Monday, February 22, 2010

The Problem With the Ponytail

One of my goals for this year is to learn how to do my hair. Like, literally, I wrote "Learn how to do my hair" next to "Run a half marathon," "Travel the world," "Perfect cold fusion," and "Achieve enlightenment" on my 2010 goal list.

I've always been fantastically bad at doing my hair, and even worse at doing other people's. In middle school, my friends would often ban me from the obligatory makeover portion of slumber parties, forcing me to stand in the kitchen and make awkward conversation with their parents instead ("So, that's a nice lamp. Umm, where did you get it?").

Today my specialty styles include the basic ponytail, the top of the head rat nest, and the sleep-on-my-wet-hair-and-hope-for-the-best. It's a sad state of affairs up there. Thank god it's usually out of sight for me.

So, here are a few hairdos that I'm aiming to try in between all the traveling, getting in shape, and intensive physics experiments this year will surely bring:

The messy Parisienne bun. This one looks doable, right?

The "half-up half-down," a style that, apparently, dudes love.

The patented Sarah Von Bargen Faux Mo. Badass.

And finally, the low side knot...thing. So pretty.

How about you guys? Do you wear your hair the same way everyday, or do you love trying different 'dos? Do you have any tips for cute, easy hairstyles? Or cold fusion?

52 comments:

Lovers, Saints and Sailors said...

I just posted the results of my attempt at the "Sarah Von Bargen Faux Mo" today. I dug it.

I have a history of doing crazy ass things with my hair. Particularly in High School. I mentioned a certain "Teletubby" inspired look on todays post actually. I also experimented with bread ties, clothes pegs, bamboo skewers, chop sticks, acres of ribbon & fabric, fake dreads, turbans. I was called up to the principals office on one occasion and made to remove all of the clips in my hair. There were 52 of them.

You really can't do anything wrong with hair. It's hair. That's what's great about it. Well, you know, along with the scientific benefits of it and stuff.

http://loverssaintsandsailors.blogspot.com/

Miss Addict said...

I love playing with my hair but rarely do I leave the house with any of my experiments intact. I am getting better and I have found that youtube is an ENDLESS source of tutorials which is awesome when you have NO idea how to tackle a particular style...

I used to be really bad at doing anything different (and generally I still am) but I have found a great way to get comfortable playing around is stand in front of your mirror with a bunch of Bobby Pins, Hair Elastics, Clips, etc etc and play. Put it up, part it different, braid it, pile it up on top then bobby pin madly. Quite often it will end up looking pretty good! (and if it doesn't you cant take it out and try again)

I hope that you will post photos of your results and keep up updated! (That and on the cold fusion thing!)

EvaNadine said...

i would LOVE to know how to do something with my hair other than what i do with it everyday. its either the side part, or clipping the front back.
i do have horter hair, which makes it tougher to find different styles, but the front of my hair is still fairly long + theres plenty to play with -- i just don tknow how to do it without lending up looking like a 10 year old...

Sal said...

I should put this on MY list, too. Basically, there's down and then there's two tiny buns. Having a fairly short, layered cut leaves me relatively few options, but still! There's got to be more than this ...

-h said...

I've finally accepted how useless my hands are to be, so I've given up on the whole do my hair, wearing makeup, and the whole crafty diy thing. Usually my hair is in a chignon, down, or twisted up in a clip.

Sarah said...

I have absolutely NO ability to do my hair nicely ... every day I use the same mousse and hairspray, and leave my apartment with the same loose curls. I feel like I've made an accomplishment just by figuring out how to wear it so it's curly and not frizzy. But I'd love to try something more interesting, and I'd love to hear how your experiments go!

BumbleBecky said...

