Coco Chanel once said that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. I agree, somewhat. I just don’t think the decision to change your life should happen in one single moment – perpetually indecisive and constantly changing, I think a girl should have the flexibility of making a decision like that every day, if she chooses to. Growing up, I always wanted to look more elfin and angular. My face is naturally round, so I used to smack my hair on my cheeks and try to hide the extra chubbiness until I was old enough to do something about it.
I vowed to get some cheekbone enhancing surgery. When I did get old enough, I was too broke to afford surgery – so I put on lots of blush and sat through around 6 hours of make-up tutorials on contouring followed by a very expensive trip to the cosmetics store. Until one day, a friend told me to pull my hair back off my face and clip my hair up into a high ponytail – the sort you see on perfectly petite-faced dolls. After much debate, struggling and an incident involving some pillow throwing and threats to end our friendship – I gave in.
I gave in and did something so counter-intuitive; it took me a full two hours to even believe my eyes afterwards. But it worked. Moving my hair away from my rounded face allowed my ears to peek out and give me some natural depth to an otherwise flat and full surface. Pulling my hair up instead of down (where I could flick it back over my shoulder and bury my cheeks in, causing a reflexive hunch that always made me look even more pudgy), raised my temples – giving my eyes an upwards slant, which gave the illusion of a longer face and yes, cheekbones.One hairstyle. One little slick up and elegant ponytail cost me a whole lot less than three bags of cosmetics or one hefty cosmetic surgery bill. Not to mention the pain and danger of the perpetually surprised look on my face after. It was like discovering a whole new world – I’m addicted now to finding what styles transform my face shape, change up my look – going from femme fatale to boss lady, flirty fun date to hippie chic.
And that’s the lesson here, I think. We stick to what we know because we’re too afraid to try anything else. We’re so settled and comfortable and scared that we deny ourselves the chance to enjoy what we have to the fullest. Who knew hair could be more than a safety blanket to hide half my face in while it hangs limp over my shoulders? Who knew it was more effective than make-up in enhancing my face and giving me so much confidence? Girls, hair is your secret weapon – it’s versatile and can change as and when you do. It’s a character you can mould – it can say ‘career woman’ or ‘art student’ with a simple twist or braid. So go on. Discover yourself through your hair. Who would you like to be today?