Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hair and Happiness

or Melissa Gets All Motivational and Stuff

I get to talk to women every day about their hair. A lot of the struggle that we women face with our hair is not really about what our hair is doing (or not doing) on any given day.
It is about what we think we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror, picking on the details. When women share with me their feeling about their hair and face, what is really going on is a sort of despair that they don’t look as great as they used to.

Can I get real with you about this? When you look at yourself in the mirror, this is not what the rest of the world sees. You are busy making weird faces at yourself, usually very serious and grim while you push your hair around or put on your eye makeup. The lighting is completely artificial and always at the same angle.

What does everyone else see? They see a relaxed, laughing, active woman. Where you see wrinkles, everyone else sees happiness – or passion! Where you see frizz, everyone else sees a woman full of interesting activities and things to do. A woman with a life, thank you very much.



Your Appearance Still Matters.

This isn’t to say that you should give up on trying to look good. Your appearance out in the world does matter. It is a form of self care. It is important to the people who love you that you are interested in doing your skin and hair care routine.

Your morning regime of readying yourself for the day is part of the rhythm of being a woman and in my opinion you should treat it as an important – and fun – daily ritual.

There are some basic foundations, some underlying emotional stuff to this self care that you should be aware of.



The Past Is Over.


I don’t care if your beauty was feted in the 1960s, 70s or 80s, when you could down a bottle of champagne the night before and roll out of bed the next day still looking fabulous. Any teenage girl can pull that off.

The world sees you as you are now. Your family, friends and colleagues see you as you are today, with the added wonderful benefit of knowing what a fantastic person you are, faults and strengths together.

The next time you look in the mirror, stand at an angle, in a relaxed normal position, as if you were having a conversation with someone you like being with. Cross your arms. Fiddle with your earring. Smile. Laugh. See? You look great right now. You really do.

So here we are in 2010 and you are the age you are. The good news, as my mother always says, is we are all getting older at the same rate. The most beautiful and stylish women in the world have all aged too: Lauren Bacall, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Tina Turner, Coco Chanel, Catherine Deneuve, the list goes on. They all got older. Go online and do a search for their pictures. No, they don’t look 22. But they still look like themselves, and they still look like they’d be fun to spend the afternoon with. Personally, I think they look better. Infinitely more interesting.

These women did not stay stuck in the style of their youth. Their look changed as time passed. Is your style evolving too? When you look at your hair, particularly if you want to try something new (which you should), remember to relax your face. Try to look at yourself with a pleasant expression. Tilt your head to the side, then slightly forward. Smile at yourself. This is your real face – not your bathroom face.
Stop rolling movies in your head of how incredible you used to look. It is not a style guide for today. Trust me.



Don’t Judge & Devalue Your Body.

Women who look great come in all shapes and sizes, all different hair and skin colours. Asian women don’t have better hair than European or Afro-Caribbean women. They have different hair. Start learning about the advantages you are currently blessed with and tweak your style accordingly.

Concentrating on the aspects of yourself you don’t like day in and day out is a recipe for depression. Stop doing that.

There have been psychology studies on basic behaviours that can improve your mood. Our brain makes judgments on whether something is good or bad unconsciously all the time. We are actually wired to subconsciously classify the world into good and bad. Our brains are not very interested in neutral judgements and it will look for clues so that it can sort a piece of information as either good or bad. It is that basic.

When you feed your brain positive information, you are training your subconscious to feel good about yourself and your environment. The brain actually needs five positive inputs for each negative one to feel that a situation is okay and under control.

When the balance is tipped too far towards the negative, your brain makes you feel anxious. Your brain wants you to do something to fix this environment because it is not comfortable. Concentrating on your faults to the exclusion of your strengths is just plain going to make you feel bad. This is why when you look in the mirror and count your grey hairs you get an unreasonable desire to surf the internet for solutions and magic potions.

Countering our brain’s controlling tendencies is pretty easy. Surround yourself with people who will complement you. You can do this by complementing others on how they look, act or think. If they are polite, and most people are, they will return the favour and you both will feel good.

This is really fun to do, especially to total strangers. I complement women all the time – on their hair, their shoes, their handbag, their car. They are grateful someone noticed, and they’ll find something nice to say about me. That cheers me up and I’ve made a new friend for the day.

Praise yourself. I don’t mean shouting affirmations in the mirror (it doesn’t work, scientifically tested and proven). Instead of rubbing your wrinkles or counting grey hairs, spend time nurturing your strengths. 

Pick your best bit (or ask your husband which is his favourite – that’s always entertaining!) and give it loads of your attention. Spending time on your appearance is not selfish behaviour. This is self care and it’s good for you. It should be fun for you and I guarantee it will put your world to rights every morning.


Take time choosing your lipstick to show off that great smile, spend another 60 seconds flossing your lovely teeth, moisturise your irresistible d├ęcolletage with some outrageously luxurious skin cream, dedicate Sundays to exfoliating your dainty feet. If you love your hair, buy beautiful hair accessories!

Thank people during the day for every little thing. This tells your brain that lots of good things are going on. It keeps a pretty good count, so the more expressions of thanks you can squeeze in, the more your brain will relax. In fact, if you can write down thank you’s, for some reason your brain gives this more importance. So email, text or scribble notes of appreciation to people. They’ll like it and it will make you feel happy.

Just so I’ll get my dose of appreciation in for the day, if you don’t mind, as I’m writing. I want to thank you for reading all my emails and articles about getting your hair in good condition. Claire and I have a lot of fun getting to know our customers all over the world and we are so touched when you share your thoughts and worries about your hair with us. Your trust in us to listen and care about your hair truly means a lot. We are humbled by it and we take it very seriously. Thank you.

Believe me when I say you’re pretty cool just the way you are. Lets go play with our hair now.

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