Winona, How long is your hair? If it's a little passed sholder length with not a lot of layers there is a LOT you can do with it. I agree with Miss addict, try youtube specifically these girls:
Strawberry Koi:
http://www.youtube.com/user/StrawberryKoiVintage
and
PUSS (unfortunate anacronym after I wrote it, but I don't actually know her name!)
http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePinUpSweetShoppe#p/c/1277699BB2EB1FE9

Enjoy!

Brittney said...

OH MY GOSH NONA, DID YOU KNOW THAT WAS TOTALLY MY GOAL LAST YEAR?!?!?!!

Seriously. I'm not thaaat much better at doing my hair, but I have An Understanding with it now. And I even can pull of some mean pigtails. I think part of doing your hair is a) getting used to the hand-twists and turns you must do to get it to do what you want and B) realizing that it's just hair, and it can only do so much. Seriously.

I rock the side-part nearly every day because that's what my hair WANTS. I make a sacrifice to appease the ancient gods of hair. No joke.

What I want to learn, is braiding. I can't braid tos ave my LIFE.

Amanda M. said...

I just started growing my hair out last year, so I've actually had this same personal goal for a while. It took me a while to figure out that squeaky-clean, perfectly-brushed hair looks AWFUL. You have to let your hair get a little greasy and a little tangled. Apparently that's what gel/foam/mousse is for. Artificial grease.

So, my hair always looks best on the second day after I shower. Or, in a pinch, later that evening. But I can pretty much never get it to look good right out of the gate. I guess the universe is teaching me a lesson about planning.

Becky said...

I change up my hair almost daily, and my hair-do is usually the result of what it wants to do. That can depend on how clean it is, or if I slept on it weird, etc. If I'm trying to get my hair to do something it doesn't want to, I turn to my large-barrel curling iron, or hot rollers if I don't have time to re-wash and blow dry. My biggest helpers? bobby pins, and lots of em! I think I might do a post on this...hmmm maybe some video tutorials? I need a Time-Turner a la Harry Potter to make the time!

Happy Lisa said...

I'm going to school for cosmetology...so yeah I have a lot of fun with my hair. The messy buns are great for when you don't feel like doing any real styling, and if your hair is long enough it literally takes seconds to do. My hair's been too short for the last year though, but I'm growing it out cuz I miss those cute, laid-back styles.

Jenniferocious said...

I'm so boring with my hair. But I have a hard time with things that involve a lot of clips/bobby pins/etc. to keep it up, because my hair is super fine and clips and things tend to slide right out of my hair. Plus I have relatively thin hair, so dividing it into a bunch of sections like that awesome fauxhawk may make me look like I have no hair at all.

I may have to go try it in the bathroom mirror, though. Just, ya know... for funsies. ;)

futurelint said...

Since I have curly hair and refuse to do the flat iron thing, I pretty much wear my hair the same way every day, which I am fine with. Clothes I get, hair and make-up I don't... and I'm okay with that!

spice said...

i wear the same hairstyle every day. i have long hair that's curly at the bottom, so i pull back the top half and either use a small elastic or a clip to hold it back. the style works really well for me because it keeps my hair out of my face (and off my lipstick!) and still lets the curly part fall nicely.

WendyB said...

Teenage hormones made me capable of spending hours on my hair back in the day. Now I flat iron it straight in five minutes and that's all I can manage. I can't even do a ponytail! Too many layers.

Helen said...

I am so, so hopeless at doing my hair. It either looks too messy for chic-messy, or falls out if i clip it up (not like...falls out of my head, falls out the clip I mean. Gahr. I might have to join you in this mission Winona!

Amy said...

I have unruly, thick, curly, LOOOONG hair so im not at all adventurous with it. I tried to be the other day (that is, I wore it down. dun dun dun) but it ended up resembling the entrance to a mythical underground cave by the end of the day.

Good for you for wanting to try new styles! I love Sarah's faux-hawk :)

Aly said...

