This is a story about my recent hair transformation (because I know some people are going to ask, so let’s just get it out there). Like most women (think Madonna), I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my hair since I was 14 years old. I’ve had it dyed every color under the sun except blonde. (I’ve just never been able to go there with my dark Italian features. Bad idea.) I’ve also had my hair every imaginable length. I loved it very short but it was time for a change after 10 years. I’m lucky to be living in an age where we have OPTIONS! (See my post about temporary hair extension clips here.)
I’ve tried to grow it out many times over the past 10 years but it always got to a point where it just didn’t work and I couldn’t style it into anything that resembled anything other than a shaggy cat on my head. I would go back to short and start the awkward growing-out process 6 months later.
So, this time around, I knew I needed a more permanent solution while I was waiting for my real hair to grow out. After looking for about a year, my stylist told me about Matrina Joy in Alpharetta. I finally found someone I could trust to do great hair extensions. We had a consultation and we decided I would “grow” my hair to 14 inches long from a shaggy bob that stopped about chin length.
Matrina worked for 5 hours to add 250 wefts of Hairlocs to my hair on a Friday morning. After she was done, she blended it with a straightener. (See before and after pics below.) We also added some cool purple peek-a-boo highlights around the bottom.
Warning: Adding long extensions to short hair isn’t for the fainthearted. There’s usually a tell-tale “line” where the short hair stops and the long hair begins. You have to do a lot of straightening to get that line to blend in and even then it doesn’t really go away. Matrina did her best, but due to time constraints, we couldn’t do much more to fix it.
When I went home and tried to style it the next day, the trouble started. I just couldn’t get it to look right without having to put it in an updo or ponytail. I thought it was me. I thought I just forgot how to style long hair and I was pretty upset that I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t want to have to straighten it every day. I’m just a clutz when it comes to styling tools and always end up burning something, usually myself. I thought, “Dang, I’ve made such a big investment and now I’m stuck in a ponytail every day for a year!”
My gut told me to go back to my original, awesome stylist, Erin Foster. She worked her magic and created new layers in between the short hair and the long with her razor. It was scary to see her cutting into the gorgeous long hair I purchased just a week ago. Then she colored the top to match the darker extension color all around. It worked! Now I can air-dry my hair without having to do a thing and it all blends perfectly and looks amazing. It even looks good after a couple days without doing anything to it. I’m so glad she figured out the secret formula and made me feel great about my decision.
Some of the reactions I’ve received:
My mom paid me the highest compliment when she told me I looked like I was 17 again! She’s not one to throw compliments around so I knew she was serious.
My husband was in shock. I’ve never seen him with his mouth wide open with nothing to say. The effect was priceless!
I’ve been told by friends my hair makes me look thinner–always a bonus!
I love my new look but there is a small downside. It definitely takes a different approach to care for it. You have to be very careful when you brush it because it’s easy to pull the extensions (and your own hair–ouch!) out. You also have to condition it and use sulfate-free shampoo and products. I have to braid it at night when I go to bed so it doesn’t get tangled in the morning. You also have to go back every 3 months to get the extensions pushed back up as they grow out.
The upside is I can straighten it, curl it and do everything I want to it because it is real hair. (I’ve been telling people somewhere a Russian or Italian girl is rockin’ a cute new pixie.) My new hair is thicker than mine ever was and I can change colors easily if I want to add some new highlights. My original hair is actually protected under the extensions while it’s growing out. No more haircuts to pay for, just a little color on the gray along the hairline. Easy.
I love the Hairlocs Extension method and I’m glad I made the personal decision to go for it. I think my husband is right (Yes, honey, I do admit it sometimes!), long hair looks best on me. He never made a big deal about it but he always hoped I would grow my hair back. He’s pretty happy.
At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel when you look in the mirror. I love my new style and it’s brought me a lot more confidence. I might change my mind in a year, but I’m thankful I have the freedom to do so. Life is about taking risks and having some fun. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made a drastic change to your own style that had an impact on your life. I hope you’ll share! In the meantime, here’s to great hair days for at least the next 12 months!