school and it burned off a whole section of hair. It led to my very first hair cut. Haven't had another one in the 20+yrs since. I learned my lesson.

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  33. I tried extensions once (just on the sides) at the suggestion of my stylist a couple of years ago. Had him remove after three weeks, couldn't stand it. After that I cut my baby-fine hair into a pixie and haven't looked back.

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  34. Oh, and according to my hair stylist (who does a lot of hair and makeup for "shoots" and events), *everyone* you see on the TV or in movies has had extensions.

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  35. Actually, in all honesty, I realize I have bitten of the forbidden fruit. If you check out my website, davidleeds.us under the poetry section, you will see the poem," Our Daily Bread." It is, after a fashion, an ode to long hair.

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  36. When I had very long platinum blonde hair, I had extensions for a short time, as all the bleaching was thinning out my hair. They were so uncomfortable, and yes, bumpy, if anyone touched my head. Somehow it's comforting to know that all these luxurious manes are full of extensions. Like Tabitha, I've always envied Elle's hair.

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  37. I had a large blonde doll, I think her name was Velvet. She had a taller, slimmer redheaded friend, whom I think was Chrissie. Wow. I can't believe I remember this. Same scenario, you pushed her belly button and hair came out of the top of her head.

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  38. I had extensions for my wedding also. Just some glued in to give my updo more volume. I thought to myself "oh, they will make my hair look fabulous on the honeymoon too!" Thank goodness I brought the glue remover on the honeymoon, because by the end of day one I recruited my husband to help me remove them in the shower. What a mess! They are NOT easy to get out. Thankfully, he already said "I do" or he might have wanted to change his mind after the hair debacle. lol

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  39. Never tried them in my life. I WAS blessed with a goof hair , so I thought, but two kids will make your hair fall in clumps. At the rate I am going, I will be relying of the hair "help" pretty soon. The questions is where to find six thousand pounds, anyone?

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  40. Just thinking of hair extensions makes my head itch. Nope. Not for me.

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