I am SO with you on this one! My hair does the ponytail thing (it's a necessity, since I'm a runner), and the only other thing I do to my hair is leave it as is!
I want to try to french braid, though; keeps my hair out of my face (that's one of my OCD-things), and looks cute... but hopefully not too cutesy. Err. Cute side ponytail-thing? Yesyesyes!
Basically, I'm lazy. No makeup, no hair-do. xD
-Aly

Renée T. Bouchard said...

I, too, struggle with styling my own hair. Only after working in theatre for so long and picking up the tricks of the performers (particularly dancers) have I managed to find a few tricks that work for me. It mostly involves wearing fake hair, but I've learned a lot about curling, teasing and the importance of hair products. Good luck- I'm curious to see what you come up with.

http://reneetbouchard.blogspot.com

Michelle said...

One reason I love having short hair - my 'doing' it pretty much consists of dying it weird colors and sticking feathers and stuff in it. None of those complicated things involving bobby pins and elastic (which I was never good at!).

This is probably the least helpful comment ever, so uh, good luck Winona!

kathryn-louisa said...

The messy bun is pretty much my default hairstyle. Basically involves no straightening/curling/general effort and that is why I love it!

x

http://sparklesmiledance.blogspot.com

Iris said...

I tend to take the "wake up, brush hair, then stick a pin or beret in it so it doesn't fall in my face" approach, but I've been trying to get better at doing actual hairdos.

One I love is I suppose a kind of lopsided/halfway version of the half up/half down thing (could also be described as a halfway/asymmetric pony tai-esque thng). I have a side part on the left side, and I kind of pull all the hair on that side back smoothly and fasten it with bobby pins above and just behind my ear, then use a beret or bobby pins on the right side to pull it back but keep it closer to my face - a little in front of my ear. It looks cute on me, takes all of two seconds to do and keeps my hair out of my face, so woot. :3

iris said...

My friends call the "messy Parisienne bun" the "bobbin", due to some inside joke from their trip to Japan. It looks nice, but it also sorta resembles a bobbin of thread atop the head.

Sarah said...

I have shorter, very curly hair so usually I just part it a little to the right and leave it down. Sometimes I use a headband or bobby pins on the side. I know, CRAZY. The underlying reason is that I feel like my face looks fat, wide and mannish without tresses framing it. Maybe I should be more adventurous and "rock that ponytail, work that up-do." The low side knot could have potential.

Kelly said...

Who knew guys like the half-up-half-down? Honestly I always thought it was something guys would dislike, although I can't articulate why.

I pretty much rotate between:
Down wavy
Down straight
Sponge rolled
Bun
Ponytail
Hairband
Half up half down

I have no natural abilities when it comes to hair styling. I'll get all flustered not knowing if my bun is gross messy or messy cool. I'll spend like 20 minutes on it, then curse it all, and put it in a ponytail. Same with makeup.

Sophia said...

Yeah, I'm with futurelint -- curly hair means there's only really one "good" hairstyle, and that's down and freshly showered. I don't wash it every day though, because it's way too dry, so on off days I rotate between a high ponytail with a pretty clip (never elastics), or a twisted/pinned kind of ballerina bun on the back of my head, depending on whether my curls are in good enough shape to dangle down or need to be hidden away. I like my curls, and hate the smashed-flat look of ironed hair, but I admit to sometimes wishing for the kind of casually messy/wavy hairstyles you've linked here, while knowing they take an assload of work with product and wide-barrel irons so maybe I'm happy with my floaty ringlets, even if they always look the same.

Amanda said...

I adore how the messy top bun looks, but it requires SO MUCH HAIR. If you've got fine hair (like myself, unfortunately), it can be waist-long and your top bun still looks pathetic. Sigh.

The half-up/half-down 'do is a frequent one for me, it's fast, easy, and usually improves the state of affairs after 'the sleep on my wet hair and pray for the best' fails miserably. That low side bun thing is really pretty, I've never seen that before... must try.

Emily said...

check out the hair thursday blog! you wont regret it!!

lisa said...

