Wardrobe Architect 8: Hair, Makeup, & Beauty

Hair, makeup, and beauty are a bit of an odd topic for me, I must admit. For one thing, I don’t wear makeup. And while I do have hair, it’s pretty well always under a kerchief (unless I haven’t got dressed yet). Mind you, the hair has still been changing, it’s just that no one saw it but me and the Caped Gooseberry.

Model in head wrap
Some years ago I had a sudden change in the length of my hair, from long enough to sit on, to short. But while it was fun for a while (I even stopped wearing kerchiefs all the time for a bit), it was quite high-maintenance compared to long hair, to my surprise. The reason being that I hate having hair in my face or on my neck, and short hair needs frequent trims to ensure this remains the case.

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'Cute' Is A Four-Letter Word

If there is one thing I hate, it’s being called cute.
OK, ‘hate’ is a strong word. Although so is ‘love’, and we have no problem flinging that one about. Maybe not hate. Loathe, despise, abhor…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who automatically react aggressively to receiving compliments. Unless it’s ‘cute’. Because ‘cute’ is not a compliment, not unless you’re under five.
Baskets of kittens are cute. Puppies are cute. Babies are cute (when not, as Shakespeare put it, “mewling and puking”).

This is cute:

Dalmatian puppy, three weeks-7

Unless you’re Cruella de Vil, in which case it’s fabulous, and would look so good on me, don’t you think? Speaking of Cruella de Vil, in the book she insisted on all food being peppered – including ice-cream – and still somehow got married. Married!

Anyway. Back to the puppies. (Daww….) Ahem.
I don’t mind if people want to use the word ‘cute’, it is, as they say, a perfectly cromulent word. But it applies to some things and not to others, or it loses all meaning. Sweet little juveniles (of whatever species): cute. Lady eccentrics who have attained years of discretion: not cute.

The reason this is weighing on my mind is that my hair isn’t. About 75 grams worth, in fact, lopped off by the hairdresser. If that doesn’t give you a clear picture (and why would it?) think 50cm. Or just under 20 inches.

I now look something like this:

Florence Turner Who's Who on the Screen

except, of course, different: messy instead of glossy, no make-up, and a smile (I seem to smile more with short hair – don’t know why). Definitely Not Cute. Short curly hair may be considered cute on a toddler, but not on a grown woman, even if a touch round-faced and an inch or two below the average height.

Is there something you hate to be called? Soi-disant endearments, diminutives (don’t get me started) or nicknames? Tell all!

A Short Sharp Chop

I have never been to a hairdresser.
In fact, I’ve been wearing my hair the same way (a single plait) for well over half my life. After I married I started coiling the plait into a bun, but that’s about it. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a change.

The Seven Sutherland Sisters

Being a very low-maintenance kind of person – my ‘beauty routine’ consists almost entirely of beauty sleep – I’m tempted to go short. Short enough that it can’t get into my mouth. (And people ask me why I don’t wear my hip-length hair loose…)

But here’s the problem: I have no idea what my hair will look like cut short. The last time I had short hair, I was eight and it was straight – it didn’t go curly til I was in my early teens. That’s why I grew it long, so the weight of hair would keep it pulled out straight(ish). But it’s definitely curly in there: since I started coiling my plait into a bun, I’ve developed vintagey waves on the sides of my head.

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00145A, Louise von Schweden

There are online ‘virtual makeover’ sites, but short curly brunette styles are seemingly nonexistent. I tried digital doodling on photos of me (results not encouraging, possibly due to lack of artistic ability); also cut-and-pasting likely-looking hairdos found online. (Results suggest I will look like Elvis, which I find hard to believe.)
Unfortunately there’s only one way to be certain of what I will look like with short curly hair: cut it. It’s just that it will take a couple of years to undo…

I’d like something maybe a bit like this:
(minus cigarette, obvs.) but I don’t really look like Joan Crawford. Of course, even if you find a picture of someone with the same kind of face and the same kind of hair, there’s no way of knowing if their style is the result of a good cut and no more, or if it’s the end product of hours of crimping and primping.

These ladies are a little closer to the mark, but I still have my suspicions as to the naturalness of their curl:

Mary Boland

Zelda Fitzgerald, 1922

On the one hand, I’ve saved myself a stack of time and trouble by not messing about with my hair the last couple of decades; on the other hand, this has left me relatively uneducated on the multifarious complexities of ladies’ hairdressing.

Now, I’ve no intention of going in for colours and flatteners and other expensive ways to damage my hair – partly because I believe in being nice to your hair if you want it to stick around when you’re older and partly because I am heavily in favour of low-maintenance looks.

But I do feel a bit out of my depth here. Possibly this why I’m doing it – to step out of my comfort zone and loosen up my stereotype of myself.
So, any tips, suggestions or advice? Or, if you really must, horror stories of your worst haircut ever!