We’ve all been there. You’ve had a good cry listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack and suddenly you know exactly what you need.
“Should I do something new to my hair?” you text your best friend, but in the time it takes for the resulting three dots that follow on your iMessage screen, you’ve already googled the hairstyle you want, and refined it down to a science.
Chances are, between that point and the one where you were pouring over top 100-hairstyles-for-your-face-shape forums, you chose one of these.*
*Note: as a person only with experience with straight and non-afro-textured hair, this article, unfortunately, will only be covering those looks.
1. Happy Medium
Middle length is in, baby, and when you’re really feelin’ it, you’ll find yourself googling all the best long bobs you can find. This look says sophisticated, it says maturity, it says you shop on Etsy and do everything in a fun-but-not-too-fun adultish sort of way. You won’t even need to do much about styling your hair because it will be a style!
This look says it all: it says “I’m fine,” and “Yes, I’m fine, stop asking if I’m fine, don’t I look fine?”
2. Edgy B*tch
So you’ve always wanted to give yourself an edge, and a slightly jagged cut is just what you need to feel something again. It’ll go perfectly with that recent bleach job you did, you know, the frosted, not-at-all-yellowing one you put on top of your dark hair, so the roots are showing…edgily?
Yeah, this is definitely the cut you find yourself going for when you want to stare pensively out in public at nothing particular.
3. Messy Chic
You bring in a photo of a gorgeous woman with hair that’s falling, just so, in front of her face. “You know that this isn’t what you’ll look like, right?” the hairstylist asks, and you swallow down any offense to say, “no, yeah, I know.” “I just mean-” they try to correct themselves but the damage has been done.
“Doesn’t your hair usually have more of a wave in it?” they ask you, and you know it really does, but you think that maybe, sometimes, it might not…especially if it’s shorter. “No,” you insist. You will look like that picture. You have to.
4. Hipster Boy Vibes
When you want a look that’ll give you that artfully tousled, Grad-Student-In-A-Folk-Band look, you gotta get the hipster boy fade. You’ll want enough length on top that you can continuously run your hands through it and look properly stressed. Are you working on your thesis or the lyrics to your next experimental softcore accordion rock melody? No one knows, least of all, you.
Put on a cardigan for an extra academic aesthetic, or a floral button up to really lean into the vibe of that guy who shows up at a poetry slam to talk about his childhood trauma and ghosts you the next day.
5. Just A Trim
“It used to be down to my butt,” you say for the sixth time since someone finally noticed you got it cut. “It used to be…” You reassure them that no, you do actually like it, especially when they tell you that they do and that yes, they absolutely noticed that you cut your hair at all and that no, it doesn’t just look pretty much the same as it always did to everyone but you.
“No, this way is more freeing,” you insist to everyone out loud, missing the weight of those precious inches. They’d been with you for years, until they were cut off, lying dead, and swept away. You force yourself to smile. “I feel ten pounds lighter.”
6. Highlight Of Your Life
You’re not sure you’re ready for a big change, but something has to give. You want to take things a little bit at a time, so, instead of dying all of your hair, you’re getting highlights. It’s exciting and different as you force yourself to stay still for all the tinfoil that’s put in, layer after layer, into your hair.
Too late to back out now. It’s too late for many things. You get a good look at yourself there, your hair covered in aluminum in the harsh lighting of the salon, left alone for a moment, just long enough to get pensive.
When they pull it off you, you can breathe again. It’s different, but not so different that you can’t get used to it. You’ve already gotten used to so many things…and anyway, life always did look better through rosegold colored tresses.
7. Living By Contrasts
You’re looking for some drama under your own terms, so you decide to get this one look that mixes just enough of your dark and light sides that you’re pretty sure it’ll restore the balance to the forces churning inside you.
This look says Cool-But-Approachable, this look says, no, you didn’t just eat peanut butter out of a jar for lunch, it says, “Notice me, but don’t notice me, leave me alone but please talk to me, I’m so lonely.” It’s perfect.
8. Bangable Fringe
If there’s one question I ask myself more than if I should go to grad school, it’s if I should get bangs. When you do it, just know, you’ll go through all the stages of grief before convincing yourself that you know, you actually do look like Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, and not like a twelve-year-old girl at all.
Sure, your bangs get greasier than the rest of your hair for some reason and don’t actually want to curl the right way on your face, but hey, maybe they’ll grow out longer and faster than expected, in that cool girl way where they land just sexily enough to be forever poking you in the eye.
9. Hot Mess
You don’t like to be constrained by society’s definition of what is cool or acceptable, and you think you want your new hairstyle to reflect that.
Bangs high enough to crush people’s expectations, and dreads added hastily enough that you think you’ll fit in with all the people at Burning Man this year.
A tribal tattoo of your spirit animal is next on your list.
10. The “Who is She?”
For when you want to start it all over again. You got your bottle of dye from the drugstore, and your glass of wine and your hands are only a little bit stained from the pink product, and it feels like kind of a Gone Girl sorta moment, watching the color drip, like blood, into the shower, and down the drain.
You look in the mirror and you don’t even recognize yourself. You could put on some shades and no one will even know who you are, you could just walk away from this… from everything.
What hairstyle have you found yourself getting during A Time in your life? Have you gotten any of these hairstyles? Are you going to now? Let us know in the comments down below!
Featured Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/jVRQ20B41Mo
Lauren West graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Digitial Journalism in December 2018. She is a Southern California native, an INFP with anxiety, and at any moment trying her best.