I leave it down, do a ponytail, or straight-iron it if I have time (there's A LOT of hair to straight-iron...my hairstylist must've thinned out about 1/3 of the bulk and it still looks as voluminous as normal hair). The half-up, half-down look is actually quite easy! Basically, if you can do a ponytail, you can do a half ponytail and leave the rest of your hair down. :-) I'm going to experiment with the Alexander Wang side braid this season. Fingers crossed it'll turn out!

Katherine said...

So then where does everyone go for hairstyling advice/inspiration?

Right now I have the most boring haircut ever, the mid-length bob. The only way I can get it into a ponytail is by wrestling it into a rubberband and rapidfiring about 50 bobbypins into it and shellacking it with hairspray.

If I try to tousled waves they either fall out or end up looking like an overworked shirley temple.

practically every article on the web seems to be about styling LONG HAIR.

I try to enlist google to help me find inspiration but I always seem to end up sorting through millions of crappy hairstyle websites featuring dated photos of celebrities (read: the "Rachel" look from Friends).

Any good websites or blogs out there? I'm in a rut.

Lesley Denford said...

My hair is on the way to legit ponytail length, and I am mighty excited to try these. Le sigh...why won't it grow faster?

Alex said...

I usually go with a bun. easy to do, and looks sharp! I even wrote about it in my old blog:
http://gimmelazy.wordpress.com/2007/08/11/sizzlin-hot-or-hey-lady-nice-bun/

la petite fashionista said...

i'm AWFUL at doing my hair. i'm right there with you winona. i reaaally need to get over my putting my hair up phobia and try the messy parisian bun :)

Katy Mary said...

I wear my hair the same way pretty much everyday. Not only do I suck a doing hair my hair is uncooperative and doesn't stay in place. Bummer. Good luck with these!

Rachel said...

ahem, do you remember what you did to me the one time i let you do my makeup? I came out looking like the monster that eats kids from Pan's Labyrinth.

Karenina said...

Funny post. I try to do my hair a wee bit differently every day (I have long, thick, curly hair but over the years I have learned to make it do pretty much whatever I want). Yes, it is a bit of work, but I can't stand my hair just being "meh". Right now I have a student who asks me nearly every day if I got "new hair". I'm still not really sure what she means by that, but I suppose it is a compliment of sorts!
BTW, does anyone know how to do those 1940's glamour finger waves? I so wish I could do those...sigh. We all have our hair challenges!

Chesh said...

Karenina, there's a fingerwave tutorial here, but I've never been able to do it right.

I spent hours on my hair as a teenager--I used to sleep in sponge rollers, then get out of bed and perfect my shiny ringlets with a curling iron. But at the time, it was just above shoulder-length, so putting it up hasn't been an option for me since middle school.

Nowadays, my hair's about two inches long, which is TOTALLY AWESOME. My styles fall into one of the following categories:

- Roll out of bed, ruffle;
- Roll out of bed, ruffle, straighten any strands sticking out at right angles from my temples;
- Wet, add product, blow-dry into a big round Robert Smith poof.

Because if your hairstyle doesn't carry you effortlessly from "smart young professional" to "doughy middle-aged goth man," WHAT'S THE POINT? (The only problem is that if it grows out another inch, I look like a Jonas Brother.)

Cheshworth's Fancy Goods

Emma said...

Hey Winona
I LOVED this post! I'm always looking for new ways to do my hair... usually I just clip my bangs back (I'm growing them out) and I run out the door. I wore the "half up-half down" style to school today and got lots of complements!

Faith said...

I have long (between waist and hip-length) hair that is a horribly wavy, frizzy mop normally. when it's like that it's either French braids or a bun, and when I take the time to straighten it's either down or ponytail.

I can't do anything nice besides French braiding by myself. I can use clips, but not bobby pins. I don't know which side is up and which is down...

echidna girl said...

I'm going with Tim Minchin hair from now on. Nothing else is worth the effort.

