Hair #003: Evaluating Needs

In the first session of this series, you gathered together all of your hair care products in one place. In the second session, we went through those products, weeding out the ones that are toxic. We have all outgrown using toxic products that don’t support our wellness goals!

Today we cover a number of considerations when choosing hair style and hair care routines. First of all, take some time and thoughtfully assess the style you need to be most effective in your calling in this world that is so tuned into external appearances. Then, consider the products that you need to achieve that look – and look for ways you can simplify that collection. Think in terms of choosing better products and fewer of them, think in terms of quality instead of quantity. And the most important goal in this process is that your hair be healthy – anything that doesn’t serve that goal can be removed from your routine. I simply want you to be intentional and effective about taking care of your hair.

This week I have also released these three videos that will help you to understand some of the concerns around toxins. If you didn’t have time to watch them so far – take a moment now and catch the ones you missed on out earlier.

Next week I will be sharing some product reviews and DIY hair recipes. Hair comes in a remarkable array of colors, textures, and attributes, and I hope that what you find my product reviews helpful. Since my hair is fine, straight, and also (partly) bleached and color treated, and I have a skin condition that sometimes plays out on my scalp in ultra sensitive skin… that will give you a feel for the context of my reviews and DIY recipes. I’m looking forward to sharing that content with you as you consider the products that you need to make your hair healthy and stylish, and in the process be choosing high quality, non-toxic, zero waste, cruelty free products that work well for you.

EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO FOLLOWS:

Welcome! We’ve been talking about hair for the last two sessions. First we gathered together all of our hair care products in one place and took inventory. Second of all, we talked about toxins and did some very intentional work going through those products, removing some items that were unfortunately too toxic. Today I would invite you to think very intentionally about what you want your hair to be and what you want your hair care routine to look like.

When Xavier and I were restaurant owners, I found out the contrast between when I crawled out of bed and just showed up, and other days when I really make some effort with my self care routines. What I invested in myself in the morning was different, but the service that I provided in our restaurant was the same. Not surprisingly, the results could be quite different. Waiting on people in my own restaurant, I would make one amount of money on a day when I made no effort with my appearance, and on a day when I really made some effort – I would make more money. And the difference was enough for me to take notice. Now I’m not saying that that’s right or wrong, I’m just saying this is how the world works. People respond to us more favorably when we’ve made an effort to present ourselves well.

How much effort is “the right amount” of effort? There’s everything on the continuum from super minimalist hair that requires almost no effort at all, all the way to the YouTube goddess who has gone to extensive effort to get a particular look. And again, this is a judgment free zone. I am not actually suggesting that it’s wrong to wear easy super minimalist hair, and wear very little makeup and to keep it very, super simple. I’m not judging that as wrong. Neither am I saying that if you’re a YouTube goddess and it requires a lot of money and time to achieve your look – that that is necessarily wrong either. I want you to do what you are happy doing, to spend only what you need to spend, no more. And I think it’s simply helpful to be aware that we live in a world that reacts to how we look physically. Sadly, it doesn’t recognize who you are as a person apart from appearance, and that’s not fair. And we can have a whole conversation about the energy we put out into the world, but we’ll talk about that on another day.

On days when I have dressed up, and I come home from work and wash off the makeup and change my clothes… sometimes that can feel a bit like peeling off everything that is attractive about me. Marketing teaches us that we’re not cute or attractive unless we are wearing these products. So when we come home and remove all those layers – are we still attractive then? I think for many of us, that is challenging. It’s hard to feel like that answer is yes, we are lovely without the hair spray, the shape wear and the great shoes. And the more layers we have to peel at the end of the day, the more we are tempted to feel that beauty is only something we wear, and that it is separate from us. Therefore, we are not beautiful. (hogwash.)

I just think that’s really rough. That’s rough on a woman to feel like who she is under all the layers is not acceptable. It’s rough on a woman to think that we’re only acceptable if we’re wearing the whole product line. And that’s not how that should work, you know? That process is not life giving. It actually can be absolutely shame inducing! That idea we’re not beautiful unless we have the whole product line on – that doesn’t work in our favor.

Were are you are on the continuum? Do you have the super simple minimalist hair that requires no effort at all? Or are you on the Instagram or YouTube goddess end of the scale? Where are you? Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Where are you and where do you want to be? Are you ready to kind of dial it down a notch or make some other adjustments?

