I first decided to get a fringe when I was about 13 years old. I had struggled through my pre-teen years with unruly thick curls, a feature I never saw as anything but an inconvenience (washing and combing was a nightmare). Entering high school at an all girls college saw me instantly compare myself to others around me in a way I never really had before. The grass was so much greener, blonder and straighter. I was brunette, Hermione-Granger-esk and totally uncool.
My youthful decision to get blunt bangs came after a consultation with my local hairdresser, as I begged for a way to disguise my reasonably giant forehead (for which I had been teased about ruthlessly). “Well… a fringe would cover that up!” She said. And I said yep. Let’s do it.
The first year of bangs I have entitled ‘The Battle with the Blow Dryer’, which involved many tear-filled mornings of attempting to get my fringe “like it was when the hairdresser did it!”. This often resulted in a fluffy, half straight fringe teamed with a head of hippy curls (not my finest look). This look was never really mastered until my final years of high school, where I cut my hair into a 20’s bob and straightened the hell out of it. I became defined by this look. People would buy me those little Japanese plastic dolls with the same hair every birthday. My hair became a huge part of my identity, symbolising my leap from lame frizzy teenager to cool, hipster fashion girl.
This look became my secret weapon. I landed roles in commercials, small modelling gigs, always cast as the “hipster girl”. I was often compared to Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (huge compliment!) or the ‘fifty shades of grey girl’ (I’ll take that too). These comments boosted my self esteem in a way I soon came to rely on. I feared being seen with my hair back to an unhealthy degree. I would actively avoid running in to people on the days I was brave enough to go out in public with it pinned back.
This year I turned 25, and something shifted. This ‘look’ I had cultivated over the last 12 years started to feel more and more like a lie. My fringe was something I had hidden behind, and now I felt like it was time to open myself (and my face) up to the world and stop being afraid.
This week has been my first official week of natural hair. I had to throw out my dodgy shampoo/conditioner in exchange for some quality + moisturising products, this will help repair the damage of half a lifetime of heat styling. I don’t have the ringlets I did when I was young, however I still have plenty of thick natural waves. I did cheat a little and have a fantastic colour makeover by a local lady named Chelle’s Cheveux, who lightened my tresses in order to highlight my natural curls.
I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t had a few morning freak outs, especially after going on a coffee break at work and having my usual barista ask me “is today your day off?” I’ve also had a few people re-introduce themselves to me (awkward) as they literally didn’t recognise me without my fringe.
When I start feeling my ego taking over and that dark voice telling me I won’t be cool/attractive/hipster/popular without my fringe, I stop and check myself. If I can get over this hurdle and a little closer to self love, switching my focus from body image to the things that really matter… I will have so much more energy, focus and passion to invest in my wonderful life.
P.s The beautiful bird dress ($5) and palm tree white shirt ($3) where both purchased this morning from the Wardrobe Warriors Market at Mt Gravatt, which I highly recommend if you’re wanting some outfit updates and don’t want to spend more than the coins floating around in the bottom of your handbag.