Bekah said...

braaaiiids!
I wear side braids a la alexander wang ssoo much now, and those cute braided headband things aren't really thaaat hard to master
I also tend to just pin back my bangs to the side urrry day when I wake up and wearing my mess of a head of hair down
also, youtube tutorials are your best friend -maybe even for cold fusion, too!

J said...

The problem is that the way hairstyles look on you may not look the same as they do on someone else, if your hair is a different texture, if your face or skull is a different shape. You just gotta try a bunch of stuff to see what works for you.

Caroline said...

I'm a pro at the whole low side pony-knot thing, but the half up half down bit not so much. Not since junior high that is. Now that I know how appealing it is to men (um...dudes, that is), I'll be sure to give it the ol' college try once in awhile.

joelle van dyne said...

one of my go-to styles is that last one on michelle williams (sadly the effect is not quite the same on me). but it isn't too hard- i just part the front of my hair to the side, and pin the ends of that with a bobby pin behind my ear. then i gather the rest at the side of my neck and secure with those mini claw clips you can get at the drugstore.

my almost everyday style also involves sleeping with wet hair, but here is my secret- i put it in a bun on top of my head after i shower at night, and sleep like that. in the morning i let it out and voila, loose waves and curls! now i would love to learn how to do that faux mo. ~joelle

nico said...

oooh, as i have a lot of time on my hands before my job starts again next week, i already skipped off to try some of these myself. i'm loving the parisienne bun, as i have been struggling my whole damn life to get the messy up do sorted. and now ta-dah! awesome. i already feel like a gallic hipster, just need a wall to slouch against :)

Victoria said...

I thought I was the only inept hair-doer strugging in silence. Thanks for your courage! =)
"whatiwore2day" (blogspot) has a pretty and easy messy bun tutorial. I've even managed it.
I have a problem with styles because of my length of hair. The low side bun may be just the thing.

Honeybee said...

I've always been bad at doing my hair. In my former life, I used to try and do things with a hairdryer and a brush but now that I have a four week old baby, a ponytail is the best I can manage.

Claire said...

Just a tip for doing the half-up half-down thing - I've found combs to be perfect for this, as in the plastic accessory kind. With hair type in mind: thicker hair may require wider set teeth and could likely handle combs in a heavier material like metal. For thin, fine, straight hair like mine, those cheapie light plastic ones are perfect (although I don't see why those wouldn't work on most other hair types too!) I find that I can get my hair back fairly quickly into this sophisticated look, even at a length b/w the jawline and shoulder. Seems to look/work best for me when I use a small amount of product at the crown/roots, but I bet that's not entirely necessary, especially on thicker hair. Depending on how many pieces you like falling forward, you can set it higher on the crown to reign in those face-framing locks and keep them out of your eyes, or further back for the softer look. Hope that makes sense and helps somebody achieve this lovely, easy style!

Leia said...

I need to learn some new fun hairstyles! :)

Xylew said...

I have hair that threatens 3 feet long, so it can be almost impossible to do anything with it! It's so heavy. I have 3 possible hair styles: two braids (one on each side), two low buns (one on each side), and plain old ruler straight down. I tried that mo thing weeks ago and it was an utter failure.

lorax said...

Hahaha, the way you described your three hairstyles are EXACTLY what I do.

Sometimes I throw in the half up half down. Mostly, it's the sleep-with-wet-hair-and-hope-it-turns-out-ok-and-then-muss-it-up-every-five-seconds-like-Kristen-Stewart-or-James-Potter

http://lesadventuresdulorax.blogspot.com

Aoibhgreine said...

I'm rubbish at doing my hair too, so my trick is to get a haircut that's a hairstyle on its own. Then you only require basic skills such as combing.
And, the bonus is, you probably won't be able to do anything with it except tie it back if it's long enough, so you don't have to feel guilty about being lazy with your hair!

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