I think the question that I want you to think about is – where do you need to be on that continuum to be effective in your work? In a culture that puts an inordinate amount of attention on appearance, where do you want to be on the continuum of style and simplicity?

When you have a sense of mission, when you have a sense that you’ve got a message the world needs (and I think everybody does) then how you present yourself matters. So those are some things to be thinking about when you consider where you want to be on that continuum. There is no wrong answer here. And this is very cultural. Some cultures will do the whole nine yards every single day. And in the subculture that I come from (the Mennonite community) there was no makeup and the hair care was very simple. So it’s extremely cultural. And so again, I’m not coming at this from a place of judgment. I simply suggest that you be intentional about this choice. Where do you want to be on that continuum?

Now that you’ve chosen a style that suits you, what products does it require for you to get that look? Okay, so let’s just say for the sake of the argument that you can go into your hairdresser and you get the look that you want and that they educate you on what products that it requires to achieve that look. Well, let’s say from start to finish for your hair – it takes a specific number of products. Your stylist may have suggestions on how to simplify the products you select based on your hair.

Now that you have assessed what is needed, come back to your collection of hair products. You’ve removed the products that were old and gross in the first session. Then you removed the toxic products in the second session. Today you’ll remove the products that don’t support the fresh new goals you have for your hair. Keep only what is intentional, and necessary.

Go ahead and donate or throw away what you no longer need. Older products that have “water” on the label should be thrown away because of the potential for microbe growth. Recycle containers where possible.

Let me use myself as a case study. The simplest my hair has ever been, has been a super short pixie that was not bleached or colored. It was just a super short Pixie, and I had very healthy hair and it was easy as pie. Super, super short, so much fun. Literally the product that I was using was a bar of handmade soap made by a woman with a booth at the farmer’s market. That was both my shampoo and conditioner. It left my hair to squeaky clean and very healthy and I didn’t use any styling products. I literally didn’t need any because I wasn’t fighting against my hair’s natural tendencies. I didn’t use a hairdryer or a curling iron or anything like that. It just was so simple.

I know this isn’t something that can be done for all hair types, but for me in that season of my life, it was entirely possible for me to have my complete hair care system in one bar of handmade soap and that was it. That to me was utter simplicity and I loved it!

On the other end of the spectrum is the YouTube goddess who is using ALL the products, and lots of time. Where is your chosen to hairstyle in that mix and what does it require to get that style? What happens if you use fewer products, but chose better quality products?

It’s a good idea to use fewer products, first in terms of cost. Secondly, you’re reducing your risk of exposure to toxins. When we layer on five different products, we don’t use much of any of them, but all together maybe they’re creating a toxin problem for us. So that’s why I think it’s really useful to just look at getting rid of some things. And if you’ve got a collection of 10 products and that’s what it takes to do your look, see how you can simplify that collection.

I know it’s possible to simplify dramatically, because I’ve lived it. I know it’s possible. And it won’t look the same for all hair types, but it’s possible for each of us to be intentional and live simply.

Given the work that you do and the mission that you have in your life, what does your hair need to be? The second thing I’m asking you to consider and to be intentional about is simplifying the collection of products it requires to achieve that look. Don’t chose any product that will sacrifice the health of your hair in this process, that’s not self care… that’s something else all together. Let’s take some time to assess these things and make intentional decisions.

Every minute we spend on our hair is an investment. And if you are missional and if you have a message that the world needs, yes, you need to take care of your hair. You do not need to spend one extra penny, one extra minute on your hair because you have a mission in your life and your hair is not it!

This is all about being intentional and dialing it in. I know you can do this. Just take some time and think about it. If making a list helps, that’s fine. If Pinterest helps, that’s also fine. Again, this is a judgment free zone. You don’t need to please me and you don’t need to please the world. We simply need to intentionally be ourselves.

What I would wish for you is that you use products to enhance your best physical features so that when you get to the end of the day, it’s just a matter of cleaning house and giving yourself a fresh, clean slate so you can rest easy. It’s not about taking off these layers of protective gear that made it possible to be acceptable in the eyes of the world, because you’re acceptable as you are. You are loved as you are, who are beautiful as you are. So let’s be intentional about hair care, okay? Thanks so much for listening, I really appreciate it!

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