Everyone Has Bad Hair Days

everyone has bad hair days

My hair is thick, wavy, curly, and extremely stubborn. It wasn’t until I shifted from a traditional, sleek pixie to my current, messier ‘do that I realized exactly how much my hair DID NOT want to be short, straight, and orderly. At least not all three at once. When I was doing the flat-ironed pixie thing, I had to go into the salon fairly frequently to get clean-ups or my hair would start puffing out and sticking up in odd places and at bizarre angles. This was time-consuming, and costly, and frustrating. When my hair did what I wanted it to do, I LOVED it. When it didn’t, I got grouchy.

At one point I was whinging to my amazing stylist,* airing my frustration that I couldn’t get my hair to look exactly the same every single day. And her response was simple, and something I’d heard many times before. But hearing it at that moment from the person who cut and styled my hair struck me. Hard.

She said, “Well, everyone has bad hair days.”

Obvious, right? Something we’ve all been told. Nothing groundbreaking. But I really heard her this time. And here’s what occurred to me as I mulled afterward:

It is not reasonable to expect my own hair to look exactly the same every day because hair is living, because weather changes, because sometimes I sleep really weird, because I run late. There are dozens of reasons why my hair will not look exactly the same every day, even if I become quite skilled at styling it. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to expect my own hair to look “perfect” every day because perfect is an impossibility. Expecting same, perfect hair on a daily basis amounts to setting myself up for failure and frustration. Remembering that everyone has bad hair days means remembering that it’s OK to look variable and even a little flat or disheveled once in a while.

It is not reasonable to expect anyone else’s hair to look the same every day, and it certainly is not reasonable to expect anyone else’s hair to look perfect every day. All people are subject to hair growth, weather, running late, and all the rest. Remembering that everyone has bad hair days means remembering that no one in this world looks her best every single day, and that judging others is a total waste of energy.

Furthermore, it is not reasonable to expect celebrities’ hair to look the same or perfect, either. Even those who are professionally pretty have “off” days. This is one of the reasons why paparazzi-snapped images of famous people in their sweats or in the midst of hair or makeup failure are a force of evil. They reinforce the fallacy that someone who is famous, extraordinarily beautiful, and wealthy enough to employ various stylists can and should look perfect. All the time. Everyone has bad hair days. Even models like Cara Delevingne and movie stars like Reese Witherspoon. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about it.

Know what else? Everyone has bad outfit days, too. Me, you, strangers, famous people, all of us. No matter how skilled you are at outfit assembly or how well-versed you are in trends, figure-flattery, and color pairing, you will sometimes wear things that don’t work. Even stylists like Stacy London will occasionally pull a dud that looked great in the morning but felt like a mistake by 4 p.m. This, too, is totally normal and should not cause you shame or dismay. By all means analyze what went awry and consider how to change your next outfit for the better, but don’t beat yourself up over a day of frump or clash or over-accessorization. Bad outfits are as much a part of life as breathing, sleeping, changing seasons. And everyone in the world wears them occasionally.

I still strive for good hair and fabulous outfits, of course, but this mental and emotional shift has changed me. Now, when I glance in the mirror and see unfortunate things happening atop my head, I do my best to adjust my locks but I don’t freak out. When an outfit I thought was dynamite looks totally bizarre after a few hours’ wear, I make note of what’s wrong but I don’t berate myself. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone wears weird stuff. Everyone in this lovely world of ours has bad hair days. But luckily, the sun will rise again in the morning and we can have another go with the curling iron.

*Jaimie Juettner at TC2, by the way. Go see her. She’s completely amazing.

Image courtesy vagabondblogger | This piece first appeared on Huffington Post

Originally posted 2014-07-21 06:47:40.

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8 Responses to “Everyone Has Bad Hair Days”

  1. Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    I love this post, Sal. Pretty much since mid-February thanks to my injury I haven’t been able to style my hair properly, apply my makeup with precision, most of my wardrobe doesn’t fit. And it’s okay to have a bad hair day, or even a bad hair month (or six!). My arm has taught me so much in patience, self-care, and compassion. Clothes and hair and beauty are awesome, they help express us to the world, but they don’t define us. We’re still amazing people even if our hair looks a bit cray! <3

  2. jan.4987

    Great article. I’ve never understood treating hair as an accessory when it’s a part of the body. It’s organic matter, obviously it’s going to react to its environment. Now we just have to get the media to take that on board!

  3. Orla

    “Even models like Cara Delevingne and movie stars like Reese Witherspoon. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about it.”

    I don’t see the need for such charged language. Most everyone knows you have good and bad hair days. I might be pissed if my hair isn’t cooperating, but I’ve never felt ‘shame.’

  4. Emilie

    My hair also has a mind of its own, so I’m trying to embrace “messy” hair. My motto is, “it’s hair, not a helmet”. That’s helped me accept it more.

  5. Allison

    Funny, I came here to write to Sally to ask if she might do a post on hairstyles. I’m trying to find some images online as inspiration that don’t involve celebrities or hair models, since I have neither much time nor money to spend on my hair. No matter what terms I search on (for instance, hairstyles for older brunettes or non-celebrity hairstyles), all I get are images of very young, professionally styled blond celebrities. It would be wonderful to see some inspirational images of regular people with good looking hairstyles. Any suggestions?

    • Sally McGraw

      Pinterest will likely give you more non-celebrity options, Allison. Can’t guarantee that the shots will be of regular gals on the street, but you’ll get more diversity of styles and people. My hair board is here: http://www.pinterest.com/sallymcgraw/hair/ But I also recommend searching for the style you’re seeking (box braids, pixie cut, long waves, etc.) Hope that helps!